Heaven & Earth

And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

Genesis 3:15.

It is not untrue to say a conflict always has two sides to each story.

But by the Will of a third party, a conflict can also be contained, stripped, perfected in union, and thus set ablaze with something newly risen, fresh from the tension.

A long time ago, humankind decided that it was the third party between Heaven and Earth; Above and Below; the Light and the Darkness.

Then, it decided that this fire was uncontrollable in nature and therefore trapped it within the earth.

This earth became Woman; Her liberator the Serpent.

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The Book of Genesis, especially its third chapter, is full of alchemical and Kabbalistic symbolism. Without getting too technical, the main division and source of duality can be apprehended by looking at the simplest model of reality, which is a circle divided into top and bottom. The symbol of the TAO, comprised of sides Yin and Yang, is a good example of this but depicts them in motion.

This top, or “Above,” is known to people under various different names, like: “Heaven,” God (of the Abrahamic religions), Brahman (of philosophical Hinduism), Nirvana (of Buddhism), and the Dao or Tao.

So too, is the bottom, or “Below,” known as: “Earth,” Maya (of philosophical Hinduism), Samsara (of Buddhism), Under or Lower Heaven (Daoism, Confucianism), Choice of Death (of Judaism), The World (Christianity), and the Realm of War (Islam).

Religion, organized or otherwise, contains and resolves tensions common to human existence because it fundamentally operates on the basis of a primal duality, which creates a dual approach to problems of the human condition: one “Heaven-based” and the other “Earth-based.”

This is because the goal of religion is always connected to Unconditional Reality and not merely Conditioned Reality. Specifically, “the main idea behind any religion (whether it views unconditioned and conditioned reality as conterminous and concurrent or as actual separate spheres) is that it is full of doors and windows and that much commerce passes between the two” (Many Peoples, Many Faiths, 5).

This, in turn, creates a dual approach to problems of the human condition as well as a separate category of religious or spiritual tensions. Therefore, such an approach seeks both to contain and try to resolve (both) Heavenly and Earthly issues.

In attempting to contain a tension with religion, an individual will likely suffer greatly but transcend his self and his understandings as he knows how. Both Eastern and Western alchemy considers this the “Heaven-based” approach to religion which, if successful, produces a tertium non datur, (Carl G. Jung’s “reconciling ‘third,’ not logically foreseeable, characteristic of a resolution in a conflict situation when the tension between opposites has been held in consciousness”).

In stark contrast, if an individual attempts to resolve the tension by religion, he or she will likely be relieved but miss out on the opportunity of spiritual transcendence. This, too, is necessary in order to produce lasting and compassionate effects upon the world we live in—the world we are conditioned, in fact, to live in.

In conclusion, both of these scenarios create a trinity, one reaching towards Unconditioned reality, and the other, towards Conditioned Reality. To resolve one is to contain the other, while to contain one is to resolve the other.

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In all cases of “the Trinity,” the archetypal Two is always comprised of 1. itself, and 2. itself and not-itself. In other words, “man” has the power to create, but “woman” has the power to both create and destroy, as in the Hindu ideas of Shiva and Shakti. The former, which is consciousness, can be articulated while the latter, which is the unconscious mind, cannot. As a result, “man” (and mind, intellect, reason) represents the Law of Non-contradiction, while “woman” (and body, emotion, feeling) has come to represent the Law of Excluded middle (which allows the tertium non datur to occur). Respectively, one is reductive (+1 -1 = 0) while the other is additive (+1-1 = 2). This is why the mind sees no choice but to choose between Jesus and Buddha while the heart is able to follow both.

In Qabalah, that which can be articulated in language corresponds to the faculty of Hod in the Ruach, while that which cannot corresponds to the faculty of Netzach in the Ruach.

The Old Aeon

The Old Aeon, marked by approximately two thousand years, saw a rise and fall of matriarchal values. It is also called the Age of Pisces, and the presumption now is that we are currently in the New Aeon, that of Aquarius. The single most defining characteristic about the Age of Aquarius, whether or not one personally adheres to such a belief, is that that belief is irrelevant to anyone but him or herself.

Even before the Age of Pisces, humankind has had to adapt drastically to climate and environmental change after the last ice age (circa 11,000 BC). Much of the earth became subject to long dry seasons and annual plants began to flourish under these conditions. It is theorized that the transition between hunger-gatherer to agricultural societies took place over a longer period of time following the increase of sedentism (the practice of living in one place for a long time) than previously expected. All of these factors contributed significantly to what we understand as gender roles today, but also are key to unlocking the foundation of the Greater and Lesser Mysteries of many initiatory schools throughout history.

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The primary way in which the worldview of hunter-gatherer religions is reflected in the relationships between men and women is through the men’s historical roles as hunters and the women’s as gatherers. While men’s roles have been dominant for longer periods of time prior to the development of agriculture, it is interesting to note that “[t]he important role of women as gatherers is reflected in the high status accorded them in hunter-gather societies where there appears to be an egalitarian bent exhibited by a great degree of complementarity in the roles of men and women” (ibid., 41).

The Paleolithic mind, extant from before the discovery of agriculture, seeks to avoid disturbing the natural flow of things—which is considered sacred in its own right. It is also clear that appreciating the mysteries of the natural world gave the Neolithic agriculturalists a deep sense of meaning and purpose to their existence.

Because of this, the “rape” of the fields by farming, plowing, and other “unnatural means” to produce food from the earth resulted in the first “fall” from innocence. The imagery and sentiment of this necessary adaptation for survival mirrors that of the prepubescent mind when struggling to transcend the duality of desire (the sexual instinct/libido/id, will-to-live) versus guilt (a type of ‘will-to-die’, a function of the superego). It is this Paleolithic mind, also known as Carl G. Jung’s “archaic identity,” or in Qabalah, the nephesh, which forms the foundation of higher rational and as well as higher emotional faculties.

As a result, mankind’s first initiation into the Mysteries always seems to involve women, serpents, gardens, fields and crops.

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As the practice of hunting decreased, it is possible that this triggered mankind (namely men throughout history) to turn to early forms of writing and record-keeping. This would include the use of complex oral traditions, all for the express purpose of giving themselves and the generations after them a chance (via scriptural, spiritual, or religious, i.e. “biblical” narrative) to be forgiven for man’s mortality and dependence upon the earth for nourishment.

Women, who were considered to embody the earth (the body, matter, nature), for the most part, turned to folk magic and myth, which served further to unite their ways of living with the ways of nature and the earth without fear of repercussion, guilt, or need for sacrifice.

Even more pragmatic and forward-thinking were the societies who figured out how to incorporate their stories into ceremonial ritual, still practiced in certain forms today. Male initiatory rites within the Aborigines of Australia, which consist of circumcision and sacred dancing, for example, reflect the interplay of spiritual forces through the natural processes of the body—that is, the female body—which goes through menstruation for the first time in a young woman of the same age.

Unlike back then, when women were not allowed to read or write let alone take part in the mysteries, the rise of contemporary women occultists and magicians today suggests both blessing and curse—we have forgotten who (or “what”) we are, and thus can become anything.

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For the societies that did not have the same problem finding food, it made sense to continue hunting and gathering without needing to “fall from grace.” Those that did evolved in ways we would have considered “dark” and “morbid.” Their preoccupation with death (particularly ritual death) was a result of the idea that one must exchange death for life and vice versa, just as in the reaping and sowing cycles of the seasons. On this it is written, “it is clear that human sacrifice meant a transfer of power from the victim to the sacrificer or his or her works, a concept prefigured in the murders that mark the beginning of agriculture in myth” (ibid., 45-46).

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All of that is changing, and it is changing rapidly. Not only are environmental and climate-impacting factors more important than ever but women (and what they’ve traditionally represented) are quickly reinventing the world we all live in. It has been posited (by Jung and Marie-Louise von Franz) that the male gender, and by extension, Unconditioned reality, or “Heaven,” represents perfection of the parts while the female gender and/or Conditioned reality, or “Earth,” represents the perfection of the whole.

Contemporary Western society has now reached a point were the former approach (perfection of the parts) is doing serious and irreversible damage to the whole.

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One way of looking at the Age of Pisces is as the age of monotheism. The symbol of the fish, according to classical interpretation, is derived from the ichthyocentaurs (a race of centaurine sea gods with the upper body of a human, the lower front of a horse, the tail of a fish, and lobster-claw horns on their heads), who aided Aphrodite when she was born from the sea. Imagery of the fish or fishes and many Christian symbols became intertwined and their original meanings transmuted throughout time. While most of the age was centered around the relationship between “Above” and “Below,” it became clear with the arrival of Descartes’ mind-body problem that humankind would never return to its “original,” or “pre-fall” form.

The Hermetic Qabalah

Derived from Jewish mysticism and refurbished for use in Western esotericism, the Hermetic Qabalah is a perfect allegorical filing cabinet for all things, including numerous pairs of tensions between “Above” and “Below;” “Without” and “Within,” or simply “male” or “female.”

In the form of the Tree of Life (Etz Chaim), the Qabalah can be understood as that remains in Eden after the banishment of Adam and Eve, or the first “fall.” The descent from the tension of the Two in this case created the opportunity to return not to a state of ignorance (as in not having eaten from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil) but to a state of childlike innocence in all matters of life and death.

The Tree of Life is comprised of ten spheres or emanations (sephiroth in plural, and sephira in singular) that Jewish mystics use to represent the highest and most abstract ideas of deity. These are: Kether, Chokmah, Binah, Chesed, Geburah, Tiphareth, Netzach, Hod, Yesod, and Malkuth.

Kether is the source of all (and what continues) the creation of the rest of the spheres. It is inconceivable and beyond duality. The second sphere, Chokmah, then represents the idea of idea and the chaos of all potentiality. Binah, Understanding, refers to the form in which ideas manifest. Together, these three give birth to the rest of the spheres beginning with Chesed.

In Chesed lies the creation of matter and in Geburah the laws which bind and rectify the manifest world. Tiphareth represents the balance of all the spheres above and below, right and left, inside and out. Netzach symbolizes love, passion, and aspiration; Hod compliments Netzach by symbolizing reason, intellect, and receptivity. Yesod, The Foundation, refers to the rhythmic cycles of all of the above, and Malkuth, The Kingdom, is the Tree of Life in its entirety.

Central to understanding the relationship between mind and body or man and woman is the fact that Tiphareth is usually personified to be the “Son” of the Supernal Triad composed of Kether, Chokmah, and Binah, while Malkuth is the Son’s Bride. Together they form one half of the formula Tetragrammaton (the four-fold name of God), while their union completes the other half.

It is important to note that the first and last spheres of the Tree of Life are essentially the same—they merely differ in degrees of manifestation. In the case of Malkuth and Tiphareth also, they are both equally important but differ in their roles.

Thelema

Thelema is called a religion by some and philosophy by others but one cannot deny the emphasis it puts on the individual as a wisdom tradition. Founded in 1904 by English occultist Aleister Crowley, Thelema was and still is one of the most radical, forward-thinking and workable system of spiritual and scientific attainment. It seeks to unite the doctrines, practices and symbolism from both East and West and encourages participation from women in the mysteries.

Liber AL vel Legis, the central sacred text of Thelema, states, “Every man and every woman is a star” in the third point of the first chapter. According to some*, this third point references the third sephira, Binah, on the Tree of Life.

Although Binah translates directly in Hebrew as “understanding,” this sphere is also closely related to the concept of the Holy Spirit, intuition, and the archetypal Mother. According to Crowley’s Liber 777, a work consisting of roughly 191 tables of correspondences, Binah also embodies aspects of the goddesses Isis, Cybele, Demeter, Rhea, Juno, Hecate and The Virgin Mary.

It is this last association, that of The Virgin Mary with the Mother, which provides an important key into the sacred symbolism of the divine feminine.

The Divine Feminine

It comes as no surprise that many world religions contain concepts of trinity. Many philosophers throughout history, too, pursued a trichotomy, or three-way classificatory division. Hegel, in particular, identified a pattern of trichotomies and described the process as thesis, antithesis, and synthesis. In other words, one pair of opposing forces always produces a third, which is either neutral in its transcendence of tension or neutral in its containment of tension.

In each case, the “Three” is associated with the feminine due to its ability to combine the “Two,” as in the womb.

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Another traditionally feminine sphere is the tenth sephira, Malkuth, which always corresponds to the world of the physical. While Binah, the Mother, can be conceived of as matter or form, it is her Daughter, Malkah (Malkuth), whom the Tree in its entirety relies upon for experience.

Just because Malkah, Kallah, or Malkuth are descriptive terms for the physical body and automatic processes does not mean “she” is any less important than her intangible counterpart, consciousness. It is imperative to consider, especially for the Age of Aquarius, mind and body as being “made of the same stuff” (again). Taking care of one implies the duty of taking care of the other.

As the manifest form of spirit, or consciousness, Malkuth (the body, i.e. “woman”) is ideally considered to be “innocent,” “virginal,” and “pure.” The fact of the matter is that none of these words are meant to describe human beings. The only thing women “ideally” need to be is themselves. Instead, words like “innocent” and “virginal” are meant to express reverence towards the natural world, our bodies, and the automatic functions of the body we are provided with at birth.

The main reason why the regeneration of the body is always considered pure is largely because healing occurs unadulterated by thought. In Eastern and many holistic schools of medicine, the body, while unable to be controlled completely with the mind, does respond directly to genuine emotion. To provide an example: while one can will one’s limbs to serve a purpose revealed from the mind, unless that mind is trained, the individual can just as likely change his mind and suddenly decide against its purpose. This would result in the inhibition of one’s own actions on the plane of manifestation, and therefore, a failure to execute the original purpose.

In contrast, the body can heal an injury without ever turning against itself. It holds no grudges and speaks no evil.

Despite the body’s “pure” intentions, however, mankind’s collective consciousness has managed to demonize natural processes and allow unspeakable crimes against itself across time. For instance, contemporary Western society has become extremely proficient at avoiding the topic of death and dying. When we do refer to these topics, we use euphemisms and speak of illness as a kind of evil. On the other hand, violent but unrealistic death is constantly shown to us in the media. A similar and possibly more complex comparison may be made regarding the topic of sex.

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According to the teachings of Samael Aun Weor, a Gnostic teacher and initiate of the Fraternitas Rosicruciana Antiqua (F.R.A), the three fundamental nervous systems (the cerebrospinal, grand sympathetic, and the parasympathetic) function as the Three Centers corresponding to the Trinity. The intellect or cerebrospinal nervous system relates to Kether (a positive force); emotion or the grand sympathetic nervous system relates to Chokmah (a negative force); and finally, the motor-instinctual-sexual center or parasympathetic nervous system relates to Binah (reconciling and neutral). In Qabalah, it is the ninth sephira, Yesod, that manifests the creative energy of Binah, the Holy Spirit.

Yesod, “foundation,” serves as a transmitter between “Above” and “Below,” and thus is the mediator between “man” and “woman.” Like the svadhisthana chakra of Indian mysticism, Yesod is associated with the sexual and generative power. The divine name associated with this sphere translates to “field of sexual energy.” Returning to the book of Genesis, it is written that the serpent is the most subtle “animal” in Yesod, the “field,” which refers to the life-force contained within the center.

This principle of pure regeneration is also that which begets desire; the masculine energies within us seek to unite with it, while the feminine energies in all of us seek to exalt it. In this sense, masculine energy is represented by the serpent while the feminine energy, as described above, is represented by Malkah, first known as Eve, who admits man into the mysteries.

To elaborate, the grand sympathetic nervous system (or “emotional brain” corresponding to the Son or Chokmah aspect of the Trinity), begins its development at roughly fourteen years of age. This is a profound psychological change that contemporary Western society takes not only for granted but also in way that confuses the individual.

The transformation itself is initiated by the desire-body or faculty of emotion commonly attributed to the sphere of Netzach. When the serpent or sexual potency is present and ready to be released, this “animal” manifests as instinctual sexual desire with the help of the liver. It is our instinctual sexual centers within Yesod that manifest this life force of nature. As a result, that part of us which is feminine is what first signals the very important transition into adolescence.

Alchemy and the Holy Grail

The physical and chemical changes that happen to the body during puberty (speaking from a purely physical perspective) represent the beginning of the alchemical albedo stage, or “white work” of the Magnum Opus, or Great Work. The white work involves the separation of the gross from the fine, or subtle. Because the most “subtle animal” is the desire-force related with sexual potency and breath, to perform the white work means mastering the emotions approximately at the same time as these emotions reveal themselves to us as untamed and often violent impulses.

In the midst of Christ’s crucifixion according to the Gospel of John, it is said that the Romans planned to break Jesus’ legs in order to hasten death. Just before they did so, they realized he was already dead. In order to make sure he was dead, a Roman soldier named Longinus “pierced his side with a lance, and immediately there came out blood and water” (19:34).

Richard Wagner incorporated this story in his opera Parsifal, which tells of a young Arthurian knight who recovers the Lance and finds the blood of Christ (along with the Holy Grail). He identified the Holy Lance with two items from Wolfram von Eschenbach’s poem Parzifal, originally written in the 13th century. The first item is a bleeding spear in the castle where the Grail is found, and the second is the spear that originally wounded the Fisher King.

The Fisher King, otherwise known as the Wounded or Maimed King, is an important and fascinating character for many reasons. Not only is he likely derived from Bran the Blessed from Celtic mythology he is said to be the last in a long line charged with protecting the Holy Grail. His name refers to the curious condition he lives in—for all he is able to do is fish near his castle and wait for someone to heal his “thigh” wound. In some versions this is accomplished by asking the right question. In others the Fisher King can only be healed by the Holy Lance itself. In later versions of this story, many knights attempt to heal the Fisher King and are unsuccessful while Parsifal, the “innocent,” succeeds.

The fish, being the emblem of the previous astrological age and symbol of Christ, is symbolically analogous to the phallus/lance, serpent, or sexual desire. Because it lives in and “breathes” water, one may interpret the fish as each individual life swimming in the vast abyss of the collective unconscious represented by water at the start of the albedo stage, which corresponds to the threshold of pubescence.

Some fated individuals are invariably drawn to archetypal energies such as these, especially early on in their lives. For example, Carl G. Jung recounts in his alchemical autobiography, Memories, Dreams, Reflections: “When all the men had left, I quickly stole into the garden to the warehouse. But the door was locked. I went around the house; at the back there was an open drain running down the slope, and I saw blood and water trickling out. I found this extraordinarily interesting. At that time I was not yet four years old” (7-8).

While blood** symbolizes the suffering of man (the mind, intellect), water expresses the purifying and self-regenerating nature of woman (the body, emotion), who can restore something to its original glory without it itself being affected.

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Paralleling this myth of the Holy Lance and the notion that it both wounds and heals, only the serpent (sexual desire) who tempted Eve (the body) can redeem Eve by raising Her above all else. In other words, the two serpents of Gnosticism belong to one Lion; the brazen and the tempting serpent merely signify different stages of the individual’s development.

It makes sense to “her” that first, the phallus is a wyrm but later becomes God himself.

It makes sense to “him” that first, she is a temptress and later becomes his entire Universe.

Without that desire, there could be no appeal to union let alone free will. Sex is first and foremost an act of self-love. It is literally, spiritually, and metaphorically mankind’s work to raise women to their proper place.

This is the real reason why fundamentalists of every religion aim to suppress women. To them, women represent their uncontrollable desire. If only they followed this desire through to its end instead of abusing it, they would realize that this desire is actually for God.

The New Aeon

There are, undoubtedly, various models that need to be rectified for the future and many of them involve how we treat women. Numerous androcentric spiritual accounts, despite their holy intentions, have created an imbalance in the way we merely perceive the female form. While the highest ideals of beauty, love and desire are impersonal, the path to that ideal is very personal. Like the Lady Venus behind her Veil, each individual reserves the right to deny anyone the opportunity to see (i.e. worship) them. With consent, one can seek to admire the body of another, but the power from that body belongs to the owner alone. Therefore, the highest act of love is total dissolution in the power and beauty of the Other.

When an individual begins the Path of Return, forces within them polarize. Often one magnetic center serves to draw in the forces required for a more complete assimilation of the opposite pole. As elegant as that sounds, the reality is likely an explosive and tension-filled exchange between mind and body (or man and woman). Here it will be useful to use the Jungian concept of the anima and animus with the additional and original proposition that each individual contains both expressions. The view that men only have an anima and women only have an animus is, quite frankly, outdated. It is of the author’s personal opinion that Jung embodied his animus so well he could not bear his own witness. Unlike others, he needed only to “marry” his anima.

Using the terminology of Thelema, the anima is essentially “the office of the Scarlet Woman” while the animus is “the Prince-Priest/Beast,” or prophet.

When it comes to sexual magic, since we all project parts of ourselves as the anima/animus, it matters not whether we are monogamous or polygamous (as long as all parties consent). One can find aspects of oneself in either the one person or several, not unlike Bhaktimarga, the path of loving devotion to a personified god. It is possible that monogamy (especially heterosexual monogamy) is celebrated above other forms of marriage because the secret to this tradition*** has been lost among those who hold this opinion. In all cases, an unfaithful partner is always at fault because they are the ones lacking the vision to see the bigger picture, mainly that they are the projector and thus, are literally “who” they are searching for.

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As a woman and in the context of the existing zeitgeist, I do not believe it is a coincidence that from the Jungian psychological model, it may be theorized that:

  1. Men (representing consciousness) are conditioned to pursue women at all costs, while

  2. Women (representing the unconscious mind) have been conditioned by society to learn how to see themselves from the eyes of another (male) to avoid danger.

On a more uplifting note, Sapphic displays of affection occur much more frequently in society today, which may be nature’s ingenious opportunity for women to heal and reteach one another what love truly is without threat of danger. With these tides turning, physical sex is no longer a factor in gender representation and thus, for instance, a biological man can exhibit a stronger Malkah principle than a biological woman. The message for this New Age is that everyone—not just women—should liberate their Divine Feminine.

Because we each make our own meaning, that meaning can always find its way back to us. That is the ultimate lesson of the Grail Mysteries and the tale of the Fisher King. A crisis of faith is a collapse of meaning following an unbearable contradiction—one which requires us to let go and be purified (by water). The lesson of the Divine Feminine is one whereby losing the path you thought you were on, you are able to find the infinite path.

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*ENDNOTE: Each verse of Liber AL potentially corresponds to a sphere in one of the twenty-two paths of the Tree of Life. Note that Liber AL, or Liber 220 = 22 paths x 10 spheres.

**ENDNOTE: On a strictly physical basis, the sight of blood marks the beginning of the rubedo stage of alchemy.

***ENDNOTE: as in the Great Work and the Alchemical marriage.

 

 

Works Cited

Ellwood, Robert S. and Barbara A. McGraw. Many Peoples, Many Faiths: Women and Men in the World Religions, Seventh Edition. Pearson Education, Inc., Prentice Hall, 2002.

Von Franz, Marie-Louise. C. G. Jung: His Myth in Our Time. C. G. Jung Foundation for Analytical Psychology, Inc., 1975.

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.

The Brazen Serpent

By Soror Nihil Obstat (Helen Kirkby)

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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.

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.

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.

Thaumaturgy & Theurgy


All magick performed intently brings forth change; the results of thaumaturgical workings usually either aiding in confidence of oneself or skepticism towards the efficacy of magick. A balance must be sought between believing in oneself and having faith in magick, regardless of the history of one’s workings (fails or successes). To the ceremonial magickian, there is no difference between oneself and magick, and the success/failures of his thaumaturgy only aids in recognising and appreciating the forces of Being, which to some degree will always be unknowable to the practitioner.

“For pure will, unassuaged of purpose, delivered from the lust of result, is in every way perfect.”

By detaching one’s intentions for results, and accepting magick as just an exercise of one’s Will, the magickian always succeeds–he is closer to union with God by means of uniting his own forces within himself.

“That is to say, in order to perform his miracle, [the Magician] must call forth his own God in the Microcosm. That is united with the God of the Macrocosm by its likeness to it; and the Macrocosmic force then operates in the Universe without as the Magician has made it operate within himself; the miracle happens.”

Silence is a power because by the unintentional limitations of language, if one were to speak about his Work, he sets forth in his mind the idea that he is the cause of magick; the balance is shifted between Knowing and Understanding, and as a result, feeds his ego too much. Similarly, if he were to speak about his Work without attributing himself, he subconsciously becomes aware of the idea that perhaps he did not do anything, as it could have all been coincidence, and his faith in himself/magick is decreased.

There is nothing intrinsically wrong about speaking of magick–Silence is simply a way of preserving the authenticity of one’s Understandings. If among those with similar Understandings, there is no such consequence so long as the magickian keeps the balance of faith/confidence for himself.

It is true that performing Theurgy/Great Work is all one needs to be satisfied, however if one is already aware of and is working in alignment with his Will, all acts, even thaumaturgical workings, are the Great Work. Part of the Work is always keeping one’s ego under Will, and accepting responsibility for what one strives for.