Libra: Egyptian Tarot of Thelema Maat VIII

The Egyptian Tarot of Thelema trump for the 22nd path of Libra is Maat VIII. Venus, the Glittering Splendour, is the ruler of the sign of Libra and Saturn is exalted therein.

Libra Equinox: Egyptian Tarot of Thelema Maat VIIIMaat is here depicted as a young woman clothed in green and blue, the colours of the key scale of the 22nd path. She has little in the way of ornamentation and is crowned with the ostrich plume, which declares ‘Truth’, her name. She bears the ankh of life and lotus sceptre. She stands between the two pillars of dual manifestation, or Form and Force. In ceremonial magick these are also called Knowledge and Wisdom. They are shown here as silver and gold, indicative of the Moon and Sun as the governance of spirit acting upon the Zodiac through the four classical elements of nature. Lotuses surmount the tetrahedronal caps of the pillars to show that all life pours forth from the power of dual manifestation.

The hieroglyphic name of Maat is shown at the top of the Tarot picture. The first letter is the sickle ma’a, ‘truth’. The letter lamed of the 22nd path was originally the Egyptian sickle or Lion of Truth. The two trumps for Leo and Libra are therefore counterchanged on the Tree, as are the trumps for Aries and Aquarius.[1] The straight edge hieroglyph confirms that Maat is the ‘Straight One’. The phonetic ‘t’ and goddess determinative complete the name.

The Neteru, which we call ‘gods’, are the personification of impersonal principles. Maat is the embodiment of truth and justice, natural law, balance or equilibrium. Hence the traditional title of the 8th Tarot Atu is Justice, while the esoteric title is Daughter of the Lords of Truth: Ruler of the Balance. Maat is the goddess of the scales of the balance. She is the mistress of creation and destruction and the balance of light and darkness. She is the regulator of the stars and the seasons, the ‘times’. She is immutable cosmic law and the law of nature. Maat is the cosmic principle declared in the sevenfold spell of the (Egyptian) Book of the Law, I: 57:

Invoke me under my stars! Love is the law, love under will.

Thus Saturn is the (Shakti) power behind Venus, the principle of love or union.

The Rituals of Maat

The Sun enters Libra at the autumnal equinox and balance of the year, when days and nights are equal in length. It is the gate of winter. In the southern hemisphere of the globe this is reversed and the vernal equinox heralds the gate of summer. At the ceremony of the equinox, the officers sound four threefold knocks, twelve in all, as they declare in turn,

Black and White!
Day and Night!
North and South!
East and West!
The Equinox of the Gods is here![2]

All ritual magick comes under the auspices of Maat. Everything in a temple must be balanced and harmonious. Likewise, the mind itself is set straight, purified by study, the essential discipline of the path of knowledge. In Maat all things are made equal and harmonious. According to a papyrus dating from the Middle Kingdom, she declares,

I have given bread to the hungry and clothed the naked.
I was a husband to the widow and father to the orphan.[3]

Everything concerned with Maat is double and so it is with all of nature. There is ‘no-one’ in truth. The power of Egyptian magical spells is in the words. To know they are true, and to speak them truly, is the perfection of Maat. As the daughter of Ra, Maat makes order from chaos by overcoming her counterpart Isfet, literally ‘unbalance’. She thus makes it possible for Ra to come forth from the primordial mound. Maat presides over the Hall of Neophytes or Hall of Dual Manifestation. In the ritual of the initiation of a Neophyte it is declared of the pillars,

Knowledge and Wisdom, their two-fold Might,
Rolling asunder Darkness and Night.[4]

Maat is the absolute rule of cosmic law, as was clearly set forth in the Pyramid Texts dated to more than 4000 years ago.[5] At a later time, all goddesses were paired with male gods. Maat is most often paired with Tahuti, known by the Greeks as Hermes-Thoth and to the Romans as Mercury. Notably, the 22nd path of Libra on the Tree of Life mirrors the 20th path of Virgo ruled by Mercury. The addition of the paths gives 42, the number of the Assessors in the Hall of Maat. Tahuti himself is frequently described as the ‘One who reveals Maat’ or the ‘One who loves Maat’. To love Maat, to perform true actions and to speak true words, is to receive Maat. A word must be heard ere it can be uttered.

The Oracle of Maat

Behold! I am the Eye of my father, Ra. I am the one in whom the word is accomplished. I am the Bride of Tahuti and the Measure of the Universe. I am truth, and the feather is my symbol. To pass my door, you must justify every part of your soul, and you must visit the beautiful fields of the grasshoppers. You shall bathe in the pool where the Sailors of Ra in his sun-boat bathe. Purify yourself in my name, and come before me as Horus Triumphant. For I stand upon one side of Ra in the ark of the heavens and Tahuti stands upon the other. And unless you have found the flint that is hidden in my furrow, then you shall not pass my gates. But if you know all these things, and if you have found me that dwells in the heart of Ra, and if you are pure—then Tahuti shall call your name! And you shall be known in the palace of the starry ones, and shall live forever and forever.[6]

The ancient Egyptians loved puns, the play on words. In the Oracle, Maat says, “If you have found me that dwells in the heart of Ra, and if you are pure—then Tahuti shall call your name”. One of the epithets of Maat is ‘The Me’, the Measure of all things. The heart is the place of the measure, the ‘me’ that is Maat. Another epithet of Maat is ‘Pure One’. The role of Maat at the Weighing of the Heart ceremony is a key one, as is her role in initiation. In the underworld, the hearts of the dead are weighed against her single Feather in the Hall of Double Truth. The crocodile goddess Ammit devours an evil heart and the soul cannot leave the underworld.

The 22nd Path of Maat

The 22nd path of the Tree of Life connects Geburah, the sphere of Mars, with Tiphereth, the sphere of the Sun. The 22nd path is called the Faithful Intelligence, and it is said that this path increases the spiritual powers. Furthermore, it is said, “all dwellers on earth are under its shadow”.[7] The 22nd path conveys the spiritual strength and power to realise every thought, word and deed as the expression of the Holy Guardian Angel. In one sense, it is the correct and discriminating use of the creative imagination to act in and upon the material world.

The Adept does not confuse the personal will, prone as it is to conditions and modifications, with the cosmic or True Will, which is perfectly free from all conditions since it is the creator of all conditions. The Great Work is not accomplished by the human personality of the Adept but is accomplished by the Holy Guardian Angel working through the Adept.

The magical powers of the 22nd path are Works of Justice and Equilibrium. The ‘working’ implies action, for manifestation is continuous. The yogi or yogini maintains constant vigil. The stilling of thought does not render the person unconscious; it is quite the reverse for it is the chatter of the mind that closes the doors of heaven and admits ‘one’ through the gate of hell.


Notes

1. See the essay, ‘Daughter of the Lords of Truth’, Babalon Unveiled—Thelemic Monographs [Ordo Astri]. The article may also be read online here.
2. From ‘Ritual for Sun entering Libra’, Ritual Magick—The Rites and Ceremonies of Hermetic Light [Ordo Astri].
3. James P. Allen, pp. 116, Middle Egyptian: An Introduction to the Language and Culture of Hieroglyphs.
4. From ‘Liber 930’, The Phoenix and other Stellar Rites of Initiation [Ordo Astri].
5. The Pyramid Texts of Unas are currently dated to around 2375–2345. Their source is thought to be far more ancient even than that.
6. From Ritual Magick [ibid].
7. Sepher Yetzirah. For commentaries on these ancient texts on the 32 paths, see The Flaming Sword Sepher Sephiroth [Ordo Astri].

The Egyptian Tarot of Thelema is an entirely new concept in the field of practical magick and Thelema. All the Tarot cards can be viewed as they are being created here.

© Oliver St. John 2019

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Sapphire Stone of Esoteric Thelema

The sapphire or ‘blue hour’ is a phase that occurs during the twilight of dusk or dawn. The sun’s orb is partially but significantly immersed in the underworld, below the horizon. The sky then takes on a deeper shade of blue than in daytime—as blue as a sapphire.

Sirius the Sapphire StarThe sun now sets on the Thelema of Crowley and his followers. New Age thought is swallowed by long shadows; its disciples scuttle into their pits, to dig themselves in for a long night that will never end. The bright sapphire star of Esoteric Thelema rises on the ascendant, awakening the children of earth to eternal wisdom.

We here examine and dispose of some of the most commonplace beliefs to be found within the cults of Thelema today, as well as in the wider streams of psychology, the occult, the pretended spirituality of the New Age movement and associated therapeutic and other industries. The sapphire stone has universal applications. One of these is the dispelling of the myth of causal determinism. Causal determinism is the root of the error in the age-old rationalist influence on Eastern and Western philosophy, both scientific and spiritual.[1]

The Wisdom Sapphire

Sapphire 1. ‘All is Illusion.’

False doctrine.
Source: misunderstanding of Eastern traditions.

This notion automatically tends towards nihilism, and so to death as finality. The (Egyptian) Book of the Law, Liber AL, III: 2, rescues us from such peril, for “all is not aught”. That is to say, ‘all is not to be construed as nothing’. Also, in Liber AL, II: 9, “there is that which remains”. The ‘that’ which remains is not at all ‘nothing’. All appearance is the Form of the Formless. The Formless, or absence of sense-objects, is not a ‘nothing’. God, or the absolute, is both Form and Formlessness, and furthermore, is beyond these.[2]

Sapphire 2. ‘In the beginning, or at the root of all, is nothing or nothingness. The nothing concentrates to form one (Kether), which is the source of all things.’

False doctrine.
Source: misunderstanding of Qabalah.

The relation of Da’ath to the supernal triad explains how the Tree of Life is a simultaneous ‘effect’ or appearance, evoked by Will (or Hadit). There is a concise description of the true nature and function of Da’ath in Aleister Crowley’s The Equinox series.

“It is important to explain the Position of Daath or Knowledge upon the Tree. It is called the Child of Chokmah and Binah, but it hath no Place. But it is really the Apex of a Pyramid of which the three first Numbers form the Base.”[3]

Sapphire 3. ‘The Qliphoth is a key to higher or more advanced initiation.’

False doctrine.
Source: misunderstanding the works of Kenneth Grant.

Grant used the term ‘Qliphoth’ in both the particular sense, as relating to demons, as defined by their name, character or signature, and in the universal sense, as all thing that appear whatsoever (Malkuth). Grant developed the idea that all Qliphoth, ‘evil shells of matter’, are masks of emptiness or absence.

The evocation of demons or spirits is ordinary magical practice that is best done within the strict parameters of ceremonial working. The Goetic spirits, for example, were conceived through the dualistic framework of monotheistic religion. It is necessary to understand the theology of sin and redemption before undertaking such operations—unless it is the aim of the magician to become enslaved by blind forces. Such spirits do not convey knowledge of spiritual matters. The ‘Tunnels of Set’ were an invention of Grant, a work of evocation that he carried out over many years (Typhonian Trilogies). Entering these tunnels, as Grant defined them, is to enter a dream world, more or less nightmarish, that Grant conjured with the help of an obscure writing by Aleister Crowley on the Tarot trumps and their paths, Liber 231. The ‘real’ Tunnels of Set are pathways between the stars, ultimately leading beyond the stars. These were symbolised in Egyptian hieroglyphics; they adorn the interior of certain pyramids and tombs. They lead out of the underworld, not into it. The tunnels of Kenneth Grant lead into the underworld of his creation, and provide no means of escape thereby.

Sapphire 4. ‘The Qabalah is primarily useful in producing magical formulae. A magical formula may be a key to more advanced levels of initiation.’

False doctrine.
Source: misunderstanding the works of Aleister Crowley.

Example: a formula means ‘form; shape or mould’. The arithmetical 2 + 2 = 4 can be a formula if we apply it thus: 2 + 2 = 4; 4 + 4 = 8; 8 + 8 = 16 … Whenever we add a number to the value of itself, the result is always twice that first number. The first number is always half of the result of the addition. Such a reliable formula, however simple or complex, can have practical uses. It is not, however, a key to anything esoteric such as ‘initiation’ or ‘will’.

Sapphire 5. ‘My aim is to do my True Will. Your aim is to do your True Will. It is possible that I could assist you to do your True Will. It is possible I could hinder or obstruct you from doing your True Will.’

False doctrine.
Source: misunderstanding the Law of Thelema. The notion is also propagated through the reductionism of Aleister Crowley, in his writings on the subject. Crowley wrote an instruction called Liber OZ, in which he put forward the absurd notion that other people might hinder or obstruct a person’s True Will, or their ‘right’ to do their True Will.

Thelema and Agape, Will and Love, are equal and cognate terms. The True Will is not a thing that can be acquired or possessed. No one can take away your True Will. No one can obstruct or hinder it.

(i) Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. This is not the same as, ‘Do what you will shall be the whole of the Law’. ‘Do what you will’ expresses the causal determinism of philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer.[4] The Will is esoteric. The ‘Effect’ (or appearance) is exoteric. Thus we have it in Liber AL, II: 4:

Yet she [Nuit] shall be known and I [Hadit] never.

It is not possible to know one’s (personal) True Will, for as soon as it is known, it is no longer Will but effect or appearance. The Will is esoteric, for it is the consciousness principle itself, otherwise Hadit.

(ii) Love is the law, love under will. Would we say, “It is my aim to do my True Love”? ‘Love’ may be a verb, the verb ‘to love’, but we do not think of doing love. We can ‘make love’, but that describes an action of sensual pleasure; we know (innately) that love cannot really be made or created. Love simply is. Consciousness is. Will is. Hadit, the esoteric point, determines the exoteric (‘known’) circumference or circle. Yet the existence of Hadit owes entirely to the circle. The two principles are simultaneous.

(iii) It is foolish therefore to think in the following terms:

“I am working in a job that I really hate. Therefore I cannot be doing my True Will.” Or otherwise, “The works of Franz Schubert carried his unique signature; he was (therefore) doing his True Will.”

The True Will is not about vocation or jobs of work; it is not about the production of forms, such as with works of art, however beautiful. To imagine that it is means suffering a considerable burden—a burden that is completely unnecessary for it is the phantom product of error. The Will is esoteric. The ‘effect’ is exoteric. The job of work that one does, the works of art that one produces, the words that we speak or write, all actions that we perform whatsoever, are ‘the known’, that is, the ‘effect’, which is exoteric. Such are “not of me” or Hadit (Liber AL, I: 49).

Sapphire 6. ‘The purpose of magick is for healing and empowerment.’

False doctrine.
Source: misunderstanding of the Christian Gospel narrative and the older folk traditions (‘healing’). Misunderstanding of the nature of power (‘empowerment’).

The king and the land are one. When the king is ailing, the land is impoverished; the people suffer. The question is asked of the king, “What ails thee, o king?” This begins the quest for the Holy Graal. The king sends his knights out on the errand to find the sum bonum or stone of the wise. The question is never answered, for the will is esoteric, the ‘effect’ (or appearance of things) is exoteric. Thus the Graal is not a remedy as such; it is the stone of the wise. The stone may only be expressed through symbol and allegory. If the symbol is objectified, then ‘the king dies’.

In the lucrative field of pop psychology, feeling good about oneself is an objectified (therefore false) Graal, and is frequently even confused with ‘spirituality’. Deterministic thinking breeds legions of vampire progeny in the objectification of pursuits, achievements and goals such as ‘self-worth’, or the acquiring of material wealth and status. Most often this derives from the deterministic scale of feeling good and feeling bad, called ‘Maslow’s Pyramid’. At the summit of the pyramid is the false Graal of ‘self-actualisation’. The self-fulfilled, self-willed, intellectually self-satisfied and morally complacent individual attains the pinnacle. At the base of the pyramid is physical need, necessity. Sometimes an inverse pyramid of ‘low self-esteem’ is placed below to show negativity. Belief in this doctrine leads the person to become isolated from others and imprisoned by the very beliefs that led them to seek ‘healing’ in the first place. The doctrine also leads to another abortive child of the New Age, called ‘positive thinking’. This encourages self-suppression through hypnosis.

‘Self-empowerment’ is as impossible as self-initiation. How can the self give to the self? ‘Empowerment’ actually means to give or convey power to another. Therefore when a consultant, for example, pretends to help a person become ‘empowered’, any power is transferred to the professional.

There is only one real power in the universe. That power is the power of attention. Every creature on earth has it; every songbird on every tree and chimney has it. Human beings are unique among all creatures in that they have entirely lost the power of placing attention on their immediate environment. Frequently they do not even know what power is. Politicians, for example, are not powerful in any real sense, no matter how wealthy they may be, no matter how large the systems of government or armies they command. They are merely the puppets of blind forces. The status we have in the eyes of the worldly, our apparent accomplishment, has nothing to do with any real power.

Sapphire 7. ‘Reincarnation’.

False doctrine.
Source: misunderstanding of Eastern traditions. Causal determinism. Linear thinking as opposed to analogous thought.

Reincarnation is a persistent New Age myth, for it promises a kind of immortality in the flesh. The mutant version of metempsychosis, or reincarnation, became increasingly popular in the Western world from the time of Madame Blavatsky’s Theosophical Society and onwards. The doctrine is relatively modern, appearing in the middle of the first millennium in both Greek and Hindu philosophy, Orphism and the Vedas. Greek scholars dispute that Plato, who wrote about it, accepted the doctrine as it has come to be understood. The modern notion of reincarnation owes to the classical interpretation of a doctrine shrouded in mystery. The thrust of classical reincarnation is that it works on a merit system. If you do good, you will achieve reincarnation in a higher life form. If you do evil, you will be reborn as a dog, a toad, a worm or a demon. This concept depends on a strictly hierarchical view of nature consisting of higher life forms and lower life forms, where man is assumed to be the pinnacle of creation. The doctrine coincides with that of spirit seen as the opposer of nature—that nature is to be overcome, to be made submissive to the superior might of man. Once we embrace the idea that the soul can be pure, then we must account for impurity and sin. Once we believe a soul can be rewarded in the afterlife then we must believe the soul can be punished for iniquity. The (Egyptian) Book of the Law, Liber AL vel Legis, II: 22, refutes all classical notions of purity and sin.[5]

It is a lie, this folly against self. The exposure of innocence is a lie. Be strong, o man! lust, enjoy all things of sense and rapture: fear not that any God shall deny thee for this.

Sapphire 8. ‘Spiritual Evolution’.

False doctrine.
Source: Scientism applied to theurgy; theological causal determinism.

The notion that we may evolve spiritually, on the personal level, is derived from linear thinking, which imagines we may ‘progress’ forwards in time. The mystic goal of the soul’s liberation is not bound or defined by temporal considerations—when that is done, the matter is objectified, the ‘king is dead’. The knowledge path requires that we follow the symbol back to its source with the infinite. The knowledge path is that of involution, not evolution. We are helped in this matter by the words of Liber AL, II: 58.

Yea! deem not of change: ye shall be as ye are, and not other. Therefore the kings of the earth shall be Kings for ever: the slaves shall serve. There is none that shall be cast down or lifted up: all is ever as it was.

Cosmic pretension concerning impersonal evolution was a failing of 20th century occultists—for thereby they succumbed to megalomania. To imagine that Thelema—as a religion—might supersede the existing world religions and put everything to rights is plainly absurd. The world religions were all propagated, without exception, in the vain hope of unifying people and cultures. Such attempts at unification have always succeeded only in creating more human misery and suffering through division and conflict. The Utopian idealism of the early twentieth century soon collapsed into Dystopia, a state of affairs now bolstered and perpetuated by the vast expansion of technological dependency.[6]

Sapphire 9. ‘You create your own reality’.

False doctrine.
Source: Schopenhauer, The World as Will and Representation (1818).

Aleister Crowley and his followers have accepted Schopenhauer’s rationalist argument in defining the ‘True Will’. As a consequence, we now have a commercial brand of ‘Thelema’ that is acceptable to academics, yet which has nothing to do with any spiritual path.

The basis, that the entire world is an appearance, having no essential reality in itself, is borrowed from the Eastern schools, especially Buddhism. After that, the rest bears little or no relation with any established historical tradition other than Greek rational argument, especially that of the Stoics. Here, the (human) will is perceived in terms of causal determinism. Schopenhauer’s doctrine states that everything that appears in nature does so by an act of will. The will is independent of knowledge, which is ‘secondary’ (as caused by will). Knowledge is not therefore required for will to manifest. The will is the only thing-in-itself, the “sole truly real, primary, metaphysical thing in a world in which everything else is only appearance, i.e., mere representation”. The will therefore, “gives all things, whatever they may be, the power to exist and to act”. Since this will is a blind force, there is automatically a need for ethical values such as are found in asceticism (chastity, various abstinences, for example). Previously, such a will-force was ascribed only to God or the divine absolute. Schopenhauer famously declared: “The world is my representation.” Aleister Crowley and occultists through to the present times have generally adopted the concept, both philosophically and in operative theurgy. Both Nietzsche and later Crowley rejected, however, the notion that desire begets suffering. They therefore sought to remove entirely the ethical requirement. This paved the way for the postmodern Left-hand path school of thought and magical practice, which, when taken to the logical extreme, produces the self-confining, self-limiting doctrine of Isolate Intelligence.

Sapphire 10. ‘Magick is a system of belief’.

False doctrine.
Source: popular myth, propagated through journalism, mostly online but in many modern book publications since the late 1980s; hypnotism and ‘psychological occultism’.

i) Belief is a requirement of religion, but is an obstruction to the path of Gnosis. Where belief begins, knowledge ends.

ii) The notion that one can effect magical change through ‘suspension of disbelief’, i.e., to believe something to be true that one knows to be absurd, achieves nothing but the magnification of existing delusion.

Sapphire 11. ‘Sex is the stone of the wise and key of all knowledge.’

False doctrine.
Source: Aleister Crowley and many other writers and thinkers that have fallen for the hoax. As with entheogens (below), the root of the error is determinism.

… let Asar be with Isa, who also are one. But they are not of me. Let Asar be the adorant, Isa the sufferer …

When outcome or result is generated by manipulation of physiological function (‘sexual magick’), the verse quoted above from Liber AL, I: 49, becomes a critical factor in the tendency produced in the (reflective) human psyche, and in any physical manifestation. Isa and Asar, or woman and man, the polar twins in time and space, must be perfectly united. As it is said, they “also are one”. Until this union takes place, they are “not of me”, that is to say, their existence is strictly limited in time. Knowing this, the soul (Isa) suffers; even while the will-seed (Asar) is poured forth in adoration of the objectified symbol, that will remains isolated. It is an error to interpret the Thelemic law of love under will as mere manipulation, an application of a mechanical science. The consequence of Eros (the desire principle) is Thanatos or death as finality. Secreted in the subtle body of woman are the kalas, in universal terms, the ‘moment’ that must be seized. As declared in Liber AL, I: 52:

If this be not aright; if ye confound the space-marks, saying: They are one; or saying, They are many; if the ritual be not ever unto me: then expect the direful judgments of Ra Hoor Khuit!

Such judgments are indeed “direful”, for even at an advanced stage of magical development there is still the very real possibility of the soul’s annihilation. The soul knows this, but the will of the ego-self has the power to contract itself, to concentrate all desire upon the objectified result, which means death for the soul, as declared in Liber AL, I: 51.

Will he not sink? Amn. Ho! warrior, if thy servant sink?

Sapphire 12. Entheogens (psychotropic plants, etc.) produce altered states that are spiritual and initiatory.

False doctrine.
Source: causal determinism; rationalism or scientism; misunderstanding of folk-loric traditions (‘shamanism’); much literature in the last century, beginning with some of the works of Aleister Crowley, who saw no difference between yogic samadhi (‘union with God’) and altered states of consciousness that might be obtained by ‘anyone’ through resort to hashish, mescaline, etc.[7]

The material rationalist seeks a physical (or intellectual) cause for everything. Thus, a ‘vision of God’, for example might be thought to be ‘caused’ by a chemical change in the body. Such a change must therefore be caused in turn by something else. Taking any drug, be it synthetic or from a natural plant source, will effect changes in the body’s chemistry, as does the consumption of food, drink, anything whatsoever. Physical substances affect physical things, such as chemistry, hormones. The experiences that may be gained through the use of psychotropic plants are extremely persuasive; very powerful visions may occur, though the nature and quality of these will differ greatly according to each individual. The spiritually minded person will encounter what they may truly believe to be tremendous spiritual insights. The materialist may experience no more than a play of light and colour, finding it insignificant, an exotic form of entertainment. A person with a fragile, disordered psyche might experience terrifying, disturbing hallucinations, and so forth. There is nothing truly spiritual in any of this. The power of such visions is that of persuading the person that there is. The altered state, even the change in perception of reality that may be produced through the use of psychotropic plants, is no more than the observation of an effect in the body.

Sapphire Stone: Conclusion

Such erroneous ideas are “The word of Sin” that is “Restriction” (Liber AL, I: 41). They are restricting, limiting and imprisoning would-be Thelemites around the world today, and millions more that have accepted the New Age anti-philosophy, whether wittingly or not.

The Law of Thelema lives! It is to liberate our souls, not enslave them.

Disambiguation

Does Esoteric Thelema repudiate the usually stated aims of magick, to wit, initiation or Gnosis? Do we reject the notion that the True Will can be known?

Certainly not, in either case. Direct knowledge of reality, the true state of affairs, remains the aim and fully realisable goal of magical initiation and the spiritual path of Esoteric Thelema. The 93 Current of love under will cannot be explained in ordinary terms, for it is by nature esoteric; any explanation objectifies, evokes, calls to appearance, defines and limits in time. Its existence is entirely independent of us, yet truly is our selves. It is the Lapis Philosophorum, the stone of the wise, and the elixir of life. It flows like a clear mountain spring, a fountain of light and life, yet is neither light nor darkness. It is neither sun nor shadow reflection; fragrance is its emanation. It is the eternal, indestructible crystalline jewel of undying love and wisdom.


Notes

1. Scholarly evidence has been produced to show how even the timeline of European learning has been distorted. Ancient Egypt is the source of mathematics, and from there comes forth architecture, astronomy, metal working, agriculture and spiritual philosophy. The knowledge was filtered through to the rest of teh world via Mesopotamia and ancient Greece. The European stream is almost entirely dependent on the Greek rationalism.  See, ‘A non-Eurocentric historical timeline of Mathematics’ as proposed by George Gheverghese Joseph in his book, The Crest of the Peacock.
2. We paraphrase here the wisdom of Swami Ramakrishna (Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna).
3. The Equinox Vol. 1 No. 5, pp. 89, ‘The Temple of Solomon the King’. It is not known whether the author was Crowley or Fuller. Fuller began the writing but departed from the Order before it was finished.
4. The World as Will and Representation (1818).
5. From ‘Thelemic Doctrine of the Afterlife’, Babalon Unveiled! Thelemic Monographs [Ordo Astri]. The first chapter of the book, ‘Lapis Philosophorum’, applies the sapphire stone to conduct a critical reappraisal of Western philosophy.
6. See the essay, ‘Magical Evolution of Consciousness’, Babalon Unveiled [ibid]. The essay may also be read online here.
7. Crowley notably put this idea across in his published diary record, John St. John.

© Oliver St. John 2019

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Thelema Beyond Crowley and Grant

Are you interested in Thelema Beyond Crowley? Have you had some experience of the cults of ‘Crowleyanity’? Have you visited this website in the hope of finding an atlernative to egotism and madness? Then read on, before you begin your deep and prolonged enquiry.

Theleme Beyond Crowley: Egyptian Tarot of Thelema Hrumachis IVThe O∴ A∴ was established in the year 1996. Our first website was launched in the year 2000. The founder members of the O∴ A∴ are based in England, UK. Our membership is international and covers 25 countries around the world to date.

Initiation is about personal work done and the keeping of the diary Record. We work by the correspondence method. A brief account of the history of this tradition is given on the page introducing our Probationership course: VITRIOL.

There follows a list of provisos to address frequently asked questions. This is usually enough to dissuade those with a superficial interest in the mysteries, who suffer the delusion of ‘others’. The tyros are like a crowd at a theatrical event that is more interested in other persons in the audience than what is taking place on the stage. Both crowd and stage are fiction, a phantasmal theatre of ego projection.

We have no involvement with Lodges, after the manner of Freemasons. We eschew social clubs, public events and Internet discussion forums. There is no ‘virtual’ Order or membership. We do not use the term ‘self-initiation’, which is an oxymoron. Although initiation is about personal work done, Thelema is not in any way personal, and cannot be personalised. While personalities are inevitable, they tend to be obstructive to the Great Work.

Magick denotes the noun. When we use the word as an adjective, it is spelled magical. A person who does magick is a magician. In the last two cases, adding the ‘k’ is superfluous.

The Hermetic Qabalah is the basis for ritual magick. We have nothing with Kabbalah, which is a branch of Jewish mysticism. We have nothing with Cabala, which is a branch of Christian mysticism.

There needs to be an intellectual understanding of the work, and of Esoteric Thelema, for the rituals of the O∴ A∴ to become meaningful. Babalon Unveiled—Thelemic Monographs is required reading and study for our Students.[1] It conveys the principles of Esoteric Thelema, compares this with previous schools of thought, and then follows through with numerous applications. It is not a practical handbook but provides the necessary intellectual and philosophical basis. The introduction to our practical methods, the training and work of a Probationer, is given in The Enterer of the Threshold.[2]

Two other books are required of Probationers. The first is The Flaming Sword Sepher Sephiroth, which is needed for the formulation of a fraternal name and number.[3] Secondly, The Phoenix and other Stellar Rites of Initiation, which includes the ritual of Admission to the grade of Neophyte and a detailed, illustrated commentary on this.[4]

Interested outsiders first subscribe to our monthly Journal, The 93 Current, and become Associates. This does not require any commitment beyond receiving a monthly digest by email, but it is the first step on the way. Many seek a spiritual and magical path that is ‘made to measure’. Sooner or later they find something disagreeable in our literature or methods and we will not hear from them again. The interest was superficial, not deep and all consuming as it should be if practical work is to be taken up. The person must prove to us that they are worth our time and our commitment to their Great Work. They must demonstrate their willingness to serve the Order. We are not interested in those who are merely looking to further personal interests and ambitions. There is a short article posted on our website that explains why.

Obeah and Wanga: Service to the Great Work

Beyond Crowley: My Prophet is a Fool

We do not regard Aleister Crowley as any kind of prophet. He awarded himself that title in the (Egyptian) Book of the Law, Liber AL, I: 26.

Then saith the prophet and slave of the beauteous one: Who am I, and what shall be the sign?

These are Crowley’s words, a poeticised question put to the communicant Aiwass, who was conveying the oracle of Nuit (infinite space). The question is not answered directly, and Crowley later changed the wording of the reply as it did not satisfy him.[5] Thereafter, Aiwass mocks Crowley’s presumption.[6]

Crowley, Kenneth Grant and others have interpreted the Egyptian mysteries from the point of view of early 19th century German humanist philosophers (Schiller, for example). The Book of the Law has an ancient Egyptian basis that is at least 4000 years old and in reality is much older than that. Our aim is to return the book to its lawful custodians. To put it another way, we mean to return the book to Egypt. The Egyptian Book of the Law is a more accurate title as the book’s writing conceals the mysteries of Set-Typhon as understood by the Initiates of ancient Thebes, the place called Waset by the Egyptians. The name of Aiwass, who communicated the book via the mediumship of Rose Edith Kelly, means, ‘He who was ordained in Thebes’.[7]

There is no Old Aeon or New Aeon in reality. The mysteries of Liber AL, as it has come to be known, are extremely ancient. Truth does not change with the fashions and fetishes of the human race. Thelema is not time-bound. It is not a new product or “New Law for Humanity” as was put forward by Crowley when he adopted the guise of the salesman and propagandist.[8]

Beyond Crowley: Words and Spells

In our rituals we do not invoke the biblical demiurge Tetragrammaton. However, there is no ban on Hebrew or Aramaic, its antecedent and the basis for scriptural Qabalah. Aramaic was once the language spoken all over the Middle East; The Flaming Sword Sepher Sephiroth is full of it.

Ishtar, invoked in the North in our Ritual of the Pentagram, is a Phoenician and Sumerian deity, though at one time she was celebrated in Egypt (as Ashtaroth, whom we invoke in the East) and renowned throughout the world. Isis is the ‘goddess of a thousand names’, and we invoke her in the West. Babalon, invoked in the South, is derived from Babylon, a corruption of the ancient Egyptian per-hapi-en-aunnu, goddess of the ‘Nile Temple of the nome centre Aunnu’.[9] Together, these are the four faces of Nuit defining the magical circle of the place. The magician is Hadit, the exorcist in the midst.[10]

Beyond Crowley: Trance of Attainment

All magical grades of initiation are relative to the individual and can have no meaning outside of the Order. Grades and offices are therefore a strictly private matter and are never publicly disclosed. The word ‘attainment’ owes largely to the works of Crowley. It is a vastly over-used term and tends to mislead the materially minded aspirant as to the true nature of initiation. We will here give our reasons. In Babalon Unveiled, pp. 260, ‘Thelemic Mysticism’, it is declared thus:

Materialism insists on a result as final, as product. At the end of the line is the product itself, and the consumer that purchases it through the need to self-identify (thus the ‘brand’ is all-important). Crowley, in his instructional works, spoke perhaps rather too frequently of ‘attainment’. Sages of old times were frequently more pragmatic.

‘Thelemic Mysticism’ can be read online here.

The word ‘attainment’ appears twice in The Enterer of the Threshold (Second Edition, 2019). The first reference is on pp. 2.

The second critical point is in the attainment of the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel. Even while the aspirant is preparing their Oath and meditating on the shining one or augoedes, the Four Evil Princes of the World are stirring. These antagonistic forces work day and night to undo aspiring magicians and thwart their true purpose.

The use of the term is ‘traditional’, as it once appeared in the Oath of an Adeptus Minor. We no longer use the term in the wording of the Oath.

The second instance is on pp. 26.

When ascending the chakras of the Tree of Life, a descent is made simultaneously into the depths of the Tree of Knowledge or Death—the higher the branches the deeper the roots. Nonetheless, due to some quirk of human nature it helps us get on with an extremely difficult and arduous undertaking if we employ a few conventional myths along the way, such as ‘attainment’, as though we were climbing a summit—as though we were actually going somewhere. This ‘going forth’ requires tremendous accumulated energy. However, as we plunge onward through the Trees of Eternity to the borders of the abysmal outermost, there is a complete reversal of magical polarity. Whereas the motion of the sephiroth below Da’ath is centrifugal—which gives rise to ‘consciousness expansion’—the motion of Da’ath is centripetal. This powerful force sucks or draws the adept inexorably inward. That same force threatens the annihilation of the human ego.

In Babalon Unveiled, pp. 53–54, ‘Romance of the Magical Orders’, we explore this in greater depth.

One of the snares in the system of grades as presented by Crowley is that he repeats the word ‘attainment’ hundreds of times, as though there were something to attain and someone to attain it; this can have a hypnotic effect on the serious student. The emphasis on attainment places initiation under the restriction of deterministic thinking. By setting forth to show that magick is no different than material science, and can be explained in the same terms, Crowley unwittingly prepared the way for reductionism and psychologisation. Future generations, born of a Wordless Aeon, would have great difficulty discerning a difference. We are in a realm where language will always limit us unless we think differently. The different mode of thinking can be described as a backwards flowing stream, and yet it cannot be taught; magick is not what we do, or attain or can get, but what we are.

Babalon Unveiled and The Enterer of the Threshold are required reading for our students. The Enterer is a small book, but infinite care was taken over its preparation. The person is expected to make a general study of magick and mysticism. After that, it may take between six months and one year of in-depth study of our literature before we will accept a person as a Probationer. During the course of study and reading, it is well to perform some preliminary practices based on what is given in Enterer of the Threshold and to begin a diary Record.

Those who wish to take their enquiry further than the website are welcome to apply to become an Associate, which requires subscription to our monthly ‘93’ Journal. Details of how to apply are given on the website here.


Notes

1. Babalon Unveiled! Thelemic Monographs [Ordo Astri].
2. The Enterer of the Threshold is the theoretical and practical handbook for aspirants [Ordo Astri]. The first two books noted here are required reading for our Students. The second two (below) are required for a Probationership.
3.  The Flaming Sword Sepher Sephiroth, in two volumes [Ordo Astri].
4. The Phoenix and other Stellar Rites of Initiation includes the rite of Admission to the grade of Neophyte [Ordo Astri].
5. The original wording of Nuit’s oracle, evident in the holograph MS, was, “Thou knowest! And the sign shall be my ecstasy, the consciousness of the continuity of existence, the unfragmentary non-atomic fact of my universality.” The last five words are essential to Esoteric Thelema. Crowley later changed these words, substituting the dull  theological convention, “the omnipresence of my body”.
6. In Liber AL, I: 48, Aiwass declares, “My prophet is a fool with his one, one, one; are not they the Ox, and none by the Book?” There are many other instances, too numerous to mention here.
7. See Babalon Unveiled! Thelemic Monographs, pp. 172 [Ordo Astri].
8. Crowley’s introduction to the book Magick is one of the worst examples of such hype, though it is closely rivalled by his absurd introduction to the 1938 OTO edition of The Book of the Law, in which he declares that the book “lays down a simple Code of Conduct”.
9. A colossal image of the goddess, likened to Isis-Hathoor, stood at one time outside the gates to Heliopolis (Aunnu) on the processional route. See pp. 86 and 263 [ibid].
10. This is fully explained in ‘Comment on the Pentagram Ritual’, pp. 41–43, The Enterer of the Threshold.

Our Egyptian Tarot of Thelema Atu Hrumachis IV is explained in detail here.

© Oliver St. John 2019

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