The Star of the Order

What is this Star? The (Egyptian) Book of the Law has a complete metaphysics but the Law is “Written and Concealed” (III: 75). The first and only time that Aiwass makes a direct statement in his own name is in verses I: 7–8, where he declares, “The Khabs is in the Khu, not the Khu in the Khabs”. He has named himself as the “minister of Hoor-paar-kraat”, which is broadly speaking the God of Silence or of meditation. This is be understood as the ‘pure consciousness’—of which more will be explained later. The God, often shown emerging from a lotus flower, is easily comparable with early depictions of the Buddha and also of Shiva. As a prince and priest (literally), Aiwass was entitled to wear the forelock of Harpocrates; however, in this case we are dealing with one that far exceeded the fulfilment of a mere office or official function. To approach further understanding of all this we need to know something about the Egyptian Khabs and Khu.

Khabs Star: Khabs in the KhuThe Khabs is actually a threefold symbol, as written everywhere upon stone and papyrus. It consists of a five-fingered or five-rayed star, which is sometimes called the ‘Hand of Orion’ (Sahu). It is described in the Book of the Law, I: 60, as blue and gold, five-pointed with a red circle in the middle. Stars exactly as described there adorn the walls and ceiling of Egyptian temples such as the Temple of Hathoor at Iunet (Denderah).[1] Within the radials is a small circle, and within that is the point or primordial centre. From the centre, the radiations form the circumference of the circle of all possibilities, and so these possibilities exist as latent in the centre.

The same circle and point is used to symbolise the Sun, but equally it is used to symbolise the ‘Sun behind the Sun’, or Kether in the Qabalistic schema. The latter is the Supreme Centre, the primordial fount of all wisdom, while the former is the secondary solar centre, or Tiphereth. The Khu is the principle of radiance as applied to the transcendent individuality. As a ‘resurrection body’, the means of return to the source, it is symbolised by a phoenix, ibis, heron or other kind of bird.[2] The Khabs or ‘star’ also shows the principle of radiance, and radiance is naturally contained within the circle about the point, whose rays form the circumference.

The Star as Door to the Centre

The Khabs does not symbolise a star as such, which is called seba, but is a type of opening or doorway to the timeless ‘hollow’ at the centre of all, sometimes depicted in various traditions as a heart, vessel or graal.[3] The Khabs is nonetheless the principle of a ‘body’, ‘house’ or ‘abode’, and is called in the Book of the Law, II: 2, the ‘House of Hadit’—that is, the abode of the principial point.

I, Hadit, am the complement of Nu, my bride. I am not extended, and Khabs is the name of my House.

From the terrestrial or corporeal point of view, the ‘Khu is in the Khabs’, and corresponds to the tantrik Shakti, depicted as a serpent coiled at the base of the spine in the subtle anatomy, dreaming the world illusion until awakened through yoga and other practices. The Occult Force or Kundalini is not actually located in the body as such, for it is a reflection of the primordial and cannot be contained. It therefore only appears so owing to the fallen state or what is called in Vedanta, ‘ignorance’.[4] The doctrine revealed by Aiwass is therefore the higher or initiated teaching.

The ‘extension’ of Hadit takes place through the two-way door of the Khabs. Outside or below that, he manifests as the Serpent of Knowledge whose abode is the Tree of Death, which is also the abode of man in the fallen state. Thus the Khabs itself has a dual aspect, above and below, or within and without—and with initiation, the point of view reverses. The Khabs is in the Khu from the supra-human or post-Abysmal point of view.

Star of Khabs in Khu: Qabalistic SchemaThis can best be understood if we use the Qabalistic schema as shown to the left here. The Khabs star is here identified with Da’ath, for it acts as the means by which Hadit projects the appearance of things, Nuit’s manifestation, as measured (and eventually quantified) in the Abyss of man’s consciousness.[5] It is at the same time the means of return to the primordial state; thus Nuit instructs in the Book of the Law, I: 9,

Worship then the Khabs, and behold my light shed over you!

According to traditional Qabalistic texts, Da’ath is hidden in the secret places of Binah, the primordial Mother and feminine aspect of Set-Typhon. Seen this way, the Khu cannot be in the Khabs, for the lesser cannot contain the greater or superior. The Khabs is here the emanation of the Khu, Nuit’s “company of heaven” projecting into time and space.[6]

To complete the metaphysical basis it is necessary to place the Egyptian Akh principle in Chokmah. Akh, like Khu, is ‘radiance’, but whereas the Khu tends towards form, the Akh tends towards essence, the primordial or immortal state. This is shown by the word ‘Akh’ itself, which is the reverse of Khu and is formless, as is the principle of ‘will’ or ‘ordinance’—which is a further meaning of Akh.

We can now see why the threefold Khabs is sometimes called the ‘hand of Orion’, the giant constellation or ‘sky-strider’, which has great importance in the ancient Egyptian schema. Every king was identified with Sahu or Orion. This was frequently depicted by an anthropomorphic figure of a God or a man with his left foot forward and one arm flung back over the shoulder, bearing what is frequently misconstrued as a ‘flail’. This, combined with what is nearly always mistaken for a ‘crook’ became one of the most important symbols of both Gods and kings.[7] The nekhakha (‘emanation’) and hekat (‘hook’) are another type of the Khu and Khabs. Nekhakha, the triune Sophia or Khabs, is the means of the creation of a new state of being; hekat is the power of ordinance or ‘activity’ in the inner or spiritual sense.

Thus, the “servants of the star and snake”, as it is put in the Book of the Law, II: 21, are those who serve only the primordial reality of Nuit and her Star, to whom the ‘snake’ must arise. Their sole purpose is that of initiation. This is accomplished, in the highest degree, through an ascending and descending realisation.[8] For the ‘descent’ to be perfect, the realisation must be to the fourth state, beyond even the ‘third birth’, and in which, to use the Sanskrit term, the dual soul of Brahma is known. This fourth state, according to Guénon, must have been known by Shankara as it is in the texts he was commenting on, but he would say nothing about it.[9]

In this respect it may be worth noting that the Advaitan turia, the ‘fourth state’ (of consciousness) is equal by Qabalah to the number 226, which is that of Tzaphon, ‘hidden’, ‘profound’ or ‘the north’. The ancient Egyptian word tura is clearly the origin of the Sanskrit term, and means ‘pure’. Terms such as bodhisattva and avatara, as according to various traditions, describe one that has effectively risen beyond even the ‘saints’—for while the saints attain a high degree of initiation it is on their own behalf, whereas the avatars have a special mission that is concerned with assisting others with the Great Work to the very end of time.

The notion of ‘compassion’ that is often used in association with the work of avatars reduces and degrades both their purpose and their function, so that some have supposed an ‘avatar’ to represent a lesser degree of the deliverance or Supreme Realisation, whereas it is in fact of the highest and most complete order. It is not a matter of sentimentality or emotionalism, which again is so often confused when the symbol of the ‘heart’ or vessel (Egyptian ab) is present, but is a matter of divine ordinance.


Notes

1. Iunet, which includes a large temple complex north of Waset (Thebes), means approximately, ‘She of the Divine Pillar’ (or ‘pillar of light’). The name relates both to Hathoor as Sky Goddess and the axis of the universe, of which the ‘hub’ or centre of the wheel governs all manifestation, cosmologically speaking. Spiritually speaking, it marks the primordial centre that is the source of all initiatic transmission.
2. Cf. Babalon Unveiled, ‘New Light on Stele 666’, pp. 41–43.
3. The word ‘Khabs’ is actually the reverse of seba, ‘star’, with the addition of the ‘kh’, similar in pronunciation to the Hebrew cheth. Note that the termination, abs, is cognate with both ‘abyss’ or ‘opening’ and the Egyptian ab, ‘heart’ or vessel. Furthermore, seba, as in the case of Khabs, is frequently depicted in hieroglyphs as a bird (‘celestial body’).
4. For example, the Non-Dual or Advaitan teachings of Shankara.
5. ‘Quantification’ occurs near the end of time, at the ending of a great age or manvantara. See Guénon, The Reign of Quantity and the Signs of the Times [Sophia Perennis].
6. Book of the Law, I: 2: “The unveiling of the company of heaven.”
7. See Babalon Unveiled, pp. 229–30.
8. See Guénon, chapter 38, Initiation and Spiritual Realisation [Sophia Perennis].
9. Perhaps for the obvious reason that Advaita is ‘non-dualism’—see pp. 178 [ibid]. However, the ‘dual soul’ of Brahma, being neither manifest nor unmanifest yet partaking of both, has nothing to do with ‘duality’ or ‘dualism’ and is not in any way ‘dualistic’.

© Oliver St. John 2021
From Nu Hermetica, a forthcoming book publication [Ordo Astri Books].

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Psychism and the Subversion of Knowledge

We never resort to psychism. However, our curriculum contains a great deal of what can be termed ‘psychic development’, through applications of Hermetic Science. Skrying, for example, properly done, involves the quite traditional concentration on a symbol, so that a ‘flow of knowledge’ (dhyana) comes about.

Psychism and Subversion of Knowledge: the Moon‘Skrying’ means ‘seeing’, and is closely related to the Sanskrit word dharana, which means ‘concentration’ in the technical sense but literally means ‘a window’ or ‘point of view’. Rising on the planes, when correctly understood, is a form of tantra-yoga, combining the activation of the Serpent Power (Shakti) with the equivalent of mantra (words and spells) and yantra (sacred image). So long as we keep the goal in sight, which is identical to that of yoga in the real sense, we should not go too far astray.[1] There is a risk, especially when a natural facility already exists, of over-developing the psychic faculty and becoming excessively reliant on it, even to the exclusion of all else—which is a real danger. It is not intended that results of the psychic order should be given objective validity. It goes without saying that neither are such results to be counted in any way as being important or significant in the scheme of things. The psychic realm has nothing to do with the spiritual realm, as by definition that which pertains to the psyche is strictly limited to the individuality and reaches no further—a matter we shall come back to.

Psychism, on the other hand, is a very different thing, and we have always spoken out against this. Psychism is a branch of the occult that has its origins as recently as the latter part of the nineteenth century. It should be noted in passing that public knowledge of this is non-existent—for opinions are guided by ‘news’ and ‘information’ that reduces everything to the most simplistic and grossly material level. While it is obvious that mediums and even ‘gurus’ in some cases have used the tricks and illusions of stagecraft to produce their manifestations, what is not so obvious to a gullible and easily deceived public is that such exposure or debunking rests on a confusion of the psychic realm with the material realm. A psychic occurrence cannot by definition, even though it exists on the most inferior of the subtle planes, exist on the material plane, where it can be subjected to all the ‘tests’ and ‘proving’ of profane science. Those who write or speak about this with total confidence in their superior understanding in fact know absolutely nothing about the subject whatsoever, for to them the psychic realm has no existence, let alone the spiritual. The irony that these same commentators are wholly deceived by the tricks and illusions of so-called ‘science’ escapes them completely.

Psychism and Subversion: SéanceWe are not then denying the existence, relative though it is, of psychic phenomena or its effects. Psychism, which has no doubt captivated the interest of many persons that are perfectly sincere—though that is no justification in itself—admits no real knowledge. It reduces everything to the psychic level and even the infra or sub-human levels of manifestation, though it knows not the real source of its ‘visions’ and ‘spirit-guides’. Psychism is the habitual and passive resort to the lowest of the subtle levels. Its advocates frequently embrace or claim to practice many elements of the Occult Science though not understanding them at all, reducing them to their most inferior level of manifestation. The use of magical correspondences, for example, which has traditionally served to train the mind, is translated into a vague search for ‘signs’ and ‘omens’, not only in what passes for a form of magick but that is also extended into every area of life so that it becomes a matter of habit. While the person cannot coherently explain the meaning of such ‘coincidences’ they nonetheless insist on treating them as if they had some profound import.

The products of psychism are completely illusory and meaningless. There are, however, even worse and more degraded forms of psychism than those described above, such as ‘channelling’. The agents of confusion and subversion that adopt this mode will even claim that the reams of quasi-mystical gibberish they produce derive from a source of ‘higher wisdom’. It is evident that such advice comes from a source much nearer to the limited imagining of the channellers than any extraterrestrial or trans-mundane source. The banal content is invariably heavy with illiterate New Age jargon, popular clichés and faux-psychology.

Quietism is really a further form of psychism of a very low order. Although the term ‘Quietism’ fell out of use long ago, the attitude it describes has persisted and increased within the field of what now passes for spirituality.[2] Quietists also admit no knowledge but pretend, by implication, belief and behaviour, to all knowledge. They take refuge in a complete distortion of the non-action doctrine of the East, refusing to do anything at all so that all comes to them ‘miraculously’, dropping into their lap as manna from heaven, not seeing in any way that this ‘manna’ consists of nothing but flattery and vain pretensions. These will often form loose alliances with professional psychics, mediums and channellers for mutual flattery and to increase the spread of their poison to the gullible and poorly educated. In fact, the so-called education of everyone by now is no more than a matter of enforced acceptance of a profane outlook on all things, for that is even a requirement to achieve ‘qualifications’, whether at school or university level.

The growth of psychism in all its forms was aided and abetted by the Theosophist movement and those influenced by it. It eventually opened the floodgates for the full onset of the anti-spiritual and anti-initiatic second level of the occult revival that took place from the 1950s and onward, replete with well publicised ‘witchcraft’ poseurs and sham Golden Dawn revivalists. The degradation was made complete by the New Age movement that emerged from the 1970s and onward. This hungrily devoured all the remnants of traditional knowledge, including various forms of Shamanism, and quickly subverted them towards wholly profane ends.

It has become increasingly difficult for our students and members—many of whom were born at a time when subversion of all previous knowledge was more or less complete—to know anything about the spiritual realm at all. It has been sealed off by the ‘plan’ that Guénon wrote of 70 years ago now.[3] By subverting all spiritual knowledge, or to put this more accurately, its symbols and doctrines, and relegating everything to the realm of the psyche, the individual and the ‘material’, a hard shell was formed across the ceiling of human intellect—and this even impacts, as Guénon has revealed in the aforementioned work, upon the cosmic and terrestrial environment. Once the sealing shut of the upper worlds is accomplished, only the psychic realm remains for refuge. Although the spiritual domain is completely out of reach of the profane—for to them it does not exist—the psychic realm can be reached and manipulated by profane governance, which is in turn controlled by the Qliphoth. The psychic plane can also be reached and manipulated by pretended ‘spiritual’ and ‘magical’ individuals and organisations.

The ways are closed off by now to most people in the world but it is still possible for an initiatic organisation to open them. So long as real initiation takes place, such an organisation is able to support further initiation. At the same time the reception of a spiritual influence makes it completely immune to the attacks made on it from the outer (or infra) darkness. However, the prospective candidates must be able to totally eradicate from their thinking all allegiance to the profane world, resisting every lure to engage in the personal, corporeal and sensual world to the exclusion of all else—for to do so only assists in closing the door to initiation ever more tightly.

Guénon’s masterwork includes a precise explanation of the incursion of the Qliphoth at the end of time. The doctrine exists in sacred traditions in most if not all cultures.[4] The incursion is made possible by fissures opening in the human artificial construct from below, whereas mankind has sealed off the ‘above’ so that no spiritual influences can neutralise the destructive power of the infernal forces. The use of the word ‘infernal’ here is meant to specifically describe the realm of the infra-corporeal or of sub-manifestation, which is to say that such agencies exist at the most inferior level possible, for any further degree would render them completely non-existent. As it is, their existence is only relative but their effect is real enough in the corporeal and psychic realms, which is the limit of their reach.

That which was implemented in our world from the spring equinox of 2020 and onward is undoubtedly the greatest deception of all time. Though it was prepared long ago, this latest phase is a vast acceleration towards the final dissolution that must come at the end of a Great Age or manvantara. Guénon is completely unique among those that have written on such matters in that he foresaw in precise detail everything that is going on in our world now, and at all levels of manifestation.[5] He was not in any way expressing what some would call a ‘personal’ point of view, as they can see nothing beyond the personal and relegate everything to that; on the contrary, Guénon’s prophetic vision was a remarkably perceptive application of initiation into traditional knowledge of a very high order.


Psychism and Subversion: Notes

1. Yoga means, in the traditional and real sense, ‘union’ and more particularly, union with God or to put it in the terms of Advaita Vedanta, realisation of Atman and Brahman.
2. ‘Spiritualism’ is another term rarely used now but which is descriptive of an anti-spiritual movement that has sought to substitute inferior forms of psychism for ‘spiritual contact’, as if there was no difference.
3. ‘Fissures in the Great Wall’ and associated chapters in The Reign of Quantity and the Signs of the Times [Sophia Perennis].
4. The orientalist Kenneth Grant incorporated this in his writings but as with so much else he inverted the symbolism. He thus confused the spiritual with the demonic or infernal to such an extent that his followers and others influenced by the same stream have unwittingly worked on the side of self-destruction and anti-initiation.
5. See also Guénon, Crisis of the Modern World [Sophia Perennis].

From Nu Hermetica, a work in progress.
© Oliver St. John 2021

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Karma Yoga and Three Ways of Thelemic Initiation

There are three ways of Thelemic initiation corresponding to Jnana Yoga (knowledge), Bhakti Yoga (devotion) and Karma Yoga (action). These are also called the sacerdotal way or way of the priesthood, the royal way or way of kings, and the way of the warrior. The Greek word ‘Thelema’ (Θελημα) is inclusive of all three.[1] It is put thus in the (Egyptian) Book of the Law, I: 40:

For there are therein Three Grades, the Hermit, and the Lover, and the man of Earth. Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

Karma Yoga and Three Ways: Artus Scheiner RomanceIn our time, the warrior path presents the greatest difficulties. The warrior path generally involves the Ideal expressed through exoteric religious (or other) dogma. Dogma literally means ‘what seems to be good or true’, ‘what one should think’. The shortcoming is obvious. However, religious dogma has now been replaced by universal belief in scientism. Scientism is far worse than religious dogma, for that at least had a basis in true principles, even if the basis was often lost in practice—a condition made worse in the confusion of modern times. The dogma of conventional science has no basis in any truth whatsoever. It could be said, and not without some justification, that all ways of initiation are closed in the present times—for we have reached the greatest darkness of the Kali Yuga that comes immediately before the final dissolution and regeneration of the world. However, even in times such as ours the way of initiation is open right until the last minute for the few that still have the innate possibilities.

The practices are not separate, as though having nothing to do with each other. They overlap and in some ways run concurrently. One path can also support another. The way of Bhakti, ‘devotion’, is akin to Raja Yoga, which is the way of the king or noble, yet it is also the way of the warrior or man of Earth. Karma Yoga is ‘action’, which implies immersion in time and place, names, numbers and principalities—yet that impinges on the way of the Lover, who, unless he is wholly devoted to union with God or divinity, must always be tested by the ordeals configured by the very nature of the outer world.

The three paths, as with the practices, are comparable to the three Gunas in the same tradition: Sattwas, Rajas and Tamas. This is why they are never truly separate in nature, for each one flows seamlessly into the other, and they must all partake of each other’s nature in some way. For this reason the Gunas are sometimes used in alchemical analogies. They also correspond to the Wheel of Force, the 10th Atu of the Tarot, for like the wheel they are never fixed but are a mobile force. While each manifests according to its nature they all partake of the one essence or essential Esoteric Principle.

Thus no person or being consists wholly of one or the other of these three qualities, but one or the other will be the dominant force in them. Even that is not necessarily a permanent or fixed state of affairs, for initiation can change this, and as we have said, one path can act as a support for another. It can be readily seen then that the way of Jnana Yoga suits the Sattwic disposition, while the ways of Bhakti and Karma Yoga suit the Raja disposition. The Tamas disposition, ignorant by its very nature, naturally precludes any possibility of initiation and only allows for exoteric affiliation. René Guénon has said that Tamas nonetheless has a closer relation with Rajas than with Sattwas.[2]

Those who follow the ways of Bhakti Yoga and Karma Yoga are those who must develop individual qualities. These two paths pertain to the Lesser Mysteries and the psychic sphere of the individuality. Jnana Yoga, which is the path of pure knowledge, exists for those who will leave the corporeal order permanently, and is the way of the Greater Mysteries. Yet Karma and Bhakti can provide a support to the further and full realisation that only Jnana Yoga affords. Indeed, there is no way to the pinnacle without first entering the centre of all, the omphalos at the heart of Tiphereth in our tradition.

It should be noted in respect of the three ways that the Karma Yoga path in its fullest and original sense means that each must accomplish that which accords to its proper nature, called a ‘True Will’. Unfortunately, the conditions now prevailing in the world have made that rare, almost impossible. This owes to the confusion that is now considered to be the normal state of affairs, so that every kind of deviancy is also considered to be normal. In that, it does well to bear in mind that this is so because the whole of our civilisation is deviant, not merely some parts of it or particular kinds of behaviour.

In the West, Bhakti once had its counterpart in the Graal tradition, the chivalry typified by Arthur and his knights, or in some of the ancient orders such as the Knights Templar—though we must exclude from that all modern claimants to that tradition. Karma Yoga has its counterpart with crafts, and in that we would include poetry, music and all the arts, provided these express true principles and are not merely about ‘personal expression’. In the true and also the most technical sense, Karma Yoga is ‘ritual action’, which again, owing to the general conditions of our times, is nowhere to be found in our governmental, social or domestic conventions, unless in the most degraded and meaningless forms imaginable.

The principles hold true in all traditional actions. For example, there was a time not so long ago when at the Beltane cross-quarter of the year, on or around the 1st May, a pole was firmly erected in a field and coloured ribbons were tied to its mast. Young girls, dressed in white and decorated with flowers, would then each hold on to the end of a ribbon and all would go dancing merrily about the pole. One of these would be designated ‘Queen of the May’. The Queen of the May is the ‘one chosen’ to play the part of the Daughter or Bride of the Kingdom, called Malkah or Persephone, and known by many other names in equivalent traditions around the world.

The pole is the vertical axis of the universe and of the Great Yantra. This links heaven with earth, and the spiritual order with the corporeal world. In the axis is the possibility of initiatic transmission, like lightning to the ground. The circle is the circumference of the sphere, of which the interpenetrating axis is the extended point or Esoteric Principle. It is the visible appearance of things or Nature. The maidens are the whole range of possible expressions, as the multitudinous variety of flowers, yet each retaining the purity (white colour) of the Principle itself. The coloured ribbons that connect the maidens with the axis form the rainbow of Setian manifestation, the ‘coat of many colours’ of Joseph.[3] They are the seven rays, of which the seventh is the “light higher than eyesight”, or indigo, which is an analogous term for that which is beyond the reach of the sky, or otherwise at the head of the axial column.[4]

It remains to be said  that as ‘ritual action’, various kinds of magical practice such as the making and consecration of talismans are related to Karma Yoga, though these may also, if properly done, act as a support for spiritual realisation. When talismans are made for wholly negative purposes, such as worldly ambition, material gain, persuasion of the will of others, and so forth, then the ‘karma’ of wrath and retribution is automatically evoked. This is something that many now find difficult even to believe, since our world encourages such empty ambitions as a matter of course, and even heaps honours upon those with truly abhorrent or base motives. However, this action of retribution is inevitable. It does not arise from any moral consideration, since morals, by definition, are merely completely arbitrary human conventions. The retribution arises from natural action, which is another meaning of the Sanskrit karma. If the person has invoked either deity or devil, it matters not which, in complete ignorance of the principle or true knowledge underlying the symbol, then that principle will nonetheless be present at the ritual and in the operator, but only in wholly negative form.


Karma Yoga and Three Ways Notes

1. See Babalon Unveiled, ‘The Word Thelema’, pp. 156, for a detailed exegesis of the word.
2. René Guénon, Chapter 18, Initiation and Spiritual Realisation [Sophia Perennis].
3. Genesis 37: 3: “Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colours.”
4. “Purple beyond purple: it is the light higher than eyesight” (Liber AL, I: 51).

From Nu Hermetica (work in progress)
© Oliver St. John 2021

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