Aspiration was effectively abolished many centuries ago. Those who seek initiation, even those whose desire is genuine, must relearn what aspiration means. That will not be easy for them to do. According to Liber AL, III: 43,
Let the Scarlet Woman beware! If pity and compassion and tenderness visit her heart; if she leave my work to toy with old sweetnesses; then shall my vengeance be known.
The weeding out of “old sweetnesses” is not done overnight. In magick you have to be careful what you ask for because you might get it. When Zeus appeared to Olympia, she was burnt to a cinder. Zeus had to appear; it was her wish. We may, for example, confuse aspiration through unknowing acceptance of materialism, which is the dominant force in the world today. Materialism prefers to substitute ‘personal development’ for spiritual aspiration, because that places the focus on the satisfaction of base needs and desires. Personal development is a subversive notion, especially when it is thought to be cognate with spiritual aspiration. If we think we can find a True Will through personal development, we are making that will-force subject to all the complex layers of false reason that fragment the truth, dividing it into unrelated figures of latent wish-desire.
The ancient Egyptians had a harsh and very fast way of dealing with those seeking personal development in relation to a mystery temple. First of all, the person was stripped naked, splashed with holy water and fumigated with perfumes. Then they were directed to a small door that opened into a courtyard surrounded by high walls. In the centre of the courtyard was a shrine in an enclosure built of stone, with an open doorway. They were told that in the shrine they would learn how to realise all their goals, fulfil their every wish and desire. The shrine was surrounded by a circular lake. On the other side was a large and very hungry crocodile. According to the (Egyptian) Book of the Law, II: 32,
Also reason is a lie; for there is a factor infinite and unknown; and all their words are skew-wise.
It is also declared in AL, I: 57,
Love is the law, love under will.
There is no love in self-isolating fragmentation, which is the end result of skewed reason. Without love there can be no truth—for the Monad or Self-Alone-God is a projection of ego. The Monad is such a persuasive notion that even the Advaitans proclaimed it and unknowingly paved the way for the invasion of the East by Western materialism. By that time, the Western world was conditioned by centuries of humanism. Humanism, essentially atheist, places the self before all else, automatically excluding the possibility of anything beyond it. Aspiration is strictly limited to personal goals.
Aspiration and Will
The matter of personal development raises the question of the will. Psychologists have assumed that there must be an unconscious will. When the person thinks and acts against that will, then neurosis comes about. That is the theory. The problem is we then assume that we (or other people) are unconscious of the will. Apart from its dependence on psychological theories, this is a presumptuous and very broad generalisation. We can take neurosis as particular to the human species, but does it arise from unconsciousness of the will? Is it not more the case that from birth we learn to work out reasonable but lying strategies about everything, because that is the way of the (human) world? Through the double-thinking power of the reason we learn that truth is adaptable according to circumstances, that it is ‘all relative’. This notion has long existed but Descartes is known for putting it forward as a ‘truth’ in itself. This is a convenient truth for anyone whose primary wish is to dominate the will of others through power of reasoning. Reason does not require intellect or even thought, in any real sense. ‘Facts’ are selected and arranged to support the argument, however ignorant. Those who wish to control the minds and bodies of others do not want them to think, they want them to believe and obey.
Crowley accepted the notion of the relativity of truth (when it suited him to do so), and maintained that the True Will is ultimately a force of Chaos, which he called the ‘Beast’—and with which he self-identified. As a force of Chaos, it is unknowing of any truth. It is all about impulse, action, doing. This is modified, in his scheme of things, by Babalon, Understanding (or Binah), but in his way and in spite of what he said to the contrary, he made Babalon (as woman) subservient to his idea of Will-Chaos. This notion is false; it comes from a condition of mind that owes to the threshold of the Abyss, where no truth is known, only relativity. No one is unconscious of the will-force. Instead, we have learned to divide and fragment it, in ever deepening layers of complexity. This complexity, this relativism, ultimately tends towards chaos and madness. We see this in the present world picture.
It is necessary then to seek truth above all else, and to seek that truth as wholly outside of and beyond the person, the self. Aspiration cannot, at the outset at least, be regarded separately from idealism. The ideal of the Order is, and always has been, selfless service given to truth without any hope or thought of reward. While that will not protect anyone from their own ignorance, it might at least discourage those whose aims are entirely self-serving. Aspiration is placed outside of and beyond the person.
Candidates for initiation are called ‘aspirants’. We must define our terms. What is aspiration? A modern dictionary is not much use here as the first definition will be something like ‘ambition of achieving something’, which is the materialist explanation of the word. Ambition throws the whole matter straight back on to the self, the perceived needs and desires of the person—the person who, in the present context, is not initiated. The Latin root, aspirare, suits our purpose much better, for it means to breathe. This may refer to both inhalation and exhalation, so we first must examine what kind of air we breathe.
The ‘breath of Ra’ is not only the air that sustains life but is also light that forms and sustains the intellect. The intellect, in the real sense, is far more than reason, common to all. The air we breathe can therefore include language. Language shapes thought, and thought shapes the world we live in. The very language used by materialists is corrupt, for it rests on the assumption that there is nothing beyond the material. Such information, which is no more than hypnosis through repetition of a single idea, carries an insidious message—a message wholly opposed to the work of initiation and what might be termed as ‘initiated thought’. That is to say, thought that might lead to initiation, or in other ways assist it.
Personal development is now applied by corporations in the work place, for the so-called ‘wellbeing’ of employees. That ought to give us a clue that there might be something wrong with both personal development and wellbeing—and yet these terms are also used in the Western world in relation to spiritual matters such as yoga. Yoga means ‘union’; placed in the traditional context, the word means ‘union with God’. If yoga is about the ambitions of the person, then what is there to unite with?
The present generations were born into the darkest of dark ages. They have been hypnotised from the day they were born. Materialism is the air they breathe, food they eat, and water they drink. They indoctrinate others without even knowing it. The very thoughts they have, which they imagine to be their own, are the death-dealing weapons of the force of that which Guénon termed anti-initiation. They are the product of a wordless aeon, which means that generations are now born that have no logos, no mind in any real sense of the word. Our so-called education systems suppress all independence of thought or expression, and yet they pretend to develop the individual. These systems are perpetuated because they are a reliable form of brainwashing, rigorously applied to every young person and continued through to so-called higher education. The sole aim is to produce efficient units of productivity. None of these systems encourage thought in any real sense. Humanities, which were once called liberal sciences, are taught with a rational humanistic bias, hence the name given. Nothing is considered to be of value unless it is seen to be of benefit to man. Everything of value is thus seen to be that which is the product of man. Man is therefore isolated from everything that could teach him to reach beyond himself, to aspire.
We are all born into generations that have a collective mind-set. We must first liberate ourselves from that mind-set before we can think and act independently of our generation’s influence. Most recently we have seen the emergence of a mind-set that will pretend to see both sides of any argument, switch from one side to the other depending on what company is kept, and in the end will deny the possibility of any truth existing at all. The sum product of this is sometimes called a ‘social revolution’, although the primary concern is individualism. Individualism means that everyone must conform to a lowest common denominator, formed by the base needs and desires of the majority. All true individuality is suppressed.
It is a tragedy that the world we live in today discourages contemplation, even ruthlessly suppresses it. The machine-world of humans does not require that people think, only that they do as they are told, as obedient slaves. The most frequent complaint from our students is that they simply do not have enough time. And yet time is not a commodity, it is not even a thing in itself! What they really mean is that they are the slaves of a machine that controls every aspect of what they vainly think of as their ‘life’, from the moment they are born to the moment they die.
We sometimes hear of persons having a ‘career field’ in the realm of the esoteric, which is of course a contradiction in terms. Such a person is either completely insane or is out to take money from fools. Most often it is the latter case although there is ground for counting that as insanity too, only it happens to be a kind of insanity that is considered to be quite normal in the world today. That world has now reached the apotheosis of personal development, it is called isolationism.
Much that is commonly termed, ‘occultism’, is no more than ordinary hypnotism. Such hypnotism is now the work of advertising agencies, media barons, governments and corporations. That kind of ‘black magic’ is a perfectly ordinary thing in this final phase of the age of Kali Yuga. It involves the manipulation of human minds through control of media, data, statistics and so forth. The Kali Yuga is the Dark Age, and the end of a great cosmic cycle on earth. We have arrived at the last phase of that and must make due preparations.
If aspiration is to satisfy the needs and wishes of the person, then it is a force of anti-initiation dressed up as something spiritual or holy. It is the worst kind of fraud. The Great Work alone provides the basis by which meaning is conveyed to ordinary life. When ordinary life is separated from spiritual principles it falls into meaningless confusion. There is then a pressing and urgent need for a Great Work, for there is no meaning in anything without it.
1. Advaita means ‘Not Two’, Non-Dualism. As a rational philosophy its argument is a numerical one. As a polemic against the apparent dualism of the polymorphic gods of previous times, which philosophers no longer understood, Advaita affirms the ‘One’, the Monad. The ‘One’ is the false crown of the Abyss, put in Qabalistic terms—it is a rational supposition. Advaita is then not different from monotheism.
2. ‘Double-think’ was a term coined by George Orwell in his novel, 1984, based on the world situation of 1948. The novel has been misunderstood and misrepresented ever since. It was not a dystopian fantasy but a disguised factual narrative based on Orwell’s experience of working for the BBC propaganda department. In the novel, he called this the Ministry of Truth; the department’s sole purpose was to disseminate misinformation. ‘Truth’ changed on a daily basis. That situation has not changed, in fact it has got worse, for it is greatly facilitated by new technologies.
3. Chaos is derived from the Greek for ‘vast chasm, void’ (καος). We use the word here in the conventional sense that Crowley intended. The conventional useage, and that used in physics, is a modern corruption, however. Originally, chaos did not mean ‘random or disorganised force’ and was the name of a god (Egyptian neter, ‘principle’).
4. Schopenhauer proposed that thought shapes reality (The World as Will and Representation, 1818). It does not, but it cannot be argued that thought shapes the human world. See ‘Lapis Philosophorum’, Babalon Unveiled.
5. René Guénon, Crisis of the Modern World.
6. The ‘wordless aeon’ is a term coined by Kenneth Grant, and used extensively in his Typhonian Trilogies. We use it here to describe the spiritual vacuum of the modern age.
7. We refer here in particular to the generation born when Pluto was in the sign of Libra, from about 1971 to 1984. The suppression of individuality is not of course limited to that narrow time span, it is the general and persistent trend of the modern world, which is now reaching its furthest limit in a total drive to uniformity.
8. The Great Work is to assist in the restoration of the earth to the governance of the original life-wave, that she might find her true place among the stars.
9. Kali Yuga is the Dark Age, and the end of a great cosmic cycle on earth as according to Hindu tradition.
Related articles: Crisis of the Modern World Revisited
© Oliver St. John 2020, 2021
Aspiration or Materialism forms part of a work in progress, Nu Hermetica.