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Monday, April 8, 2013

Thursday, April 4, 2013




Thelemic Mysticism

Within the modern system of Thelema, developed by occultist Aleister Crowley in the first half of the 20th century, Thelemic mysticism is a complex mystical path designed to do two interrelated
things: to learn one's unique True Will and to achieve union with the All. The set of techniques
for doing so falls under Crowley's term Magick, which draws upon various existing disciplines and
mystical models, including Yoga, Western ceremonial ritual (especially invocations and eucharistic ceremony), the Qabalah, and several divination systems, especially the tarot and astrology. The path to mystical attainment or enlightenment was initially developed by Crowley largely based on
the meditation/mystical techniques found in Buddhism and also the Tree of Life, especially as it was examined by Eliphas Levi in the 19th century and later by various members in the occult society, the Golden Dawn. In 1904, Crowley claimed to have transcribed, via "direct-voice transmission"
from a "praeternatural intelligence" named Aiwass, The Book of the Law, which he eventually called the central sacred text of Thelema, heralding a new Aeon for mankind. Between 1907 and 1911, Crowley wrote a series of
other small texts which he considered to be "inspired" in that they were written through him rather than by him, which were afterwards collected together and termed the Holy Books. The final text added to the list was The Vision and the Voice, a vivid account of Crowley's astral travels through the thirty Enochian Aethyrs. These texts formed the final mystical backbone of Crowley's system. Essential practices Within the system that Crowley developed, the core
task for the adept is the discovery and
manifestation of Will, defined at times as a grand destiny and at other times as a moment to moment
path of action that operates in perfect harmony
with Nature. This Will does not spring from
conscious intent, but from the interplay between
the deepest Self and the entire Universe. Therefore,
the enlightened Thelemite is one who is able to eliminate or bypass the consciousness-created
desires, conflicts, and habits, and tap directly into
the Self/Universe nexus. Theoretically, at this point,
the Thelemite acts in alignment with Nature, just as
the stream flows downhill, with neither resistance
nor "lust of result." The ability to accomplish this Great Work requires a great deal of preparation and effort, according to
Crowley's system. The programme consists of
several key elements, including a thorough
knowledge of the Hermetic Qabalah (especially the Tree of Life), disciplined concentration (i.e. meditation), the development of one's Body of Light (or astral body) (in order to experience other spiritual realms) and the consistent and regular
invocation of certain deities or spiritual beings. Learning the Tree of Life The Tree of Life is a tool used to categorize and organize various mystical concepts. At its most
simple level it is composed of ten spheres, or
emanations, called sephiroth (sing. "sephira") which are connected by twenty-two paths. The
sephiroth are represented by the planets and the
paths by the characters of the Hebrew alphabet, which are subdivided by the five elements, the
seven classical planets, and the twelve signs of the Zodiac. Within the western magical tradition, the Tree is
used as a kind of conceptual filing cabinet. Each
sephira and path is assigned various ideas, such as
gods, cards of the Tarot, astrological planets and
signs, elements, etc. Within Thelema, the seminal
book which defines all these correspondences is Crowley's Liber 777, although there have been other influential writers on the topic, including Israel Regardie and Eliphas Levi. The path of attainment is largely defined by the
Tree of Life. The aspirant begins in Malkuth, which is the everyday material world of phenomena, with
the ultimate goal being at Kether, the sphere of Unity with the All. Through various exercises and
practices, he or she attains certain spiritual and
mental states that are characterized by the various
sephiroth that ascend the Tree. Crowley considered
a deep understanding of the Qabalah to be
essential to the Thelemite:
“ The Tree of Life has got to be learnt by heart;
you must know it backwards, forwards,
sideways, and upside down; it must become
the automatic background of all your thinking.
You must keep on hanging everything that comes your way upon its proper bough.”
and "The art of using it consists principally in
referring all our ideas to it, discovering thus
the common nature of certain things and the
essential differences between others, so that
ultimately one obtains a simple view of the
incalculably vast complexity of the Universe. The whole subject must be studied in the
Book 777, and the main attributions
committed to memory: then when by constant
use the system is at last understood — as
opposed to being merely memorised — the
student will find fresh light break in on him at every turn as he continues to measure every
item of new knowledge that he attains by this
Standard. For to him the Universe will then
begin to appear as a coherent and a necessary Whole.”
Part of the reason why the Qabalah is so important
is that it is the key to understanding the Holy
Books. Most of them, including The Book of the Law, are written in abstract, poetic, and often obscure language. Through the use of the Qabalah,
and especially the function of gematria (a form of numerology), the normally opaque meaning of the
texts can be made clear. Thelemites can also make
use of gematria to link words and concepts and to
validate revelations given to them in magical
operations, such as astral travel. Concentration Another key element to Thelemic mysticism is the
ability to concentrate. This skill has two modalities:
the first is the rapid, accurate, and efficient
movement of thought (which is the realm of
magick) and the other is the stopping of thought
altogether (which is accomplished in Yoga). In the first, it is the manipulation of all ideas into one idea,
and in the second is the taking of that one thought
and reducing it to nothing. Of this skill, Crowley
writes:“ For concentration does indeed unlock all
doors; it lies at the heart of every practice as it
is of the essence of all theory; and almost all
the various rules and regulations are aimed at
securing adeptship in this matter. All the
subsidiary work — awareness, one- pointedness, mindfulness and the rest — is intended to train you to this.”
[Concentration is essentially the prerequisite for all
sustained success, not only in spiritual practices,
but in day-to-day life as well. The general program
for developing concentration is borrowed almost
completely from the practice of Yoga within the Hindu and Buddhist systems. Crowley gives a general overview of the techniques in two books: Eight Lectures on Yoga and in the section called "Mysticism" in his opus, Magick (Book 4).]*

Body of Light and astral travel-

The Body of Light — Crowley's term for the subtle body — is the theoretical aspect of self that can leave the corporeal body and carry one's senses
and consciousness during astral travels. Crowley writes of it in Book 4: "The work of the Body of Light—with the technique of Yoga—is the foundation of Magick."
“ The Body of Light must be developed and
trained with exactly the same rigid discipline
as the brain in the case of mysticism. The
essence of the technique of Magick is the
development of the Body of Light, which
must be extended to include all members of the organism, and indeed of the cosmos [...]
The object is to possess a Body which is
capable of doing easily any particular task that
may lie before it. There must be no selection
of special experience which appeals to one's
immediate desire. One must go steadily through all possible pylons.”
Crowley explains that the most important practices
for developing the Body of Light are: 1. The fortification of the Body of Light by the constant use of rituals, by the assumption of god-
forms, and by the right use of the Eucharist.
2. The purification and consecration and exaltation of that Body by the use of rituals of
3. The education of that Body by experience. It must learn to travel on every plane; to break down
every obstacle which may confront it.
The benefit of astral travel is essentially one of is akin to exploring one's own
spiritual universe ("Every Magician possesses an Astral Universe peculiar to himself"[5]) and understanding the fundamental components, so
that the adept can eventually master it. The general
object is the "control of the Astral Plane, the ability
to find one's way about it, to penetrate such
sanctuaries as are guarded from the profane, [and]
to make such relations with its inhabitants as may avail to acquire knowledge and power, or to command service".[5] Also, "one's apprehension of the Astral Plane must be accurate, for Angels,
Archangels, and Gods are derived therefrom by
analysis. One must have pure materials if one wishes to brew pure beer."[5] It is vital to understand that all this must be in service to the Great Work of discovering one's True Will:
“ Let the Magician therefore adventure himself
upon the Astral Plane with the declared
design to penetrate to a sanctuary of
discarnate Beings such as are able to instruct
and fortify him, also to prove their identity by
testimony beyond rebuttal. All explanations other than these are of value only as
extending and equilibrating Knowledge, or
possibly as supplying Energy to such
Magicians as may have found their way to the
Sources of Strength. In all cases, naught is
worth an obol save as it serve to help the One Great Work ”
Crowley was also willing to admit that what was
experienced during "astral travel" was not relevant
in terms of what is "real" or "unreal." Ultimately, the
only value to this practice is in the utility it provides to the adept.
“ The 'reality' or 'objectivity' of these symbols is
not pertinent to the discussion. [...] The
Magician must not accept [my] account of the
Astral Plane, [my] Qabalistic discoveries, [my]
instructions in Magick. They may be correct in
the main for most men; yet they cannot be wholly true for any save [myself], even as no
two artists can make identical pictures of the
same subject [...] What one sees and hears is
'real' in its way, whether it be itself, or
distorted by one's desires, or created by one's
personality [...] The true, the final test, of the Truth of one's visions is their Value. The most
glorious experience on the Astral plane, let it
dazzle and thrill as it may, is not necessarily in
accordance with the True Will of the seer; if
not, though it be never so true objectively, it is
not true for him, because not useful for him.”
“ In Magick, on the contrary, one passes
through the veil of the exterior world (which,
as in Yoga, but in another sense, becomes
"unreal" by comparison as one passes
beyond) one creates a subtle body (instrument
is a better term) called the Body of Light; this one develops and controls; it gains new
powers as one progresses, usually by means
of what is called 'initiation': finally, one carries
on almost one's whole life in this Body of
Light, and achieves in its own way the mastery of the Universe.”
Magick ritual Main article: Magick (Aleister Crowley) According to Crowley, there is only one ethical
purpose for ritual magick: to achieve Union with
God through "the uniting of the Microcosm with
the Macrocosm." [2] Since this process is so arduous, it is also acceptable to use magick to
develop the self (i.e. one's Body of Light) or to
create ideal circumstances for the Work (e.g. having
access to a place in which to do ritual undisturbed).
There are many kinds of magick, but the categories
of ritual that are recommended by Crowley include (all quotes are from Book 4):
1. Banishing—the elimination of unwanted forces. "The Magician must therefore take the utmost care
in the matter of purification, firstly, of himself,
secondly, of his instruments, thirdly, of the place of
2. Invocation, where the magician identifies with the Deity invoked. There are three methods: Devotion —where "identity with the God is attained by love and by surrender, by giving up
or suppressing all irrelevant (and illusionary)
parts of yourself." (e.g. Liber Astarte ) Calling forth—where "identity is attained by paying special attention to the desired part of
yourself: positive, as the first method is
negative." (e.g. assumption of god-forms) Drama—where "identity is attained by sympathy. It is very difficult for the ordinary man
to lose himself completely in the subject of a
play or of a novel; but for those who can do so,
this method is unquestionably the best." (e.g.
many initiations and the Gnostic Mass)
3. Evocation—which is bringing a spiritual being before, not into, the magician (e.g. Goetia)
4. Eucharistic ritual—which "consists in taking common things, transmuting them into things
divine, and consuming them." (e.g. The Mass of the
Phoenix )
5. Consecration—"the active dedication of a thing to a single purpose."
6. Divinations—such as the use of the Tarot or other tools used to gather information.

Mystical milestones within the
A.A. System-

Crowley often wrote that every adept's path will be
unique. He also wrote that two major milestones
are fundamental to Thelemic mysticism, which he
called the knowledge of and conversation with
one's Holy Guardian Angel and the crossing of the Abyss. Crowley wrote, "the two crises—the Angel and the Abyss—are necessary features in every
career. The other tasks are not always accomplished in [any given order]".

The Holy Guardian Angel~

Holy Guardian Angels,
Even though the Holy Guardian Angel,
(or HGA) is,
in a sense, the “higher self”, it is often experienced
as a separate being, independent from the adept.
In the system of the A.A. magical order, the single
most important goal is to consciously connect with
one’s HGA, a process termed “Knowledge and Conversation.” By doing so, the magician becomes
fully aware of his own True Will. For Crowley, this event was the single most important goal of any
“ It should never be forgotten for a single
moment that the central and essential work of
the Magician is the attainment of the
Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy
Guardian Angel. Once he has achieved this he
must of course be left entirely in the hands of that Angel, who can be invariably and
inevitably relied upon to lead him to the
further great step—crossing of the Abyss and
the attainment of the grade of Master of the Temple.”
In most of his writings, Crowley described the Holy
Guardian Angel as one's "Silent Self", at times
equitable with one's deepest unconscious. In later
writings, he insisted that the HGA is an entirely
separate and objective being. Whichever position is
taken, the object remains the same—to gain an intimate spiritual connection so that one's True Will
can become fully known and manifested. When
using the Tree of Life as a guide, this event occurs
in the Sphere of Tiphareth. Crowley wrote Liber Samekh [5] as an example of a ritual designed specifically for attaining the
Knowledge and Conversation with one’s HGA. In
his notes to this ritual, Crowley sums up the key to
success: “INVOKE OFTEN.” Another detailed description of the general operation is given in The Vision and the Voice, Aethyr 8. Crossing the Abyss:
(Thelema) After one attains Knowledge and Conversation
with the Holy Guardian Angel, the adept may
choose to then reach the next major milestone: the
crossing of the Abyss, the great gulf or void
between the phenomenal world of manifestation
and its noumenal source, that great spiritual wilderness which must be crossed by the adept to
attain mastery.
“ This doctrine is extremely difficult to explain;
but it corresponds more or less to the gap in
thought between the Real, which is ideal, and
the Unreal, which is actual. In the Abyss all things exist, indeed, at least in posse, but are without any possible meaning; for they lack
the substratum of spiritual Reality. They are appearances without Law. They are thus
Insane Delusions.”
Choronzon is the Dweller in the Abyss; he is there as the final obstruction. If he is met with the proper
preparation, then he is there to destroy the ego,
which allows the adept to move beyond the Abyss.
If unprepared, then the unfortunate traveller will be
utterly dispersed into annihilation. Both
Choronzon and the Abyss are discussed in Crowley's Confessions (ch. 66):
“ The name of the Dweller in the Abyss is
Choronzon, but he is not really an individual.
The Abyss is empty of being; it is filled with all
possible forms, each equally inane, each
therefore evil in the only true sense of the
word—that is, meaningless but malignant, in so far as it craves to become real. These forms
swirl senselessly into haphazard heaps like
dust devils, and each such chance
aggregation asserts itself to be an individual
and shrieks, "I am I!" though aware all the time
that its elements have no true bond; so that the slightest disturbance dissipates the
delusion just as a horseman, meeting a dust
devil, brings it in showers of sand to the earth.”
However, just on the other side of the Abyss awaits Babalon. She calls the adept to surrender completely, so that he or she may cross over. Babalon, the City of the Pyramids,
and the Night of Pan.

Babalon and Night of Pan~
Choronzon is the dweller within the Abyss, and his
purpose is to trap the traveller in a meaningless
world of illusion. However Babalon is just on the other side, beckoning (in the sphere of Binah on the Tree of Life).
If the adept gives himself to her—
the symbol of this act is the pouring of the adept’s
blood into her graal—he becomes impregnated in her (a state called "Babe of the Abyss"), then he is
reborn as a Master and a Saint that dwells in the
City of the Pyramids.
The City of the Pyramids is the home to those adepts that have crossed the great Abyss, having spilled all their blood in the Graal of Babalon.
They have destroyed their earthly ego-identities,becoming nothing more than piles of dust (i.e. the remaining aspects of their True Selves without the
self-sense of "I"). Within, they take on the name or title of Saint or Nemo (Latin for No-Man). In the system of A.'.A.'. they are called Masters of the Temple. It is a step along the path of spiritual
purification, and a spiritual resting place for those
who have successfully shed their attachments to
the mundane world. Of these adepts, it is written in The Vision and the Voice (Aethyr 14): The City exists under the Night of Pan, or N.O.X. The playful and lecherous Pan is the Greek god of nature, lust, and the masculine generative power. The Greek word Pan also translates as All, and so he is “a symbol of the Universal, a personification
of Nature; both Pangenetor, "all-begetter," and
Panphage, "all-devourer" (Sabazius, 1995).
Therefore, Pan is both the giver and the taker of
life, and his Night is that time of symbolic death
where the adept experiences unification with the All through the ecstatic destruction of the ego-self. In
a less poetic symbolic sense, this is the state where
one transcends all limitations and experiences
oneness with the universe.

Magus and Ipsissimus:
Only a few reach the final two stages, The
penultimate is the becoming of a Magus
(symbolized by entering Chokmah on the Tree of Life), whose essential duty is to communicate a
new Truth to mankind. Of the Magi, Crowley writes: The state of being a Magus is described in Crowley's Liber B vel Magi.
[8] Elsewhere, he admits the possibility of someone reaching this
rank without uttering a new magick Word. Such a
Magus, he says, would identify himself or herself
with the Word of the current Aeon and work to establish it. In Magick Without Tears, Crowley suggests (without actually saying so) that the
Secret Chiefs of the A∴A∴ have reached at least the rank of Magus, in some sense. [9] The state of Ipsissimus is the very highest possible
(symbolized by the sphere of Kether on the Tree of Life). Relatively little is openly written of this state
of enlightenment...

The Greater Ritual of the Pentagram

Monday, April 1, 2013

The Sun-God Aten:

Amenhotep III was an 18th dynasty king who ruled at a time when Egypt was at the peak of her glory. He lived a life of pleasure, building huge temples and statues, but unlike his predecessors, encouraged realism in art.
One of Amenhotep's greatest surviving achievements is the Temple of Luxor on the east bank of the river. Unfortunately, his mortuary temple on the west bank, the largest of its kind ever built, was destroyed. His son Akhenaten was an even more unusual character. He was an intellectual and philosophical revolutionary who had the power and wealth to indulge his ideas. He tried to change the Egyptian people to a concept of godhead which was both monotheistic and abstract. He worshiped the sun (Aten) as the one true god and it is possible that the Hebrew prophets' concept of a universal God was derived in part from this cult.
However, the ancient Egyptians were a deeply religious people who loved their ancient traditions and were not ready to embrace such radical changes. It would not be until the Christian era that the Egyptians would finally reject the old gods in favour of a single universal deity.
Akhenaten came to the throne of Egypt around 1353 BC. The reign of his father, Amenhotep III, had been long and prosperous with international diplomacy largely replacing the relentless military campaigning of his predecessors. The reign culminated in a series of magnificent jubilee pageants celebrated in Thebes (modern Luxor), the religious capital of Egypt at the time and home to the state god Amun-Re. The new king was crowned as Amenhotep IV (meaning 'Amun is content') and temple construction and decoration projects began immediately in the name of the new king. The earliest work of his reign is stylistically similar to the art of his predecessors, but within a year or two he was building temples to the Aten or divinised sun-disk at Karnak in a very different artistic style and had changed his name to Akhenaten in honour of this god. The Egyptians had traditionally worshipped a whole pantheon of gods who were represented in human or animal form or as animal-headed humans. Some gods were specific to particular towns or places; others had broader appeal. From early periods solar gods such as Re had played an important role in Egyptian state religion because the distant but universal power of the sun fitted well with prevailing ideas of the supreme power of the king both within Egypt and beyond its borders.
In the New Kingdom, solar gods again became prominent, among them the Aten, the visible sun-disk which can be seen traversing the sky each day. Akhenaten raised the Aten to the position of 'sole god', represented as a disk with rays of light terminating in hands which reach out to the royal family, sometimes offering the hieroglyphic sign for life. Akhenaten and his family are frequently shown worshipping the Aten or simply indulging in everyday activities beneath the disk. Everywhere the close ties between the king and god are stressed through art and text. A number of hymns to the Aten were composed during Akhenaten's reign and these provide a glimpse of what has been described as the 'natural philosophy' of Akhenaten's religion. The wonders of the natural world are described to extol the universal power of the sun. The most important surviving document of the new religion is the Aton Hymn, which was inscribed in several versions in the tombs of Akhetaton. Like some other hymns of its period, the text focuses on the world of nature and the god's beneficent provision for it. The hymn opens with the rising of the sun: "Men had slept like the dead; now they lift their arms in praise, birds fly, fish leap, plants bloom, and work begins. Aton creates the son in the mother's womb, the seed in men, and has generated all life. He has distinguished the races, their natures, tongues, and skins, and fulfills the needs of all. Aton made the Nile in Egypt and rain, like a heavenly Nile, in foreign countries. He has a million forms according to the time of day and from where he is seen; yet he is always the same." The only people who know and comprehend the god fully are said to be Akhenaton together with his wife, Nefertiti. The hymn to the Aton has been compared in imagery to Psalm 104 ('Bless the Lord, O my soul'). Akhenaten decided that the worship of the Aten required a location uncontaminated by the cults of traditional gods and to this end chose a site in Middle Egypt for a new capital city which he called Akhetaten, 'Horizon of the Aten'. It is a desert site surrounded on three sides by cliffs and to the west by the Nile and is known today as el-Amarna. In the cliffs around the boundaries of the city the king left a series of monumental inscriptions in which he outlined his reasons for the move and his architectural intentions for the city in the form of lists of buildings. On the plain near the river massive temples to the Aten were constructed: these were open to the sky and the rays of the sun and were probably influenced by the design of much earlier solar temples dedicated to the cult of Re. Akhenaten died in his seventeenth year on the throne and his reforms did not survive for long in his absence. The throne passed to a child, Tutankhamun (originally Tutankhaten) who was the son of Akhenaten. Over time, the process of restoration of traditional cults turned to whole-scale obliteration of all things associated with Akhenaten. His image and names were removed from monuments. His temples were dismantled and the stone reused in the foundations of other more orthodox royal building projects. The city of Akhetaten gradually crumbled back into the desert. His name and those of his immediate successors were omitted from official king-lists so that they remained virtually unknown until the archaeological discoveries at Akhetaten and in the tomb of Tutankhamun made these kings amongst the most famous of all rulers of ancient Egypt.
The word Aten or Athen is a very old word for the "disk" or "face of the sun," and Atenism was beyond doubt an old form of worship of the sun. But there were many forms of sun-worship older than the cult of Aten, and several solar gods were worshipped in Egypt, many centuries before Aten was regarded as a special form of the great solar god at all.
One of the oldest forms of the Sun-god worshipped in Egypt was HER (Horus), who in the earliest times seems to have represented the "height" or "face" of heaven by day.
He was symbolized by the sparrow hawk, the right eye of the bird representing the sun and his left the moon. The oldest seat of the cult of the Sun-god was the famous city of Anu the On of the Bible, and the Heliopolis of Greek and Latin writers. Gods of death and resurrection are often gods of the solar cycle and the most important Christian dates in the year mirror it.
Since the beginning of human existence, civilisations have established religious beliefs that involved the Sun's significance to some extent or other. As new civilisations developed many spiritual beliefs were based on those from the past so that there has been an evolution of the sun's significance throughout cultural development.
In different religions solar supreme deities carry different names and are associated with different aspects of the cultural universe of the society, but for the most part its raw image remains identical. The sun is vital to our existence, to producing our crops, lighting our way (spiritually and practically), they regulate our tides, even our own inner tides, hormones, blood and chemicals etc as we are so much water ourselves. Although we comprehend in some ways the scientific side of it and what the Sun is, really and truly there's a lot about how the Sun and Moon affect us inside that we still have much to learn. We all know that without the sun as we know it there would be no life on earth..... The sun isn't just a big ball of also has a spiritual counterpart just as the earth does and just as us humans do..... sun worship back in the day was not just about the physical sun, it was about the energetic sun. it was about absorbing the energy of the sun in a way which feeds our subtle energy systems. Using the chakra system. The energy of the sun was breathed into certain energy centres which then fed the physical body..... .....actually breathe in its energy through your 'solar' plexus.... For certain there is an allegory in the sun as the light of consciousness. It's an allegory to spiritual enlightenment. Solar Significance The Sun has affected human cultures since mankind first walked on the earth and has played an enormous role in the shaping of ancient civilisations dating as far back as the Sumerian's five thousand years ago. It has thus played a significant role in the shaping of the human race we are all a part of today.
We have seen the influence of the sun on our lives in the context of scientific discovery. However, it has also had a significant influence on our cultural pursuits including art, music, literature and dance. One of the Sun's greatest influences has been on religious or spiritual culture. The Earth, our continents, oceans, in fact every living thing depends on light to be able to exist. Ancient Egyptian healer Priests knew that light is in fact emitted by every cell in our bodies. We live in a sea of energy where colour is working within us. It shines with in our divine self, and radiates upon us from the sun.
It has a presence on Earth through the power of its rays, which not only pervade our environment but also touch our very hearts. By the Sun, meaning does not simply refer to the outer luminary, the central star of our solar system. It means the principle of light and consciousness on a universal level, of which the Mind(Sun) is our radiant representative.