As I continue to work on several upcoming book and art projects, I would like to use this blog to share previously published pieces which are not easily obtained.
The following is an essay composed for Scarlet Imprint’s compendium “DIABOLICAL.”
This book collected essays focusing on Received Texts and the Grimoire Tradition, pages penned from contact with Sources seemingly outside the individual mind.
After many years, perhaps a lifetime, of fascination with such writings (from the Bible to Liber AL), I had entered a place where I began to make such contact myself. The delivery of such material didn’t come about with the same poetic flair we find in many established works in this field. It would be Kenneth Grant’s S’lba & OKBISh that would give me great understanding as to the nature of such texts. These two writings not only transmitted “Communication from Beyond” but expressly acknowledge the role played by the human receiver.
It is through understanding this dynamic that we can most effectively touch the Current informing such texts.
With this essay, I endeavored to explore this phenomena with an eye toward removing preconception and encouraging receptivity on part of the psychic magician.
Orisons of the Oblique
By Kyle Fite
The tradition and fascination of the Magickal Grimoire has been enjoying an enthusiastic resurgence in modern occultism. Taking its place amongst the mouldering leaves and time-stained sheets of famed and fearful folios from bygone eras is a new breed of cryptic conveyance, no less potent or portentous in its arcane artistry. Oracular orisons still hot with the breath of utterance have emerged and are emerging, providing fresh fields of word and image whereby the very forces which gave rise to their antiquated predecessors move into new times, new minds and carve out new pathways upon the ever-receding, ever beckoning and always broadening vistas of a magickal universe.
Unlike those pages the possession of which may have required uncommon wealth, connection and exposure of the owner to great peril of life, if not soul, we find that new works might arrive at our doorstep, delivered with the daily mail. This ease of acquisition would have astounded our antecedents of esoteric inquiry. Some of these purported “Talismanic Tomes” are bound to disappoint, penned by pretenders to the throne of “Philosopher King.” Others artfully articulate, in picture and prose, a type of Key which twists and turns its way into a deeper strata of the human mind, unlocking hidden doors to hidden spaces, giving testimony to their terrors, conveying clues and making maps meant to manifest the treasures therein.
There is a magic to how such a book speaks in silence to its reader. It has been said that when the student is ready, the Teacher appears. Sometimes that “Teacher” is not in human guise at all but arrives in a body built of language, symbol and image. The Intelligence back of this expression is living and mutable. It is not the book itself but may be accessed by means of this mode, which is not to be confused with some commonplace conglomeration of text, for the content of the Grimoire, and its attendant imagery, is a machine meant to move in the hands of its operator, its application determined in very specific and precise ways, its nature synergistic.
It may be observed that we all have a natural gravitation toward certain patterns of energy, unique fields of endeavor, with corresponding experiences resultant. A Grimoire is not a book of universalized dogma meant to instruct the species. It emerges from a concentrated zone of arcane power and employs a very human means of communication as the medium between that zone and the individual mind. Thus, eschewing a pigeon hole of medieval demonology, we find the “Modern Grimoire” embracing ever widening branches of supersensual exploration. From the influx of Haitian Voudoo through the mind of Michael Bertiaux to E.J. Gold’s postmodern rewrite of Tibet’s guide to the Bardo, his “American Book of the Dead,” we find cultures crossed and cross-bred with new routes rising.
We furthermore find that these Grimoires, as we still refer to them, are not merely a phenomena penetrating our present environment in the form of new books on old subjects. When such a work emerges, it is not simply another addition to the annual outpouring of exotic divergence for our hungry, yet shallow, consumerist culture. These books also bear witness to the sources from which they have arisen and taken form, sources they are intended to put us in touch with directly and from whence further outpouring may ensue.
Aleister Crowley had this in mind when he considered the “praeternatural” authorship of his received text, Liber AL, in his writing entitled “On the Reception of the Book of the Law.” After examining many of the facts surrounding the channeling of this revelatory document, Crowley, a skeptic to the last, soberly concludes:
“…I have positively opened up communication with one such Intelligence; or, rather…I have been selected by Him to receive the first message from a new order of beings.”
The reader is referred to this particular essay for personal examination of the strange and, in many ways, startling events surrounding the writing of this text. We will, for the moment, observe that Crowley not only served as the vehicle whereby this astounding book (described by Kenneth Grant as “the supreme grimoire of the present Aeon”) came into existence but that he would also see it as a phenomena indicating extension into human experience via further communications and corresponding expression of such contact.
We may disagree with Crowley that his message was the “first” but our emphasis is on the declaration that it is not the last. In the history of religion, Crowley is a unique character in that he does not present what was, for him and many others, a truly phenomenal and transhuman event as something to be enshrined to the detriment of further exploration or revelation. Were Liber AL to follow the sales pitch trailing after the history of many “Holy Books,” the reader would be exhorted to take it on faith that its source was genuine and therefore its message true. Despite a residual “Cult of Crowley,” which seems to cling to the “Master’s words” with puritanical devotion, Crowley indicated that the Way was not merely to be traversed but PAVED. He would continue throughout his life establishing such “traffick” with “disincarnate intelligences” as he sought to penetrate, with ever increasing depth, the mysteries of that initial revelation. His technical writings on magickal practice would expand the consciousness into greater degrees of sensitivity to the influx of such communications, while curbing the tendency towards an obsession which has, for so many religious movements born in states of inspiration, transformed Tongues of Fire into Pillars of Salt.
Of all Crowley’s students, Kenneth Grant would follow this line of investigation most thoroughly, the opening up of such “contact” being a primary theme in his own contributions to occult literature. His works (most notably the nine volumes comprising the “Typhonian Trilogies”) would take on the function of Grimoires themselves, while indicating ways in which the magician could work this same current of power and intelligence, not as a scholar or devotee, but as a Gnostic, as one stepping into the same space of receptivity we observe in Crowley and others.
A received text and a Grimoire are not the same thing. They MAY however incorporate each other and it should be noted that the element of inspiration, be it from one’s Gnosis or the Channeling of an Intelligence whose communication can stimulate and feed the fire of that insight, is crucial for composition of the Grimoire. This Light of Inspiration transcends wholly rational thinking and thereby expresses itself in a language whose nature is NOT solely didactic. It is a language which forms a bridge between our conscious rational thought processes and the transcendental realms by bringing together elements of both realities in its delicate dance. Inspired by forces and an Intelligence beyond the normal operating range of the conscious human psyche, Liber AL was regarded by Kenneth Grant as the “Ultimate Grimoire of this Aeon.” He would describe its pages as “containing…the secret formula which unseals the cells of cosmic consciousness.” Grant, however, was not confined in his explorations to the simple notion of a single linear progression of time. His work would open into multiple Aeons, spheres of action and energy running beside, into and out of each other. His vision, in this regard, is very similar to the T’ien T’ai school of Buddhism which envisions the vast multiplicity of worlds within worlds (3000 Realms total!) all present in a “single moment of life.” William Blake described this as “Infinity in a grain of sand.” And in Kenneth Grant’s vision, the sprawling colorful components of this “multiverse” would be presented in a manner whereby the latent correspondences within the human psyche might resonate and assemble themselves into a grand mandala, reflecting the Enlightenment behind all the activity within the Spheres of which the Grimoire would serve as Gateway.
We want to get our hands on such a book, something far beyond the paperback pocket-guides to supernatural powers, pandering to a populous whose ravenous curiosity is only matched by its attention deficit disorder. There is a romance to the “dreadful book,” an object which contains a power independent of the hands which hold it, a tome which is as much a Gateway as it is a “book.” Hence the title “Talismanic.” Yet we shall be compelled to inquire into the nature of any such “power” should we become convinced that it appears present in conjunction with the book in question. For some, the antiquated guides to goetic working have brought about results of compelling intensity. For others, they offer little more than a coughing jag in the dust of superstitious times. Why does something work for one and not for another? And what exactly does it mean for such a book to “work?”
We have described above the Grimoire as a unique type of book, one which manipulates language and image to bridge worlds, offering a map to those elusive realms and the tools whereby one may not only enter but extract the Gnosis therein and return, as a transformed being. When presented with such a tome, there is evoked a certain reverence for its role as such. It is as if the sheets are shamanic and we feel in them a link to a Mystery not yet touched in our souls. The danger is in revering such a work to the detriment of what it would lead us to become. There are many who embrace Crowley’s Liber AL as a book which cannot be surpassed in power. It is regarded as not only a revelatory work but the ultimate revelatory work, despite Crowley’s indication that it was an opening, a prelude to what was to come.
It is worth quoting here a passage from Michael Bertiaux’s Voudon-Gnostic Workbook, itself a “Grimoire of Grimoires,” where he offers a suggestion to students pursuing this line of investigation:
“It would be very useful to your magickal development if you would begin to write your own magickal mythos. Get in touch with your own Zothyrius or your own AIWAZ in your own ontic sphere. You have such a universe right in your mind. Why not write your own cosmic mystery drama, your own magickal book of revelations, your own holy books. As we know, Crowley practiced this method when he created his own mythos. Freud and Jung did the same thing. All magicians have to begin with their own bibles…
“For those who are interested in cosmic mystery drama, why not create something based on your favorite figure or symbol or image…
“…try to get more mileage out of your ontic sphere.”
This may seem, to some, as an affront to the sanctity attributed to texts such as Liber AL. We find the same phenomena within the Christian Church. The Bible is regarded as a “closed canon” and those who would contribute to its content are seen as threats to the perfection which has been embraced. So long as such an attitude prevails, those texts themselves remain as something isolated from our deepest core. If we cannot be as those authors (or “scribes,” if you will) then we can only look upwards towards something which exists outside of our own experience, something we must take on faith. THEY are “Prophets,” “Magi” and the like. WE are the followers, disciples, devotees. Yet William Blake, getting “more mileage” out of his own “ontic sphere,” would cite Numbers 11:29 at the opening of his Prophetic Epic, “Milton”:
“Would to God that all the Lords people were Prophets.”
Blake would also declare: “I must create my own system or be enslaved by another man’s.” This may have influenced Aleister Crowley, who would later regard Blake as a spiritual brother, when he wrote “I…am convinced in myself that to no great man can it be possible to work in any existing system. If he has followers, so much the worse for them.” Those words were penned in Crowley’s diary, 1903, just prior to the revelatory experience which brought through what would become HIS Bible and Grimoire, Liber AL.
We have here a drive within the human soul towards direct contact with its centre. If a Grimoire, a “magic book,” cannot lead us to this very place where we stand alone and touch the mystic flame ourselves, it is a testament to something we do not know and dare not surpass. We will have stopped and set up house on the Bridge Between Worlds, a structure erected not for our residency but passage.
Fortunately, Crowley had students who did more than hang on his every word as authoritative and superior to their own inspiration. Kenneth Grant would develop Crowley’s model of the Aeons to go beyond linear time and describe a state of consciousness in which a thousand facets rise and fall and dance within the “Wordless Aeon.” One neither exalts nor is restricted by the characteristics of the “Zeitgeist” but goes Beyond, manipulating the stuff of Maya, or Illusion, according to Will.
There have been several authors who have written in such a manner with the intent of opening the reader to spaces where the division between subject and object begins to dissolve. E. J. Gold’s “American Book of the Dead” is one such example. Gold perpetually challenges his reader to avoid the pitfall of adulation for the messenger at the expense of enlightenment. To simply suspend any disbelief and enter into his text is to experience an opening of consciousness. There is no pretentiousness in his approach. In fact, he is comical and blunt more often than not. Yet not only does he present the “map” of energetic zones in which consciousness is often battered to and fro, he reveals that he is not the revelator:
“…if you’re wondering about the source of this book, it comes directly from the source of all books. In the labyrinth, you’ll notice-if you notice anything at all-that all books are the same book, and they all say the same thing. Don’t look around for someone else to hang it on…You are the source.”
The only way to understand such a statement is to realize its veracity in a transcendental experience, moving through and beyond mere mental comprehension of the concepts.
Michael Bertiaux takes a similar approach in his progressive lessons for the Monastery of the Seven Rays, where he explains that the reader is, essentially, sending these lessons to him or herself!
In my own study of this material, I found myself gravitating towards a “meta-spatiality” in which I began to feel and visualize each lesson as being more than a set series of ideas communicated to the mind for intellectual understanding. The material of the lesson was a framework through which the energies that informed it could be tapped and entered into. I was no longer “reading lessons” but “entering” them. These “chambers” of spiritual intelligence and energy would be related to in a very specific ways, relative to my own thought-structures, needs and aspirations.
The experience of the “one source” of all books is not one of centering the world of experience around the individual ego. We enter into a cognizance of the Cosmic Mind, of which our transient human lives are a passing part. This can be a very despairing vision if we retain our sense of separateness from this Mind. The Gnosis of this experience lies in the wholeness of the Mind Itself and allowing the Mind to freely flow into our individuality without self-preserving resistance. Our consciousness then becomes that portion of the Cosmic Mind in operation through the unique channel of its own individuality. Yet this “portion” is an expression of the entirety of Cosmic Life Force and therefore it is an Illumination and Transformation of the selfhood which has previously functioned, in perception and action, as if it were an isolated thing.
This consciousness-or Gnosis-allows “the scales to fall from one’s eyes” whereby we can not only entertain the notion but experience that “oneness of all books” and thereby the relationship of the book to our individual mind. This is the “Magickal Link” which opens “Jacob’s Ladder” between Heaven and Earth. We are now within the God-space whereby the Cosmic Mind is uniting its components within our experience and opening up lines of communication within itself.
These lines of communication may be understood as mapwork. This is the root of sigil-craft, veves, seals and signs. When the lines of communication open, the symbols become living things and unfold power and intelligence. They may be employed as types of “magickal machines” through which specific results are generated. Hence, we find the Goetic Magician who is moving within a very vital and effectual universe of awakened energies as opposed to the experimenter who concludes the Lesser Key of Solomon to be an irrelevance of little application.
Our “Classic Grimoires” have set the pace for traditional terminologies, now evocative of an antiquated atmosphere. This atmosphere may be useful in offsetting one’s dominant mode of filtering perception of personal and modern experience, just as the angelic and horrific elements therein could offset our rooting in the material universe by stimulating subtle yet powerful components of the inward and intrapsychic self. If this “self” is the projecting agent whereby perceived reality assumes its form, to delve deeply into its mechanisms is to cut into an understanding of what lies behind superficial assumptions about what our lives “are.” Having passed through the vision whereby All is seen as Illusion, we are no longer “deceived” by the Unreality in which we move. Instead, we find in it the plastic medium whereby our Will may assume form. This is absolutely more than a metaphysical go at “wish-fulfillment.” To unmask “Reality” is to also unmask our desires, to liberate them from the containment of the ego and realize their activity in context of the Cosmic Mind. Thus, Crowley would make frequent allusion to the “Tao” as essential to understanding “Thelema” or the “Will.”
The philosophy of Thelema, as detailed by Crowley, would emphasize a sexual source at the Heart of the Mysteries. The description of Hadit and Nuit, the underpinning principles of organic life in Liber AL, would be conveyed via an erotic poetry and the practices of Thelemic Magick would not only embrace the ceremonial and meditative but the sexual. Documents such as Liber A’ash vel Capricorni Pneumatici would express these mysteries in poetry and symbol, serving as types of “Grimoires” whereby the sexual “technology” could be apprehended and then applied to various operations.
We are well aware of the great restrictions set around a frank and open discussion of such things in times past. It was a scenario which Crowley was forced to contend with and thus he would write in “code” of certain matters. Yet we must ask if that was SOLELY the reason for such “cloaking.” In the present era, there is, perhaps, freer talk and description of sexual-magickal thought and practice than ever before. It would seem that the path of “purple prose” has become both unnecessary and an encumbrance. This would, perhaps, be accurate if we were simply dealing with material descriptive of physical mechanics found to be objectionable by a given culture or era. The scope of this “sex-magick,” however, extends beyond the outward operations which function as one of its means.
In his lessons for The Monastery of the Seven Rays, Michael Bertiaux states that the entire purpose of sex magick is “evolution.” This necessitates the projection of the limited human psyche into the spaces of what Carlos Castaneda calls the “Nagual.” The “Nagual” is everything which is unknown and unexperienced and is contrasted to the “Tonal,” a word comprising the sum total of all available knowing and understanding contained in a given psyche. The drive and impetus towards this often threatening darkness is well expressed in a song by Killing Joke, where Jaz Coleman boldly proclaims:
“I saw restrictions of mortal lifespan…and hurled the lance beyond.” (“Twilight of the Mortal”)
A workable Grimoire is therefore a guide to the Nagual. At the very least, it provides a path to gateways whereby the Nagual is entered and mapped, assimilated into the ever evolving Tonality of consciousness. Crowley describes each human being, each localized expression of the Divine Mind, as an “aggregate of experience.” Some will become vast aggregates and yet “accumulate” on one plane only, a monstrous shape of singular dimension, dominating a flickering flatland and sinking into its surface with the passage of time. Reproduction, replication and expanse, as such, cannot be considered “evolution.” It is when the experience entered into constitutes an “upgrade” of one’s being that its assimilation results in a dimensional distortion, the form of which may provide the matrix for a true outflowing growth into the Cosmic Mind’s self-awareness or, conversely, the crumbling of that matrix downward into the psyche, a retributive reflex rendering the “small mind” ineffectual even in its own “territory.”
Such an occurrence has been described by Kenneth Grant as a “Tangential Tantrum.” Hardly a tantalizing situation to call upon oneself. In fact, the survival mechanisms of the body, linked to those of the ego and its Skandha constructs, described in Buddhist literature, recoil at the prospect of willfully evoking such an environment to contend with. It is ironic, then, that the only other option would be rested in and reinforced: stabilization of the existent Tonal construct upon the sinking ship of its limitation and finitude. Risk is shirked in favor of certain doom. This absurdity requires continuous submersion in an opiate, the administration of which formulates all control dynamics in human society. Thus, we have the overwhelming reach of religions ordering the populous by pandering protection from an encroaching Nagual Nightmare which will, never the less, subsume the Tonal upon mortal extinction.
The multi-media experience of modern life thus becomes an “Anti-Grimoire.” Its language is self-supporting and serves to seal the Gates which may now be seen as vital escape routes. It is interesting, in this context, to look at how much sealing, binding and locking away plays its part in mythology. Satan is bound and locked in the “bottomless pit” of Revelations for rebelling against God. Loki is bound to a rock and tortured for breaking the ordered bounds of acceptable behavior. Prometheus suffers the same fate for extending the bounds of human knowledge. Adam and Eve push beyond the stasis of their lives and the Gates of Eden are crossed with a flaming sword. The Old Ones are held behind Cosmic Gates, erected by the Elder Gods, in the Necronomicon. “Good” binds “Evil” and we are taught to side with the so-called “Good.”
There is a reactionary impulse to this situation, where the human being turns in rebellion and embraces the archetypes of “evil,” which are now intuited as essential to the unfolding of a repressed force. This conflict, however, can be altogether superseded by a reinterpretation of the mythology. The language embodied in myth is of the same nature as that by which the multidimensionality of the Grimoire is known directly and experientially as a transformative experience. Myth is not simply “allegory” but the expression of abstract yet living verities whose influence is apprehended in human experience according to their qualities. Thus, Michael Bertiaux, when discussing the Loa, the Gods of Voodoo, states that they, the Loa, are “Laws.” Yet they are “Laws” which function, and may be (or MUST be) related to as Gods. We differentiate between “physical laws” and personalities on this “starting plane” of awareness. Gravity or Magnetism may be natural “Laws” but we are “people.” On the higher planes, this sort of differentiation does not exist within the forces we call “Preternatural Intelligences.” It is a mistake to overly anthropomorphize these Intelligences and yet it is equally erroneous to reduce them to a mere abstraction. They are not static concepts. They are living things which have their place in the Body of God as do we. Our communion with them expresses a new line of force lighting up and moving the components of Cosmic structure into a more refined and unified whole.
If successful work with the patterns laid out in a Grimoire result in the above dynamic, we find the book being “read” by the Cosmic Mind as it utilizes our individuality as an essential part of its process. The meditative techniques (of which there are many) made use of in modern magick, as a fusion between Eastern and Western tradition, serve to stimulate and vitalize this dimension of our existence.
The passage cited above, in which Kenneth Grant describes Liber AL as the “supreme Grimoire of the present Aeon,” is from an especially insightful segment found in his book “Outside The Circles Of Time.” He goes on to describe Liber AL, as such, containing “the keys to the gates of extra-terrestrial worlds which constitute universes parallel to our own, and which-by some mysterious perichoresis-sometimes impinge upon our own, transforming it in a way that also transforms the magician and prepares him for an existence that must appear totally alien to his mundane consciousness. For it is in the dimensions of magical and controlled dreaming that he meets with entities with which it is not only the aim of the grimoires to establish contact, but which in many cases have actually inscribed the grimoires upon the astral substance of the earth’s aura…”
This image of the earth englobed in such a hieroglyphic network of ingress points is truly evocative. One is reminded of the shattering of the Pleroma and its collapse into the “fallen universe,” where the primordial body of Adam Kadmon is rent asunder, not unlike Osiris, and buried or hidden away in matter, the shadows of the Nile or the “mind forg’d manacles” so detested by William Blake.
Matter has no fundamental “existence” in terms of absolute reality. It resides in the realm of subjective experience. When exalted into a space of dominion over the subjective experience, “matter” can become a “spiritual darkness” in which the ego, reacting against the impinging threat of the Nagual, is bound and tied to a pillar of stasis, a reference point, a bulwark against the cracking gates which open to the “Beyond.” To be “liberated from matter” is not to polarize some vague and whispy notion of the “spiritual universe” against the portions of experience we typify as the “material world.” Rather, it is to dissolve the perceived opposition into the cauldron of Will, recognizing, through a Gnostic-Vision, the immanence of Godhead. The individual Will is allowed to conjoin with the Cosmic Will and its energetic path is illumined, This Path burns through a myriad of Initiations, a razor thin and infinitely bright line cut between potentiality and actuality in any and every given moment. It is a Path of Transformation and Revelation. The “hieroglyphs” are lit from within yet this is achieved by the Light which resides in the Magician Himself. They vivify and add to the “aggregate of experience” which he is, even as he uncovers, evokes and breathes new life into their form. It is a Conjunction, a Unification between seemingly disparate parts which belong to the same great Unity.
It is a Dispensationalist Dogma which traces these sequences of events in terms of Time. Alchemy, however, condenses these stages into the context of its Operations, detailed in its own sundry Grimoires and belonging to the experience of the Alchemist. The Sacred Laboratory becomes a zone in which the appearance of the Macrocosmic March is manifested in the Microcosmic Mind, the “parts” brought into the unity of the “whole.” Its expression is Mandalic and reveals an equidistance of events, understood from the singularity of a position, or point, outside of time. One does not “escape from the Circles of Time” as much as one reveals the nature of time and space within the Dualistic Universe, entering INTO it, with a new awareness of the scenario.
From the vantage point of this center, one is both moving and standing still. One has become the Winged Globe of Hadit and is full flux of its Going. Time converges on this center from all angles and the “astral plasma” of the earth is seen to receive its encoding from past, present and future. Not only is the Magician able to rightly read the Grimoires of Antiquity which have been drawn from this plasmic sphere but he is able to WRITE the grimoires whose matrix trembles on the surface of this circumference by directly entering their form, allowing them to become a linkage point between the ego-self and that portion of the comic mind to which it, the “Astral Grimoire,” corresponds.
It is in this context that Crowley wrote of how Magi would arise after him, each with their own Word. Yet this did not indicate a closure to the “Aeon of Horus,” of which Crowley served such a vital role in opening or revealing. Rather, Crowley indicated that all such Magi with their corresponding Words would be in harmony with the Word he declared. This might be regarded as subservience to his self-proclaimed authority but when distinctions between our fluctuating and temporal personalities gives way to the broader vision of the Gnosis, we might observe that Crowley, as Magus, Master of the Illusions, very artfully became an Alchemic Agent within the Grand Operation or Great Work through a unique form of Guru Yoga. This method is detailed in Kenneth Grant’s Cults of the Shadow, where he states:
“The candidate for initiation approaches the guru (spiritual guide) with awe and reverence as if he were superior to all others. This distinction is false and the cause of bondage, and the false image of difference (duality) projected on to the guru becomes transformed into a demon that appears to mock the candidate…the devil, diable, or double, is merely the personification of the duality projected onto the guru by the candidate. The guru appears as a demon because his job is to destroy the candidate’s ego. The “Demon Crowley” therefore appeared as soon as an individual sought contact with the 93 Current over which Crowley presided as supreme Initiator. If a candidate’s aspirations were destroyed or swayed in the slightest degree by the impact of this experience, his moment of initiation had not arrived, nor was it likely to arrive until the “vision” had been banished by the power of the candidate’s unswerving dedication to the Work, and by his total indifference to the personality of either Crowley or himself.”
The Vision expands as the “candidate” is no longer “seeking” contact with the “93 Current” but actually entering it. This “Current” is often regarded as the energy matrix back of the Aeon of Horus. Horus, however, gives expression to a formula transcending the linear dispensationalist developments in human history, which might be regarded as an exoteric interpretation of the “Aeons.” Horus is a dual-god in Liber AL, the vengeful Ra Hoor Khuit of the 3rd Chapter having his reflex in Harpocrates or Hoor Paar Kraat, the Silent One. Silence indicates that no Word is uttered and thus we find in Grant’s “Outside The Circles Of The Time,” the suggestion that the Aeon of Horus, regarded as “the present aeon” is “itself the Wordless Aeon the advent of which has been dreaded and abhorred by the prophets of the past.”
Why would such a thing be “dreaded” and “abhorred?” Quite simply, it is because the last vestige of any point of reference is destroyed. All Words condense formulas, doctrines, ideas, ways of cloaking the void in form. The Wordless Aeon is the reflex of this process. To use Crowley’s metaphor, it is the draining of the last drop of blood into the Cup of Babalon. Subject and Object have become one and this fusion itself has dissolved into the cauldron. What rises is the “Babe of the Abyss” which grows in the Womb of its Mother. The maturation of this “Babe” endows it with the creative power whereby a Word may come forth, whereas beforehand, there were only Words to enter into.
Horus thus stands as Gateway to the Wordless Aeon and also an Aeon from which the Magickal Word ABRAHADABRA emerges, itself a glyph of dual power, fusing Macrocosm with Microcosm. From Silence, the Word emerges and pouring forth from the Word are its outcroppings, the “branches of Eternity.” Instead of Isis giving way to Osiris and so on, the symbolic pantheon unfolds from its center as a Mandala of Simultaneity.
“We” are portions of this Mandala and yet, like a hologram, the parts each contain the whole. Thus, the Cosmic Will unveils itself in our flesh and surges forward as individual action perfectly poised in the totality of the Mandala. ABRAHADABRA transcends Words of temporal application and expresses the foundation of all phases of the Great Work. The Void of the Silence and the Manifest World of Appearances become One.
There are languages which serve to communicate this Unity. They are, as described at the beginning of this essay, “human” modes of communication. Word. Image. These touch and resound with the perceiving and thinking faculties of the human being. They put forth their hooks and link into the mind. But this specific use language does not conform to the requirements of the rational mind or the limited being, whereby it may maintain the illusion of its supremacy. They form holes in the fabric of consciousness, become pictographs formulated in negative spaces, form openings into the “Outer Spaces” of the Nagual which may gush with terror or unspeakable beauty. Between the Tonal and the wholly unknowable void are all possibilities. All that is unimagined resides in this space. The Imaginal Manifestation is ever present at the Gate or Crossroads between these two states. To be at this juncture is to be Hadit. Self-awareness as “Being” gives way to Self-awareness as “Going.”
The Grimoire may pull us into this zone and offer its unique roadmap to the alien terrain. Conversely, we are faced with the great challenge of understanding, mapping and communicating the spaces we have entered. We cannot remain still nor can we rely on the old stand-by of models which speak only to limited apprehension of appearances. Our own creations spin off and mutate, forming vessels for the transmission of further information. Angels rush up and down that ladder. We are Jacob Dreaming. We are the Sphinx atop the Wheel. And at the same time, we are the Dream Itself. We are that Wheel.
We are creating even as we are being created.
William S. Burroughs would observe, during his career, that writing was lamentably lagging behind advances made in visual arts. This observation, however, would arise in the midst of Burroughs’ work to rectify the situation and bring things up to speed. Burroughs would slice, dice and splice the basic structure of language itself to get at new modes of utilizing the word as a means of liberating both reader and writer from the constraints imposed by a preprogrammed perceptive field. This “reality tunnel” was seen to be linked to language as a mechanism of control and restraint. Outside the confines of this prison reside the forces which Kenneth Grant describes as “alien.” The goal of the Magician (and for Burroughs, the writer IS a species of Magi) is to become, as described by Grant, “receptive to the influx of certain concepts that can, if received undistortedly, fertilize the unknown dimensions of his consciousness.” Grant goes on to emphasize: “In order to achieve this aim a new manner of communication has to be evolved; language itself has to be reborn, revivified, and given a new direction and new momentum.”
In this context, it is very interesting to read Burroughs’ thoughts on the pursuit for “Enlightenment” in the modern era. He would spend two weeks at Chogyam Trungpa’s Buddhist retreat in Boulder, Colorado, detailing the experience in the journal known as “The Retreat Diaries.” In the preface to these entries, Burroughs expressed a strong affinity between the Warrior motif of Carlos Castaneda and the Writer. He also saw this stance as being irreconcilable with the aims of Buddhism, as he understood it. Asked to relinquish his typewriter during this fortnight stay, Burroughs would argue with Trungpa on this point. Trungpa saw the setting aside of the “tool” as prerequisite to getting at an awareness of what resides behind our day to day activities, comparing it to a cook setting aside his utensils. Burroughs could not accept the comparison and wrote:
“A good percentage of my characters come from dreams, and if you don’t write a dream, in many cases, you forget it. The actual brain trace of dream memory differs from that of waking memory.”
Burroughs conceded his typewriter but refused to part with pen and paper. Cautioned that the dream images and unusual effects evoked by the meditative experience were distractions from the ultimate goal of enlightenment, he would state, as Warrior-Writer:
“The purposes of a Bodhisattva and an artist are different and perhaps not reconcilable…any writer who does not consider his writing the most important thing he does, who does not consider writing his only salvation…’I trust him little in the commerce of the soul’. “
Burroughs is finding the Writer and the Writing to be one and the same, the path of “True Will.” Thus he can state, from his position:
“I feel that I get further out through writing than I would through any meditation system. And so far as any system goes, I prefer the open-ended, dangerous and unpredictable universe of Don Juan to the closed, predictable karma universe of the Buddhists. Indeed, existence is the cause of suffering and suffering may be good copy. Don Juan says he is an impeccable warrior and not a master; anyone who is looking for a master should look elsewhere. I am not looking for a master; I am looking for the books. In dreams I sometimes find the books where it is written and I may bring back a few phrases that unwind like a scroll. Then I write as fast as I can type, because I am reading, not writing.”
This does not indicate that the pursuit of the “Bodhisattva” is erroneous. It does, however, overthrow a particular tyranny of ideas which would view the “Buddhist” objective as being superior to another field of action. In other words, the “Enlightenment” reveals the nature of the “space” in which any and all perceived phenomena is taking place. Within that “space” is the movement and directions which our individual lives have emerged to embody and exemplify. The relationship between the two is perfectly represented in Crowley’s work as Nuit, the Goddess of Infinite Space, and her consort, Hadit, the ever moving, dynamic and winged globe. Hadit typifies the Sun and as such, “Every Man and Every Woman is a Star.” Our individuality functions as the sovereign center of a solar system and yet each system takes its place in the grand matrix of the Body of Nu. The “ecstasy” of Nuit, the Gnosis of Cosmic Consciousness, is known by its reflex in the world of minute activity, perfected in the full flowing of its Nature.
The “New Aeon” may now be seen as the “Nu Aeon,” the Wordless Aeon or Primordial Silence from which all creative utterances arise to shed their radiance over unique Aeonic spheres, sectors and spaces. Aleister Crowley transmitted a multi-layered matrix and model of this Vision. Within this spectrum, we trace our Way. Our time is limited and we want to maximize each moment as we Become what we Are. The inward voyage cultivates our intuition, allowing it to resonate with those zones most attuned to its nature through the expressive and communicative mediums sharing its nature. We then find in the Grimoire a mirror, reflecting our deeper and most authentic self, describing the means by which it may rise and infiltrate our conscious mind, if we read it rightly.
To encounter the Grimoire in this fashion, which is to unlock its potentiality and activate its corresponding power zones, is emphatically NOT an intellectual processing of the material in question. In some instances, we will operate along the lines of ceremonial magic and utilize an outward and physical method of “opening the doors.” On other occasions, the methodology employed may be less apparent to an observing eye yet no less potent. Hence, Aleister Crowley would caution those working with Liber 231 to take care and not leave the sigils lying about, as he considered them, “dangerously automatic.”
The Grimoire occasions an interface whereby communication is intended to occur. Language and pictograph act as transmitters, transcending barriers of time, space and even dimension. What travels along these passageways has the potential to impact, enter into and fuse with the psychostructure of the magician, whether “encouraged” by ritual and recitation or not. In fact, the traditional ceremonial work of western magic is intended to reconstruct the psychosphere so that it may operate with greater receptivity and adaptability to the Incoming Current and Intelligence. Rather than remaining a “requisite methodology,” we find ritual taking its place with, as well as flowing into, a wide variety of techniques and idiosyncratic inventions as individual artistry arises from the foundational “set-up work.”
To conclude this introductory essay, we may observe that the traditional literature and methods of magic “stretch” our human faculties into a new perceptive territory. To use Castaneda’s terminology, magic “displaces the assemblage point,” or habitual mode of interacting with a multi-dimensional universe. Very much like the initial “spur” to the Enlightenment of Buddhism, we survey the scene and find that “life is suffering.” Something within us finds this unsatisfactory and stirs, yearns for something behind the limits of our present condition and is intuitively aware of a different and better Way of Being. Magic begins to open the blinds, turning the lock on the door and expanding, ultimately transforming, our comprehension and interaction with the larger spectrum of consciousness, of which we are part. Our previous vision will be seen as a narrow and confining prison and as one passes through Gateway after Gateway of Initiatory experience, the push towards “Freedom” will be understood as continuous. As Crowley remarked in The Book Of Lies, we will have BECOME The Way as opposed to simply moving along its course.
The work with Grimoires and Sutras, Channeled Writing and Inspired Writing, the continued manipulation of language and image, the passing into and out of chambers and cells, the communion with Gods and Devils, the “splendid adventure” whirls and burns as connections form within the Mega-Structure of the Body of God. The shattered Pleroma of the Gnostics reintegrates and, in doing so, reveals that it was never split asunder, merely perceived to be so through a small hole in a prison wall. This “Cosmic Drama” sings ABRAHADABRA as it is realized within the body, mind and soul-self of the magician who has become an expression of the Totality through the route of Individuality.