Continuing the sharing of published works with this essay, originally printed in Scarlet Imprint’s XVI: Bringing Down the House of God.
Outside of Orders, Groups and Clubs, this is my Personal “Manifesto” of Thelema, a Way in a Wayward World.
I hope you enjoy.
FALLING INTO FIRE
The final key always eluded me, and I decided that my search was as sterile as the alchemist’s search for the philosopher’s stone. I decided that it was an error to think in terms of some secret key or formula…The secret is that there is no secret…But I was wrong. There is a secret now in the hands of ignorant and evil men. A secret beside which the atom bomb is a noisy toy…And like it or not, I was involved…I had already ante-ed my life…
-William Burroughs, The Conspiracy
The world is on fire.
And are you laughing?
You are deep in the dark.
Will you not ask for light?
-Buddha, The Dhammapada
We were not built to last.
Our lives are fragile and passing things, a multitude of fragmentary phenomena, doomed for the dust of extinction ere we are conceived. It is an inescapable fact of nature. Our eventual dissolution is certain. A bullet on the battlefield. A brain flooding blood burst. Microbes replicate, ruining the body. Cancer cells multiply and assume dominion over what we thought was ours. Cars crash and crush a family of five in the click of a second hand that will never move again. In the most peaceable of places, we wear out and give way to decay. And we are hardly in the most peaceable of places.
Modern life is an international global assault zone and the conflict between nations is reflected in the most microcosmic of environments we occupy. From the urban hive to the living room to those portions of our consciousness which shift into shadow, the spears may be seen shimmering. All the while our nervous systems are aglow with a defensive tension until the wires crackle and burn out into the cold.
We come into this place, this highly relative perceptive field we call “reality,” stamped and sealed with terminal mortality. We all carry a solitary ticket to the grave, encoded in our flesh, ticking like a time bomb. As the gears of the clock spin and whir, its base totters on a shelf shaken to tectonic tremors. A snip of the umbilicus and we’re sent running to the crack of a gun.
The Race is on…and into the Labyrinth we plummet.
How we come to terms with this fast flashing scenario varies immensely from person to person. We find ourselves flung into the fray, set up from the start, and yet doggedly driven by an undeniable primordial push to evade the scythe and survive. We adapt to adversity and keep moving until our feet are cut out from beneath us. Seldom do we “go gently into that dark night.” But even the most protected person, the most charmed life, cannot escape the fate of its temporal nature. We are therefore vitally concerned with reconciling ourselves to this basic truth.
A myriad of perspectives and proclamations are formulated to confront the inevitable. We fashion gods and heavens-or reincarnational routes through the hereafter. We conceptualize the more bleak and foreboding alternatives within intellectual frameworks, allowing the mind’s momentary mastery of the conceptual to eclipse our helplessness in the face of fact. Some, finding even this approach too agitating to apprehend, detour into drunken diversions, extended visits to the Vanity Fair, distraction and debasement of the Self to the point of idiocy. Sometimes clever, sometimes desperate, we become painfully aware of our predicament and seek a solution, after one manner or another. Our lives not only realize experience but evoke and grapple with how to process that experience, especially as our portion of consciousness grows increasingly self-reflective.
In a word, we seek meaning.
The world is on fire and, as denizens of the dense globe, we are, ourselves, aflame.
Before we are utterly consumed within our circumstantial conflagration, some of us will stretch through the smoke and into the heat, reaching for reconciliation. We try to grasp the purpose, plan or point whereby we might free ourselves from the fetters of fear. Faced with the utter certainty that we must, willingly or otherwise, relinquish our grasp on all we have known, valued and cherished, we attempt to understand and find our place. We create contexts, developing (if not satisfied with simply inheriting) a worldview. If we are bold enough to face facts, we are forced to question, try and often shatter explanations that merely pacify and comfort.
The world is on fire and we don’t want an anesthetic. We want the real deal. If there does exist a superior way to confront the crisis and discover our way, we are ready to rush through the flames to find it.
Your old grandmother says,
“Maybe you shouldn’t go to school.
You look a little pale.”
Run when you hear that.
A father’s stern slaps are better.
Your bodily soul wants comforting.
The severe father wants spiritual clarity.
He scolds, but eventually
leads you into the open.
It is with this spirit that we will rise to the occasion of our present state of affairs and ask for light. We will ask. We will demand. And we will do so without shirking the cost-even if that cost proves to be our very lives. For, most assuredly, it shall be nothing less.
My mother groan’d! My father wept
Into the dangerous world I leapt…
-William Blake, Infant Sorrow
Blake’s memorable verse describes our condition from time immemorial. We are forced from the Lethe-waters of the womb to wake blinking in a battle zone. A sharp slap on our shimmering skin and a bullet is chambered for the child.
“No one promised us a rose garden” but we get one just the same. It is a vast unfurling vision of wonderment, pleasure and delight into which we are cast, ringed with flesh flaying thorns. The moist and misty nectar lifts into the scalding and merciless rays of the sun. Our world is beautiful, bewildering, blasted and blown. If we’ve truly “asked for Light,” we will have found ourselves being brought into a keen awareness of what is symbolically conveyed to the modern Freemason who seeks after the same: The Lodgeroom’s “Mosaic Pavement,” a checkerboard of black and white tiles, the Game of Good and Evil played out in a never ending array of patterns and forms. In this predicament, we are not unlike Prince Siddhartha who, upon leaving the shelter of his palace (itself a type of womb), is hurled into a world of sharp contrasts, the vitality of his youth and health reflected by age and death at the Gates to the Outer World.
We navigate the nursery and flee the front door to find fiery arrows cutting the air about our head. In their wake are whispered the words Wake UP!
If we’ve heard and hearkened, we are fortunate.
Masonic initiation will lead the Candidate to the “Blazing Star” in the center of the chessboard tiling. However, before we arrive at the Gnosis of this all-important glyph, we must understand and traverse the terrain which surrounds it. The Mosaic Pavement is none other than Blake’s “dangerous world.” It is our inheritance as human beings and its perils demand our utmost attention.
At the time of this writing, the World would seem to be in shambles, a disordered dance ever maximizing its mad momentum over the minefield of modernity. The latest update is but a mouse click away on our home computer. Ten minutes of exposure to the News and we cannot tell which is threatening to ruin the race more rapidly: Nature or Man? On one hand, we might glibly retort to the influx of second-hand horror: “What’s new? When have we NOT been antagonizing, assaulting, imposing upon and destroying each other? Is there any atrocity which isn’t an echo from the most ancient times?” Infanticide. Patricide. Genocide. Suicide. It seems to be a theme running through the blood-glutted gutters of our history.
Despite the proverb “There is no new thing under the sun,” we might feel a certain fear-fraught frequency not so easily fit into the admittedly brutal historical pattern, a post modern angst that is still winding up, some fundamental crisis which seems unprecedented. We are still mortal, still prone to nature’s entropy and caprice and still vulnerable to the ill-will of our fellow man. And yet there is something shivering through our souls that we can’t quite place our finger on, something menacing to more than our Bodily Soul.
One is reminded of Yeats classic poem “The Second Coming”:
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned…
Our culture is a paradoxical panegyric to a simultaneously mounting humanistic unfolding and self-defeating schizoid sickness. The cataclysmic tension between the two has grown apocalyptic. From mothers drowning their babies to the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center collapsing in a matter of minutes, we are witnessing behavior never seen in the so-called “lower” animal kingdom. Appalling, outrageous, nauseating. It is as if the stirring of our highest aspirations and potential is malignantly mirrored in some depraved and demonic depth. The Mosaic Pavement of the Soul comes into stunning clarity. We can witness in the reverberation of the churning upheaval all portentous predictions of the past made manifest in literal blood and fire. St. John. Nostradamus. Aleister Crowley.
The philosophic mind which apprehends its own mortality also surveys the scope of history and time. Rising above the drama of one’s individual life, one looks to the grand drama of the species as it procreates its path into futurity. From this larger perspective, can we find a pattern unfolding? What forecast forms from our observations?
We trace Trends, Epochs, Kalpas and Yugas.
Our own age is saturated with many such models, molded from myth and symbol. The Age of Aquarius. Aeon of Horus. Kali Yuga. End of the Mayan Calendar. The End Times. Eschaton. Ragnarok. The Second Coming.
The so-called New Millennium was surrounded by apprehension and anticipation, like a sizzling firework that failed to go off. 2012, with prophetic proponents crawling out of the woodwork, is right around the corner. Will it see the End of All Things As We Know Them? We DO know it’s already busy selling books and films. The countdown is ON and we look to the future as if it’s one huge New Years Eve party with the ball (or bomb) about to drop. Capitalizing on curiosity, credulity and keyed up nerves is an ancient game. Could it be that such portents of doom are actually distracting us from a more subtle and less entertaining threat?
If we ascribe credence to any of the above models (or similar contenders), we must ask: why? What do we see behind the changes we have witnessed and the development of events they embody?
It is the present author’s view that these models are not absolute. Rather, they embody modes of processing and contextualizing in an attempt to coalesce chaos into a manageable form.
This statement is emphatically not intended to be a dismissive view of a seemingly patterned progression of Ages and Times with their own dominant characteristics. The historic overview presented in the works of Aleister Crowley, for example, is particularly compelling in this regard, indicating an orderly pattern of developmental unfolding in human consciousness and culture. Yet even his teaching, for all its astounding internal consistency, is hardly beyond question. There are, however, several vital points in Crowley’s work which make his approach not only relevant to the immediate concerns of the present age but to a larger and trans-historic viewpoint, as well. He addresses both the Zeitgeist and the power within the human being to utilize this temporal condition to rise above it. Time and Eternity are not a dichotomy in Crowley’s vision but are as if two lovers, held apart by ignorance and yearning to conjoin.
The falcon cannot hear the falconer. The child has broken from the parent’s grasp and the Old Aeon of control is crumbling, catastrophically. Shall we lament this seemingly sorry state? In times past, death and dissolution were cause for sackcloth and ashes. In Crowley’s “new religion” of Thelema, the mourning has been replaced by the “Greater Feast.” What is seen by some as death or fearful finality is now being viewed as a vital expression of life whose nature is perpetual change and, by virtue of this change, movement and transformation.
Yeats felt an impending sense of doom rising with the modern age and expressed it well in his poem. With a certain prophetic passion, he continues:
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
One cannot help but think of Crowley when reading these lines. Yeats had met the young Englishman when both were members of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. Unimpressed with Crowley’s theatrics and bid for authority, his words regarding the young magician were few and dismissive. It would seem that Yeats was hardly troubled throughout his life by the memory of this upstart.
Crowley, on the other hand, would soon identify himself with the “Beast” whose hour had, in fact, “come round at last.” Contrary to Yeats, he did not envision this as a position of enmity towards man. The forces being unleashed upon the human race during the coming century he saw as birth pangs, a necessary tilling of the soil for a new and essential seeding.
The falcon could not hear the falconer but Crowley sought to hear the falcon. Thus it was that the Hawk-Headed God spoke through the medium of his new bride, delivering to an Englishman on his honeymoon the writing which was to color the rest of his life. Crowley also felt that this text was to color the lives of every human being on the planet…for the next 2,000 years.
The vision of Crowley’s book, Liber AL, is decidedly apocalyptic. For a man who emphatically identified himself with the number “666,” his Holiest of “Holy Books” evokes an atmosphere reminiscent of that set forth by the historic originator of (and, one might observe, antagonist towards) the symbolism, St. John of Patmos.
St. John’s vision is both Christic and comprehensive. It is a book of symbolic sequencing and spiritual stages. He foretells of future tribulation and an ultimate redemption and reward. Crowley follows suit quite nicely and anticipates the chaos, violence and upheaval of the last century, seeing “The Reward of Ra Hoor Khuit” as potential through the damage and destruction attendant to the incoming age.
What differentiates Crowley from every other prophetic doomsayer, including St. John, is precisely this reward. He not only anticipates the crushing collapse of societal status quo on a grand level. He understands its origin and destination in a manner unlike any preceding prophet.
Crowley’s conclusion to the foretold global shakedown is not the anticipated arrival of some messianic being or fantastic deity, a projection and idealization of specific human qualities, who might assume autocratic dominion over all, delivering due damnation for those who dared disbelieve. Rather, the redemption and reconciliation he envisions is ready for delivery in this life, on this earth and in this moment.
The Reward of Ra Hoor Khuit is imminent.
To seriously examine this approach is to make our way towards the “Blazing Star” of the Freemasons. Or as Crowley himself poetically put it:
One Star in Sight.
Prior to the rising of this Star in the sequence of images comprising the Greater Arcana of the Tarot, we will find a stage in the Great Work identified as The Tower.
In more traditional packs, this card depicts an edifice being struck by lightning from above. One is reminded of the Biblical Babel and Judgment made by a Divine Being upon the hubris of his own creation. This thematic angle is radically altered with Crowley’s revisionist approach to the Tarot, assisted by the artistry of Frieda Harris.
The image we find in the Thoth deck of Aleister Crowley is more magickal than moral. The tower is cubistic and yet serpentine. It is not only an emblem of the virile phallus; it is the phallus in orgasmic dynamism. This suggests a much more positive and creative interpretation of what, prior to this depiction, has been a two-dimensional image of destruction.
Human sexuality is intrinsically linked to human procreation. Just as the rising and falling of the phallus is cyclic, so is the individual life it begets, a cycle of endless birth and death.
Picasso, also expressing the pulse of life through cubist form, observed that “Every act of creation is first an act of destruction.” Every moment we breathe sees the birth of possibility into manifestation through the death of all that has gone before. Our dissolution and departure from physical form also takes its place in this endless process of creation.
It is of great interest to note, however, that the Tower is not a Gateway to the Mysteries of Death per se. It is the 16th Trump and the Universality of Mortality has already been dealt with in the 13th Card. Prince Siddhartha has beheld and accepted this truth. He has moved on in his Quest to seek after the answer to the question it evoked within his mind and heart. It has now led him to this Vision.
So, what does The Tower tell us if it is not simply an emblem of the entropic or catastrophic, both of which lead us to the stasis of a razed rubble-heap? How is this downfall also an uprising?
To begin, The Tower does herald breakdown. It is clearly a marriage between the ideas of the established edifice and a frenzied force which can tear it asunder.
We have mentioned the moralistic read on this symbolism, God Almighty hurling a thunderbolt from Heaven to remind Man that he cannot hope to lift off from the parapets of his prison nor slide between the bars on the cage of his creation. The oppressive and imprisoning Deity is a core theme in Gnostic thought. The thing worshipped as the “Supreme Being” or “Grand Architect of the Universe” is viewed as a false god, a demented and senile creature who fashioned form to bind the True God in a dismembered and broken state. Schools of Gnostic thought have risen from this premise to conclude that our earthly lives are an imperfection to be risen above, setting mortal life at odds with the ideal of Eternality.
This is not particularly helpful. Should we entertain such a view, we find ourselves strapped into a dire duality which maintains division as its keynote. We are still lost in the “Mosaic Pavement” and subject to its vicissitudes.
Crowley does not deny the existence of “God.” Rather he gives the world a wholly different definition of the word:
There is no God but Man.
If this is so, we find that it is MAN hurling the thunderbolt upon his own creation. It is self-destruction. We divide ourselves into the figures cast out from the stern structure. Male and Female we create OURSELVES. But in such a glyph, we find the resounding cry to take responsibility.
The Existentialism of the last century brought this theme to the fore, unafraid to face the fallout of God Himself. Without a Divine Mastermind to pin it all on, we were left with only ourselves. Therefore all responsibility for our lives became our own burden, our own problem and, from a more magickal mindset, our Great Work.
Herman Hesse addresses many of the Existentialist themes and concerns in his great novel Steppenwolf. Its protagonist, Harry Haller, is well worth considering in our examination of the present predicament.
Haller is a genius, a man of incredible refinement, sensitivity, intelligence and passion. These qualities find him alienated from his fellow creatures who (in the words of Liber AL) “…are dead…they feel not.” (2:18)
Haller lives life on his own terms and tailored to his own tastes, always on the outskirts of the fashionable and fake. He is not a happy figure, however. He is ill at ease amongst the human herd with which he must, as a member of society, contend. Despite a sense of misplacement amidst the mass mind, he confronts what others avoid and, in his relentless pursuit of the ultimate, grapples with the basic problem of mortality. He decides that the most authentic course of living must take personal responsibility for even this phenomenon. Therefore, Haller determines that he must not leave his death to the caprice of nature. To do so is the route of those who evade this fundamental fact.
Therefore, Harry Haller has set the time and date of his own suicide.
Is this an act of courage, of bravery and authenticity? Haller seems to think so. He has also fashioned an image of himself as half man and half wolf (hence, the title of the book, Steppenwolf or “Wolf of the Steppes.”) He understands that he is
both ultra civilized and ultra bestial. His fellow man seems to be neither: lukewarm, unfeeling and already dead.
We might find in Haller’s self-image a prototype of Crowley’s “Beast.” There is emphasis in Crowley on this creature being, not some archetype of evil, inimical to the human race, but rather “the number of a man.” It is a peeling back of artifice and a bold embrace of what underpins and lies locked beneath the confined human being. “Authenticity” and “True Will” may be regarded as interchangeable terms.
Despite this “advancement” in the personality of Harry Haller, his view is soon to be found wanting, despite the sense of superiority he carries (and perhaps commands).
Haller will meet an enigmatic and charming woman named Hermine who will become the “Babalon” to his “Beast,” exemplifying his need for a counterbalance, despite the density of his demeanor. Isolation and alienation are not to be understood as synonymous with self-sufficiency. Although settled on the course of his “final initiation,” Haller is in desperate need of what Hermine holds. She upsets his suicide plans by mocking his aversion to dancing. So willing to confront the Great Unknown and yet afraid to “cut the carpet” with a pretty woman. It is a wonderful curveball thrown at the would be “home run swing” of the Steppenwolf.
The sequence of events which follow find our hero, momentarily abandoning his self-assigned death date, meeting Hermine for lessons in dancing and becoming enraptured with her charm. Hermine, however, has entered Harry’s life for purposes more profound than leading the “stray wolf” into domestic bliss. Hermine is Babalon, whose name indicates the “Gate to the Sun.” The solar disc is the heart of a Universal Dance, a Cosmic Whole which has yet to be understood. Haller’s view of himself as “Man” and “Wolf” will ultimately give way to a Cosmic Vision where he realizes the horribly deficient nature of his “dual-personality.” Haller has tapped no great truth in seeing himself through this dualistic lens. Ultimately his being will realize an unfathomable myriad of manifestations, a genuine “Cosmic Consciousness” which serves as his true initiation.
This is a vital revelation for it not only unveils the true nature of the “self” but indicates the relation of the “self” with those from whom it has been alienated and therefore antagonistically inclined. To evoke this Gnosis is not only to “find our place” but understand the value of everyone (and everything) else. If every human being unfolded this latent potential within, there would be no more antagonism towards each other. And there would be no antagonism toward ourselves.
We live in the ultra-high frequency of the Modern Age. Rhetoric bombards our consciousness and infiltrates the linguistic patterns therein, acting on them like a virus. We have heard enough of the “War on Terror” to feel that “Terror” is a tangible thing, lurking around every corner. The words “weapons of mass destruction” dredge a dread that eclipses our inbred recoil at the thought of mere death. The imagined image of an Atomic Blast, a Mushroom Cloud or Nuclear Detonation brings us into an awful awareness of the Biblical Verse:
And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
What meaning does this hold for our present age?
William Burroughs wrote, in his book The Western Lands:
Can any soul survive the searing fireball of an atomic blast? If human and animal souls are seen as electromagnetic force fields, such fields could be totally disrupted by a nuclear explosion. The mummy’s nightmare: disintegration of souls, and this is precisely the ultrasecret and supersensitive function of the atom bomb: a Soul Killer.
Jaz Coleman spoke of the same harrowing power unduly unleashed on the Killing Joke recording “The Courtauld Talks,” a threat unlike any fashioned by nature of its own accord. The perspectives articulated in this talk were originally released in the mid-1980s. Over two decades later, they remain raw and vital and the reader is encouraged to “hear them out” even today. The pulse and pattern described in Coleman’s impassioned words has only wound up more tightly. In reaching for the stars, we have evoked exploding suns. Again, the Tower appears before our sight, collapsing and inverting as
…the confusion and hypocrisy surrounding the potential employment of these weapons
lunges into life.
Do we wish to debate and conjecture? These weapons exist, built upon the discoveries of genius and appropriated by the simian soul. We cannot help but feel unease-or vomitous anxiety-in the Mexican Standoff between Nations we find ourselves cast into.
Like deer eyes locked into oncoming headlights, we can simply freeze and take the impact.
Or we can wake up and deal with the danger.
The primordial response is “fight or flight.” The modern mass response is to freeze.
But we have heard the Voice of Buddha, have we not? We long for Light. And this Light flows from Fire, the opposite of icy immobilization.
We are blood, fire, passion and Light. A dire disaster assails us. We cannot be herded, counted, led and sacrificed. The “falconer” no longer holds sway with us. Therefore we shall dive and slice downward at angles oblique to the routes which would fain lead us to slaughter.
Having surveyed the situation, we may hear the Calling of the Star through the conflagration and din. Our environment is inimical to this inclination and troubling, the road beset with hostility and obstruction. More so than belief or faith in some idea, we require a Way of Action, a personal Bushido wherewith to stand where we are and move according to our highest and deepest impulse. The Blazing Star is not understood in terms of accepting an idea. Its radiance is revealed in a deep conviction and certainty as to its truth. This knowing is a Gnostic affair and the reaches of its rays extend through the Dark Nights of the Soul which will assuredly shake our foundations as we press onward.
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
We seek the opposite of this state. We want the best to be possessed of total conviction (Gnosis) and full of passionate intensity (Power and Action). Joining these two energies, we may make our lives into a dynamic engine. Liber Al scorns the “professional soldiers” and extols the merit of the True Warrior. This does not imply a romanticized embrace of violence as something heroic or noble in and of itself. Rather, it points to the Art of our Combat, our Striving, and our coming into conflict with oppositional forces. This is well expressed in Carlos Castendeda’s words:
The basic difference between a warrior and an ordinary man is that a warrior takes everything as a challenge while an ordinary man takes everything as a blessing or a curse.
Crowley wrote in Magick in Theory and Practice that when one has aligned with the True Will, one is assisted by the “inertia of the universe.” Yet we find, in our day to day life, that deciding upon the course of Will and acting in accordance with it, we may thereby summon tremendous opposition. Some, embracing the assurance that “Success is your proof,” seemingly flounder into failure. But success and failure are relative value judgments often colored by a cognizance of societal approval. Liber Al says “Ye are AGAINST the people.” The populace will not necessarily regard, let alone applaud, our Path.
Still, we are called to realize “success” and, furthermore, to do so where we stand, in the present moment. Entertaining notions of posthumous praise or anticipated effect is wholly speculative. We maintain that by fusion of the Gnosis-fueled Will and its translation into Action, the word “Nay” is abolished and the most perfect of actions may be accomplished perfectly. However seemingly miniscule, the Universe is gathered around the event, every phenomena moving in accord with it and this motion becoming the full embodiment of the spiraling pulse of the cosmic bloodstream.
Crowley served as the Revelator and Developer of a “New World Religion,” replete with all the classic characteristics of any cultus: his prophetic identity, a series of divinely inspired texts, commentaries, organized systems of teaching, initiation, worship, even strategies for conversion.
The “founding document,” dictated by a “praeternatural intelligence” announces a rending of the veil and denouncement of all previous religious systems as defunct.
It is interesting in this regard to observe Crowley’s comments on Taoism, a religion belonging to the “Aeon” previous to last (as did the Egyptian culture through whose symbolic lens the revelation came).
Writing to his “Magickal Son in Liber Aleph, Crowley states:
Thou knowest well how I keep from me all Taint of Fable, or of any Word unproven or undemonstrable. First then I speak of Lao-Tze, whose Word was TAO. Hereof have I already written much unto thee, because His Doctrine hath been lost or misinterpreted, and it is most needful to restore it.
This theme of “restoration” is vital in Thelemic thought. Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam all lend influence to the development of his philosophy and the symbolic forms which embody it. Even Christianity, viciously assaulted in both Liber AL and Crowley’s subsequent writings, is understood as potentially restorable as a “Solar-Phallic Religion” for the Present Aeon.
With these and other observations, we find the violent overthrow of previous religious thought depicted in AL 3: 49-56 to portend a cleansing or purification stage in a global human alchemy.
The Tower of Temples testifying to these falsehoods is also the clay body of Adam, awaiting the life-bestowing breath of the Most High. It is torn down and reduced to dust that it may be summoned to rise again in its “restored” or “spiritual” state. This is one meaning of the Christic Resurrection. Again we may turn to the astoundingly original image created by Crowley and Harris to depict this Arcana. It’s visual rhythm and movement depicts the structure in such a fashion to make its falling and rising simultaneous.
This endless falling and rising is not, however, meant to exemplify an architectural Sisyphus. Each subsequent tearing down and building up is a moving OUTWARDS, propelled by an evolutionary yearning in the direction of its destiny. For the falling and rising are as Yin and Yang and the Tower itself is the Tao which Crowley continues to comment on, determining that:
…this Tao is the true Nature of Things, being itself a Way or Going, that is, a kinetic and not a static Conception. Also He taught this Way of Harmony in Will, which I myself have sought to shew thee in this epistle. So then this Tao is Truth, and the Way of Truth…
Having moved into this understanding of Trump 16 as such a dynamic and never-ending flux of energy and growth, we may see ourselves as “Tao-ers,” “Living Stones” being built into an ever evolving edifice, a moving castle, a Starship fashioned of the very substance into which it sails and riding the arc of its spiraling outflow.
William Burroughs penned a short story called The Conspiracy which continues events set into play from his classic novel, Naked Lunch. The book, as it ended, left its protagonist, the junkie-writer William Lee, fleeing from the law, having been targeted for criminal activity far beyond his possession of narcotics. Strangely, the interest in Lee was focused on the things he had written, mind-crimes of an unknown but particularly threatening nature.
When Naked Lunch was first published, the book aroused tremendous controversy for its so-called obscenity. Decades later, we find it on the shelves of chain booksellers. Was its content vindicated or simply assimilated?
Modern American culture has broken through censorship of “offensive material” to the point where, with adequate financial backing, “anything goes.” Yet information still remains repressed and our attention is continuously diverted down drainpipes, built about our brains like the bars of a cage.
William Lee flees to the home of his friend Mary and the following conversation ensues:
“Scientists have perfected the anti-dream drug, which is, logically a synthetic variation on the junk theme…And the drug is habit-forming to a point where one injection can cause lifelong addiction. If the addict doesn’t get a shot every eight hours he dies in convulsions of oversensitivity.”
“Like nerve gas.”
“Similar…in short, once you are hooked on the anti-dream drug you can’t get back. Withdrawal symptoms are fatal. Users are dependent on the supply for their lives and at the same time, the source of resistance, contact with the myth that gives each man the ability to live alone and unites him with all other life, this is cut off. He becomes an automaton, an interchangeable quantity in the political and economic equation.”
“Is there an antidote?”
“Yes. More than that, there is a drug that increases the symbolizing faculty…
…the symbolizing or artistic faculty that some people are born with-though almost everyone has it to some degree as a child-can be increased a hundred times. We can all be artists infinitely greater than Shakespeare or Beethoven or Michelangelo. Because this is possible, the opposite is also possible. We can be deprived of symbol making power, a whole dimension excised, reduced to completely rational, non-symbolizing creatures…”
It is precisely this sort of “human cattle” which stands on the opposite side of the Cosmic Vision embodied in the mind of Harry Haller at the phantasmagoric climax to Steppenwolf.
Naked Lunch assaulted hundreds upon hundreds of years of societal aversion to its dark underbelly. It is a significant work of literature but only one amongst many with regards to the unseemly subject matter it gives voice to. Crowley foresaw the rise of such dark forces from the collective unconscious, impinging on the species with catastrophic consequence. Indeed, Liber AL paints a picture of conflict and conflagration, “labor pains” shaking the earth as the Child is born in blood. We can count the contractions in the radical upheaval of the last century with its unspeakable horrors and the unthinkable breakthroughs that have risen in its wake. We would be sadly mistaken, however, to think that we have erected an edifice of liberty on the ocean of gore flowing through the years since Crowley received his revelation in Cairo. Where repression has given way to permissiveness and indulgence, there remains a Voice vehemently against the people. Power and Control remain in place and, when threatened, retaliate.
As Burroughs expressed in his fiction, the nauseating potential of the Atomic Bomb to kill the very Soul finds its reflex in the Soul’s potential to obliterate the forces in command of such devastation. The increasing dissolution of our deeply held fears towards sex, death and all subsurface energy beyond rational comprehension is calling up what Michael Bertiaux calls the “Transcendental Id,” a force which can only be embodied in the “Monstrous Soul.” The reaction to this rise of this Beast is not consciously structured. Tales of the “Illuminati” masterminding global dominance smokescreen the real opposition, operating beneath the stratum of the conscious mind, spewing its full force upwards into the now outworn but persistent ideological frameworks, vehicles whereby the dying Archon maintains its life support.
We have spoken of the Universe being in a state of growth, movement and transformation from our vantage point in the Timezone. From an increasingly transpersonal and Trans -spatial angle, events perceived as sequential may now be understood as simultaneous. In other words, the past and future are not places we may access by techniques of time travel resembling motion in a vehicle, from point A to point B. Rather, our time traveling machines are the particular set-ups we find useful for evoking consciousness transcending these ideas of temporal and spatial distinction. When this is attained, we may then “condense” our focus and find it landing at a given juncture outside of our personal calendrical consciousness.
The topic of esoteric time travel is touched on at this juncture as it points to the nature of contacts which have been and are being forged with what we shall call Extraterrestrial Intelligences. Such contact forms a critical element in constructively confronting the catastrophic conundrum of our present age. This view is given particular emphasis in the Typhonian Order and has been pursued over the past half century by Kenneth Grant as OHO of this Collective. Critics have dismissed such focus as a laughable flight into fantasy, a seeking of solace in the notion of pretend friends from beyond who might sweep in and save us from ourselves.
This could not be further from the case. Thelema is a Way which emphasizes personal responsibility, gnosis in the moment and the realization that there is No God But Man. We are not seeking salvation from some scintillating saucer in the sky. We are not turning to telepathic teachings which might replace tapping our own wells of wisdom nor are we “bowing the knee” to imagined “Superior Beings.”
Crowley cuts to the chase when he simply states:
Mysticism is getting into communication with individuals who exist on a higher plane than ours. Magick is the raising of oneself to their level.
It is our Gnosis which facilitates the “getting into communication” with these entities. Our Path of Warriorship is our “Magick,” raising us, step by step, to that level. We are, from this perspective, becoming alien. Or, perhaps better put, we are realizing the part of ourselves which is alien, which is fashioned from star-stuff.
One modern writer on Buddhist thought observes:
Life…is a subatomic thing. The heavier elements in the human body-all the ones heavier than iron-are derived from supernovae, giant exploding stars that lit the heavens eons before our own solar system was born. Supernovae, then, are integral to the existence of the human race. They seem so far away, so ancient, yet they are one with us.
(Woody Hochswender, The Buddha In Your Rearview Mirror)
The Star is not only a primary symbol in Thelemic writing but one of the most ancient of images embodying our innate longing for that which is Beyond. Its resurgence as a significant idea in Liber AL is not merely metaphor. It cuts to the heart of what we are on the deepest level. Aiwass did not appear to declare that, despite the unthinkable atrocities rising upon the surface of the globe, we are all “special snowflakes.” The New Aeon is not New Age. Starfire courses through the bloodstream of Every Man and Every Woman, linking our lives not only to the forgotten past but the future, as well.
The Blazing Star of Freemasonry has been a topic of much research, debate and controversy. Geometrically, it is a Pentagram, long associated in conservative circles with a lurid and prejudiced view of witchcraft, Satanism or the occult. For this reason, many modern Freemasons take pains to disassociate this prominent symbol from its historical, philosophical and occult origins, ascribing to it a purely “moral” meaning.
This image, however, is one of many in the Lodgeroom which speaks to Freemasonry’s deep reach into the wisdom and knowledge of the past as it relates to the most progressive and modern views on science and spirituality. Fusing symbols from a great diversity of such sources, Masonry utilized the past to aim at and springboard into the future.
Albert Pike, known to have borrowed liberally from Eliphas Levi in his reworking of and commentary on Scottish Rite ritual, did not gloss over his treatment of this symbol. Ultimately he connects its image to the Dog-Star or Sirius.
Pike lived through the American Civil War, serving as a Confederate General. From the historical vantage point, UFOlogical phenomena was not a frequently documented event during this time. The association between Sirius and the so-called “Greys” had yet to enter popular consciousness. Never the less, Sirius would tend towards this direction, increasingly identified in the modern era with extraterrestrial life and intelligence.
After years of deep study and research in the areas of world religion and the occult literature, Pike would view Sirius as a vital component of the ancient mysteries, an element to be restored to its proper place of significance in the modern world by means of the Fraternity’s influence.
In his extensive commentary on the ritual work of the Scottish Rite, Pike interprets the Astro-Mythos of Sirius in terms of Anubis, assisting Isis in her quest for the severed pieces of her husband’s body.
Sirius-Anubis thus embodies a key agent in a profound unification, first of the Self (Osiris) and then of the divided sexes. This union will ultimately evoke Horus, who speaks through the praeternatural intermediary of Aiwass.
Anubis walks between Life and Death. It is therefore unsurprising that his Star has served to open a Gateway between human and extraterrestrial minds.
Just as Isis and Osiris, aided by the Dog-God, may realize the birth of Horus, the link between the Human and Transhuman link to unleash the Aeonic Current manifest as the Hawk-Headed God.
Every Man and Every Woman is a Star. A Sirius. An Anubis. We are all potentially the Point where the Eternal and Temporal may join in a Mystic Marriage, begetting the Child who partakes of both worlds.
The ordeal of the Tower, now seen as the shattered body of Osiris, is meant to lead us further through the Tarot Keys, whereby the Star shall rise and find the ideal field for its manifestation.
It is my opinion that a denial of any other intelligent life form in the cosmos is both arrogant and ignorant. Possibility, however, does not imply hard and fast evidence. We began this short work by reflecting on human mortality, calling up a sense of urgency with regards to our own lives. The very last thing we want to encourage is wasting our precious time chasing after speculations which may prove to be scenic routes down a cul de sac.
Few, if any, of us are in possession of the technological apparatus whereby we might approach “contact” in the physical sense of the word. As Magicians, however, we are not overly driven in this direction. The Beings we have alluded to are not suspected to reside on the far edges of our known universe, inhabiting some planet similar to ours. Their distance may be unimaginable and yet we have opened a door of communication by means of a factor distinct from physical considerations.
The extraterrestrial is the upsurge of the futuristic potential in human consciousness, realizing itself in the present.
The Star is MAN and this is given special emphasis in Crowley’s Cultus. In fact, it derives from the declaration in his initial revelation:
Every Man and Every Woman is a Star.
As alluded to above, we are, in our most primordial origins, made of Star-Stuff. Every Star is a SUN. Sirius has been known as “The Sun Behind The Sun,” the future Star behind the present Self. The emphasis on Entities in Space seems to be a mythic projection of ourselves outside of TIME. Thus, the occult techniques of “Space Travel,” such as the utilization of the “Mask of LAM” as interdimensional exploratory space-craft (see Kenneth Grant’s The Lam Statement), are a guise for transcending the self-identification of our temporal ego (via the Mask) and evoking awareness of the potencies of the future (Maat-the “future Aeon”) that they may be more readily realized in our present. The emphasis remains humanistic yet it is in the area where the human being is turning the next corner of evolutionary development, one in which we may not simply participate but cooperate.
How do we give ourselves a fighting chance in the Labyrinth of Life? Forced to move ahead through time or perish, hounded by Death-dogs and bombarded by forces meant dehumanize and assimilate us, what weapons can we possibly wield? Where is our “Hope in Hell?”
A very valuable Key is found in Kenneth Grant’s Outside The Circles Of Time, where he cites Michael Bertiaux:
…become a monster and escape that pathway, that alone is the doorway of the Daathian portal of total darkness. I have told you that all avenues of escape are blocked, but in truth there is the doorway of becoming a monster, by becoming the beast, so that thereby you can escape by the very door they came through. Know, also, that this door is always open and that ingress from beyond is a constant threat…by this means only the magician can escape from this universe into the next system of worlds.
This imagery may sound fantastic but as we examine the environment in which this scenario is cast, we will find much of vital importance in these words.
The Tower is struck by Lightning but is itself a volcanic phallus from whose pinnacle the light-spraying flame-fluid flies. If the darkened canopy of starless heaven would drape and dissolve this edifice, it rises up to rend the veil of night which would fain cloak and choke its vital life.
The black blanket of this devouring darkness is the Assaultive Abyss into which we thrust and plunge. This night CAN tear each and every brick of our being into the swirling dust devil of its diffusive devices. Conversely, it may become the field of possibility where our dissolution is willed for the purpose of a grand Transmutation which we, ourselves, have set into motion. The Bottomless Pit becomes a Cauldron, an alchemic vessel in which the cosmic creation moves forward.
The Oath of the Abyss is now seen as a type of Babalonian Bushido whereby the Bornless Babe is conceived.
Babalon, we know, is the Gate of the Sun but the Sun (Tiphareth) is also the Gate to Babalon.
We must conjoin the “Supreme Sanity” of Adonai, the Holy Guardian Angel, its perfect balance and solar light with the insanity, dispersion, darkness and off-kilter imbalance of the Abyss until the “twain become one flesh” and this “flesh begets the Word.”
The Key to this magical union lies in the Oath of the Abyss which is not simply a declaration of dauntless determination but the precise METHOD to realize the GOAL. We might even say that Mastery of the Method is itself the only goal which will ultimately prove efficacious to the whole of the Operation.
I will interpret every phenomena as a particular dealing of God with my soul.
This act begins the process of total assimilation of all forces and factors in nature and our experience of it.
So, one may ask, how does this differ from a complete ego-centering of the self?
Here Crowley adds his own symbolism to the original ideas of the GD, finding the fulfillment of this Ordeal in the single and last drop of blood drained into the “Cup of Babalon.”
The entire field of experience has been apprehended without the selective process whereby we favor one event over another. Having obliterated this division between “sheep and goats” we will have found that even our complex minds have become subject to the Process. The Ego, in this sense, has used itself as a reference point for the purpose of eradicating itself.
One does not physically die (and it might be argued that physical death does in no wise automatically augment this initiation!). One does not forget one’s given name or “Drop out of the World.” Rather the world is embraced in its totality and by world we may well use Wittgenstein’s definition, “that which is the case.” Or all that is the case, all that could ever BE the case.
Power and Control works with the management and manipulation of categories and divisions. The Abyss unites the divided world in such a manner that the impinging forces of any one polarity hold no more sway over the magician. He prefers no one event over another and thereby becomes One with the Event behind all events.
This Supreme State births the New Creation which then reincarnates in Time as a particular vehicle of the Oversoul. Just as we have utilized our esoteric Starships to access the Transcendental Spheres, the Power and Intelligence resident therein now infiltrates and directs our flesh forms as a vehicle for its awakened activity in the Timezone.
As Above, So Below.
The ceremony described below was generated as part of the author’s studentship with Rev. Michael Bertiaux. The task at hand entailed reworking and developing a Mass, a ceremony employed by “Bishops of the Inner Order” whereby the Presence, Nature and Energies of the Egyptian Deity PTAH are called forth and incorporated into the magickal body of the priest.
The usual conventions of such ceremony were dispensed with in favor of an intrapsychic experience whereby the Eucharist would be astrally established and imbibed in conjunction with the activated energies of Kundalini.
The materials for this ceremony are almost non-existent. One has only to secure the appropriate environment and develop facility in the disciplines of concentration and visualization to employ this rite.
The dynamics of the ritual bear some similarity to the LAM-Serpent Sadhana, developed by Michael Staley (see Starfire Vol II Issue I). Having performed an adapted version of this ceremony several hundred times, it would seem only natural that it would leave impress and lend influence to the mental movements of the present rite. It may be freely modified by the magician who wishes to experiment with it. However, we would like to offer the following observation. The repeated and continued use of methods found to be efficacious in establishing rapport with a given Intelligence not only develop its “Cultus” on Earth but establish “recognition signals” within the Intelligence in question. Hence the mantra OLALAM IMAL TUTULU not only effectively rent a veil between human consciousness and LAM but has grown into a vital Key whereby we may more readily evoke response from this transdimensional force.
Should a supportive cultus be found wanting, our own repetition of ceremony will find it being molded to experience in a manner that will ultimately reveal its key potencies.
The Midnight Mass of PTAH
A Rite of Atumic Power
This ceremony is ideally performed in solitude, in full wakefulness, yet reclining in bed, preferably with arms crossed over the chest. The room should be completely dark and precautions taken to avoid disturbance. Ear plugs may be used.
The substance of this Rite is the Bread of Darkness and the Wine of Silence which are the Sacraments sacred unto Ptah. These Elements shall be transmuted by our Art into the Light and Word.
The Magician shall establish his Pyramid and the Path leading to the subterranean tomb over which it is erected. Once this is adequately built up in the Imagination, he shall then descend into that selfsame Tomb, where he will lie in repose, mummified and enclosed in a Sarcophagus.
There is no light in this Tomb nor is there any sound whatsoever. The Magician shall rest in this Void for an Eternal Moment and then rise through the below described Transfigurations, which are the God
The body, laid horizontally, now rises to a vertical posture, mummified and erect.
Above this body, below it and to the four quarters appear 6 golden orbs of intensifying light. Tendrils will emerge from the orbs above and below, snaking around and covering the space they describe, which shall be in the form of an Egg.
The Magician is now Ptah and shall identify himself as such. He is one with the Staff of Ptah, which may now be understood as follows:
1) Djed: the column of the spine
2) Ankh: the hemispheres of the brain
3) Was: the projection point between these two centers which may move in 1 of 2 directions:
- a) the Ajna Chakra-or Third Eye
- b) the Sahasrana Chakra-or Gateway to Cosmic Consciousness
The purpose of these two Gateways is, respectively:
1) Exploration of the Transmundane Zones, with specific emphasis on the Sirius Star System (Set)
2) Complete fusion with the Cosmic Mind and saturation in its Gnosis
As this rite is a “Mass,” we shall focus on the 2nd objective.
The base of the spine, which is the seat of the Kundalini or Fire Snake, is now envisioned as a metal disc of Gold which shall be set into motion, turning 3 1/2 times.
These revolutions shall release a column of Light, extending up the spine and flooding the skull. Here the hemispheres shall melt into a singular globe, all components and particles dissolving into a unified sphere.
Within this space, Darkness and Silence are now one. They evoke Supernal Light and the Word and all four elements combine. This is the Union of the Cosmic Cross and is the Awakening of the Ankh upon the Staff of Path.
Let this conjoining be accomplished by virtue of the infusing Spirit and Intelligence of — & —. This shall be inwardly articulated. Here the Magician, as Chela of the High Priest of —, becomes one with the Master. The High Priest is the Embodiment of Cosmic Consciousness and the Magician is the Embodiment of Individual Consciousness or the Temporal Ego Self. Herein the Eternal Word becomes Flesh. The Master — and the Magician are now one and, as such, embody the Lord PTAH. When this fusion is certain, the Magician will proclaim unto the Ends of the Universe the Word of Power and is wholly possessed of and one with PTAH.
The Magician will remain in this posture and state for an Eternal Moment, the Celebrant perfectly one with the Sacrament.
This Form of PTAH is the Immortal and Spiritual Body of both the Magician and of All Living Beings. It shall begin to hover horizontally over the mortal body of the Magician in the Tomb. Slowly it diffuses into, and thus empowers, the body and mind of the Priest.
The 6 globes of Light begin to absorb the “wrappings” which have formed the surrounding “Egg.” These orbs move and join with each other into a great shining Sun above the heart of the Magician and then are absorbed therein.
At this point, the Rite is concluded and the Magician may rise, his mortal form and temporal mind having fed upon this great Cosmic Energy and Intelligence. Impressions, Illuminations and Insights shall all be noted in the Magical Diary.
The Names of those August Entities evoked in this Rite are excluded from this present document, as is the “Word of Power.” This should not leave the reader feeling that the ritual is incomplete.
The Entities evoked are manifestations of the author’s personal Guru and belong to the dynamics of Guru Yoga. Anyone wishing to experiment with the above ceremony should utilize those symbolic potencies which embody the Guru Mechanism in their own sphere of experience and initiation.
Likewise, the “Word of Power” should be of personal significance to the psychonaut. Its function is to “rend the veil” and as such should embody the energy within the magician’s mind most closely aligned with the cosmic current.
As the reader turns his or her eyes from these concluding words and back to the world at large, everything described above awaits. The minute hand has only to circle the clock within the space of a few breaths to bring about events of monumental impact. New life and sudden death. Between these Great Gateways, billions upon billions of seemingly insignificant events are called into play which will trace and chase the tumbling dominoes of cause and effect toward the most radically transformative scenarios we have ever seen. We are most undoubtedly in the thick of this Cosmic Happening. We are the Eye in the Centre of the Hurricane. Will we open to the fullness of what we are and become the Eye in the Triangle? Or will the Cataracts of Chaos cloud our clarity and muddy our Mission?
Incarnate in our primate bodies, we are subject to a myriad of influences, including our inbred and hard wired instincts, fear and inclinations. There is a part of us which cannot help but be the deer mesmerized by oncoming headlights or, perhaps worse, the proverbial ostrich with head sunk in the sand.
And then there is the Star-Self Rising, the Eye Opening and shooting forth Light even as it receives it. It may emerge as the destructive bolt which shatters the Tower. But see now the King and Queen plunging from its pinnacle. Shaken from their separate thrones, their established positions of dominion are now seen as nothing more than a tenuous hold on darkness of mind and denial. Bereft of their ability to “rule,” they fall to the earth and must come to terms with what they are. This necessitates coming to terms with what the other also IS. In this there is union. One flesh. One throne. From this marriage a new Tower rises. A Tower and a Temple whose stones are Living Beings.
The Tower is signified in the Tarot by the Number 16. This number is also a crucial key in understanding and unlocking the “metamathematics” of Michael Bertiaux’s Voudoo-Gnostic writings. It occurs time and again in his voluminous writings and a clue as to why is found in his lesson on “The Genius of IFA and the Oracle-Metaphysics: Beginnings of the Great System” from the Voudon-Gnostic Workbook.
It is within this series of lessons that Bertiaux attributes the massive collection of lessons and papers known as the Monastery of the Seven Rays to the influx of the Gnostic Powers of IFA. IFA depicts a hyper-logic, a metamathematics, which, although belonging to extradimensional realms of thought, is never the less immersed in all immediate and physical experience. It is a system of Gnostic Thought and Power which unites “Heaven and Earth” as one realm. The changes we observe rising and falling in our experience relate to its pattern and complex of relationships. Order and Chaos fuse into a Synergistic Whole in this system (which Bertiaux calls”the highest form of Gnostic Magick”). The word Itself, Bertiaux notes, indicates “The Grand Chemin” which means “The Great Way.” Similarly, one of the popular interpretations of the word Tarot is “Royal Road.” Crowley also states that LAM, in the Thibetan Tongue, indicates “The Way.” We know the Tao is also The Way and a way of consciously interfacing with our mind and environment in its never ceasing pulse of change. Thelema points to the “Tao Lama” who is extraterrestrialized, heralding from a future Aeon. And yet this “future Aeon” is not to remain a speculative portion of the imagination. It is the very real and very crucial potentiality of our present human existence. Accessing this zone of energy and intelligence is to form a link, bridge or tunnel whereby That Which May Be is in dynamic communion with That Which Is Becoming.
The Key Number in the Gnostic IFA system is 16. It is an extension of the perfection and symmetry of the four-fold cross.
We cannot evade Chaos. It is the substance of reality from which all things emerge. Nor can we relinquish our Will to dispersion. We are not solely magicians, effecting change in a perpetually changing field of experience. We are Warriors whose Warriorship is based on actualizing an Art of Life, a Bushido meant to keep the hand to the plow and our feet firmly fixed on the Grand Way. We embrace this Way in life and guide it through the Portals of Death. We are casting forth shining seeds which shall take root in future times. Our mortal eyes may never know their flowering yet they shall assuredly delight The Great Eye which Beholds All. We may share in this delight only as we become The Eye ourselves.
The Students of the Monastery of the Seven Rays are introduced to 16 “entities” called Syzygies, whose form and intelligence comprise the body of Abraxos, the Grand or Cosmic Man. These 16 areas of energy and gnosis work together to hold the forces of Chaos from disrupting and wiping away the world. It cannot be overemphasized at this point that this scenario is not one of wishing to eradicate the Chaos (as if such a thing were possible). The 16-fold system of the Syzygical Matrix is the active counterbalance to Chaos, whereby the two forces may be seen as the perpetual movement of feet upon “The Great Way.”
We walk this Path. What, then, is “walking?” It’s a continuous throwing oneself off balance and a continuous reestablishment of balance, driven by intent and volition. The two actions are felt as one. It is the Going of Hadit in the Book of the Law. LAM, as Crowley observes, is “he who Goeth,” depicted by the Egyptian Ankh or Cross.
It is the final image of the Tarot which depicts the most vibrant and ecstatic union. A female form, lithe and lovely, perfectly poised in her command of the venomous “Serpent-power.” The “All-Seeing Eye” of which we have spoken sheds its Supernal Light upon this Union.
I had wondered for some time at the astrological attribution of this card to Saturn. Saturn is a Planet typically linked with limitation, contraction, binding, and restriction. Some writers on the “Science of the Stars” have sought to “redeem” the ringed globe’s “bad reputation” by taking a positive view of the challenges and set-backs we are presented with in Life. This is not at all a poor approach to any Astrological antagonism, rising above fear and dismay to find the positive potential in the difficult situations. However, as we come to the Grand Climax of our Voyage on the Royal Road, as we behold this most magnificent image, both sensuous and cosmic, we have to wonder how this relates to Saturn, to “Father Time,” to the Cannibalistic Devourer of his own Progeny, the image of heavy laden sorrow.
I had never quite understood this beyond twisting ideas around to “force a fit.” It was only when my own Guru would assign me to work with this particular energy and Intelligence that I broke through Intellect and entered the Gnosis of Saturn.
In classical astrology, Saturn was the outer ridge of our known universe. The association of this planet with restriction was quite apropo as it was the Gateway between our ordered universe and the Chaos which surged Beyond. If Saturn functioned as a barrier (and subsequently radiated its restrictive qualities into our everyday affairs), it also partook of what was on the Other Side.
The physical planet is characterized by an extraordinarily intense climate, raging windstorms moving across its surface at incredible speeds. The substance of the Void, untamed and all powerful, is condensed in this framework, cosmic energy honed into a formidable point of focus and application. The Infinite meets the Finite at the Gates of Saturn, which functions as a Titanic Transformer and Occult Transmitter between the two.
As the symbolic outpost of outermost space, the orbit of Saturn moves along the contours of the body of Nuit. As the container, binder and restrictor, Saturn embodies the Cosmic Will manifest in the singularity of action made manifest in any given moment through the Will of the Magician.
Saturn is also the lover of Venus. In their union, the two fuse into Kali, Black Goddess of Time. Between her dancing legs are the Fires of the Crematorium which are also found the Fires of Eternity. These flames leap about and lick the Tower, tearing it down, building it up, absorbing its energy and bestowing it with life.
Thus it is that the Tower first shows us the crisis and then indicates the Way in which are to Walk, the Tao behind the appearance of conflict. If the Tower is our Illumination, then the Arcana known as The World is that which is fully illumined.
Will you not ask for Light?
The Source of this Light is the Invisible Fire. Into its omnipotence and omnipresence we fall. The forces unleashed by the uncurbed technological advances of the species in our maddening modern age are now a hurricane blast, tearing through the toppling temple walls and exposing the skeleton within.
The skull met by every incoming Freemason, every co-creator of the Church Not Made With Hands, was more than a mere metaphor for mortality. It was a way of expressing that which remains, the permanent which is hidden in the transient.
The Lord, as Christos, as the Divine and Cosmic Will, makes the dry bones dance before the Vision of Ezekiel. It is this same Poet-Prophet who describes a fire shut up in his bones.
The source of this Fire is upon the Ever-Going Fourfold Chariot Throne of Deity, inspiring the Merkabah Mystics to assail the Halls of Hekaloth in pursuit of nothing less than the Gnosis of this singular Vision. They were seeking the Ultimate by means of their own Tower, climbing through the trials and tests of its heights that the Divine Fire, unveiled and naked, would return to and infuse the Earth.
The “ignorant and evil men” Burroughs spoke of have built a Universe about us, a pseudo-reality inverting the evolutionary place of both Chaos and Order. What we behold around us, in the mania, panic, desperation and soul-sucking despair of this world, is their invention and monstrous offspring. It is a Dominion born of Fear and feeding on the same.
The malevolent machinery powering this Empire is increasingly exposed as its outer form molders and rots. This Dying God will not think twice before blindly burying you in its black bosom.
You, on the other hand, were not born to feed this foulness.
Ra Hoor Khuit declares:
Now let it first be understood that I am a god of War and Vengeance.
Horus is the Avenger of his father’s death. The lifeblood of Osiris survives and transmutes in the body of his Son. Similarly, all who have gone before us gave the last throb of their dying hearts for our life. Infinite Aeons of rising and falling have spun our souls into this space. We have not arrived to be passively swept downstream. The celestial churning at our heart’s deep core has agreed to partake in the War and share in the Joy which is its birthright.
We are the rising of the Tower even as it is being struck down. The Fable of Babel shall not dissuade us. Our uprising may reach escape velocity. The momentum of this Going curves and arcs but does not trace a circle. It Spirals Outwards and Inwards all at once. Babalon beckons us to the Light hid in Darkness, the Sun behind whose glory a second Star blazes in transtemporal radiance. Sothis. Sirius. The Crossroads between all we are and all we might become.
We were not built to last. We were built from and for Eternity.
O my people, rise up & awake!