The Dictionary of Traditional Magick and Etherical Science #1

The Dictionary of Traditional Magick and Etherical Science #1

 

A new column by Gerald del Campo, The Dictionary of Traditional Magic and Etherical Science features ten author-selected definitions per issue. The definitions included in Mr. del Campo’s Dictionary do not necessarily reflect the views of the administrators or other contributors of this magazine.

Abramelin Operation

(Magic) A magical operation described in The Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage for the purpose of achieving Knowledge and Conversation with the Holy Guardian Angel, and requiring a strict six-month period of isolation, meditation and asceticism. It is said that a person that completes this operation can compel the compliance all demons.

Assmosis

(From the author’s personal lexicon) The process by which some people seem to absorb success and advancement from the asses they kiss.

Bhakti Yoga

(Yoga) Gives mastery over love, and leads to the control of the powers of divine love. Devotional Yoga.

Categorical Imperative

(Philosophy) In Immanuel Kant’s ethical system, an unconditional moral law that applies to all rational beings and is independent of any personal motive or desire.

Cynic

(From the author’s personal lexicon) A sneering faultfinder; one who disbelieves in the goodness of human motives, and who is given to displaying his disbelief by sneers and sarcasm.

Elixir

(Alchemy) In alchemy and magick, a liquid version of the Philosopher’s Stone possessing the same ability to perfect any substance. When applied to the human body, the Elixir is said to cure diseases and restores youth.

Ethics

(Philosophy) The sphere of philosophy that deals with moral issues. Key questions in ethics include: What is the right or wrong thing to do? Which is more important, the intentions behind action or the actual outcome? Are there any ethical rules that can be applied universally?

Gnosis

(Gnostic) From the Greek knowledge, meaning a Divine knowledge gained by the union of Wisdom and Understanding. The word is a reference for a number of religious sects that existed around the time of Christ. They believed in two deities: one who is responsible for the creation of the Spirit world, commonly referred to as “the Logos,” and the other who created the world of Matter, called “the Demiurge.” Gnosticism underlines a return to the Spirit world via the development of mystical knowledge, which leads to salvation. Today, the term “gnosis” has become somewhat fashionable, and seems everyone wants a piece of it, but not badly enough to actually attain it or at least use the word correctly. Consequently, “gnosis” has been interpreted in a lot of silly ways, and is used in some ridiculously incorrect ways as a mundane “knowing” (e.g. financial gnosis, real estate gnosis, etc.) by those want to try to make everything they do “magical.” Also used, incorrectly, to mean the “state of magical readiness,” a definition applied by Chaos magicians.

Sushumna

(Yoga) Sanskrit. Also referred to in Hindu texts as “the sustainer of the universe,” “the path of the universe,” and “the path of salvation,” it is attached to the center of the spine, beginning at the same level as the anus and extends to the top of the head. Sushumna runs along the center of the spinal cord or spinal column, passing through the chakras, and is said to carry Prana. The real work of the Magician or Yogi begins once Sushumna begins to function.

Utilitarianism

(Philosophy) A form of Consequentialism. The doctrine that an act is right only if the consequences maximize the general happiness and/or pleasure. A popular and controversial argument of Utilitarianism philosophy is whether the general happiness must be interpreted as the happiness of the majority.

©2007 by Gerald del Campo.
Edited by Sheta Kaey.

Gerald del Campo has authored three books on the subject of Thelema: A Heretic’s Guide to Thelema, New Aeon Magick: Thelema Without Tears, and New Aeon English Qabalah Revealed. He is a photographer, musician and CEO for the Order of Thelemic Knights, the first Thelemic charitable organization. You can visit his blog at http://solis93.livejournal.com and his websites at http://thelemicknights.org and http://egoandtheids.com. Gerald formerly served as Senior Managing Editor of Rending the Veil.

Personal Thoughts on the Ethical Implications of Thelema #3/13 – What is an Ethical Person?

Personal Thoughts on the Ethical Implications of Thelema #3/13 - What is an Ethical Person?

Notice that in speaking of destruction of the intellect, nothing more is meant than recognition of the vanity of the intellect in relation to the absolute; so also for conscience. Twice two still makes four, and killing is still murder; but all this is relative, and relates to the individual in his limitations, not to the absolute. This very simple truth, that the planes are separate, is the greatest of all the discoveries of Fra. P. It is a complete key to life.
— Aleister Crowley, Equinox I:8, p. 23-4

Is a person that does the right thing due to fear of religious, judicial, or legislative repercussions ethical? What about people whose behavior is based on fear of losing societal standing? Can ethics be a part of a person’s genetic makeup? Does a person will ethics, or can ethics be forced upon a person by society? Can ethics be used as a means to discover one’s true nature?

Society can try teach ethics (via formal education), and enforce laws by exacting penalties for failure to act ethically — but doesn’t this type of society risk becoming a fear-based society because the motivation for right action will be based solely on self-interest instead of a love for Light, Life, Love and Liberty?1 Furthermore, some laws require unethical behavior. Law is concerned with what is legal rather than what is right. Wouldn’t you rather be a member of a society composed of ethical citizens? People who act ethically out of their own desire to be ethical, rather than motivated by fear? People acting out of fear are not inherently ethical. Ethics concerns itself with action.

We have seen what occurs when unethical people use fear in order to make laws in our own society. Consider how in recent days Americans have given up freedom of association, freedom of information, freedom of speech, the right to legal representation, freedom from unreasonable searches, the right to a speedy and public trial, or the right to liberty.2 The message those laws and regulations send is that it is okay to do the wrong thing, even when it violates the lofty ideals upon which this country is founded, provided that it is legal or lawful.

Right thought leads into right action. Words mean nothing. So if we are to make intelligent decisions about other people, then we must ignore what they say and pay attention to what they do. If a person complains, but makes no effort to correct a situation or condition, then it seems clear that the issue is not really serious in that person’s mind because it hasn’t driven them into action.

What shall we say of a person who is aware of corruption and injustice in government but who ignores political involvement, such as voting? Is a person who ignores their knowledge of unpleasant things, preferring instead to justify inaction by believing lies when the facts are in front of his face, being ethical?

“Nevertheless have the greatest self-respect, and to that end sin not against thyself. The sin which is unpardonable is knowingly and willfully to reject truth, to fear knowledge lest that knowledge pander not to thy prejudices.”3

“Despise also all cowards; professional soldiers who dare not fight, but play; all fools despise!”4

Ethics and laws are often opposed to one another. This is clearly the case when we see people who sacrifice their own freedom for their fellows, principles, ideals, or even ethics by breaking bad laws. Laws are not necessarily ethical, as when regulation and licensing prevent freedom of movement, freedom of speech, or making a living, when laws based purely on religious morality force non-adherents into compliance, or when government or big business (same thing, really) can make use of loopholes (not available to all) in order to avoid responsibility for wrongdoings. In fact, law is a bad model for ethics — unless, of course, Love happens to be the Law. What shall we say of a justice system that jails Martha Stewart, whose only crime was to sell her company’s stock when she heard that the market was about to crash, but lets off criminals like Tom DeLay, who committed perjury, smoked Cuban cigars during an embargo against Cuba, took bribes from casinos, and funneled corporate contributions to state campaigns during the 2002 election cycle? What pride can we have for our modernness with all of our medical breakthroughs if the best, most sophisticated bioethical solution for a woman on a feeding tube is to allow her to starve to death? Sometimes humans seem to get more excited by the possibility of cloning sheep than they are by advancing as an enlightened species.

The law should only be a marker for minimal standards for behavior necessary for a productive society. We must never forget the fact that laws are often created so as to have an unethical end, such as the laws justifying Apartheid in South Africa. Legislators that create and support laws like these also create a social disrespect for them. It is not unlike the disservice that a zealot does his religion when he uses it to justify his own means. Nor should a law’s popularity be a marker of ethical value, since an unethical law can placate the majority of people, as occurred in Hitler’s Germany. The absence of social agreement on many issues makes it impossible to link ethics with what is socially acceptable. The same is true of Thelema, but that shouldn’t stop us from discovering our own, personal ethical standards.

Ethics, on the other hand, are something more than forced compliance. One cannot be forced into ethics; they must be willingly embraced. But today, so-called “ethics” tend to focus on rules, and this is simply another form of control. Furthermore, ethical values should be in compliance with one’s True Will. This is not to say that it is impossible for groups of people to adhere to a unified code, or agree on a codified set of ethics in order to accomplish a task that would be impossible without the assistance of others.

Aristotle tells us that the focus of ethics is on character, not rules. In other words, how one tackles problems is a measure of a person’s self-worth. It reflects an idea of one’s value. According to Aristotle, the central question is what one should be, rather than what one should do, because if good character is in place then by necessity, good action will follow. Right thought leads into right action. Therefore, he tells us, we would do well by developing our character rather than trying to fit into some moral rule or law . . . unless, again, Love happens to be the Law.

Rabelais appears to have held similar beliefs. “Do as thou wilt” is the only rule of his Abbey of Thelema, for a person with good breeding will naturally do the right thing at the right time. Consequently, you won’t find any clocks in this monk’s Abbey, since according to him it seems ridiculous that man would regulate his life in accordance to a mechanical time-telling device, because the Thelemite (being possessed of the above mentioned good breeding) can only do things at the right time.

The Ego

The Ego is a topic of both metaphysical and psychological concern, and in many instances the line that separates these two fields of human study is quite blurred and becomes important to the topic of ethics. This is especially true in present times where pseudo-intellectuals have reduced the spiritual reflex and the domain of the soul to simple but comfortable well-known psychological impulses, without offering any real solutions to the problem of living a spiritual life in a world that demands selfishness and greed. God Is Dead. More on this later.

The following example is by no means all-inclusive. There are many paths that a person can travel to find spiritual freedom. The observation that follows is what I perceive as the ideal or best case scenario, and comes in part from watching people and reflecting on my own experiences on the path to self-discovery.

This piece necessitates an explanation of how the term “ego” is being used. For the religious creature, the ego signifies arrogance, self-importance, and unearned pride. For the psychologist, the ego is the function in the human psyche that organizes the different aspects of the Self5 in order to create a facade of wholeness and integration; it is a function of deception that serves to affect the individual and those around them. It is a necessary tool for survival in the world. Both schools of thought are correct, but again, neither offers a clue as to how to use this information to create a true method for gaining access to the Higher Self.

There is a false assumption in religious types that this ego must be destroyed. Individuals that have actually had some success in this area find themselves having to go through years of therapy to get it back. In fact, the religious insistence of defining the ego as an enemy that must be destroyed at all cost may be little more than a sinister strategy to control people. The ego questions everything and insists on individual freedom. It will not readily accept unjust or destructive demands of religious groups. It is an ally of the Will. Destroying the ego in order to achieve some resemblance of enlightenment is ludicrous because it is a component of the Self, created by the Self to interact with all other aspects of the physical universe.

For the purposes of this article, I choose to define “ego” as the narcissistic, automatic, habitual desire to see oneself as separate from the universe and from people within and without one’s sphere of influence. It isn’t anything evil, but it can be problematic when it is immature. In our present state of evolution, the ego is underdeveloped in most people. The ego can often be so successful in identifying the “I” from the “not I” that it can become self-centered and behave in ways detrimental to its own self-interest, as well as the interests of other individuals.6

The following stages have been oversimplified, but they serve to illustrate the point.

  1. The unrestrained articulation of the Ego. “I do whatever I want.” In the first stage, the individual has been duped into seeing his ego as the whole of the self. He enthusiastically surrenders to every whim promising exaltation or pleasure, often believing himself capable of indulging in destructive behavior without consequence. Here we may find people with unhealthy obsessions with drugs, alcohol, sex, or material and financial gain. They may have little regard for how their actions affect the lives of others. During this stage of development, there is little hope for progress in the area of true love or understanding toward others, much less for oneself.
     
  2. The awareness of the Ego in relation to others. “Doing what I want causes unhappiness for those around me, which may ultimately alienate me from others.” Here, the ego has come to realize others as intrinsic parts of its own existence and well-being. This realization usually comes as a result of trial and error and various failed attempts to act without consequence. This is the stage of most adults. The realization that they have hurt others frequently results in feelings of guilt, then backlash when the individual attempts to find redemption by immersing himself in religious or metaphysical practices. On the surface this appears to be a desirable step in the process of development, but in some cases an individual will develop a sort of psychopathology, because he may (as a result of all that spiritual practice) begin to see himself as better than his fellows. In reality, at this stage, this is nothing more than another mask the ego has spun out of arrogance. One vice has simply been replaced with another, much more palatable vice that pretends to espouse a higher, more lofty ideal. One may be capable of seeing the Holy City from this stage, but it is an illusion projected by the ego itself. Many religious people are inadvertently caught in this direful trap. Sometimes the use of drugs is employed to escape, or one may simply stop here, feel sorry for oneself, and blame problems on everyone else, rather than taking responsibility and moving on.
     
  3. The subjugation of the Ego to the True Self. “I am more.” After various attempts to achieve some relationship with the Higher Self, or to connect with something outside of its own delusions, the ego may actually be perceived at work, and the individual may become conscious of its capacity to deceive. Here, an individual may safely offer this false aspect of himself up to some higher cause or deity. The emotional attachment to the ego provides the necessary fuel. This sacrifice cannot be offered as an act of faith, but rather as a modest, cognizant, and intentional undertaking that adheres to the magical paradigm embraced by the individual. In our particular case, this must be a sincere and total sacrifice: an act of love under will.
     
    The ego experiences an inner struggle during this stage of development, as it is only concerned with its own survival and fears its own demise more than anything else. This is where our mettle is most severely tested. Courage and perseverance are the most useful keys. Some people have associated this struggle with “The Dark Night of The Soul.”7 To succeed is to embody the Law in the flesh, and achieve the inner peace during tribulation that so many mystics have written about throughout the ages. One becomes a Lover in the Sufi sense, as the absence of the ego8 makes it possible, for the first time, to see oneself in all things, and the way to the Higher Self is opened. The longer the individual continues to hold this position, the greater the reward, and the clearer the road to the Holy Land. Many have tried to write about this experience but have failed from a lack of a suitable language.
     
    This is important: The actual act of questioning something greater (as well as the actual act of sacrifice) does not originate with the Higher Self, or God, or whatever you choose to call it, because It already knows. The Ego itself is doing the questioning. Remember: The ego’s function is to question, and now we are seeing it exert itself in order to become self-aware. In this stage, we can observe the ego actively progressing toward enlightenment.
     
  4. Union with the Higher Self. In Western Hermeticism, “I who am most like himself” or “I am that I am” — in the Sufi tradition, “I am the Truth,” “I am Love,” or “I am the Law.”
     
    This may appear to be a contradiction, or even a similar condition to what is explained in Stage Two. The difference is that the Ego (having been completely united with the totality of the Self) is in fact an integral part of that Truth which is the Higher Self. The deluded ego described in Stage Two can only make these statements while thumping his chest like a frightened gorilla. At this stage, the individual makes these statements in humility, realizing that his Truth belongs to all.

    “Remember that this earth is but an atom in the universe, and that thou thyself art but an atom thereon, and that even couldst thou become the God of this earth whereon thou crawlest and grovellest, that thou wouldest, even then, be but an atom, and one amongst many.”9

    To explain the differences between the ego and the Ego, consider the following statements, as they serve to illustrate the two stages very well.

    • “I am God.” — One doesn’t become one, or come to full realization of this in the Gnostic sense, by simply saying it. It doesn’t matter how often one repeats it. Whether “God” is really in there or not, the host will never really know it because he or she is trying to assume something without knowledge. This is faith.
       
    • “I am not God.” — By beginning here, one is forced to separate those parts of his or her makeup which are made of “god stuff” in order to examine them objectively. After one has externalized the entire idea, one can go about assimilating it as one’s own attributes. When one finds himself indivisible from the Higher Self, the Ego sees no reason to cheapen the experience by broadcasting it.
       

    Here we approach the gates and stand before the two pillars flanking the door to the Temple: Love and Law.
     

  5. The Ego is assimilated by The Higher Self. “There is only Truth.”
     
    This stage marks Freedom in its ultimate sense. One is an agent of his own Divine Force and moves through the world confidently, without fear and completely trusting his newly found Divine guidance. The individual has been reborn10 into an existence where every experience is an encounter with the Divine. Here, and only here, can a person say of himself: “There is no God but Man.”

There is an idea that has become quite popular with pop-occultists, which espouses the concept of absolute happiness once one reaches this stage. I believe that there is a tremendous joy that comes from being able to view the universe beyond the veil of illusion and deception. Suffering and sorrow, however, are still there, but you may now appreciate them (and isn’t experience what Nuit calls us to do?) without the necessity of being emotionally involved with them, because you will know that these experiences only have meaning in the duality of the physical universe. Existence is Existence, and tears of joy are no less salty than tears of sorrow.

Only Eleven?

“The fact that man knows right from wrong proves his intellectual superiority to other creatures; but the fact that he can do wrong proves his moral inferiority to any creature that cannot.” — Mark Twain

Consider the Eleven Virtues of Thelemic Knighthood and what they mean. Some of them have a more obscure, deeper meaning. See if you can get a sense of how these qualities are necessary to our own personal mission of gaining knowledge of our true nature, or our world mission of promulgating the Law of Thelema through acts of charity and service.

Valor — Right action in the face of any challenge

Valor means to be valiant, brave and strong, both mentally and physically. It is the ability to face danger with firmness11 and courage. It is the power to do the right thing, stand up against wrongdoings, and it is synonymous with courage, heroism, bravery, gallantry, boldness, and fearlessness. But its Latin root translates into “value” and “worth.”

Valor is the state one is in when one does what must be done, when one understands and accepts the consequences of one’s actions, even if those consequences are painful. It means doing something with the foreknowledge that one may be hurt, may lose, fail or not make any difference at all, and then doing it anyway because it is the right thing to do. It is the ability to accept fear, and it is possessing the inner strength necessary to undergo trial.

Valor is not recklessness, however; we must constantly consider the source of our courage to make sure it comes from a worthy place. Shakespeare once said of valor, “When valor preys on reason, it eats the sword it fights with.” He was right.

The Rose Cross is a worthy symbol to explain the idea of valor. The Rose simultaneously symbolizes a sacrifice of our desires and the blooming of our True Will.12

Nobility — Poise and elegance in both word and deed

This term is very misunderstood. Generally speaking, the word “nobility” describes a class of persons (the peerage of British society) distinguished by high birth or rank, such as dukes and duchesses, or barons and baronesses. The Order of Thelemic Knights prefers to reward members with titles for displaying a state of being possessed by superiority of mind or character, and commanding excellence, rather than acknowledging individuals simply on the notion that nobility can be inherited. Therefore, the Order of Thelemic Knights defines nobility as a quality belonging to all individuals that possess these following virtues:

Discernment — Piercing all glamour to see the Truth in oneself and in others

Synonymous with discrimination, it is the faculty of the mind that distinguishes one thing from another. It is the faculty of the mind which demonstrates keen, acute insight and good judgment. It is a skill that, when developed, enables us to view the differences in people and the relationship between us all. Discernment is the power of penetrative and discriminate mental vision, and is capable of seeing a multitude of things that escape others. A discerning person is not easily misled.

This shouldn’t be confused with the nonsense that so many blathering idiots on the internet try to pass off as “critical thinking.” In fact, discerning people will not waste their time educating individuals that already know everything.

Pride — Having a true sense of one’s worth

True pride is free of guilt and fear. It never second-guesses. Many good, deserving people are generally incapable of feeling pride. The insistence of humility over pride by misguided Christian leaders has created a social neurosis where people are afraid to exceed or take credit for their hard work.

“O be thou proud and mighty among men!”13 Pride is a wonderful thing. It is what one feels inside when one has triumphed in the face of adversity, created beauty, acted correctly and honorably, or faced his own illusions. Acting ethically leads to pride, and so we don’t view pride as a vice but a virtue. Pride is not humble, and is often confused with arrogance.14 (Arrogance is indeed a vice because it is an attempt to deceive others, but most importantly, it is a great source of willful self-delusion.) To say it another way, pride is the ability of deriving pleasure, self-respect and confidence for knowing and accepting oneself without indulging in some delusion of adequacy that does not exist. It is the willingness to reveal something within or about oneself to others as an example to one’s peers, and taking joy in personal honorable achievement or the achievements of one’s comrades.

The virtue of Pride leads to an accurate realization of one’s self-worth. Its vice is an over-inflated impression which relies on the comparison of oneself with some other person perceived to be less worthy. A good example of malformed pride is clearly visible in today’s so-called “intellectual Thelemites”15, who take great pride in pointing out the faults of others and insist on the need for dialectic and critical thinking, while they themselves are completely clueless with regard to the “scientific method” or the proper tools by which to measure a person’s worth. This is the problem with individuals that are Thelemites and intellectuals in name only — they fail because they spend more time looking for faults in others than trying to understand their own. They are therefore unable to develop the tools and social skills necessary to make the criticism philosophically valuable. Their approach only serves to placate their petty needs for external validation. These “misguided prophets” often congregate in small groups where there is always someone nearby to pat them on the back and tell them just how great they are, but are also always on the lookout for some poor unsuspecting soul to add to their collection of “followers.” They often quote the great philosophers to prove their own limited view of the universe, and are completely impotent when it comes to grasping more lofty meanings hidden in the writings of the philosophers they claim to know, or when it comes to creating something original.

When it materializes as a person’s truth, Pride is a source of ethics, an elevation of character and dignified bearing, and loathing for what is beneath or unworthy of oneself — a deep and uncompromising sense of self-respect and noble self-esteem. When a doctor puts his career16 on hold to help the poor, he or she often does so because of a deep belief that he has the knowledge, know how, and gumption to do a job no one else seems willing or able to do. It may be that the way a doctor is forced into conducting business is at odds with the Hippocratic Oath he or she has taken upon hir graduation from medical school. Perhaps pride prevents them from the hypocrisy inherent in capitalist medical practices or in the radical idea that sick people should be patients and not customers, or that hospitals should not be instituted for the generation of capital. Such actions and thoughts originate with pride.

Pride comes from a sense of purpose, and a love of accomplishing the impossible. The more difficult the obstacle, the more lofty and ethical the mission may be, the greater the sense of pride. Just ask any soldier that is willing to sacrifice his life defending his kin or countrymen if he is proud.

It is pride that pushes and gives us a sense of accomplishment, even when beginning a task that we can never hope to finish, because there will always be someone dying from hunger or a lack of medical attention. Liber Librae tells us to work for its own sake.

“Do good unto others for its own sake, not for reward, not for gratitude from them, not for sympathy. If thou art generous, thou wilt not long for thine ears to be tickled by expressions of gratitude.”17

We may become overwhelmed by this work, and we may often ask ourselves why we even bother when one person’s contribution is so small in the face of such huge problems. Support from a fellow soldier during those difficult times can provide light, encouragement and motivation in the darkest times. Working together, people can make a noticeable change in the world, and this is the position of the Order of Thelemic Knights.

A prideful person with a strong ego is not threatened by being a part of something larger than himself, because he is aware of the resources that they are able to provide for the greater good. A prideful person takes pleasure in the knowledge that while he is a necessary component to achieving a communal objective, he is no more or less important than anyone else lending their talents to the accomplishment of the goal. People have pride in something they value highly. Pride is confidence stemming from the projection of one’s personal values. Our communal values are the reason that members of the Order of Thelemic Knights are prideful.

Coincidentally, a pride is a gathering of lions. A consciousness of power (and hence, responsibility), fullness of spirit, lust and sexual desire. Interestingly, an excitement of sexual appetite in a female beast.

Compassion — The vice of Kings!

Have you ever had a deep awareness of the suffering of another living thing and wished to help for no other reason than wanting to relieve suffering? This is compassion; it is a human quality. Pity is not compassion. Compassion manifests as a sensation of sorrow provoked by the affliction or misfortunes of another. Pity, on the other hand, is the act of placing oneself above those less fortunate. Compassion is everywhere; it exists in nature, and therefore, we consider it a spiritual quality. It follows, then, that it should be integrated as a spiritual practice.

Fidelity — Loyalty to oneself, one’s comrades, and one’s word

It implies faithfulness. It is adherence to careful and exact observance of duty, truth, honesty, integrity or a discharge of one’s obligations.

You cannot have an army without fidelity. Spiritual warriors must be faithful to their obligations, duties, or observances, or they are little more than loose cannons or mercenaries. They must stand fast by their allegiance with the principles they have embraced, regardless of the circumstances.

Hamilton may have described our Order’s approach best: “The best security for the fidelity of men is to make interest coincide with duty.”

Passion — To do all with love under will

Passion comes with boundless enthusiasm, ardent love, conviction, and certainty. It is a powerful emotion. People who are unable to take a stand one way or another are not possessed of passion.

A passion can be one’s desire, such as the passion for one’s duties, art, or lover. It is the fervor and zeal with which we approach our missions, the fire that burns within us, and the driving force behind any pursuit and the enthusiastic partiality for anything.

Strength — The body is the Temple of God

In personal terms, strength is a source of mental, physical, and ethical power to resist strain or stress. It is a form of control necessary to hold firmly to one’s ethical or intellectual position firmly. It is an attribute or quality indicating worth or utility; it is an asset.

Organizationally, it is the embodiment of protective and supportive supremacy, the capacity to endure or resist attack — impregnability. It is the gumption to carry out a mission in the face of opposition, the ability to work effectively, efficiently, and to produce an effect and secure results. Or, as Rudyard Kipling puts it, “Enough work to do, and strength enough to do the work.”

Each of us is strong in our own areas, each according to his or her True Will. When we put all of our strengths to the service of Our Order; we become an army. Force19 is the application of strength.

Discipline — Perseverance, that the Work may be accomplished

Discipline is the organization of behavior subject to will. It is any exercise that is expected to produce a specific character or pattern of behavior, especially training that produces ethical, physical, or mental improvement or self-control. It is indicative of a branch of knowledge, such as the discipline of martial arts, yoga, or psychology. It also alludes to the rules regulating the practice of a church or religious order. It is synonymous with education, instruction and training.

When a man submits himself to a certain lifestyle or ethical code in order to remove badly formed habits and substitute them with good ones, he is exercising discipline.

Self-Reliance — Only a free man may walk our path

Freedom begins with the recognition of a person’s sovereignty. The next step is to use that freedom to self-govern, to choose one’s course. Independence and freedom come from the reliance on one’s own capabilities, judgment, and resources. When a man or woman is self-reliant, he or she does not become a burden to his or her Brothers and Sisters. On the contrary, such a person is an asset that can be counted on to do his own share of the work and contribute to the best of his ability. . . each and everyone in compliance with his own True Will. A self-reliant person will never need anything because he is self-contained.

Hospitality — To share what one has with others, especially those far from home

Cordial and generous reception of, or disposition toward, guests is synonymous with Chivalry and Courtly Love. Hospitality is a lost art form. Few individuals really understand manners and a proper upbringing, preferring to lump it all in the rebellion of society and modern culture. It is a display of pride, generosity and respect toward one’s peers that is infectious. Unlike charity, hospitality is designed as a gesture of mutual recognition of one’s autonomy. It can be best described by the Sanskrit word namaste, which is to say, “I respectfully greet the divine spirit within you.”

Footnotes:

  1. Consider the motivation behind paying taxes in the absence of equal representation. Is it done as a sense of duty for one’s country or social responsibility, or out of a desire to stay out of prison? If it is the later, then is it unreasonable to think of taxation as something akin to extortion?
  2. If this seems fictional I would encourage the reader to examine the so-called “Patriot Act.”
  3. Liber Librae, Paragraph 15.
  4. The Book of the Law: Liber Al Vel Legis III:57
  5. The archetype of personal totality; the governing nucleus of the psyche, and that influence that surpasses the ego.
  6. In many ways, the Demiurge and the Ego are synonymous because both take credit for being they aren’t, or having done something they haven’t.
  7. Often encountered in magical work, this is a non-pathological condition marked by depression and a lack of mental and physical energy. The energy that is not available to the conscious is re-routed and used in other areas of the mind, usually the imaginative functions of the brain. It is symbolic of the decent into Hades, an immersion in the unconscious. The experiences of Osiris, Christ, and Dante are examples describing this state. This condition is normal and even desirable, since it often leads the individual to a break in neurosis.
  8. The use of the word “absence” is misleading, since the Ego hasn’t really gone anywhere, it has simply transcended its home in the lower places. Also, this stage is what the Sufi calls “mystical love.”
  9. Liber Librae, paragraph 14.
  10. A process usually experienced following The Dark Night of The Soul whereby an alteration of the personality has occurred. Examples of rebirth appear in the world’s mythology in the form of The Transmigration of the Soul, Resurrection, and Reincarnation.
  11. This can be done with little to no though when one knows his or her True Will.
  12. Liber Tzaddi, paragraph 16
  13. The Book of the Law: Liber Al Vel Legis II:77
  14. Unearned pride. Pride has no problems with humility, whereas vanity, on the other hand, avoids it at all cost.
  15. “Nietzschean Thelemite” might have been a better term, but it would have given Nietzsche a bad name.
  16. And financial goals.
  17. Paragraph 11.

©2006-2013 Gerald del Campo. Edited by Sheta Kaey.

Gerald del Campo has authored three books on the subject of Thelema: A Heretic’s Guide to Thelema, New Aeon Magick: Thelema Without Tears, and New Aeon English Qabalah Revealed. He is a photographer, musician and CEO for the Order of Thelemic Knights, the first Thelemic charitable organization. You can visit his blog at http://solis93.livejournal.com and his websites at http://thelemicknights.org and http://egoandtheids.com. Gerald formerly served as Senior Managing Editor of Rending the Veil.

Luciferian Illumination

Luciferian Illumination

I used to term myself a Luciferian on top of the various other titles that could apply to me, such as magician, mystic, Hermetic, Rosicrucian, etc. The history behind my adoption of the title will be told shortly, but first I wish to establish that I no longer consider myself to be a Luciferian. The reasons will also be explained shortly. I have recently gone through what might be called a crisis of faith regarding my Luciferianism and have come to some powerful conclusions, which will be the main subject of this essay.

Years ago, I began to very seriously explore the ideas and practices of chaos magic, at first as a supplement to my more Hermetic and Kabbalistic magical training, but later as a replacement thereof. As part of my experiments, I adopted a somewhat sinister approach to magic and especially enjoyed demonology. I admit that my primary motivation in exploring these particular aspects of the occult were founded in simple lack of maturity. I believe now that I did not even understand the material I was working with; I was very much alone in the dark without a lantern. At the time I did not care. I arrogantly believed that my pseudo-nihilism and disrespect for all things “light” was the right way to go. Everybody who respected the light was deluded, but those of us who not only acknowledged but reveled in the darkness were as enlightened as anybody could truly be.

After several years of messing with chaos magic, I became disillusioned with it. While I still stand by the basic techniques as a great method of training the will, I cannot any longer condone the childish philosophy (or, as chaos magicians like to term it, the “metaparadigm”) behind it which is itself somewhat of a contradictory and weak attempt at transcendental nihilism. I returned, slowly at first, and then all at once, to Hermetics, Kabbalah, alchemy, and related subjects. I did not do so without bringing plenty of philosophical souvenirs back home.

I continued to call myself a Luciferian and maintained a mild fascination for all things sinister, though I now looked through the darkness and toward the Light. The culmination of the process, and what I so far believe to be its crescendo, was quite recent but has its roots almost exactly one year ago as of this writing (November 2006).

Last year I was working on my first book, The Four Powers (Megalithica Books, an imprint of Immanion Press, Staffordshire, England). I have always had ambitions of being a writer of one sort or another, though definitely more ambition than talent. To curb my self-doubt and ensure at least moderate success I decided to employ a bit of demonic magic. I planned it out, got everything prepared according to the instructions of King Solomon Grimorium Verum or the True Grimoire and, on October 31st 2005, performed a full diabolical Pact operation in which I made an agreement in writing (on virgin goat skin, no less) with Lucifer himself. The details of the Pact are irrelevant, except to say that I agreed to write a book concerning a Luciferian approach to illumination (that is, mysticism and magical self-improvement) using a particular grimoire as the book’s practical foundation. This book was to serve as my payment for services rendered which, of course, involved getting at least one book successfully published.

In the intervening year, I began to do a lot of serious self-purification. I began an intensive daily ritual routine of performing the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram, the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Hexagram, the Middle Pillar Exercise, the Circulation of the Body of Light, the canticle of Light from the Golden Dawn Neophyte ceremony, the Adoration to the Lord of the Universe, followed by yet another LBRP — and all this upon waking up. Just prior to sleep, I would perform the Rose Cross Ritual. I followed this routine more or less for several months, at which time I made the grand discovery of Franz Bardon. I still thank my lucky stars, and my friends Taylor Ellwood and Frater Griff for guiding me to Bardon’s work. I have since been quite seriously and intensely involved in the practice of Franz Bardon’s first book, Initiation into Hermetics (available in a new translation from Merkur Publishing).

This entire intensive period of magico-mysticism led me to a great deal of self-discovery. Self-discovery, of course, led me to the realization of many facets of myself which I do not much like. Self-love is important, even vital, but so is a dedication to self-improvement. Quite nearly one year after the Pact was made, I found myself regretting it deeply. It may sound superstitious to some readers, but I found myself in a very serious fear for the health of my spirit and soul. I felt deceived and dirty, as if making that Pact were an irrevocable selling of myself. Lucifer truly became the Devil in my mind, and I felt wretched for having given so much of myself for so very little. Less than a day after I became aware of these feelings within, I destroyed all of my Luciferian paraphernalia and hacked the Pact and all of the attendant sigils and seals into small pieces and kept them in a small bag until Sunday evening when I burnt them in my fireplace and prayed intensely to the archangel Michael. You see, not only was Michael the one said to have defeated the Devil at the time of his Fall, but I had also a long time ago read a Kabbalistic legend (I cannot remember where or I would cite it) stating that at the Creation of Adam, Michael had knelt before the Throne of God in Heaven and pledged himself to stand by even the worst mortal as long as he or she had even the tiniest spark of goodness left. That Pact had become more than a rash and greedy act, more than a symbol — it had become the very physical embodiment of all of my iniquities, mistakes, and flaws. I asked Michael to be with me, to stand at my right hand, and to fight back the shades and demons long enough for me to clarify and fortify myself. I cannot cite a more successful operation than this, for Michael was with me for the time I needed him. For his faith in me I can never thank him enough. Even with Michael by my side, I was nonetheless terrified. I had read many times and in many places that there was no worse companion than a cheated demon. How could I expect to break a Pact with the great Emperor Lucifer without being severely punished for such a transgression against his devilish and unfathomable will?

Ever since I first began to study Hermetics and Rosicrucianism, I had an intuition that there were important and deep mysteries in Christianity. I still maintain that the mainstream sects and branches of religion which go by the title of Christian do not, in their vast majority, approach the real meaning behind the teachings which they claim as their own. Especially exemplified in that seemingly out of place and obviously esoteric book of Ezekiel and the book so arrogantly discounted (or fanatically taken literally) called the Revelation or Apocalypse, there are mysteries in the Bible which common Christians and Jews do not even begin to suspect. I am not a biblical scholar, however, and could not even begin to put together a lucid or knowledgeable argument concerning the meanings of the recondite symbols and signs given in those books. My lack of biblical lore will not stop me from composing a little apocalypse of my own.

Bits and pieces of information, legends and myths, theories and the wildest of hypotheses have continually come my way since that night when I burned the Pact, that night which I am sure I will always remember as a turning point in my magical career. Study, chance findings, and personal intuition have each done their part. Whether I have made this all up out of random scattered pieces or if it is truly a relevant magical allegory I do not know, but I present it nonetheless for it constitutes the closest thing I have to a conclusion of the present story.

I used to maintain that Lucifer and Christ were the same person, a being of spiritual effulgence who incarnated in order to bring to us an enlightened doctrine compatible with all the greatest of mystical systems. I believed that this being was like the Light shining in darkness, and the darkness comprehendeth it not, but that it was only in enveloping ourselves in darkness that we could come to appreciate it. Now I see things quite differently.

Lucifer and Christ are as brothers, dual and opposite but both quite necessary. Christ is like the gentle North Star, guiding us through long nights toward our inevitable destination. Lucifer is like the blazing comet, seeming to shoot into our view from nowhere, burning brightly as it points us toward a momentary but important waypoint, then disappearing back into the ether. Christ is the faithful Son who does the bidding of His Divine Parents without question, not out of fear but out of good will toward His Parents and to we little children. He is in a sense the universal and ideal Older Brother, protective and gently guiding but willing at times to teach a harsh lesson or two. Lucifer has disobeyed just as our mythical ancestors but in a more dramatic way. Lucifer is the older brother even of Christ, created first amongst the angels. Lucifer’s rebellion was one not of hatred but of love, for without allowing Himself to Fall, free will would not have been available for the rest of creation. Lucifer will maintain His loving rebellion until such time as free will has become a universal constant uniting all consciousness in one pervasive liberty. He has sacrificed His own place in Heaven to grant each one of us the ability to make our own, while Christ has given up His to open the way before us.

There is a Hell, just as sure as there is an Earth, and if you were to find yourself there I assure you that there would be no escape from the eternity of torment awaiting you there. The Gates of Hell will not open until that final Revelation when the enlightened shall be gathered in joy and the ignorant shall be gathered in trembling fear. When the trumpets of the angels call forth the return of Christ, so too shall Lucifer appear and they together will throw open the Gates of Hell, nothing but severity showing upon their faces. Yet their eyes sparkle with a light which will be read at first by many as sadism, for how can the eyes of divine beings sparkle and shine at the prospect of eternal torment? Soon all will be made clear, however, and the twinkle in their Holy Eyes will be shared as one joke amongst us, for as the Gates swing open there will be no torrent of sulfurous fire nor waves of rotting flesh washing over us in hopes of consuming our own living tissue. Instead we will see behind those wide open gates… a gaping emptiness, a void awaiting its fill but receiving none, for Hell was, is, and ever shall be empty. Each one of us, in the fullness of time, shall find our salvation each in our own way, and we shall all be assumed into the Kingdom of Heaven. Hellfire awaits no man, woman, or child no matter how sinful they may have been or may be still, for all are given the limitless and eternal Grace of God by default, by the very fact of our existence! Hell is not there as a warning or punishment for mortal souls but as a grand reminder before the eyes of the Gods and Angels that if Hell were to find itself occupied by even one lone mortal it would be Their immense failure. As sure as effects have causes, and causes produce effects (though not always in the expected order), we are each responsible for our own mistakes. The Gods and Angels set over us, and those Ascended Masters who have come before us, are in charge of our guidance and redemption. While we must seek to right our own wrongs and prevent our own mistakes, it is the duty of the Gods and Angels to make certain that we are given every opportunity to do so. Let there be no mistake that God’s Justice is severe, but so too is Its Mercy infinite.

And so, having set out to abandon a Pact, I have ended up fulfilling it in spirit, if not in letter. Every current which we set up must run its course, and as magicians we must understand this principle intensely and intimately. Every opportunity is given us for our personal development and evolution. It is up to us merely to make the most of them.

©2006 Nicholas Graham. Edited by Sheta Kaey

Nicholas Graham is the author of The Four Powers. You can read his blog here.

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