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Lecture: Crowley's Liber Nu  

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Falcon
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26/03/2014 3:19 pm  

Lecture at Treadwell's Bookshop in Central London by Bob Stein

Friday 23rd May 2014

Tonight a longstanding magical practitioner of Thelemic Magick examines one of Crowley's most magnificent ritual texts, LIBER NU ('The Book of Nuit', a rite for attainment of the Goddess Nuit) and relates the extraordinary experience of preparing and then performing the rite at Gosse's Bluff in Australia. He goes on to interpret Liber Nu as Crowley's "how to write and do a high magick ritual."

Bob Stein has been a member of the O.T.O. since 1983 and has been involved with the Order since then, in a range of capacities.

Price: £7

Telephone:  0207 419 8507 or book online

Time:  7.15pm for 7.30pm start

http://www.treadwells-london.com


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jamie barter
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26/03/2014 4:13 pm  

This should be rather interesting, as I was not aware that Liber Nu (along with its companion Liber Had) could be regarded as a single “rite” or "ritual" as such, but was more of a series of meditational exercises, mental & ethical standpoints and the like which cannot be performed all at once and at the same time.

Might there have been a slight “error in translation” here?!

(I presume also by O.T.O. is meant the “©aliphornian” or “©aliphate” recension of the same?  Or can a recension of the “Reussian” one have been meant instead - who would ultimately be more entitled to hold the actual title - unlikely though the possibility seems?)

Otherwise, it might well be an interesting talk.

Norma N Joy Conquest


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William Thirteen
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26/03/2014 7:29 pm  

hardly back from the Pasi release and already i'm having to check the calendar for steamers cross the channel...


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 Anonymous
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26/03/2014 8:32 pm  

Br. Stein presented his lecture on Liber Nu at Scarlet Woman Lodge last year. I'd heard bits and pieces of his experiences regarding this particular book over the years, but the whole story is really quite something. I'd recommend this lecture to anyone interested (and who has the opportunity to attend).


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 Anonymous
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27/03/2014 8:49 pm  

93

I had a chance to attend this talk a few years ago in Norway.

Bob's story is fascinating, filled with adventures and a sense of wonder.

Highly recommended.

"I was not aware that Liber Nu (along with its companion Liber Had) could be regarded as a single “rite” or "ritual" as such, but was more of a series of meditational exercises, mental & ethical standpoints."

In my opinion (and Bob's lecture will demonstrate it too), ritual can be a) prolonged over a period of time, b) a culmination of a work performed in a series of meditations, etc.

93 93/93
Krzysztof


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abn53
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28/03/2014 3:02 pm  

The original preparation and meditations for the ritual took nine months. The effects are still here.


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 Anonymous
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29/03/2014 7:58 am  
"abn53" wrote:
The original preparation and meditations for the ritual took nine months. The effects are still here.

abn53,

Robert, would you care to record this talk and make it available for us lashtalians who are unable to attend?  Or possibly make available a write up/your notes/a transcript of the talk, etc. for your fellow Lashtalian Brothers and Sisters?  I'm sure I'm not the only one here really keen to learn of your experience(s) with Liber Nu, but, unfortunately, live in another continent (as in my case, in particular) or country.  I and many other members would very much appreciate it!  Thanks!

In the Night of Pan,
N.O.X


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jamie barter
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29/05/2014 5:39 pm  

I wasn’t able to attend this talk as planned and was wondering as well as the potentially useful or at least interesting information requested by N.O.X., whether anybody else had in addition to krzysztof & defile959, and in that event whether they might also have any valuable feedback arising therefrom?

Unfortunately there are only a certain strictly limited number of days in a lifetime & it’s not possible to go to everything one would like!

Norma N Joy Conquest


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William Thirteen
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29/05/2014 8:27 pm  

i had the opportunity and privilege to attend the presentation at Treadwell's and found it  exciting and inspirational.  While his original performance of the ritual in the Australian desert was almost two decades ago, Robert was still able to convey the adventure and excitement of what was clearly a transformative experience. In the process of describing his preparations for and execution of the ritual, he also shared his thoughts on the importance of attention to detail, creating a unique personal experience within the framework of a traditional ritual, and taking advantage of synchronicities arising during ritual preparation and execution.

While no recordings were made of the presentation perhaps Robert might share some of his thoughts privately if asked nicely 🙂


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jamie barter
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30/05/2014 11:06 am  

Thank you, William.  From the sound of it, I’m not quite sure if it might be a continually evolving, work-in-progress sort of opus or a more fixed state, done-and-dusted, set down for good sort of ritual?

"WilliamThirteen" wrote:
While no recordings were made of the presentation perhaps Robert might share some of his thoughts privately if asked nicely 🙂

Yes, indeed! *

* (= My agreement with the proposal of provisionally asking the presenter to share with us nicely 🙂 )

[sup:3l0bzhby]'N[/sup:3l0bzhby] Joy


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michaelclarke18
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24/06/2014 8:53 am  

During the course of this lecture, Mr Stein stated - if I remember correctly - that anyone who claimed to have 'crossed the abyss' was effectively 'bullshitting' or a 'bullshitter'. Clearly, the statement was intended to indicate someone who said they had experienced such a thing, was not telling the truth. It seemed, to me anyway, such a generalization to be rather a concern.

I was wondering whether the esteemed folks of LAShTAL has any comments?


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William Thirteen
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24/06/2014 2:15 pm  

oh, michaelclarke18, were you there? pity we didn't get a chance to meet! 

I don't recall that statement of Bob's - but perhaps he will pop up here and explain his meaning, if that was indeed the sentence me meant.


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Los
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25/06/2014 5:45 am  
"michaelclarke18" wrote:
During the course of this lecture, Mr Stein stated - if I remember correctly - that anyone who claimed to have 'crossed the abyss' was effectively 'bullshitting' or a 'bullshitter'. Clearly, the statement was intended to indicate someone who said they had experienced such a thing, was not telling the truth. It seemed, to me anyway, such a generalization to be rather a concern.

I was wondering whether the esteemed folks of LAShTAL has any comments?

The phrase “crossing the abyss” either refers to something possible or something impossible.

If it refers to something impossible, then what’s the point of even having the phrase? It seems to me that if we define “crossing the abyss” as something possible, then we at least have a phrase that might be useful in describing a certain experience.

Recall that in the Golden Dawn, the grades of the third order were only theoretical since the third order was imaginary, populated by supposed “Secret Chiefs.” The whole idea of crossing the abyss really originates with Crowley, and he was using the phrase to describe something that actually happened to him.

I suggest that the phrase “crossing the abyss” refers to something specific that is possible to happen to human beings. In fact, I would suggest that what the phrase refers to has been happening to people for a long time, long before anyone thought up the phrase or invented the idea of the grade 8=3.

You’ll notice that the passive language I’ve chosen (“that happens to people”) is deliberate, for “crossing the abyss” does not appear to be something willed by the individual. Rather, as Crowley suggests, the Exempt Adept is “pushed onward by the irresistible momentum that he has generated.” The process of “crossing the abyss” may be more akin to waiting, even as a babe waits as it grows in the womb.

Further, I would suggest that people are mistaken in thinking that “crossing the abyss” leads to some lofty, impossibly great spiritual state, much as people are mistaken in thinking that KCHGA is lofty and impossibly great. Such ideas are excuses: as long as the goals are imagined to be practically unattainable, people don’t have to face up to the often uncomfortable realization that these goals may not be what they have imagined.

One of the difficulties plaguing these kinds of discussions is imprecision of language. Crowley may have meant “crossing the abyss” to be the process of annihilating the personality, but some modern day folks (not all of them Thelemites, I might add) seem to use “cross the abyss” to refer to some kind of “dark night of the soul” or any period of depression, difficulty, or doubt. Others mistake the veil of paroketh for the abyss.

One last note: at the top of this post, I said that the phrase “crossing the abyss” either refers to something possible or something impossible. It also refers to something simultaneously possible and impossible, as well as to something neither possible nor impossible. Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.


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jamie barter
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25/06/2014 12:05 pm  
"michaelclarke18" wrote:
During the course of this lecture, Mr Stein stated - if I remember correctly - that anyone who claimed to have 'crossed the abyss' was effectively 'bullshitting' or a 'bullshitter'. Clearly, the statement was intended to indicate someone who said they had experienced such a thing, was not telling the truth. It seemed, to me anyway, such a generalization to be rather a concern.

I was wondering whether the esteemed folks of LAShTAL has any comments?

A)  Whether the speaker DID say that or if it is in fact scurrilous misinformation still remains open to confirmation either way…

B)  There is a notion abroad that by swearing the “Oath of the Abyss” this seems to mean the same thing as “Crossing the Abyss”, which it clearly does not; nevertheless it is the claim of this idea (rather than the work) which has probably given rise to more bullshit than anything else.  Also, the “Abyss” is about a vague a terminology as could be imagined, easily on a par with the “Holy Guardian Angel” and other phrases and words of that ilk - and therefore the woollier the concept, the more it lays itself open to the quality of bullshittingness and the higher a B.Q. (bullshit quotient) will be in evidence as a result.  This could almost be a precise mathematical law.

C)  Whatever its origin, the statement appeared to have been an inflammatory one - possibly designed for the express purpose of exciting debate, and which it appears to have well served!

‘N[sub:3bvmaxb6]JOy[/sub:3bvmaxb6]


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michaelclarke18
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25/06/2014 1:59 pm  

A)  Whether the speaker DID say that or if it is in fact scurrilous misinformation still remains open to confirmation either way…

The statement was made to a roomful of people, so it would be good for someone else who was there to provide some clarification and context....so I can be sure that my ears weren't playing tricks on me.


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jamie barter
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25/06/2014 3:28 pm  
"michaelclarke18" wrote:

A)  Whether the speaker DID say that or if it is in fact scurrilous misinformation still remains open to confirmation either way…

The statement was made to a roomful of people, so it would be good for someone else who was there to provide some clarification and context....so I can be sure that my ears weren't playing tricks on me.

Maybe the speaker himself might like to provide this – in alignment with the principle of “straight from the horse’s mouth” - & it would also especially follow on nicely from queries made in respect of Replies 6, 8 & 9 [q.v., supra]…! ???

As clear as a mountain ditch 😀
[sub:1hq85cr4]'[/sub:1hq85cr4]Z J[sub:1hq85cr4]oy[/sub:1hq85cr4]


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abn53
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25/06/2014 7:37 pm  

Aha. Finally found a box in which I can put my response.  Please pardon the delay. 1) I am no electronic whiz, and use MAC. 2) I just got back from the Fuller Colloquium...another great experience.

Since I don't read my lectures, I cannot remember exactly what I said in context, and English, ad lib, can be ambiguous. My apology. Even much writing is. I don't mean my comments to be inflammatory, other than in the sense of "inflame thyself"...think for thyself. In answer to some questions above:

Liber NU was indeed done rather strictly by following the text itself. Achad did it with his XXXI Hymns to the Star Goddess. It was a learning experience, an ecstatic experience, one that that certainly influenced my subsequent experience. Yet, true, it also brought about change. Like a book, it is a snapshot at one time. The author should expect to grow in time.

Whether on crosses the abyss is irrelevant. Taking the "oath" is like taking the qualifying exam for a PhD candidate.

When I have someone way to me "I have crossed the Abyss" in this lifetime, I take it with a grain of salt. He may have done so. I cannot challenge that. There is no criterion by which I can be sure. To me, if and when such occurs, it is a strictly private matter. No one else can acknowledge or deny the statement. True, in some mystical systems there are objective criteria for "advancement"..but who knows whether jumping through the hoops has truly been successful, or whether the criteria are proper to the occasion or individual. I know both dumb PHDs and very bright high school graduates. There is also the problem that one can fool himself about an actual level of self-attainment. That's why I don't accept the  validity of any comment of that sort from any individual, I treat it either illusion or delusion, but stay silent. In the outer it may look good; in the inner, no one can say.

This is why, at the end of Will, I personally use..."that I may continue in the path of the Great Work". It implies no level of achievement or success, just the process...the Tao. Initiation.

Yes, I do want to encourage individuals to think for themselves, explore and seed truth (whatever that is).

Liber Nu, to me, is Crowley's textbook liber on how to prepare for, write, and perform high magic. It shows the individual how to convert a grimoire (Liber XXXI, Chapter I) into a ritual. It stresses the importance of
detail, of knowing the aims or objectives of the ritual, and how they may be measured.

As an esthetic, practical and personal experience it shows how careful preparation and working in a pristine situation develops understanding...and, if lucky, perhaps a bit of wisdom. Magic does work.
!


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Shiva
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25/06/2014 10:10 pm  
"abn53" wrote:
Whether on(e) crosses the abyss is irrelevant. Taking the "oath" is like taking the qualifying exam for a PhD candidate.

Not really. Taking the "oath" is like signing up for the PhD program. The qualifying exam comes where/when one gets "accepted" into the program ... or not.

If someone says to me "I have crossed the Abyss" in this lifetime, I take it with a grain of salt. He may have done so. I cannot challenge that. There is no criterion by which I can be sure.

Right on.


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jamie barter
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26/06/2014 11:01 am  
"abn53" wrote:
Aha. [...]

As an esthetic, practical and personal experience it shows how careful preparation and working in a pristine situation develops understanding...and, if lucky, perhaps a bit of wisdom.

A finely considered answer addressing some if not all of the points.

"abn53" wrote:
Magic does work.
!

Indeed it does
!!

"Los" wrote:
The phrase “crossing the abyss” either refers to something possible or something impossible.
[...]
One last note: at the top of this post, I said that the phrase “crossing the abyss” either refers to something possible or something impossible. It also refers to something simultaneously possible and impossible, as well as to something simultaneously neither possible nor impossible. Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

One of Los’s posts with which it is actually hard to disagree with a single sentence! 😮 - although the pontificatory, quasi-magisterial (schoolmagisterial) ‘lofty’ tone still grates on occasion.  In order to maintain an aesthetic and logical symmetry, maybe he could have added "simultaneously" there in his last paragraph .

"Los" wrote:
One of the difficulties plaguing these kinds of discussions is imprecision of language. Crowley may have meant “crossing the abyss” to be the process of annihilating the personality, but some modern day folks (not all of them Thelemites, I might add) seem to use “cross the abyss” to refer to some kind of “dark night of the soul” or any period of depression, difficulty, or doubt. Others mistake the veil of paroketh for the abyss.

I bet not one person will admit on Lashtal to crossing/ having crossed by this means, though.  (And maybe even less for those who mixed up the Veil of Paroketh!) To those considering it I would say don’t worry, it’s not a hanging offence – you won’t be marched away outside & ethnically cleansed if you do (or at least, I hope not.)

Is there a “List” of people who (publically) declare to formally claim to be a 8[sup:3ubcj3ng]o[/sup:3ubcj3ng]=3[sup:3ubcj3ng]□[/sup:3ubcj3ng] by dint of having taken the Oath of the Abyss? If not, I have so much time on my hands at the moment I would like to get another one started (joke! ;D ).  I may be wrong, but I think Jerry Cornelius (Fr. Hymenæus Gamma) may have done so, and also G.M. Kelly (Fr. Kelleach)?  Gerald Suster (Fr. Uranus) swore but did not so claim, or certainly not publicly at least, and therefore may not need to go (on the list.) 

And a final supplementary question here: is there any virtue at all to be had in that swearing act or is it just trouble, trouble, trouble from the start (= double trouble, with an extra helping on the side.  *Thinks* Maybe we could do with another Poll here too?)

Right-on rightfully writing “ON”
[sup:3ubcj3ng]'N[/sup:3ubcj3ng]J[sub:3ubcj3ng]oy[/sub:3ubcj3ng]


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Shiva
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26/06/2014 4:22 pm  
"jamie barter" wrote:
Is there a “List” of people who (publically) declare to formally claim to be a 8[sup:54d2a961]o[/sup:54d2a961]=3[sup:54d2a961]□[/sup:54d2a961] by dint of having taken the Oath of the Abyss?

I certainly have not seen, or even heard of, such a list. In any case, I hope everyone realizes that taking the Oath of the Abyss ("All that I have and all that I am is the property of the Great White Brotherhood [alt: "A.'.A.'."] forever.) is simply a declaration that the initiate (theoretically an Exempt Adept) is giving up himself and his goodies in order to become a channel/instrument/etc of the universal Order (that supposedly exists). This in no way qualifies the person to the 8[sup:54d2a961]o[/sup:54d2a961]=3[sup:54d2a961]□[/sup:54d2a961] grade.

Anyone can read One Star in Sight and see that there is a difference between the two "claims."

"The Grade of the Babe of the Abyss is not a Grade in the proper sense, being rather a passage between the two Orders. Its characteristics are wholly negative, as it is attained by the resolve of the Adeptus Exemptus to surrender all that he has and is for ever. It is an annihilation of all the bonds that compose the self or constitute the Cosmos, a resolution of all complexities into their elements, and these thereby cease to manifest, since things are only knowable in respect of their relation to, and reaction on, other things."

and ...

"Adeptus (Exemptus). --- Completes in perfection all these matters. He then either (a) becomes a Brother of the Left Hand Path or, (b) is stripped of all his attainments and of himself as well, even of his Holy Guardian Angel, and becomes a babe of the Abyss, who, having transcended the Reason, does nothing but grow in the womb of its mother. It then finds itself a
Magister Templi. --- (Master of the Temple): whose functions are fully described in Liber 418, as is this whole initiation from Adeptus Exemptus. See also "Aha!". His principal business is to tend his "garden" of disciples, and to obtain a perfect understanding of the Universe. He is a Master of Samadhi."

So, anyone who says "I took the Oath of the Abyss" is probably telling the truth, if he/she said or wrore the words of "giving it all up." But if ANYONE says or thinks that this creates a Magister, then they are confused. The best that can be said is that it might lead to Magistery; there is always the possibility that he/she might "... then ... becomes a Brother of the Left Hand Path." 


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 Anonymous
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26/06/2014 10:45 pm  

93

Michaelclarke:
During the course of this lecture, Mr Stein stated - if I remember correctly - that anyone who claimed to have 'crossed the abyss' was effectively 'bullshitting' or a 'bullshitter'.

No such or similar stamement was made. Bob mentioned the abyss once it the context of duality and unity and one's position on the Tree of Life during the performance of the ritual. He also alluded to his personal experience, particular surroundings & timing in Australia where all planets were below the horizon, and it was "just you and the universe".

93 93/93
Krzysztof


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michaelclarke18
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27/06/2014 12:08 pm  

Since I don't read my lectures, I cannot remember exactly what I said in context, and English, ad lib, can be ambiguous. My apology. Even much writing is. I don't mean my comments to be inflammatory, other than in the sense of "inflame thyself"

Absolutely no apology necessary - one was just wondering.

When I have someone way to me "I have crossed the Abyss" in this lifetime, I take it with a grain of salt. He may have done so. I cannot challenge that. There is no criterion by which I can be sure. To me, if and when such occurs, it is a strictly private matter. No one else can acknowledge or deny the statement. True, in some mystical systems there are objective criteria for "advancement"..but who knows whether jumping through the hoops has truly been successful, or whether the criteria are proper to the occasion or individual.

What could the characteristics of such an experience be? And whether there any clear, changes that can be observed.

Maybe less of a disposition to build an occult library and have other possessions ('goodies'); flex ones muscles in public; claim that black is white....or even that white is white.


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jamie barter
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27/06/2014 1:00 pm  
"Shiva" wrote:
"jamie barter" wrote:
Is there a “List” of people who (publically) declare to formally claim to be a 8[sup:k33ofaq0]o[/sup:k33ofaq0]=3[sup:k33ofaq0]□[/sup:k33ofaq0] by dint of having taken the Oath of the Abyss?

I certainly have not seen, or even heard of, such a list. In any case, I hope everyone realizes that taking the Oath of the Abyss ("All that I have and all that I am is the property of the Great White Brotherhood [alt: "A.'.A.'."] forever.) is simply a declaration that the initiate (theoretically an Exempt Adept) is giving up himself and his goodies in order to become a channel/instrument/etc of the universal Order (that supposedly exists). This in no way qualifies the person to the 8[sup:k33ofaq0]o[/sup:k33ofaq0]=3[sup:k33ofaq0]□[/sup:k33ofaq0] grade. [...]

So, anyone who says "I took the Oath of the Abyss" is probably telling the truth, if he/she said or wrore the words of "giving it all up." But if ANYONE says or thinks that this creates a Magister, then they are confused. The best that can be said is that it might lead to Magistery; there is always the possibility that he/she might "... then ... becomes a Brother of the Left Hand Path."

I don’t want to go on about it in this thread as it is off-topic, but the confirmation of the matter (that swearing the Oath short-cutted by “jump initiation” the transition from Malkuth to Binah) is fairly easily available, and The “Oath of the Abyss” can even be found in The Equinox for those foolishly enough inclined who might fancy trying it out.  There is also a reprint of it in the C.O.T.O.’s ersatz Equinox III.10 (but then, nearly all of their stuff in “The Equinox” is a reprint.)

The situation is remarkably similar to what used to be the position at any rate with the IX[sup:k33ofaq0]o[/sup:k33ofaq0]: in the post-Crowleian, pre-internet era Urban Legend had it that mere possession of the document IX[sup:k33ofaq0]o[/sup:k33ofaq0] Emblems & Modes Of Use automatically entitled one to be a IX[sup:k33ofaq0]o[/sup:k33ofaq0].  This was based on the fallacy that the people A.C. originally considered duly entitled were given the paper which they were supposed to make a handwritten copy of and then return (similar in that respect to the one-time situation with would-be Wiccans and their Book Of Shadows.)  Whatever happened to their copy after that however, it did not entitle the bearer to lay claim that they were a bona fide member of the Sanctuary of the Gnosis.

What I can’t remember exactly is where this idea originally came from, but I do recall seeing the issue touched upon before on discussion on Lashtal.

'N Joy


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Los
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27/06/2014 5:37 pm  
"Shiva" wrote:
I hope everyone realizes that taking the Oath of the Abyss [...] in no way qualifies the person to the 8o=3□ grade.

According to Crowley, this is wrong. He writes, “Any neophyte of the Order (or, as some say, any person soever) possesses the right to claim the Grade of Master of the Temple by taking the Oath of the Grade."

In fact, if you read up on Frater Achad, you’ll see that Crowley acknowledges him as an 8=3 simply because he took the oath. In fact, there’s a letter where Crowley urges him to go back and work through the grades that he skipped, indicating that Crowley acknowledges that Achad actually did skip those grades and really was an 8=3.

What I take all of this to mean is that anybody is entitled to take the oath and, as a result, claim the grade of 8=3 (it’s similar to how the OTO says that everybody is entitled to take the Man of Earth initiations and thereby claim those degrees). But here’s the thing: saying a bunch of words doesn’t create wisdom (just like an initiation ceremony doesn’t create wisdom). Taking the oath before one has gained the understanding represented by the 8=3 grade doesn’t do anything practical. But – here’s the ironic twist – gaining that understanding reveals how meaningless the oath actually is, so taking it at that point would kind of be a waste of time.

The oath, therefore, is a huge joke. It’s also dead serious. It is also neither and both. Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.


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Shiva
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27/06/2014 7:48 pm  
"Los" wrote:
According to Crowley, this is wrong. He writes, “Any neophyte of the Order (or, as some say, any person soever) possesses the right to claim the Grade of Master of the Temple by taking the Oath of the Grade."

Yes. True. But the Oath of the Abyss ("All that I am and all that I have ...") is NOT the Oath of the Magister Templi (which consists of some 10 points, ending with "I will interprete all phenomena as a particular dealing of God [?] with my Soul." These are two different Oaths; one is for entering the Abyss, the other is for assuming the "Grade" of M.T.

To be fair, it should be recognized that the two (the Abyss and the M.T. grade) are closely linked. In fact, the Transhimalayan White Brotherhood allows that they are one grade called "The Crucifixion."

In fact, if you read up on Frater Achad, you’ll see that Crowley acknowledges him as an 8=3 simply because he took the oath. In fact, there’s a letter where Crowley urges him to go back and work through the grades that he skipped, indicating that Crowley acknowledges that Achad actually did skip those grades and really was an 8=3.

What I take all of this to mean is that anybody is entitled to take the oath and, as a result, claim the grade of 8=3 (it’s similar to how the OTO says that everybody is entitled to take the Man of Earth initiations and thereby claim those degrees). But here’s the thing: saying a bunch of words doesn’t create wisdom (just like an initiation ceremony doesn’t create wisdom). Taking the oath before one has gained the understanding represented by the 8=3 grade doesn’t do anything practical. But – here’s the ironic twist – gaining that understanding reveals how meaningless the oath actually is, so taking it at that point would kind of be a waste of time.

The oath, therefore, is a huge joke. It’s also dead serious. It is also neither and both. Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.


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Los
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27/06/2014 8:36 pm  
"Shiva" wrote:
Yes. True. But the Oath of the Abyss ("All that I am and all that I have ...") is NOT the Oath of the Magister Templi (which consists of some 10 points, ending with "I will interprete all phenomena as a particular dealing of God [?] with my Soul." These are two different Oaths; one is for entering the Abyss, the other is for assuming the "Grade" of M.T.

Oh, good point. I think I read your post too hastily: yes, it’s the oath of the grade (not the oath of the abyss) that makes one an 8=3.

But whether or not you intended it, your post seemed to imply that simply swearing an oath does not an 8=3 make. But that’s not correct. Swearing the oath of the grade makes a person 8=3. We might consider the oath a “speech act,” on par with “I now pronounce you husband and wife.” That is to say, most speech is representational: it is meant to represent some idea, like “My cat is hungry” or “I am going to the store.” But some speech is itself an action that effects change. Examples: “I now pronounce you husband and wife,” “I christen thee Edward Alexander,” or “I will interpret every phenomenon as a particular dealing of God with my soul."

There’s an interesting comparison to be made in these cases. The words of a wedding ceremony, for example, create the legal marriage, but a marriage is more than just its legal recognition. If two people go through the ceremony but then continue living apart as two single people, then they can legitimately claim the “grade” of being married, but they won’t actually *be* married in any practical sense of the term.

What a marriage “is” is a process that two people work at. Ideally, the words of a wedding ceremony (and the oaths the participants swear during the ceremony) are an acknowledgment of an ongoing process, a process that would be happening anyway without the ceremony (thus making the ceremony itself somewhat redundant, in at least one sense).

I see the oath of the Master of the Temple in a similar way. A wedding ceremony is pretty meaningless – in any but the most technical, legal sense – unless the participants actually intend to continue to work at the process that the words affirm. In the same way, the oath of the Master of the Temple technically awards a grade, but it’s rather empty without the Understanding that accompanies the grade.

And, as I pointed out above, the irony is that Understanding reveals the ridiculousness of the oath and the pointlessness of taking it.

If someone is too afraid to take the oath because they fear some kind of “terrific penalties,” then they aren’t anywhere close to the level of initiation that the oath implies. Not to stretch the analogy too far, but someone who’s getting cold feet because they’re afraid that getting married will “tie them down” isn’t really ready to go through the wedding ceremony.


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michaelclarke18
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27/06/2014 10:24 pm  

In fact, if you read up on Frater Achad, you’ll see that Crowley acknowledges him as an 8=3 simply because he took the oath. In fact, there’s a letter where Crowley urges him to go back and work through the grades that he skipped, indicating that Crowley acknowledges that Achad actually did skip those grades and really was an 8=3.

But I find Thelema and the 'crossing' very much a personal response of a single man at a particular point in time, and in the above case, the ''system'' - if that is the right word - was robust enough to include the needs of another (Achad)....but even then, the rules needed to be 'bent' to produce the satisfactory result - but satisfactory for who, by whose definition and who was counting?

Much key contemporary philosophy of that time c.1920 was concerned with 'being' and the investigation of one's own being (Heidegger)....an AC equivalent might perhaps be having knowledge of the HGA. In existential terms, the OTO is a glorious contradiction......as it's attempts both the deeply personal and is also group based. This is an impossibility in some ways; as one has to investigate their own being completely on it's own terms (Do what thou wilt)..but at the same time one is also following a system originated by someone else...and is also involved with others people in that pursuit, which Heidegger warn's against.
So,  I'm not entirely sure one can successfully investigate their own being in that context. For example, if I read all about Thelema and follow all the appropriate steps, I don't think it would produce the same effects for me as it did for AC...at the very least the situation will be 'framed' for me by what I had read, in a way that it wasn't for AC - who appears to been out on his own.
In that respect AC may not have known what was coming next....but how much of what was experienced was 'warped' to fit AC's concept of what the process *should* be like, and how much far one should really go in 'entering the unknown' for a completely successful result is anyone's guess. 

Thelema is essentially AC's response to living a life, and not anyone else's. Whilst I agree that aspects of Thelema are likely to work very well for others, I think this only up to a point. The specifics of something like 'crossing the abyss' are highly individual and must be located in body, time and place. In that way, Mr Stein is bang on the money with his comment.

What a marriage “is” is a process that two people work at. Ideally, the words of a wedding ceremony (and the oaths the participants swear during the ceremony) are an acknowledgment of an ongoing process, a process that would be happening anyway without the ceremony (thus making the ceremony itself somewhat redundant, in at least one sense).

But marriage ('crossing the abyss' analogy) is clearly different things to different people. We have personal experience, we have the 'definition' and we have a (positive/negative) concept...the reality can be a mix of one, two or all three - and everything inbetween. People enter into marriage for all sorts of reasons, perhaps some wish to embrace an imagined ideal and successfully live that idea etc etc. However, it's usually - not always - a deeply personal thing for those getting married, it's the personal part which is the quintessence, rather than the structure & ceremony.


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Shiva
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27/06/2014 11:57 pm  

So any initiate (or any anybody, as some say) says or writes the Oath of a Magister (Grade 8=3), ending with "I will interpret all phenomena as a particular dealing of God with my soul," and by doing so he/she declares him/her-self an 8=3 (called "Adept" by the Blavatsky/Bailey Transhimalayan White Brotherhood, and called "Arhat" in Buddhism).

I have always honored those who took the Oath as being Magisters. Now, whether by taking the Oath one becomes an 8=3 by definition (Master of his/her own ship), or in fact ("a Master of Samadhi"), it doesn't matter to me.  I respect them and their Oath, and I always figured the "proof of the pudding" to be whether they lived or not. There are a few folks who took the Oath and died shortly thereafter. Well, maybe that was their "reward"  😉

But now I look differently upon this Oath/Mastery thing. For one thing, I know someone who took the 8=3 Oath and ended up being busted for drug-dealing ... twice. No "garden of disciples," no philosophy - just "go directly to jail." When I mentioned "whether one lives or not," Frater DTFR (well-known to all of you by a different name) replied, "Or it means they simply had no idea of what it was about," and then they kept on living in their ignorance.

No, what I think it really means is that they are declaring themselves outside of contrived systems (Orders of RC & GD-type) and Masters of their own Temple. That's all. And if students think he/she is an "Arhat," and the Master accepts students, and they join the "garden," then fine and well. And if they deal drugs, and refuse students, and go to jail, well, they still might be 8=3. Or if they hold their students as slave-labor, and sniff ether all the time, and end up with a big pile of property and cash (see Solar Lodge), well, they (she) is still 8=3 as recognized by acolytes, but gee whiz, was she really 8=3, a
"A Master of Samadhi." ???

We must also recognize that various philosophies/religions have folks who are acting in the same capacity as a Magister Templi, but they never took the Oath of an 8=3 as taken by Crowley (whose written version is the only example we have of "The Oath of the Grade."

"Arhat, ( Sanskrit: “one who is worthy”), in Buddhism, a perfected person, one who has gained insight into the true nature of existence and has achieved nirvana (spiritual enlightenment). The arhat, having freed himself from the bonds of desire, will not be reborn."

Well, good luck on that (^).[/align:1v6kd90l]

Now then, getting back to Liber Nu, the subject of this threadship, we see that:

"The Result of this Practice is the Consciousness of the Continuity of Existence, the Omnipresence of the Body of Nuit. In other words, the Aspirant is conscious only of the Infinite Universe as a single Being."

and

"The Result of this Practice in the subsequent life of the Aspirant is to fill him with unimaginable joys: to give him certainty concerning the nature of the phenomenon called death, to give him peace unalterable, rest, and ecstasy."

and

"The Results.
1. Expansion of consciousness to that of the Infinite.
2. "Loss of all" the highest mystical attainment.
3. True Wisdom and perfect Happiness."

Having attained all these "results," I can see how "crossing the abyss" and "Magister Grade" are involved. Of course, this practice, and many other practices, lead to these states and ecstasies - on a temporary basis. I know this from my own experience, and you (any one of you) from your own experiences ... right?

But which practice or Oath leads to a permanent fixation in infinite consciousness, or "perfect happiness?"

Regarless of what was said (or not said) about "bovine excrement" at the lecture, in the end, it seems like it might be fecal matter - because we don't see people attaining to permanent infinity and wonderful, ecstatic happiness - regardless of Liber Nu, or Crossing the Gulf, or by taking the big Oath.


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Los
 Los
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28/06/2014 4:25 am  
"Shiva" wrote:
Of course, this practice, and many other practices, lead to these states and ecstasies - on a temporary basis. I know this from my own experience, and you (any one of you) from your own experiences ... right?

But which practice or Oath leads to a permanent fixation in infinite consciousness, or "perfect happiness?"

Regarless of what was said (or not said) about "bovine excrement" at the lecture, in the end, it seems like it might be fecal matter - because we don't see people attaining to permanent infinity and wonderful, ecstatic happiness - regardless of Liber Nu, or Crossing the Gulf, or by taking the big Oath.

People tend to fetishize these grades and make them out to be something they’re not. They think becoming 5=6 or 8=3 is some lofty achievement that makes someone into a spiritual titan, into a perpetual experiencer of “bliss,” into some uber-wise listen-to-me-grasshopper type. I don’t think a “Master of the Temple” is one who is permanently happy or who permanently abides in some blissed out state. As I said earlier, defining the term in a way that is totally impossible to achieve makes it useless (except as a device for the individual to hold out hope for some pipe dream).

What we’re really talking about, at the end of the day, is the destruction of the ego – or, as I like to put it, the realization that self is nothing more than a thought. It *is* possible for a person to achieve this, and the realization *is* permanent.

We might compare it to realizing that there is no Santa Claus or to realizing that David Copperfield’s amazing feats are just illusions. Once you figure that stuff out, you’ve permanently figured it out. You don’t ever accidentally slip back into thinking that Santa is real or that Copperfield is really making buildings disappear.

8=3 is less a mode of experiencing the world than a conviction about the world. Recall that Tipareth (to which 5=6 is attributed) means “beauty.” Binah (to which 8=3 is attributed) means “understanding.” The Master of the Temple experiences the same exact reality that he always did. The difference is that he Understands.

As a sort of rough analogy, let’s say a dad brings a kid to a magic show. They both see the magician pull a rabbit out of the hat. They both experience a feeling of wonder and amazement. The dad Understands that it’s an illusion. The kid might think it’s real. That is the only difference.


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obscurus
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28/06/2014 1:42 pm  

I took that oath at age nineteen. It instantly became an indelible mark in my brain, permenantly branded upon my consciousness. Every experience in this flesh has been tempered by it. I looked into the palm of my hand and seen what I now call the fuck-chain. The transmission of the spark, that inner light that we truly are, from this very breaking moment all the way back to the first manifested flesh. That is us. I see this thing we call the infinite universe as but a speck within a bubble contained within endless others. I am awash in the sensation of the motion of being. I ride the apex of now, the past falling behind and future rises ahead. Grades and orders are meaningless. Like a breeze that rises and is gone. We have all done it?

And what does all this matter outside my very own skull? Not a goddamn thing.

For what it's worth, submitted strictly for the purpose of your entertainment. lol!


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Shiva
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28/06/2014 5:32 pm  
"Los" wrote:
People tend to fetishize these grades and make them out to be something they’re not. They think becoming 5=6 or 8=3 is some lofty achievement that makes someone into a spiritual titan, into a perpetual experiencer of “bliss,” ... The dad Understands that it’s an illusion. The kid might think it’s real. That is the only difference.

Yes. Isn't that the truth of it? A young person, reading One Star in Sight, is liable to see wonerful stepping stones to happiness, while a more mature person sees it as a metaphor, or as some ideal (like "democracy" or "communism") that somehow doesn't fully live up to its stated goals.

What we’re really talking about, at the end of the day, is the destruction of the ego – or, as I like to put it, the realization that self is nothing more than a thought. It *is* possible for a person to achieve this, and the realization *is* permanent.

If we are to believe certain people, it does seem that some folks do in fact suffer/attain loss of "self." It's too bad that there are no sure-fire ways to attain this state (even though many authors/savants have promised that their way will do the trick).


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