From mysticism to M...
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From mysticism to Magick

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Hi all!
When I was young I became interested in Magick.
When I was 14 I bought a copy of Magick and my understanding at the time was that the book was conceived in steps: if you wanted to put in practice part II and III you needed to do what was written in part I first. Even in one of the "libri" of Thelema (sorry, I don't remember which one, but I think it's on Magick appendix) speaking about astral works, Crowley states that before you even try it, you first need to have reached a good result with dharana.

I don't know if this is 100% true but anyway, I began with Magick part. 1 and not longer after that I lost my interest in Magick but I kept my interest with mysticism and meditation.
After a while healt issues forced me to stop my Raja Yoga practice.

Now I'm 32 and I've started again with meditation.
I don't want to dig deeply into philosophical questions about things like non duality and all the like, if not else because I don't have the slightest competence about the topic.

That said, my understanding of mysticism agrees with what David Godman says here about Self-enquiry as taught by Ramana Maharshi:

throught repeated practice take your sense of 'I' back to its source and hold it there in such a way that nothing distracts it. Nothing wants to make it go out and follow a thought. If you reach this state of effortless, thought free 'I' sense then this 'I' will be abiding at its source but this is not liberation. This is simply the 'I' offering itself up, in a way, as a sacrifice to the Self. When this 'I' no longer has any impetus to move out when there is no momentum to chase a thought then the power of the Self will reveal itself to that 'I' thought, it would suck it into itself, it will destroy it and liberation will result.

Gary Weber talks about this in similar terms here, especially from the min 12:00 on, when he talks about the witness/watcher.

And I'll throw in this video about non duality by GP Walsh too.

(btw I hope it's ok to put links to external resources and it's not seen as spam)

So, as I see it, the final goal of mysticism is about what David Godman calls "liberation" in the above mentioned video.

And now my question: if this is the cornerstone of mysticism, what's the final goal of Magick and how does it differ from mysticism (if there is any difference)? It differs only in methods or it differs in results too?

Also, in Liber AL is written that there are three grades: the hermit, the lover and the man of earth.

Are there any analogs with mystical achievements?

For example if I remember right about Yesod it is said that when you "reach" that sphere you'll obtain the "vision of the mechanism of the World".
I can interpret this as when you realize the non-dual nature of existence and that the ego is just a construct of the mind and you're "not that", but outside of formal practice you're still entangled in that world view, then you've reached this grade. (this may be an over-simplification)

While I suppose that Tipareth corresponds to the K&C of the HGA or, in mystical terms, you don't only see the "Angel" but you realize clearly that you're it, on an experiential level, even on your daily life outside of formal practice.
I understand why this is attributed to Tipareth, because at this level you don't identify yoursel with your ego ("I am this and that", body, mind) but you identify yourself with "awareness" itself or in the act of "knowing". But there is still an I, a "point of conscience", which I think corresponds to Hadit in Thelema? So there is a "centre", a "solar" conscience.

Then the third grade (the hermit) is the crossing of the Abyss.
Even the "I am" itself is lost in the "Self" (Nuit?).

Is my understanding of the matter even remotely near to being right?
If it is, then I don't understand the need of Magick (rituals, astral workings, formulae, sigils, spirits). Isn't easier to just sit down and meditate? Or is Magick supposed to speed up the process?

If not, then what it's all about?

SORRY for the naive question, hope someone will help me understand!
Thank you in advance!

Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 3109

Oh boy. I welcome you and I am not an expert.
Lots of questions..
I am going to bed, but for your main question, magick and mysticism are both necessary in my opinion.

Magick is more like a sport to strengthen your energy body and brain w repetitive action and etheral and astral discipline. So you can travel easier and flex your will.

Meditation is more a passive exercise not a workout but a stretching to make the mind more capacious and you can reach calm states necessary for hard work. Or do it prone too.

Just my two cents

Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 1957

welcome cophnia61
nice thoughts
nice question

i too think along these lines

as far as the magick vs meditation
i am no expert but i do dabble

i think its good to find a space to spend time
out side of the standard accustomed modes of operation

i am no expert
i might devote a half hour to an hour a day

my opinion is that its like grappling or the punching kicking arts
its good to know both

though some say stick to one
some say its good to switch it up when you are getting bored or it becomes routine

either way
exercising the mind or stilling it is not easy

sometimes work other times flow

sometimes flow is up against a rock
and work might of sailed by quickly

just my 2 cents

Joined: 8 years ago
Posts: 3912

And now my question: if this is the cornerstone of mysticism, what’s the final goal of Magick and how does it differ from mysticism

~ cophnia61


its interesting that AC said that "yoga and magick are lovers".

Not a Rajah
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 8094

what’s the final goal of Magick and how does it differ from mysticism (if there is any difference)?

No difference. The goal of all endeavor is to surrender any and all goals and attain to Zero. Then Atma. the Universal Self, will work through you. You (anyone) are just a channel. All other goals are based on ego and are not the "true" goal.

Joined: 5 years ago
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Topic starter  

Thank you all for your answers!

So, I was thinking: 'K' in magick is the 11th letter of the English alphabet and Crowley himself said that 11 is the number of Magick.
11 is the number of Da'ath, or the 'knowledge' of "good and evil", or "duality".
11 is the sum of the union of microcosm (5) and macrocosm (6), so in a certain sense it is the number of the "creation" of the phenomenal world, or the great illusion.
11 itself is a glyph of duality, 1+1, or 2, and I think the number 2 is attribuited to the magic wand too, a symbol of creation.

From "The Book of Thoth":

"But position does not mean anything at all unless there is something else, some other position with which it can be compared. One has to describe it. The only way to do this is to have another Point, and that means that one must invent the number Two, making possible The Line."

Talking about Chokhmah. And, I think, to Chokhmah is attribuited the grade of "Magus".

From Liber 31:

"The Great Magician denies me saying I am NOT (I.A.) or NEMO 8=3 and in this He fulfilleth His Office of cutting off the Understanding from the Crown which is GOD (AL). In this very thing He is the Incarnation of the Mystery of Change. AL (Kether) is reflected into Chochmah as LA and the Magus looketh upon the Crown along the Path of Aleph which is Zero and perceiveth IT Not. The Magister Templi Understands, for the Word of Chochmah LA is truly reflected into Binah as AL and therefore the Magus appeareth to Him as GOD, whereas the Crown (the true AL) is reflected through the Path of Beth as LA and He seeth Nothing in that direction be- cause of the Lies of the Great Illusion of Maya the magician, but He striveth by Daleth to the Magus, Who is the Great Deceiver. Thus it is that Above the Abyss a thing is only true insofar as it IS its own oÿposite. This is the final and complete Understanding of this Mystery of the Grades given to me NOW (2.38 P.M.) for never before have I seen things thus."

So, if we say that the perceived/manifested world is an "illusion" created by the interaction (the dance) of two forces (see the Tao symbol, or the interplay of Shiva/Shakti and so on), and the final goal of the Great Work is what the user "Shiva" said in his reply, and this goal is shared between both the Mystical and the Magickal paths, we can say that there are two different approaches to this "illusion" of duality.

In the traditional or vedantic path, the mystic recognizes the illusion and works in order to get away from it until he or she reaches "liberation".

In the tantric path even if one does recognize the dual world as an illusion, he or she doesn't reject it.

If the Self creates the illusion in order to "know itself and the world", then there is nothing inherently bad in enjoying the creation. In other words, the purpose of the manifeste world is to experience things as described in the book of Genesis. Only, in the book of Genesis this desire to know is seen as something evil, while in the "tantric" approach it is not, there is nothing bad in sensory experience as long as one doesn't became a slave of sensations, emotions, thoughts and so on.

"Bind nothing! Let there be no difference made among you between any one thing & any other thing; for thereby there cometh hurt."

So, to conclude, the mystical path relies more on abnegation, while the magical path is more about accepting everything as a "play" between "hadit" and "nuit":

"For I am divided for love’s sake, for the chance of union.
This is the creation of the world, that the pain of division is as nothing, and the joy of dissolution all."

"Division" is not bad per sé, because love is the law, love under will. If there were no division, there would be no chance of union.

The mystical path is about rejecting everything which is not "the Self" (see the self-enquiry method of Ramana Maharshi which btw I totally admire and respect) while the tantric path is about not running away from everything which is not "the Self" but instead realizing "the Self" while being in the world. Don't refuse action, just act "outside of karma". Or:

"For pure will, unassuaged of purpose, delivered from the lust of result, is every way perfect."

So, while I think that the Liber AL contemplates both paths, mystical and magickal, there is a lot in it about the latter one (if we agree on considering Magick as similar to the "Tantric" approach), maybe because the last 2000 years were all about sin and self-restriction and good vs evil?

Sorry for the rambling, I hope this makes at least a little of sense.
I want to clarify that I'm not an expert in Gematria or in Veda and Tantra, so sorry if I wrote some nonsense.

I'll conclude with a video of Rubert Spira about the traditional Vedic approach vs the Tantric approach in dealing with negative emotions. While this is not exactly what we're talking about and it's more of a "everyday advice" for the "common people", I think it illustrates the point (starting from min. 2:25):

Also, "Samsara is Nirvana"

Joined: 5 years ago
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Topic starter  

Btw I was reading in another thread:

Grant had a life-long interest in Eastern Mysticism, and during the 1950s became particularly interested in the work of such as Ramana Maharshi, Anandamayi Ma, and Pagal Haranath. He maintained a correspondence with fellow advaitins both here and abroad, such as Arthur Osborne, Mouni Sadhu and Paul Brunton. A close friend, Duff Mellis, returned to India in the mid 1950s but sadly died out there; Grant’s correspondence with him is particularly insightful.

written by the user "Michael Staley".

I'm definitely interested in this topic, I know that Grant wrote a book about it, "At the feet of the guru" but unfortunately I've still to read it.

By searching Michael Staley's name on Google I ended up to this article:

Going Beyond

Is this the same Michael Staley as the one in this forum? I really loved that article.

William Thirteen
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"yet speak not of Michael Staley as One but as None; and speak not of him at all"

The Funambulatory Way - it's All in the Egg
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 4447


Yes, the Michael Staley that wrote the article 'Going Beyond', and the Michael Staley here on LAShTAL, are the same person.

I've been interested in the occult as long as I can remember, and have been through various paths and detours along the way, including a strong interest in Buddhism and Hinduism. Then in the late 1960s I came across the work of Crowley, and devoured everything I could read by him. In the early 1970s I met Kenneth Grant, a relationship that continued until his death in January 2011. Grant's work has been the biggest influence on my life and thought. My interests are varied, but I have never come across as profound, inspiring and exciting a body of work as Grant's; my preoccupation is to steep myself in it, plumb its depths, and assimilate its essence, thereby to continue its development.

I came across Advaita along the way, across the years, but was particularly interested by the references in some of Grant's books to the works of the pseudononymous Wei Wu Wei. I sought some of them out. They were difficult to get then, in the early 1980s. What I read seemed at first difficult to understand; his later books, first published by the Hong Kong University Press, consist largely of terse, succinct aphorisms which mean little to rationality but which trigger flashes of insight. Over the succeeding decades, again I have been through many interests, but my interest in Advaita continued to grow, albeit fitfully.

The real turning-point came for me in reading the papers left behind after Grant's death, and in particular his correspondence from the early 1950s. It was then that I realised just how fundamental Advaita is to Grant's work. In particular, I came to learn that in the summer of 1952, after several years of accumulating interest in the work of Ramana Maharshi, his interest climaxed in a realisation that led him to lose interest in Magick for a while. That interest returned, but Advaita remained fundamental, and is the underpinning of his subsequent work.

And now my question: if this is the cornerstone of mysticism, what’s the final goal of Magick and how does it differ from mysticism (if there is any difference)? It differs only in methods or it differs in results too?

I don't think there is any difference in essence. The goal is the same: the discovery of reality. Only the method differs. I've always liked the analogy of existence to a play, whereby there is just the one actor, Brahma, playing all the roles. However, the actor has become so immersed in the roles that he has lost sight of the fact that he is everything. I believe that True Will is universal, expressing itself in multiplicity, which brings to mind the equation 0 = 2.

The Funambulatory Way - it's All in the Egg
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 4447


A remark of yours which I intended to address in my earlier post, but forgot:

I’m definitely interested in this topic, I know that Grant wrote a book about it, “At the feet of the guru” but unfortunately I’ve still to read it.

At the Feet of the Guru is a collection of essays on Eastern Mysticism which Kenneth Grant published from 1953 onwards. Many of these were in various Indian magazines such as 'The Call Divine', a magazine launched in 1953 by devotees of Ramana Maharshi; others first appeared in the 1970s encyclopedia , 'Man, Myth and Magic'. They were published as At the Feet of the Guru in 2006.

Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 1957

Occult bodies, currents, formations, and Quicksand
teaser clips
from At the Feet of the Guru, Quicksand chapter

“ Do you follow the life of the Bhagavan ?

One does in fact show not the slightest resemblance in any anyway whatever to the life of the Bhagavan ,

If by the Bagavan is implied the particular sage called Sri Ramana who once lived, and who is said to still abide, in the fastness of the sacred Arunachala .

And so, examining oneself with care, one discovers almost as a revelation that the figure of Sri Ramana, endowed with sanctity by countless devotees, is not the Bhagavan at all but an ego-engendered concept .

Going yet deeper, one is struck by a further realization which is, that all one supposes to be one’s self is, in fact and in truth, its very opposite - the not-self; for all that can be embraced by thought is of the ego, that treacherous quicksand…..

The kingdom of I and We forsake,
And your home in annihilation make . “

And on the Great Solvent Universal Absence stuff

“ there is felt the subtle and luminous presence of the Inconceivable Reality , which is void of all limitations imposed thereon by the human mind .

The entire quest is aimed at the sundering or dissolution of the knot of ignorance which causes us to identify ourselves with the workings of our minds .

leaving us vaguely aware of the possibility of the sudden and irrevocable annihilation of the world we know .

It is difficult in mere words, perhaps, to try to adumbrate , however dimly, the vast import of this unutterable dissolution; yet we must strive to push the mind to its extreme limits until it strains tenuously and earnestly after that which allows a glimpse to be had of the immense possibilities latent within
even the limited awareness of the mind’s arena . Of course, it astutely impossible to think about a sate or region which is void of all attributes, qualities, and so on;

WHO AM I ? calls forth no answer from the domain of mind or ego, because the mind and ego do not obtain in Reality where all is void of form and bereft of conceptual thought “

The Great solvent chapter

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