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Nu Hermetica


Sephirah
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Currently reading Nu Hermetica (knowledge of Nuit), by Oliver St. John. Anybody else read this title? 


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hadgigegenraum
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Thanks! 

While I am not familiar with this title from the prolific Oliver St. John, i do have several of his works and am particularly fond of the work he did with Sophia Di Jorio called The Ending of the Words: The Magickal Philosophy of Aleister Crowley that was later renamed with additional essays, a Law of Thelema: Quantum Yoga"

There is much that is very refreshing about Mr. St. John's work, such that it is a "go to" recommendation for both those who know nothing about AC's work as those familiar with the terrain. 

The additional essays in Quantum Yoga involve analysis of certain aspects of Kenneth Grant's work, sans ectoplasmic tentacles, but I will note that St. John does employ a Maatian perspective, in what is accessible and well thought writing...

 


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katrice
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Posted by: @sephirah

Currently reading Nu Hermetica (knowledge of Nuit), by Oliver St. John. Anybody else read this title? 

I have not but would be interested in hearing more about it. 


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Sephirah
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Ok, I’m on my overall second reading (but I have read the first part of the book multiple times) of this now, so I’m better placed to write about some of the contents. 

As I wrote, it is about knowledge of Nu. However, it should be made clear that no writing about Nu can be knowledge of Nu - the writing is a symbol pointing to that which is beyond the words themselves.

The book itself is basically a series of monographs on initiation and metaphysical reality. I’ll first say that it is not an easy read, but taking the time to delve deeper into the text, seems to reveal more depth with each reading. Also, familiarity with the works of Rene Guenon seems almost essential to help understand some of the lines of thought being developed. 

One thing that particularly drew me straight into the book from the start, was the authors discussion of the modern trend of atomistic individuality (and relativity) in society - and this has created a singular and sterile idea of self. This isolated individualism is the ego-self immersed in its own projections and believing them to be Truth. Such individualism, rather than creating the freedom that we might have though it would, has isolated us and shut us off from the world and Nu (divine/Eternal Principle)

Too many times I’ve read books/posts/articles by thelemic writers who celebrate the modern trend of individuality and relativity, & its resultant hedonic whim-worship, as an integral part of the Aeon of Horus - e.g. the attitude of screw you, this is just who I am, I’m not changing for anyone. It certainly seems childish - fitting, I guess, for the supposed aeon of the child - but I always saw this as a hinderance to following your will, or knowing divinity. I mean, “Screw your, this is just who I am.” are surely just the words of an ego-self, not someone doing their will! And this leads nicely to another point I like in Nu Hermetica…

“As the divine will, Thelema is nothing to do with self-determinism, or the will as understood in any psychological sense.”

I know thelemites in general don’t interpret their will as just whatever they fancy, but many do interpret their will as part of their their ego-self, or as superficial or ideological goals. Nu Hermetica is saying that will is divine ordinance, and will separated from divinity is just meaningless confusion.

Furthermore, this divine will is (only?) known through initiation. Initiation is the establishing of a link between “the primordial font and manifested life”.

Initiation is then developed and expanded from various perspectives throughout the book. 

Probably also worth mentioning that this is a bit of a thelema without Crowley perspective. It takes Liber Al as an inspired text, coming from an ancient initiated current, without drawing on Crowley’s interpretations. 

One more point worth mentioning is that, rather than perhaps having a basis in the progression of aeons (Isis, Osiris, Horus), instead the book seems to have its basis in the Manvantara cycles. Using the progression of the current Manvantara it suggests we are near the end of the current cycle and approaching dissolution. Evidence for this is that we can see in the world that materialism has become very nearly total, with the loss of initiated contact with the divine and its replacement surrogate gods of materialism.

I’ve missed out so much in trying to explain the book, whilst also trying to keep this review/interpretation quick and short. 


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Michael Staley
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Thank you, Sephirah, that was a very interesting read, and I'll take a look at the book. I've read some of Oliver St. John's work over the years, but not enough.

As for what you say about Will, and the quoted remarks by Oliver St. John's, I read something recently about the Greek word Thelema being an archaic term that denoted the will not of the individual but of God: in other words, that Will is cosmic not individual; that we are refractions of a greater, collective will. Personally I think that this is key to the Aeon of Maat.

 

 


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Shiva
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Posted by: @michael-staley

the Greek word Thelema being an archaic term that denoted the will not of the individual but of God:

It has been my understanding, for about six decades, that this (your statement) is exactly what is meant ... because that is the way it was first explained to me (circa '63).

 


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fraterihsan
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Posted by: @michael-staley

I read something recently about the Greek word Thelema being an archaic term that denoted the will not of the individual but of God: in other words, that Will is cosmic not individual; that we are refractions of a greater, collective will. Personally I think that this is key to the Aeon of Maat.

 

Yes, it is used in the original Greek of the Lord's Prayer. In the phrase "Your Will Be Done" (from Matthew 6:10) the word for Will in Greek used is "Thelema". 

Aiwass's proclamation of "Do What Thou Wilt Shall Be The Whole of the Law" shares the same connotations. Also note the eschatological aspect of the Lord's Prayer, New Jerusalem and everything. 

One aspect of the Aeon of Horus I haven't seen much talk about yet (which might make me incidentally a pioneer in terms of Thelemic Theology) [not even observed by Kenneth Grant as far as I've read] is the notion of Will (Thelema) connected directly to the concept of the Aeon of Horus (Equinox of the Gods). Obviously to anyone that knows established Thelemic ontology and soteriology, we already know that the True Will is itself Nuit herself transcendentally, and imminently within Hadit as "The Flame that burns in every heart of man and in the core of every star".

On a kind of "holographic" (in terms of cosmology) scale these concepts such as "stars in the body of Nuit", "True Will", "The Aeon of Horus" in terms of the unfoldment of time and the purpose of the individual being, all mirror and relate to each other very intricately. There is very certainly an innate imminent eschatology within the very fundamental revelation and assumptions of Thelemic theology and cosmology. 

"There is none that shall be cast down or lifted up: all is ever as it was." - Liber Legis 2:58
"To Me do ye reverence! to me come ye through tribulation of ordeal, which is bliss." - Liber Legis 3:62


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fraterihsan
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And furthermore we do have corroboration from the 1st Aethyr of The Vision & The Voice:

And they shall be brought unto subjection unto thee, and serve thee, though thou willest it not. And it shall be unto them a grace and a sacrament, and ye shall all sit down together at the supernal banquet, and ye shall feast upon the honey of the gods, and be drunk upon the dew of immortality — FOR I AM HORUS, THE CROWNED AND CONQUERING CHILD, WHOM THOU KNEWEST NOT!

Pass thou on, therefore, O thou Prophet of the Gods, unto the Cubical Altar of the Universe; there shalt thou receive every tribe and kingdom and nation into the mighty Order that reacheth from the frontier fortresses that guard the Uttermost Abyss unto My Throne.

"There is none that shall be cast down or lifted up: all is ever as it was." - Liber Legis 2:58
"To Me do ye reverence! to me come ye through tribulation of ordeal, which is bliss." - Liber Legis 3:62


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Sephirah
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@michael-staley thank you. I’m happy to read that you found it interesting. If/when you read it, I’d love to hear your thoughts. 

Further to your thoughts on Thelema/will, I definitely agree that it must be cosmic not individual. Like fraterihsan wrote, it was also my understanding that the use of the word thelema in the bible was predominantly to denote God’s will eg in the Lord’s Prayer, “Thy will(thelema) be done”; and that a different word for will was more commonly used to denote human will(boule). In this context, you might find the following quote from Nu Hermetica of interest:

” Thelema… means ‘will’, and is used in scriptural context to denote divine will, the ordinance of Theos. It is best understood as spiritual and natural governance that is beyond reason or the self-identifying ego to comprehend… Thelema is not the personal will that imagines it has deterministic power; the will current arises from the depth or innermost from the point of view of the individuality; from the point of view of the initiate it emanates from the primordial centre and is without location as such.”

And finally, to round it all off, in the words of the Master Therion:

”Thy will (is) part of, and therefore equal to, the Will of God. And since the will is but the dynamic aspect of the self, and since two different selves could not possess identical wills; then, if thy will be God's will, Thou art That.” (Liber II, The Message of The Master Therion). 

 

 

 


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newneubergOuch2
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So…

 

Do what thou wilt (god wills) shall be the whole of the Law (Universal Law), Love (Union) is the law (universal law), love (union) under will (gods will).


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katrice
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Posted by: @sephirah

Thank you for the review!  Very interesting indeed!

 

 As I wrote, it is about knowledge of Nu. However, it should be made clear that no writing about Nu can be knowledge of Nu - the writing is a symbol pointing to that which is beyond the words themselves.

Words and language being of the rational, while Nu is the domain of the transrational.

 

Also, familiarity with the works of Rene Guenon seems almost essential to help understand some of the lines of thought being developed. 

How so? I am not unfamiliar with Guenon. 

 

 Too many times I’ve read books/posts/articles by thelemic writers who celebrate the modern trend of individuality and relativity, & its resultant hedonic whim-worship, as an integral part of the Aeon of Horus - e.g. the attitude of screw you, this is just who I am, I’m not changing for anyone. 

don't get me started.  😉 

 

But more seriously, it's sad when Thelemites fall in to defining dwtw in the way that many of the general public have been led to interpret it.

 

It certainly seems childish - fitting, I guess, for the supposed aeon of the child

Though I'd consider this a misinterpretation of the concept of the Child. 

One more point worth mentioning is that, rather than perhaps having a basis in the progression of aeons (Isis, Osiris, Horus), instead the book seems to have its basis in the Manvantara cycles. Using the progression of the current Manvantara it suggests we are near the end of the current cycle and approaching dissolution. Evidence for this is that we can see in the world that materialism has become very nearly total, with the loss of initiated contact with the divine and its replacement surrogate gods of materialism.

 

OK, I see how this would fit in with Traditionalism.  How would it reconcile with the progression of the Aeons?

Posted by: @michael-staley

in other words, that Will is cosmic not individual;

Does that distinction not become increasingly academic the further one progresses?  As one goes further beyond the ego, don't the distinctions between the macro- and micro- cosms diminish?

 

 

 

 


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Michael Staley
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Posted by: @katrice

Does that distinction not become increasingly academic the further one progresses?  As one goes further beyond the ego, don't the distinctions between the macro- and micro- cosms diminish?

It depends upon the path you are following. My primary interest is Advaita Vedanta, and certainly over the years it's as you suggest. However, it's more a case of the shedding of illusion than the distictions between the macro and the micro diminishing; at least, that's been my experience.

In my opinion, the most succinct remark on Thelema by Crowley – or anyone else, come to that – was to the effect that 'do what thou wilt' is to bid stars to shine, vines to bear grapes, and water to seek its own level.


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ignant666
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Posted by: @michael-staley

'do what thou wilt' is to bid stars to shine, vines to bear grapes, and water to seek its own level.

Well, yes, but of course stars, vines, and water, unlike humans, are not commonly possessed by talking monkeys chattering away inside their heads.

So they don't need to be told.


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Michael Staley
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Posted by: @ignant666

Well, yes, but of course stars, vines, and water, unlike humans, are not commonly possessed by talking monkeys chattering away inside their heads.

True – or is it? The chattering monkey isn't there all the time.


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ignant666
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Posted by: @michael-staley

The chattering monkey isn't there all the time.

It can be tamed, and trained to shut up, that is true. In fact, doing so is much of the Work.


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kidneyhawk
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Posted by: @michael-staley

The chattering monkey isn't there all the time.

It can be tamed, and trained to shut up, that is true. In fact, doing so is much of the Work.

Crowley himself would seem to think so with some of his comments on Yoga and “getting OUT.” Which begs the question: if this is the Key, why are we led into the troubled waters of the Crowley Cult with its menstrual cakes and bum sex and chest slicing rituals and cyphers and systems of authority etc etc. Isn't some disciplined Zazen enough to help us “get OUT?” Wouldn't our time be better spent on a Zafu than performing the Star Ruby and indulging our Monkey Minds with “scrying on the planes?”

 

My question is only half-rhetorical. One may well observe that the forum-focused activity of the average Lashtalian is also Chimp Chatter, this present post included. So we must ask: are we doing anything more than picking lice from each others backs-that is when we're not slinging fist-fulls of shite?

 

What think ye?

Posted by: @ignant666

stars, vines, and water, unlike humans, are not commonly possessed by talking monkeys chattering away inside their heads.

So they don't need to be told.

If "About me flames the Pentagram and within me shines the Six-Rayed Star," we may need to remind our "World" of the Law...for it exists within Ourselves-and nowhere else-as a Projection of Mind. And, apparently, our Minds DO benefit from the reminder.


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Shiva
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Posted by: @ignant666

It can be tamed, and trained to shut up, that is true. In fact, doing so is much of the Work.

Towards the "higher" levels, this becomes all of the Work. 

Posted by: @kidneyhawk

Which begs the question: if this is the Key, why are we led into the troubled waters of the Crowley Cult with its menstrual cakes and bum sex and chest slicing rituals and cyphers and systems of authority etc etc.   ... ?

An excellent inquiry. We led into the troubled waters of the Crowley "Exposition" because it is The Path followed by the said Crowley. It grew up out of Christianity opposed by the G.D., with further interests sparked by many sexual alternatives - all woven into a tapestry.

From the tapestry, extract all threads with a Liber. Do them. They are (mostly) all designed to lead to the pineapple pinnacle of mind-stop. I recommend perusal of all the other stuff, but be prepared to sift and sort according to your own childhood problems.

Posted by: @kidneyhawk

Wouldn't our time be better spent on a Zafu than performing the Star Ruby and indulging our Monkey Minds with “scrying on the planes?”

Possibly. But some people's minds are built so that they can bring a balanced structure to their mental realm. Only a balanced structure allow "easy" access to no-mind. An unbalanced structure collapses almost immediately upon touching no-mind.

Posted by: @kidneyhawk

My question is only half-rhetorical.

And it is 65% a very practical question. The answer is, everybody must cut their own way through the (mental) jungle. Whatever philosophy sticks or is rejected is just that. There'a an awful lot of BS in any system, including Thelema if you buy the entire package.

Posted by: @kidneyhawk

are we doing anything more than picking lice from each others backs-that is when we're not slinging fist-fulls of shite?

What think ye?

Depends on one's perspective. If I had something "better" to do, which I do a lot of the time (chopping wood, punping water, welding steel), I would do it. But then, sometimes one needs a break from the coal mine factory fields and this is a cool place to be. I often remind folks that the mind-stop is the goal - what else can I do?

Answer: I think I will invent a "Mind-Stop Oath" with terrible penalties if one keeps thinking. Oh, wait! Everybody's already taken that Oath ... some just don't know it yet.

 


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Michael Staley
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Posted by: @kidneyhawk

Crowley himself would seem to think so with some of his comments on Yoga and “getting OUT.” Which begs the question: if this is the Key, why are we led into the troubled waters of the Crowley Cult with its menstrual cakes and bum sex and chest slicing rituals and cyphers and systems of authority etc etc. Isn't some disciplined Zazen enough to help us “get OUT?” Wouldn't our time be better spent on a Zafu than performing the Star Ruby and indulging our Monkey Minds with “scrying on the planes?”

Like most of us, Crowley had a multitude of interests, some of which I find useful useful, others less so; t's a matter of extracting the chaff from the wheat. I've been through phases of performing rituals, instructions and the like, and it's part of the experience that's distilled into my present path. So although it doesn't interest me any more, it has been useful.

So far as the chattering monkey is concerned, in my experience it's better ignored rather than grappled with. I did a lot of dharana in the past, and soon discovered that the knack was simply to remain focused on the object of dharana. Otherwise, the breaks simply proliferate and become overpowering.

Posted by: @kidneyhawk

My question is only half-rhetorical. One may well observe that the forum-focused activity of the average Lashtalian is also Chimp Chatter, this present post included. So we must ask: are we doing anything more than picking lice from each others backs-that is when we're not slinging fist-fulls of shite?

Yes, I agree (and here am I adding to the monkey chatter). Were we to be in a zen monastery or something similar, we'd spend most of our time absorbed in consciousness and have little or no interest in internet forums (assuming there was access to them). As it is, we're multi-facetted, and break off from time to time to be Kyle Fite or Michael Staley.

Posted by: @kidneyhawk

If "About me flames the Pentagram and within me shines the Six-Rayed Star," we may need to remind our "World" of the Law...for it exists within Ourselves-and nowhere else-as a Projection of Mind. And, apparently, our Minds DO benefit from the reminder.

Yes, they do. There are invocations that I express several times daily, attunements that are effective.


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Shiva
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Posted by: @michael-staley

it's a matter of extracting the chaff from the wheat.

Exactly.

The extraction process can get sticky - which is why it's also called confusing.

Posted by: @michael-staley

the knack was simply to remain focused on the object of dharana. Otherwise, the breaks simply proliferate and become overpowering.

How true. The break-counting is the practice used in the training phase. There comes a point where one gets around to the stop-counting and focuses on the object of contemplation.

Posted by: @michael-staley

and here am I adding to the monkey chatter

Sure. But look: The internal dialog runs on a tape or a receiver, and it's activated 24/7/52/2000. We can learn to slow it down, and we can learn tricks to stop it ... temporarily. To engage in wu-wei, randori, dhyana, samadhi, or Tao involves this sort of slow or stop.

 


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Michael Staley
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Posted by: @michael-staley

It's a matter of extracting the chaff from the wheat.

Or even the wheat from the chaff.


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kidneyhawk
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Posted by: @michael-staley

It's a matter of extracting the chaff from the wheat.

Or even the wheat from the chaff.

Or burning down the mill altogether.


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katrice
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Posted by: @michael-staley
Posted by: @katrice

Does that distinction not become increasingly academic the further one progresses?  As one goes further beyond the ego, don't the distinctions between the macro- and micro- cosms diminish?

It depends upon the path you are following. My primary interest is Advaita Vedanta, and certainly over the years it's as you suggest. However, it's more a case of the shedding of illusion than the distictions between the macro and the micro diminishing; at least, that's been my experience. 

I'd say that the shedding of illusion and the distinctions diminishing are one and the same. 

Posted by: @kidneyhawk

Crowley himself would seem to think so with some of his comments on Yoga and “getting OUT.” Which begs the question: if this is the Key, why are we led into the troubled waters of the Crowley Cult with its menstrual cakes and bum sex and chest slicing rituals and cyphers and systems of authority etc etc.

While I've seen arguments that all of this gives people something to do while also focusing on meditation, in order to keep them on the path, I side with Shiva's take that it's there to help balance and fortify the psyche, and aid in reaching the proper states of default consciousness. 

We need to descend in to complexity in order to properly attain simplicity.

 

Posted by: @shiva

There'a an awful lot of BS in any system, including Thelema if you buy the entire package.

 

Agreed.  Experiment, find what you need, apply, and assess. 

 

 

 


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gurugeorge
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I'm not sure if "taming the monkey mind" isn't a bit misleading.  I mean it's a cute phrase and it definitely describes and aspect of the thing, but it puts too much separation between "me" and "my mind."  Really, what you need to discover is that both "me" and "my mind" are "over there."

I think you need discipline, but that's just ordinary grit-your-teeth-and-get-on-with-it discipline - a bit of that, sustained for 3 months or so brings on habit, which then relieves the strain of forcing it.  Yama and Niyama again - stop bad habits, start good habits.

That in itself goes a good way to streamlining thought, and it just becoming less of a racket (that sense of, as Sam Harris amusingly put it, "Being stuck with the most boring person in the room at a party" 🙂 )

I've always pictured in my mind the situation as like this: you have the huge ocean-going liner of your total self, and you have your ordinary everyday mind.  Your ordinary everyday mind is like a tugboat, it's small compared to the bulk of you, for sure, but it does have a lot of power to effect change.

So then once you have that ordinary stuff sorted out (both sensible ordinary life habits and more specific habits of regular meditation, ritual or whatever), then you have a stable platform, then you get into the two different kinds of "insight" - the first, investigating the truth of the teachings (like a minnow delicately noodling around in the water), and then finally just letting it be and discovering what "it" really is.

It's ultimately true that the cloudy stuff just settles and becomes clear, if you let it just do its thing, but you can't really do that straight off (maybe accidentally, as a result of a trauma or something, but it's not going to happen very often) - the thing it does has to be quite "sattvic" (relatively peaceful, un-agitated) for that to work, and for that you have to prepare the ground.

The longer term concept the Daoists use, which I've always loved, is the concept of "cultivation" - you just do the gardening, and at some point the things grow.  There's definitely a causal link (if you didn't do the things the stuff wouldn't grow), but it's not exactly linear ("do x, then y,z necessarily result at time t").


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