Stumbled across this forum in hope of finding some kind of resonance/familiarity.
I've been aware of Crowley since my teen years and following decades of training in various systems, I've come back to studying his works in earnest.
Presently, I'm not a Thelemite, simply because naming my path feels counterintuitive. Neither have I managed to find a comfortable inroad to the O.T.O. The fraternity seems nice, but the rituals (from a distance), seem incredibly traditional/formal. I may have another go at some stage, but haven't yet received much in the way of follow up.
I'm currently ploughing through the student grade reading list of the A.'.A.'.
This is proving to be extremely solitary/challenging (and I'm sensing you all nodding in unison). Progress is very slow, mainly due to the archaic language, but when the penny drops, it's always really rewarding. I'm particularly enjoying the Keys to Solomon and Raja Yoga sections.
A year in however and and still nowhere near half way through.
I'm wondering how long it takes students, on average, to get through all this? (Not from a competitive standpoint of course - I'm just curious!)
Hellos to all,
As to time getting through the list- it took me about 4-5 years. But this was back in the '70s when many of these books were very hard to find. Actual reading and thinking time 1-2 years maybe, depending on background and education. It will be time well spent. We all want to be rebels and color outside the lines, but to do this, you have to know where the lines are first, or you are missing half the fun.
Thanks for the response! It's great to know others are covering the same ground.
Much as I'm keen to run before I can walk, I'm happy to say I'm in no hurry. I've heard time and time again, that the learning/clusterfuck/confusion stages really are the fun part! 😉
I'm annotating most of them in note form so I can revisit 'at a glance' - bloody time consuming but I'm certain it'll be time well spent.
Robot: ... the rituals (from a distance), seem incredibly traditional/formal.
I have three Roberts in my extended, civil family, and I often apply the term, robot, to myself. I feel that anything starting with a Rob is open to Robot-designation.
The (C for current)OTO is apparently unable to follow in the footsteps of our Great-granfather, Perdurabo, who would have a bucket in the corner of his temple-theater. The bucket was filled with water, in which were floating pieces of Peyote. The public audience was invited to drink freely of this foul-smelling brew.
But Solar Lodge (circa 1967) once followed in his footsteps:
A Night on the Nile (an extract)
The first drama was played out for the benefit of a large group of non-initiated, public visitors in 1967 at "A Night on the Nile," the magnificent, metaphysical party held in the newly-restored Grand Solar Lodge on Menlo Avenue.
This extravagant affair had as its primary motive the intention of serving notice on meddlesome friends and family members that had been, overtly or covertly, attempting to dissuade some members away from his or her preferred beliefs and/or associations. We performed a rite that depicted the banishing of Isis (in 2000 BC), the Death and Resurrection of Osiris (who historically became a Christian tyrant), and the Birth and Rise of Horus (the crowned and conquering hero) in a grand portrayal of the progression of the Aeons.
Frater Kuat originally became affiliated with Solar Lodge in 1967 when we hosted "A Night on the Nile," a grand gathering in the ancient Egyptian style, complete with food, drink and ceremonials.
In celebration of the restoration of the Order’s new mansion on Menlo Avenue, the members invited everyone they knew who showed even a remote interest in things occult or mystical. Frankly, many people came who had absolutely no interest of any kind in spiritual matters.
About seventy people, including friends and family members, showed up for what promised to be the metaphysical party of the decade.
I put a moderate dose of vodka into the communal punch bowl and Frater Shem (in his usual mad-poisoner mode) put a heavy dose of LSD into that same bowl.
Essentially, it went quite well. However -
The (attorney) father of one member became insane and went ranting and raving all over the mansion, angry with his wife and anyone else he encountered. The membership found this to be amusing.
Dr. A set aside his politics and appeared to have a good time, but on his way home he started experiencing strange feelings accompanied by kaleidoscopic visions. He went immediately to an emergency room where the attending physician told him, "It looks like someone slipped you some LSD."
Frater Kuat met Capricornus when she pitched in to help as he was washing dishes in the kitchen.
Frater Kuat had been washing dishes in his parent’s skilled-nursing facility since he was three years old (child labor laws evidently didn’t apply to families). He developed an immediate rapport with Capricornus. After all, she too had done time as a dishwasher!
... end extract ...
So, you see, there are ways to avoid boring ritual and liven up the party.
You do not need to be a "Thelemite" to hang out here. You simply need to have an interest in Aleister Crowley.
Back in the ice age when i was a child and used to think i was a warrior perhaps play cowboy or dr. i ran into Crowley on a LP cover which introduced the man to me . At the moment i find myself not a dr. but a dinosaur and am hoping to get the collection of Shiva’s reading list into my collection by the end of May . Who knows what role will disport once i get through the reading and move the notion of my being pulling the prana in not from my head face and nose but from a center three fingers below my navel .
Unsure where you're going with the Robot-designation shtick but I'll assume it's well intentioned. ;-b x
Crowley was indeed a pesky trickster - and I daresay he'd wholeheartedly approve of anyone who rejected the OTO.
I tend to get my ceremony fix from other, freer, traditions that aren't prone to dogma (including those I choreograph and lead myself). This however, isn't a dig at the OTO as I'm certain it's of benefit to many folks!
However, whilst I'm into using plant medicines, there's a deep sense of integrity and code of ethics around them -and cheekily slipping someone some acid thankfully wouldn't happen at any of the ceremonies I attend.
...but that said, the fraternity element would be of benefit for finding study companions. I might go in for a second look sometime.
R: Unsure where you’re going ...
Nowhere. I finished a complete sentence and added a period.
PS: The lower self, the personality (persona), living in the realm of kama-manas (desire-mid), is sometimes referred to as a Robot, because it pretty much is just artificial, er, natural intelligence that runs automatically most of the time. Our task is to control the robot and get upstairs where things are more "spiritual."
It amuses me to exercise awareness of the robot-function, especially when doing those tricky martial arts maneuvers that require balance. If the robot (the limbic mind - found at Hod & Netzach) has been properly tamed and trained, he will not fall down. If he hasn't "done it a hundred times" (a Japanese motto for learing to understand any given movement), he will fall down and I will get hurt and em-bare-assed.
R: ... of benefit for finding study companions.
This is why most people Stay-In (contemporary)OTO. People join in the first place for various reasons: Mysterious mysteries (also available in text or www), sexual mysteries (I hope there's some hot chicks there), omens ("The I Ching told me to do it"), drafting (by a friend who joined and is now pulling me along), and things like that. Spiritual aspirants usually see through the con and realize that this is a fraternal order, not a teaching order.
But soooo many people leave (reasons not disclosed here, please). The folks who remain like it there. They easily adopt the "life-style," and make new friends. There is an exception: Some join and remain out of a sense of "duty or responsibility or attachment to the Lodge Master ... but they see problems. They write to me, sometimes. They post on LAShTAL. They write books or pdfs, often AFTER they leave, or get expelled, and the combination of these reports adds up to a very interesting tale.
I’m currently ploughing through the student grade reading list of the A.’.A.’. This is proving to be extremely solitary/challenging (and I’m sensing you all nodding in unison). Progress is very slow, mainly due to the archaic language, but when the penny drops, it’s always really rewarding. I’m particularly enjoying the Keys to Solomon and Raja Yoga sections.
It does not matter what you call yourself. You mention lots of reading but no doing and if it is "spiritual progress" you are after it is the practice that matters and not so much the theory. Practice Banishing. Practice the Adorations of the Sun. Practice saying Will at meals. Practice asana and pranyama. A compilation of some directives from AC are on this link http://solve-et-coagula.us/thelema/delegelibellum.php Do more, exceed what you think is possible, and make a record of doing that over and over again.
Note 1: First comes the reading. It's called Student grade in the A.'.A.'. curriculum. After that, having passed a rigorous test comparable to a PhD dissertation defense, one begins the practices, under the guise of Probationer A.'.A.'., that "he may prefer" ... for one revolution around Sol.
Of course, it's not prohibited that a Student may start with some simple practices, nor that an advanced initiate may drop back into the Student Reading List in order to pick up some concepts that he or she skipped over, long ago.
Subnote: The test isn't really hard. If it's really hard, then some ego-influenced Praemonstrator or Cancellarius has drummed up a challenging barrier in their lineage or chain of command. The Student is NOT supposed to be memorizing data or committing the Thelemic, Tantric, Buddhist, or Medieval Sutras to the cranial hard drive memory forever. He or she is supposed to be perusing the various forms of attainment, not to learn them, but to see what they have in common. Says so in the scriptures!
Note 2: It is improper to advise Probationers as to what practices they should prefer. It is extremely improper, not to say naughty, to assign tasks to a probationer, and almost every Neophyte I've ever known couldn't resist the temptation to assign tasks to Probationers under them.
This is so contrary to the concept of Probation, and I have seen it so regularly, that Star System makes it quite clear that anything can take place in the Probationary Playground, but a Probationer will be assigned no less than a 5=6 as a "Link" or a "Guide."
But, you know, sometimes people are so programmed to be a robot by their family and previous teachers that they need a hint. I always tell a Probationer that I expect to see practices in 7 areas. I "always tell them" because it's written in the Official Scriptures.
The Seven Practices
6. Astral Projection
plus regular engagement in the physical training of your choice.
That's it. That's what they get advised to do. No more. But they're allowed to ask questions and entitled to answers.That's how I used to do it, when I was in the guru biz. Now that I'm re-tired, I can tell you this is all in line with the way AC described it ... except for the part about Neophytes generally being nincompoops when it comes to raising Probationers.
Very much enjoying all these reflections, especially the OTO analysis - made me guffaw. 😉
1. Asana - I practice Mysore style ashtanga 6 days a week.
2. Pranayama - I incorporate simplistic pranayama methods into the above - plus another in the eve.
3. Dharana - unsure if there's much 'doing' involved in this, other than the intention to 'hold'.
4. Banishing - on commanding/banishing etc - I need to walk before I can run.
5. Invocation - I regularly work with elementals/four directions.
6. Astral projection - I do lots of drum journeying - the jury's out on how much shamanic practice overlaps with western occultism but it all helps!
7. Divination - I've been studying tarot in earnest for 25 years.
How many of us get to view the scope of our potential? Even from a ‘safe’ distance? Is Samadhi ever within reach and can we ever separate out the delusions?
We all have a blockage of some sort. The strange dichotomy is that the closer we come to breaking the chains that bind us, the more painful the symptoms often become. That moment when we’re almost blinded by darkness and floored by frustration, is often the very same moment the illusion dissolves and the veil parts, for long enough to reassert itself.
I could well be in that place. I’ve been studying and walking along this path for many years now. It’s impossible to say why, other than I’ve felt the pull was too strong and life left me no alternative. I ramped this up a gear in 2009 when I began formal study into elemental principles, medicine wheel work, shamanic journeying, sound therapy, breathwork and a whole host of other healing arts. My aim is, and has always been, to put myself out there as a practitioner and be of service to all who want to reclaim their own personal power. At times I’ve felt ready to do this - but then the confidence demon invariably strikes.
I was given the medicine name, gentle breeze (zephyr), by the elements while vision questing on a Snowdonia mountain in 2010. It’s contains a great sensitivity but the duality is hard to reconcile. Naturally with this sensitivity comes weakness in the face of power. Childhood demons stalk me, whispering that it’s best not to be seen, at least for today. The net result is that progress is never made, as a I hide behind the accumulation of knowledge and skills. So long as I’m on a path of study, I’m masking the great stagnation.
My ayahuasca journey to Peru (2017) taught me that the learning is in the doing and it’s time to take those first steps. Thus, I began freelancing and launched my holistic therapy business in January last year. Progress has been slow and whilst the boundary lines have shifted, I’m well aware that I remain in hiding, avoiding the confrontations associated with being seen in a workshop setting.
In recent months, Qabalah study threads going back to the late 90s reconnected me with the work of Aleister Crowley and Dion Fortune...hence meeting with the OTO, which brought me to the initiate path of the A.’.A.’.
As someone who loves structure, the initiate path appeals, but it’s the concept of Universal Law and Will that interests me most. Two statements in the Equinox stood out for me in recent months:
"Yet, oh aspirant, let thy victories bring thee not Vanity, for with increase of Knowledge should come increase of Wisdom. He who knoweth little, thinketh he knoweth much; but he who knoweth much hath learned his own ignorance. Seet thou a man wise in his own conceit? There is more hope of a fool, than of him."
This has a cool resonance about it. I love the notion that not believing in yourself is the equal and opposite of an inflated ego, nothing more than vanity in disguise!
"Therefore fear not the Spirits, but be firm and courteous with them; for thou hast no right to despise or revile them; and this too may lead thee astray. Command and banish them, curse them by the Great Names if need me; but neither mock nor revile them, for so assuredly wilt thou be led into error."
I’m no stranger to calling in the directions/elements to mirror different aspects of my journey. Medicine wheel ceremonies are great for stopping time and ploughing in new intentions. However, much of Crowley’s work seems to focus on the commanding of elements and using personal power to affect external events. There is much glamour in the storytelling of love, lust, ego and Magick. It makes for compelling subject matter (see ‘At the fork of the roads’), but even with the best willed intention, what authority can we mortals ever have in thinking we know where to direct this flow? Surely Earth medicine is more about creating a clear pathway and getting out of the way, rather than diverting this power towards a personal aim?
Humility has always been central to my approach, but is too much of this akin to vanity? Or is it best to stay at the bottom of the mountain free from delusions of grandeur and the potential of opening to the danger of psychic attack?
The answer is contained herein:
“I do not ask to see
The distant path; one step’s enough for me.”
Furthermore, at this particular juncture (mid Equinox 1:2), I’m drowning in early 20th century musings. Archaic language is being applied to futurist concepts, way beyond our time. Whilst the essence is completely captivating and insightful, I’m forced to pose a hypothetical question: Is the path of the initiate tailored to the male, bourgeois, intelligentsia? If so, there’s a cosmic joke contained in the ‘words are cheap’ paradox of the findings.
Are we no better than the seasoned academic that flexes his superior knowledge in a futile attempt to make up for a lack of emotional intelligence?
Just a thought...however I will say I'm very much enjoying the journey! 🙂
R: 3. Dharana – unsure if there’s much ‘doing’ involved in this, other than the intention to ‘hold’.
The "doing" involves picking a thoughtform. Holding it steady for a fixed time (a dinging second timer helps), then counting the breaks. Record the number of breaks in the Record. Observe the rise and fall of breaks over time. The goal, of course, is no breaks. Then you increase the time, or move on to more complex thoughtforms. This is not a teaching website, I'm just commenting out load (while pretending to be a greasy swami).
Astral projection – I do lots of drum journeying –
Dreamwork is in the same realm as astral projection, but it is not astral projection (AP). In AP, we are looking for conscious, fully-awake transference to an "astral body." It's a control issue.
the jury’s out on how much shamanic practice overlaps with western occultism but it all helps!
The jury has come in at my hovel, um, hotel. My wife worked her way up the A.'.A.'. ladder to 5=6, then took off now and then to the Amazom, where she slept with jaguars and prowling outside a flimsy hut, and indulged in native plant medicine. Then she undertook a 2-year training program to become an initiate of some Peruvian tribe. She went to the Sun Dance in Souix territory (you remember "A Man Called Horse?"). The elders allowed her (a woman, no less!) to be admitted to the inner circle, not as a flagellant, but as a "preparer-assistant" to the participants.
Then she settled down and added some more A.'.A.'. numbers to her name (which I will not disclose here in publick).
Yeah, it can be integrated into Thelema ... because There is no divergent Path in the Grand Lodge. Says so in Boarding Pass 11.8. This is the realization that initiates and adepts must attain.
7. Divination – I’ve been studying tarot in earnest for 25 years.
That should qualify. How is your Tarot knowledge and understanding when you perform a divination?
Are we no better than the seasoned academic that flexes his superior knowledge in a futile attempt to make up for a lack of emotional intelligence?
"no better" is not the question. We are all "better" at some things than other people, and other people are usually "better" at some art or tak in which we are a klutz.
The answer to all questions is found in one thing only: Silence. This silence applies to the mind. One simply must find a way to Stop the Mind. See the video, StopLine. It is impossible to stop-stop the mind, but we can temporarily pause-stop it through various "tricks in meditation."