Portal:Thelema/TFA/Archive

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Tree of Life 2009 large.png

Qabalah (alt. kabbalah) is an aspect of Jewish mysticism. It consists of a large body of speculation on the nature of divinity, the creation, the origin and fate of the soul, and the role of human beings. It consists also of meditative, devotional, mystical and magical practices which were taught only to a select few and for this reason Kabbalah is regarded as an esoteric offshoot of Judaism. In general usage, the spelling qabalah is used to distinguish the variation of kabbalah used by western or hermetic magicians from Jewish mystical kabbalah.

The word "Kabbalah" is derived from the Hebrew root "to receive, to accept", and in many cases is used synonymously with "tradition". According to Jewish tradition, the Torah (Torah - "Law" - the first five books of the Old Testament) was created prior to the world and she advised God on such weighty matters as the creation of human kind. When Moses received the written law from God, tradition has it that he also received the oral law, which was not written down, but passed from generation to generation. At times the oral law has been referred to as "Kabbalah" - the oral tradition. (more...)

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OTOlogo.png

Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.) can be translated as Order of Oriental Templars, or Order of the Temple of the East. It is a secret, fraternal organization similar to that of Freemasonry, with a series of graded initations. For its teachings and principles of organization, it has accepted the Law of Thelema, which is expressed as “Do what thou wilt.” Thelemites believe that this Law was established with the writing of the Book of the Law by Aleister Crowley in 1904 in Cairo, Egypt.

According to Crowley, O.T.O. is "the first of the great religious Societies to accept the Law." The rituals of O.T.O. have been entirely revised by Crowley and his successors in light of the Law of Thelema. Both within its private ceremonies and in the world at large, the Order seeks to promote the Law as the ultimate standard of human conduct and understanding.

O.T.O. was also designated as the Crowley estate, and maintains possession of Crowley's intellectual property and literary remains. As the custodian of these materials, the Order seeks to make them available to the public in definitive editions. (more...)

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The Cosmic Man

The Holy Guardian Angel is representative of one’s truest divine nature. The term is equivalent with the Genius of the Golden Dawn, the Augoeides of Iamblichus, the Atman of Hinduism, and the Daemon of the gnostics.

In the system of Magick, the single most important goal is to consciously connect with one’s HGA, a process termed “Knowledge and Conversation.” By doing so, the magician becomes fully aware of his own True Will. For Aleister Crowley, this event was the single most important goal of any adept:

It should never be forgotten for a single moment that the central and essential work of the Magician is the attainment of the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel. Once he has achieved this he must of course be left entirely in the hands of that Angel, who can be invariably and inevitably relied upon to lead him to the further great step—crossing of the Abyss and the attainment of the grade of Master of the Temple. (Magick Without Tears, Ch.83) (more...)
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A∴A∴ Sigil

The A∴A∴, or "Great White Brotherhood," is an organized fraternity of men and women dedicated to the spiritual advancement of humanity. The current structure of the organization was designed by Aleister Crowley and George Cecil Jones in 1906 from the ashes of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. The A∴A∴ revealed Liber AL vel Legis to the world through the Prophet Aleister Crowley, as well as the other Holy Books of Thelema.

In An Account of A∴A∴, Aleister Crowley writes,

This community possesses a School, in which all who thirst for knowledge are instructed by the Spirit of Wisdom itself; and all the mysteries of nature are preserved in this school for the children of light. Perfect knowledge of nature and of humanity is taught in this school. It is from her that all truths penetrate into the world; she is the school of all who search for wisdom, and it is in this community alone that truth and the explantation of all mystery are to be found.

In "The System of the O.T.O", which originally appeared in Magick Without Tears, Crowley says,

The A∴A∴ concerns the individual, his development, his intitiation, his passage from "Student" to "Ipsissimus"; he has no contact of any kind with any other person except the Neophyte who introduces him, and any Student or Students whom he may, after becoming a Neophyte, introduce. more...
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right Drawing by Theodoros Pelecanos, in alchemical tract titled Synosius. (1478) (Ouroboros serpent in old Greek alchemical manuscript)

The Ouroboros (Alternately: Oroborus, Uroboros, Uroborus) is an ancient symbol depicting a snake or dragon swallowing its tail, constantly creating itself and forming a circle. It is associated with alchemy, Gnosticism, and Hermeticism. It represents the cyclical nature of things, eternal return, and other things perceived as cycles that begin anew as soon as they end. In some representations the serpent is shown as half light and half dark, echoing symbols such as the Yin Yang, which illustrates the dual nature of all things, but more importantly, that these opposites are not in conflict. The ouroboros is an example of tail recursion and self-reference, though not in a programming context.

In alchemy, the ouroboros symbolises the circular nature of the alchemist's opus which unites the opposites: the conscious and unconscious mind. It is believed to have been inspired by the Milky Way, as some ancient texts refer to a serpent of light residing in the heavens. (more...)

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"The Separation of the Spirit Body" from The Secret of the Golden Flower, a Chinese handbook on alchemy and meditation.

Astral projection is a generic term for an "out of body experience" (OOBE) common to many occult and spiritual disciplines whereby the "consciousness" of a person leaves the physical or corporeal body and apparently travels either within the physical world independent of the corporeal body or to other non-physical realms. Astral Projection as a generic term includes such specific phenomena as lucid dreaming and the mystical exercise referred to as Rising on the Planes.

As a spiritual experience, astral projection may even be referenced in the Christian/Jewish Bible:

"Remember [your Creator] — before the silver cord is severed,or the golden bowl is broken; before the pitcher is shattered at the spring, or the wheel broken at the well, and the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it." — Ecclesiastes 12:6.

The verse refers to an observation common to many manifestations of astral projection: that the "astral body" (the part of consciousness that leaves the corporeal body) is connected to the physical body by a silver or golden cord. Some disciplines teach that if this cord is severed, the soul will separate from the body and physical death or coma will result. (more...)

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Anubis weighing the heart of Hunefer. This detail scene, from the Papyrus of Hunefer (ca. 1375 B.C.), shows Hunefer's heart being weighed on the scale of Maat against the feather of truth.

The Book of the Dead is the common name for the ancient Egyptian funerary text The Book of Coming [or Going] Forth By Day. The name was invented by the German Egyptologist Richard Lepsius, who published a selection of the texts in 1842.

The name is somewhat misleading, as the "book" was nothing like a modern book. The text was initially carved on the exterior of the dead person's sarcophagus, but was later written on papyrus and buried inside the mummy case with the deceased, presumably so that it would be both portable and close to hand.

It constituted a collection of spells, charms and magical formulas for use by the deceased in the afterlife, describing many of the basic tenets of Egyptian mythology. They were intended to guide the dead through the various trials that they would encounter before reaching the underworld. Knowledge of the appropriate spells was considered essential to achieving happiness after death. (more...)

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Enochian alphabet

Enochian is an occult language popularised by John Dee and Edward Kelley in the 16th Century. Dee and Kelley claimed that it was revealed to them by angels, though most contemporary practitioners of magick consider it a constructed language. The name "Enochian" is a reference to the Book of Enoch, a pseudepigraphal text and a major source of Judeo-Christian angelology.

Dee began to allude to his search for knowledge through the angels in 1581 when he mentioned in his personal diary that God had sent "good angels" to communicate directly with his prophets. As evidenced by his book collection, he had more than a casual interest in angels; he specifically sought out all past conversations between man and angels with a passion. He had a number of texts by Ficino, Agrippa, and Johannes Trithemius as well as the more common biblical Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha. He studied the similarities of the angelic conversations in these works, immersing himself in angelology and the specific study of communication with angels. All of these mathematicians, cryptographers and philosophers that had revelations with angels had authoritative knowledge that divine messengers, guides on revelatory journeys and angels of the apocalypse were the most common and trustworthy sources of information for the patriarchs of old. (more...)

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Aion and Gaia with four children, perhaps the personified seasons, mosaic from a Roman villa in Sentinum, first half of the 3rd century BC, (Munich Glyptothek, Inv. W504)

Gaia ("land" or "earth", also spelled Ge or Gaea) is a Greek goddess personifying the Earth.

Hesiod's Theogony (116ff) tells how, after Chaos, arose broad-breasted Gaia the everlasting foundation of the gods of Olympus. She brought forth Ouranos, the starry sky, her equal, to cover her, the hills, and the fruitless deep of the Sea, Pontus, "without sweet union of love," out of her own self. But afterwards, Hesiod tells, she lay with Heaven and bore the World-Ocean Oceanus, Coeus and Crius and the Titans Hyperion and Iapetus, Theia and Rhea, Themis and Mnemosyne and Phoebe of the golden crown and lovely Tethys. "After them was born Cronos the wily, youngest and most terrible of her children, and he hated his lusty sire."

Hesiod mentions Gaia's further offspring conceived with Uranus, first the giant one-eyed Cyclopes, builders of walls, later assigned individual names: Brontes ("thunderer"), Steropes ("lightning") and the "bright" Arges: "Strength and might and craft were in their works." Then he adds the three terrible hundred-handed sons of Earth and Heaven, the Hecatonchires: Cottus and Briareos and Gyges, each with fifty heads. (more...)

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Pylon from the Temple of Khonsu at Karnak

In Egyptian mythology, Chons (alternately Khensu, Khons, Khonsu or Khonshu) is a lunar deity, and a son of Amun and Mut. His name means "The Wanderer," probably because as a moon god, Khons constantly moved across the night sky. Consequently, he was thought to watch over night travelers. Some of his titles were "The Embracer," "The Pathfinder," and "The Defender." Khons was invoked to protect against wild animals, increase male virility, and to aid with healing. As the moon, he was thought to embody peace and destructiveness, death and regeneration. (more...)