Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Gnosticism & The "Real" World Part 9

The Book of the Law is an incredibly unique work that essentially promotes the idea of spiritual revolution at the very heart of human existence. "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law" is the radical spiritual idea that pervades the three chapters of the book. Aleister Crowley's Holy Guardian Angel, Aiwass, the Minister of Hoor Paar Kraat (Harpocrates, a fusion of spiritual powers within the god Horus), speaks throughout the work.

In his "Commentary on the Book of the Law," written in September 1923, Crowley states: "The Secret was this: the breaking down of my fake Will by these dread words of mine angel freed my True Self from all its bonds, so that I could enjoy at once the rapture of knowing myself to be who I am."

From Tobias Churton's Gnostic Philosophy: "The mystical death of the ego and resurrection of the hidden God would also be charactertistic of the birth of Crowley's New Aeon. So Crowley believed that his problems were also the problems of the culture in which he was suffering. If he overcame them, it follows that he and anyone else who had attained this would be empowered to be an authentic mouthpiece for a new culture. Aiwass-Crowley, the hidden and formerly repressed god of the West, thereby became the Logos (Word) of the Aeon-and the Word was thelema-will."

Crowley always denied sincerely, that the last position his conscious self would ever want was the responsibility of leadership of a New Aeon-and hid from this every time the subject came up. Thus the Book of the Law was put into a packing case and almost completely ignored until a lucky rediscovery in the attic at Boleskin in 1909. However, the spiritual and mental preparation for the rediscovery of the manuscript appears to have occurred in March 1906, two years after Crowley wrote it. Crowley had been in southern China with his wife and baby daughter, and a series of powerful internal invocations had left him feeling very uneasy.

Again from Gnostic Philosophy on page 335: "Crowley's Buddhism had already been severely undermined by the message of Aiwass that existence was "pure joy" and that sorrows pass.

"Now it was time for his intellect to undergo a severe attack. As Blake had realized that reason is only one faculty of mind and should never be permitted to unbalance the harmonious mens and rule the roost alone, now the essence of that conclusion smashed into Aleister Crowley's mind with sudden violence...Seventeen years later, his thoughts on the limitations of reason had coalesced into a firm grasp of the problem. This from a commentary written at the Hotel in Djerid in Tunisia on Aiwass's declaration that "Reason is a lie": "When Reason usurps the higher functions of the mind, when it presumes to dictate to the Will what it desires to be, it wrecks the entire structure of the star...The Will should not be conscious at all. Once it becomes conscious, it becomes able to doubt; and having no means of getting rid of this by appeal to the Self, it seeks a reason for its action.

The reason, knowing nothing of the matter, promptly replies, basing its judgement not on the needs of the self, but on facts outside and alien to the star. The will having stopped in doubt goes on again in error. The will must never ask why. It ought to be as sure of itself as the Law of Gravity. Aiwass now leaps to the supreme stroke-Reason itself is a lie...It can never be sure of being right unless its knowledge is complete, which of course can never happen. There is always a factor infinite and unknown."

Aleister Crowley not only thought that the Book of the Law was transmitted to him by a higher intelligence but that the book's rediscovery in 1909, due to a series of synchronicities, was also engineered in advance by the same preternatural intelligence. However much Crowley was surrounded by these strange (supernatural?) events he never lost touch with his rational intellect. Crowley had a great thought that was a kind of answer to the high priests of rationalism who truly thought humanity and its scientists had almost discovered ever law of nature and would soon be able to explain the whole of existence-as if nature-the universe-were a watch, that upon opening up, one could explain everything by the movements of its cogs and gears: "There is a factor infinite and unknown." As Tobias Churton points out: "Niels Bohr would have agreed with him."

Bohr was one of the physicists of Crowley's era that truly understood how odd and counter-intutitive the discoveries of quantum mechanics really were.

I would like to go back to Gnostic Philosophy on page 337: The laws of the unconscious are not the laws of the conscious. Awareness of this made it easier for Crowley to embrace the Book of the Law. From 1909 onward, the "Cairo Revelation" would come to be both the yardstick of his entire teaching and the arbiter of psychological, spiritual and philosophical conflict. It should also be absolutely clear why Crowley declared himself to be the sole and final judge of its contents. Not only did he not want to be the center of theological conflict and disputed readings-as the Bible had become-but it was, in the profoundest possible sense, his work."

As Churton also points out: "Very few people want to listen to their "true will": the will of the god in the human being, of whom the personality is an expression...Aleister Crowley rebelled against his Angel almost as much as against his parents and his culture. It would take fifteen hard years before he became permanently identified with Aiwass, his own very Self: a Secret Chief, an Ipissimus-the highest grade of the Golden Dawn system."

In a 1925 letter to the head of the German Ordo Templi Orientis, Heinrich Tranker, Crowley explains his belief in the necessity of the Law of Thelema: "Those who came to me in 1904 E.V. [vulgar or Christian era] told me that they chose me for the Work in question on account not of my spiritual or magical attainments (which were and are small indeed) but for (a) my loyalty and steadiness. (b) my knowledge of compartive occultism, especially in my comprehension of the essential unity underlying sectarian differences. (c) my perception of the Great Work was as strictly scientific as Chemistry. (d) my command of language.

The urgency, they told me, was this. There was to be a general destruction of Civilization...We are on the threshold of the New Aeon. The death of the formula of Osiris is marked understandably to any student of the affairs of the planet, with the complete breaking-up not only of all the religions but of all the moral sanities. The result is constantly increasing anarchy feebly stemmed here and there by reactionary movements which are merely brutal, containing no firm elements because of the lack of any principle to which reasonable men can appeal."

This will probably be the last article here for 2009. I hope to be back with more next year! Once again I thank all of you for your wonderful, intelligent comments and I hope you all have a beautiful new year!


human being said...

really like reading such stuff!

that eternal war between the analytical and the intuitive minds...

the war just ends when we see intellect, intuition, feelings, sensations as different but dependent aspects of our psyche... not just one of them but all of them together help us have a sound judgement, grow, and gain individuation...

this war can occur in the microcosm of our self or in the macrocosm of our society/world... we should see the worth of all aspects... all groups of people..
the moment we think just our religion, our occult society, our way of thinking leads to the truth, we are lost in the dark abyss of ignorance...

all is one
one is all

thanks for sharing these with us, Devin...

word verification is : lable

lables are dangerous... they separate...
we shouldn't lable things and people too much... we are all human beings on the path of light...

the artificial mind is again with me...
'cause i'm with the world

Alex Robinson said...

Hiya Devin
Thanks for all your great non-stop posts throughout a year that has been so hard for you. I wish you much joy in the one that's coming to my world tonight :)

I had a question re:
"When Reason usurps the higher functions of the mind, when it presumes to dictate to the Will what it desires to be, it wrecks the entire structure of the star" - have not read Crowley but wondered at the use of the word 'star' as it's something I'm researching at the moment. Do you know why that term was used?

It was a very interesting read indeed. I loved Blake's statement about reason. I love this one
"The heart has its reasons of which reason knows nothing."

Bee very well my friend, will be thinking of you today :)

Middle Ditch said...

As always a great read Devin. I hope that you are feeling a lot better and is that poor cat still scratching at your door?

Have a wonderful and inspirational new year.

Devin said...

human being-thanks so very much for your beautiful comment -and sorry it took me so long to get to it!!
I am glad you enjoyed this -I have a bit to go with the series-altho not exactly sure how much longer-
all the best to you and I hope you have a beautiful 2010!!

Alex thanks so much for stopping by and also thinking about me -as I am thinking of you and hoping that 2010 is treating you wonderfully as you're 'in the future' so to speak:-)
I think it is fascinating that Crowley was thinking of every man and woman as a star with his thoughts-with all of the unrealized potential -he was thinking of humans as "gods" and from there came the "Do what thou wilt" philosophy.
The chapter devoted to Crowley in Churton's book is actually 50 pages long and not thirty-although of course I won't be getting into all of it-it has certainly given me a very 'different' view of Crowley!!
You Bee well also my friend -and as always thinking of you too!!xx

Middle Ditch thanks so much for your New Years wishes and reading of this series!! The poor cat -the one I call "Max" don't know where I came up with the names of the "outside" cats -altho i think it started with naming them after people in the French Revolution!!-I've not seen lately-so I hope the moggy is all right-and wish people who lived in small high density places like this would only keep their cats inside -there is way too much car traffic out there and of course the temp changes are awful I would imagine -going from 115 in the day on occasion to 37 at night -all the best to you and all the cast there -and I hope you all have a beautiful and happy 2010!!

Anonymous said...

I hope you are doing well my friend ... I just dropped in to wish you a Happy New Year and I wish a truly blessed year ahead for you for 2010.

Devin said...

Aggie-I also wish the same for you -and hope 2010 is treating you wonderfully already!! all the best!!

X. Dell said...

Since I have limited time in cyberspace, I'm going to just print out the previous posts, and respond to them in one fell swoop, if that's okay.

Devin said...

Hey X-that is more than Ok-like I say -I may not be able to get anywhere myself today -but very much hope to tomorrow-thanks so very much again for stopping by!!