Monday, January 11, 2010

Gnosticism & The "Real" World Part 12

The mystery of sex and the power and understanding derived from the practice of sexual magick is very important to any understanding of Aleister Crowley. In Gnostic Philosophy on page 343 we have some important information: "On June 28, 1930, Crowley reflected in his diary, "Spiritual attainments are incompatible with bourgeois morality." The morality Crowley is referring to is based on the restriction of natural impulse; a cocantenation of fear of disease, fear of self, fear of poverty, fear of truth, and ultimately fear of life itself."

Churton also has a wonderful letter that Crowley wrote in 1913 to a Dr. Graham of Cambridge on page 343 to 344: I should have supposed that any mind could see that the finest possible thing is the indissoluble union of the whole of two personalities. Such union would be Samhadi [union with Brahman] and in accordance with the One Great Law through whose operation we get back to God.

I should also have thought even the conventional mind could see that this union was not secured by marriage, and owing to this failure, marriage has today become certainly to the young a symbol for the association of all that is vile and degrading with all that should be most pure...It has consequently already been replaced by hazardous unions between economically independent people. That such unions are not open and respectable prevents them from developing into unions which would be marriage in all but name. Respectability, as always, defeats itself.

How I love that last sentence! Also on page 344 of Gnostic Philosophy: "Crowley regarded the sexual life of his time as a mass of hypocrisy that stirred up something akin to an international neurosis that could find satisfaction only in conflict of the destructive kind. On the outside, a crisp sugary coating of sentiment, lush, romantic and dreamy; on the inside, a craven desire for satisfaction of a blind urge with the reward of a relief redolent of defecation."

I think Churton is "spot on"-especially with this last sentence. How many times have you heard- "I need to get laid" and other "romantic" :-) phrases like that to describe something that should be beautiful and also something that links one soul to another? Continuing on page 344: "Crowley cut through the whole morbid morass with a sharpened scalpel in an attempt to clean out society. His efforts, as we might expect, earned him the kind of innuendo, police harrassment, tabloid character assassination, and widespread denunciation that would later be meted out to another sexual pioneer, Wilhelm Reich. It was not society but Aleister Crowley who was King of Depravity, living on immoral earnings, debauched, diseased, and demonic."

As Churton points out-not only did Crowley want to make sex holy and ineffable again-but he wanted people to take notice -to see what William Blake meant when he said, "The Lust of the Goat is the Bounty of God" and "Everything that lives is Holy."

According to Crowley: The close connection of sexual energy with the higher nervous centres makes the sexual act definitely magical. It is therefore a sacrament which can and should be used in the Great Work. The act being creative, ecstatic and active, its vice consists of treating it as sentimental, emotional and passive. Then going back to Tobias Churton on page 345: Crowley's theory of sex departs from the conception that ecstasy is a mystical state and that orgasm represents not only the condition whose sublimation is laughter but also, more important, the temporary annihilation of the ego-bound consciousness, thereby permitting in principle the unveiling of the unconsciousness..."

Also on page 345 to 346 of Gnostic Philosophy is a fragment of Hermes Trismegistus' dialogue with Asclepius which was found in a Coptic version of the Nag Hammadi library in 1945: And if you wish to see the reality of this mystery, then you should see the wonderful representation of the intercourse that takes place between the male and female. For when the semen reaches the climax, it leaps forth. In that moment the female receives the strength of the male; the male for his part receives the strength of the female, while the semen does this.

Therefore the mystery of intercourse is performed in secret, in order that the two sexes might not disgrace themselves in front of many who do not experience that reality, [it is] laughable and unbelievable. And, moreover, they are holy mysteries, of both words and deed, because not only are they not heard, but also they are not seen.

Therefore such people [the unbelievers] are the blasphemers. They are atheistic and impious. But the others are not many; rather, the pious who we counted are few. Therefore wickedness remains among the many, since learning concerning things which are ordained does not exist among them. For the gnosis of the things which are ordained is truly the healing of the passions of matter. Therefore learning is something derived from gnosis.

It would seem that Aleister Crowley realized that sexual magick was a virtually constant thread that was hidden in the symbolism of all of the world's esoteric teachings. Going way back to Hermes thinking on the subject "God eternally generates the cosmos, and that cosmos possesses generative power, and thereby maintains all races that have come into being." Another way of looking at this thinking is that a higher-more ineffable kind of "sex" is not only how God generates All but is also how he "looks" through the "eyes" (or any other sense organs) of the beings and things he has created.

Crowley did have a new take on the classical ascetic and Gnostic concepts of divine sexual union. His notions of purity and virginity were set against the framework of Einsteinian relativism. This should come as no surprise as Crowley was a contemporary of Einstein and many other great physicists of the day who realized the deeper implications of the theories (special and general relativity and quantum mechanics). The concept of relativism was spreading out into the liberal arts, and other areas too. One could make an argument that on the "bad" side of this revolutionary way of thinking about man and his place in the universe that relativism in the political world really got a much unwanted (I would think so anyway!) boost after these discoveries were made exemplified to the greatest degree by two real "Beasts"- Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin-who seemed to embody the "relativity" of morals when the ends justify the means.

True Will was what guided the adept in his or her experiential untion with God. On page 347 of Gnostic Philosophy, Churton lets us know the true meaning of some of Crowley's symbolism: Due to the repressive laws governing sexual material-as well as many other things-in Crowley's lifetime, in addition to the (necessarily) initiatic character of Crowley's teaching, much of his writing on the subject is expressed in symbol, metaphor, euphemism, and humorous plays on words in the old occult tradition. "Bloody sacrifice," for example, does not denote something out of a horror novel but refers to the expenditure of semen (=life="blood") for magical purposes other than reproduction of the species, and "child sacrifice" meant, cheekily, masturbation or contraception.

I am almost done with the "Crowley" part of the Gnosticism series. I really appreciate all of your thoughtful and open-minded comments about this part in particular. I didn't know what to expect when I started this -because of course-all I had ever heard of for the most part was how "evil" Aleister Crowley was. It has been fascinating for me to see this vastly different viewpoint from Tobias Churton! All the best to anyone stopping by!

11 comments:

Anadæ Effro said...

Okay, Devs, okay! I just Cerfed the net & found a mini-gem on Crowley's formulæ for Sex Magick ….here! The Magus Mega Therion (Crowley), altho' behaving bisexually most of his life, allegedly died impoverished & such a junkie (read: heroin addict) that his daily consumption OF the drug was enough to kill half a dozen unaddicted individuals. His price for opening a communication with offworld, astral entitities? Methinks "Yes!"

Another metaphorically disguised term of his for a combination of semen & female sexual secretions was The Universal Elixir. It was supposed to be a means of greatly accelerating one's awareness. However, as with pretender to the Elven throne (believe me, we're NOT hierarchical) the psuedonymous Nicholas de Vere in his from Transylvania to Tunbridge Wells, published, with the help of Tracy R Twyman, as a hard copy trade paperback as The Dragon Legacy: the Secert History of an Ancient Bloodline, de Vere says that that's only possible for those of the Starry Race, the Elves, due to our/their different endocrinological & nervous systems. That is why Crowley himself had held it in such especial reverence.

Elven autodidact, Erin D Lindsey writes about that, its efficacy, or not, in her blogticle Starfire: The Only True Magic?. Thank you for initiating this incredibly informative series. You're a wellspring of arcane Gnoledge, my friend & brother. please keep passing the torch.

From an icy Apple Mountain,
Anadæ Effro (•8-D

Ricardo said...

""I need to get laid"

What? that's my motto! what's wrong with it.

Seriously though, I appreciate the unique views Crowley had on sex as it always seems to be painted as a dirty act. It's a wonderful act. Joyous.

We are still living in the hypocrisy he speaks of BTW.

Michael said...

Whew! I am finally up to date with the Gnosticism Working at MFM! Thanks so much for doing this, it has really helped my understanding and sympathy for Crowley. Jeff Fairhall (my own personal "Aiwass") said that the world would call him the most evil man on earth, a nice echo of Aleister's treatment by the FOX media of his day. Of course, Jesus played the same part with the Romans and Jews, being "crucified" in the local press. Horus/Shiva/Jesus... on and on. The same archetype of the unconscious Hero.

All the best to you in the new year Devin,

Michael

Devin said...

Anadae,Ricardo and Michael-thanks so much for your fantastic comments and links-sorry it has taken me so long to acknowledge getting them -having a whopping bad time with NRG lately-Just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate these -great insights from each of you btw Anadae I will check out your links too-
I also hope each of you is having a superb new year -all the best!!!!

Anadæ Effro said...

hey, Devin, hey! Since you're up & running again, I just found more on some Sex Magick formulæ RIGHT HERE! Use very, very wisely, or (k)NOT(work) at all. LOL! Also, the most extensive Crowley photo gallery I've ever yet encountered anywhere on the net is HERE. Mega Therion, as you well Gno, was good ol' Aleister's name when working his Arcane Arts, hence the site's name. Enjoy! Oh! Synchronicity alert! My wv for this is ingurnes, Ing's Rune! perfectly fitting, as the Ing rune, is the god Freyr's rune. he's the ruler of the world of the Light-Elves, Lyosalfheim! Perfect! ~ (•8-D

Devin said...

Anadae-once again can't tell you how much I appreciate this-I was trying to remember details of a dream from last night that were kind of "re-triggered" when I was at Michael's blog-maybe if I stop trying to think so much about it and look at the links -more will come to me-was going to do the last post?? for Crowley tonight-but perhaps tomorrow-just not enough nrg
all the best in the world to you my friend!!

benjibopper said...

There was a book of essays by Mark Twain, published after his death, which talked a lot about the absurdity of religious beliefs that were both patriarchal and sexually repressive in NOrth American mainstream culture. Fascinating, biting analysis. He held off on publishing it because he knew it would muddy his name if it came out before society was ready to hear it.

Devin said...

Benji-thanks so much for stopping by MFM!!
I had no idea about Twain's work in this area - he was an extremely fascinating man also- Along with Ambrose Bierce (think I have the name right) he did indeed have some wonderful social commentary about that time period and humanity in general-and best of all he liked cats:-)
All the best in the world to you my friend- and I really appreciate you posting the "book" list at your blog-I can't wait to read some of them-Derrick Jensen seems like he would be wonderful to read-and others
Take care and thanks again!!

Devin said...

ps -to everbody that has enjoyed this series -please do yourself a favor and go to some of the many varied and fascinating links Anadae has given during these and other posts here at MFM-just checked some of them out -very intersting -and thanks again Anadae!!

Alex Robinson said...

Hi Devin
That was bloody marvellous - how I do love straight talk (sorry no pun intended). Am printing it out to show to a friend!

Hey this is funny, my son just sent me a text & asked a question about my 'former' employer - when I went to text that he was a fuck face :) the word 'dual' came up instead of 'fuck' - I thought that was quite uncanny after what I had just been reading here!! sorry for swearing of course :)

Marvellous series, thanks Devin!

Devin said...

Alex-if there is a constant pleasure in my life right now- it is your sense of fun and humor (humour;-)
perhaps your boss is a "dual" double fuckface!! -former boos I should say -with pleasure-
I didn't know what to expect when I began this -so many things I do here at MFM are really "out of the blue"
I would be very remiss-if I didn't say that the work of Tobias Churton in Gnostic Philosophy is the only thing that made this series possible- I have been wonderfully happy at the comments this series has received-
love you!!xx