Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
We sat by the fireplace as the November chill descended, conversing about the half-century we’d known each other, and the different paths we’d walked in those decades. Outside in the New Mexico night, deer and foxes were moving around in the dark, as I found the next morning when I saw their tracks on the white, frosted ground of the mesa below which he built his house. But inside, a week after the Presidential election, we were examining what might be happening on the macro-scale as the reality of a rapidly shifting world became clearer to us.
He’s long espoused the idea that humanity is on the verge of a consciousness breakthrough. Our primary difference is that I hold that this happened a century ago, while for him it’s still in the process of coming to be. That, and our varying views of how the shift is manifesting.
In The Book of Thoth, explaining the card he called The Aeon, Aleister Crowley wrote:
“It is very instructive to compare the events of the five hundred years preceding and following the crisis of approximately 2,000 years ago, with those of similar periods centred in 1904 of the old era. It is a thought far from comforting to the present generation, that 500 years of Dark Ages are likely to be upon us. But, if the analogy holds, that is the case. Fortunately, today we have brighter torches and more torch-bearers.”
The Book of the Heart Girt With a Serpent, Liber LXV, has a line (V, v. 5) that reads:
Now is the Pillar established in the Void; now is Asi fulfilled of Asar; now is Hoor let down into the Animal Soul of Things like a fiery star that falleth upon the darkness of the earth.
Crowley’s observation on this in his Commentary to the text reads as follows:
The “Animal Soul of things”, i.e., the Nephesh [= ‘vital soul’] of the World. The Lord of the Aeon represents more than a new stage in the progressive infiltration of the darkness of matter by light. He acts directly on the World of Assiah [= Material Manifestation].
Note in particular the form which he assumes — that of “a fiery star that falleth upon the darkness of the earth.” It is as a meteor or thunderbolt that he invades the planet. (Note that he is “let down;” from the earth he appears as of terrific import, but from the point of view of the Gods he is imbued with all possible gentleness).
We have an idea, from Christian teaching, and more than a little influenced by some Buddhist and New Age notions, of a coming Age of Brightness; that when the new dispensation is unleashed, and the Forces of Light take over, we’ll all be joyful and happy. The reality is that it will be – or, rather, is – terrifying. We won’t like the idea of having that much scope.
The New Aeon’s been with us officially for one hundred and twelve years now. It became hugely evident a decade after The Book of the Law was given, when the First World War broke out and millions died. In case we were missing the point, a second such war began thirty-five years after the Book’s unveiling. Ever since that conflict, we’ve lived with the knowledge that an exchange of nuclear-armed missiles could finish life as we know it for longer than humans have lived on this planet.
The key point isn’t to look at the obvious, even if the American President-elect seems to have little idea of nuclear arms and how they work as deterrents. Once a new Aeon is inaugurated, it means that all the old markers and standards are eliminated. Or, as our Book says:
“… my left hand is empty, for I have crushed an Universe; & nought remains.” (Cap III, v. 72)
We find ourselves without constraints, or any indicators of what we should do, beyond the core injunction, “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.” And how do we perform that will, that primal force each of us displays in every action, but which we can only wield effectively when he know it fully, and have eliminated our private inhibitions about doing so? How do we contemplate immense possibility without feeling we’ve gone a little mad? Or a lot mad?
The US election, and other political events now occurring, is very much about sweeping away constraints: on rudeness, on requiring politicians to be professional, and on diplomacy, the critical language of all political action for generations. Yet one more part of our usual universe has been crushed, and many of us are afraid. More than a few people have said they cried for days after that election.
The Aeon of Horus will take away more and more ‘normal’ things as the years move ahead. There’s little political will to prevent galloping climate change. We face more and more wars breaking out, with desperate and intractable groups of people and their increasingly spiritually depleted religions. We’ll see lots of scary stuff.
Perhaps worst of all, from one viewpoint, is that it won’t end in some kind of Armageddon. There is no finish line, and I seriously doubt Ray Kurzweil’s Singularity will actually come about. We are here to continue to learn, and to be elevated to a new point of wisdom and understanding. And, it appears, we’ll be brought to that point through some very startling occurrences. Assuming “it might not be too bad” is foolhardy. Yet, paradoxically, as the world we’ve built for ourselves dissolves, the New Aeon will make itself manifest. If we only look.
How? I’ve no clear idea. But I do know that losing (for example) access to unlimited electrical power, or the ability to travel across the continent to visit friends, isn’t the end of wakeful consciousness. We’ll adapt and, oddly, find ourselves coming closer to our essential truths, not further from them. That’s the course we’re on, however much we deviate from it a lot of the time.
At some stage, when hardly a single prediction made in our times has come to be without undergoing major modification by the processes of reality, we’ll discover that certain understanding is innate in us. We’ll have many different names for what we’ve come to comprehend, depending who we are, and where we live: totality of vision, the ground of consciousness, the essence of beingness, the fire of Will, and so on. We’ll see that what disturbed our recent ancestors (i.e., those of us alive right now), was not about losing anything vital. Rather, the borders of our concept of life and its potentials will have moved out by many degrees of magnitude. We’ll start to feel ideas and perspectives that for now we can barely imagine.
But do expect more upsets like what happened on November 8. It was necessary, as some part of the total unfolding scheme of things. And your own True Will, like mine, will benefit from what actually comes to pass, as opposed to what we wish had happened.
But being one of those torch-bearers Crowley mentioned might help us all along a bit.
Love is the law, love under will,
Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.