Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
Anyone who’s ever performed the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram has done something that aligns with the practices in Ancient Egyptian temples. That is, they’ve stood at the Centre – the Primeval Mound on which the Creator (choose your fave – they had several) first uttered the names of things. Every temple in Egypt stood, symbolically, on that Mound, so that ceremonies performed there symbolically linked back to the Beginning.
This isn’t in the usual instructions of our Ritual, but the intent is there. The LRP centres us, using a sequence of gestures, Names and Archangels. And when it works right, when we’re really in the zone, and in tune with our own intentions, it’s still one of the most effective magical tools ever developed. After all, if you stand at the Beginning, you’re not just in sacred space, but you’ve entered into sacred time as well.
“For pure will, unassuaged of purpose, delivered from the lust of result, is every way perfect,” says our Book (I, v. 44). And that’s the way you enter into the sacred: with strong intent, but no demand for an outcome. You commit yourself without asking for anything, even if you’ve formulated a desired outcome that’s integral to your intention. You don’t think, you do.
With all the attention paid to Daesh (aka the Islamic State), I’ve not seen anyone discuss the notion that the people comprising its ranks experience themselves as living in sacred time. Yet their entire intent is to establish a sacred kingdom, in a Quranically-designated sacred place, and work rapidly towards the end of time and the Judgement Day. This entails most of their followers dying in the struggle, which of course only intensifies their sense of sacred time. Every moment and every action becomes an expression of divine intent, and therefore justified by a law that transcends mere human standards. If you’re under-motivated, bored by life, disappointed in your prospects and haunted by unrealistic expectations of your own destiny, the temptation could be strong. Once the vibe grabs you, decapitating someone your spiritual mentor says is a blasphemer could be your opportunity to link with the Divine Will. It requires a certain measure of stupidity, too, but that’s never been a rare thing.
Magick is about training. You have to learn how to invoke and how to banish. You have to train your mind to focus, and your body to move only when bidden. As I often remark in these posts, I’m not often impressed by self-taught magicians, because a basic egoic stance is always our fallback position, and we need other people to pull us out of that. Ego easily links into lust of result, and learning how to orient the centre of consciousness in the direction of the HGA doesn’t come easily. It’s simpler to let any emerging spiritual impulse follow the line of least resistance and inflate the mundane ego, rather than marginalising it.
I’m not drawing some simplistic parallel here – join a contacted mystery school or you might end wanting to use that magical dagger for seriously brutal purposes – but I am struck by how little preparation in Islam many of the western adherents of Daesh seem to have. In interviews, they’re articulate but lack historical perspective, let alone any real sense of other Abrahamic faiths. They’ve hopped from near-nihilism to fanaticism and, of course, can’t imagine anyone else has ever felt themselves to be in the stream of sacred time before them.
We seek spiritual time in Thelema, through ritual and, eventually, in samadhi. But we also keep our feet in the stream of mundane time, as well. We’re supposed to learn, not spurn knowledge.
In recent years in many western countries, there’s been a surreal push towards punishing critical thinking. This week’s move by the University of Ottawa to cancel students’ yoga classes on grounds of cultural sensitivity issues was one particularly daft example, but there are many others we could cite. One core idea of Thelema, that of skeptical theurgy, needs to challenge this sort of shallowness. We’re encouraged to embrace what’s ‘offensive’ and examine it to see what things of value it might hold, not push it aside unexamined.
Regularly performing ritual should be an individual magician’s response to that. And of course you could say a hexagram ritual or Liber Resh has a similar intent to the LRP, though the pentagram, to my mind, is ever the most critical rite.
Increasingly, we’ve come to think we now have all necessary information, yet we can’t seem to apply it to help a world staggering under the impact of our materialism. Discovering the eternity-point after first invoking necessary boundaries, as we do in the LRP, is a way to experience sacred time, in sacred space.
“Ye are against the people, O my chosen!” (II, v. 25). That includes coming to know these things through performing our rituals with joy and beauty, and without losing more than a minimal quantity of our own marbles.
Love is the law, love under will,