June 20, 2014 TOLS

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

The Fama Fraternitatis is still one of the foundational documents of Hermeticism, including the Thelemic variety. And Crowley took pains to point out that Liber Al was given exactly four centuries after the Fama was first launched into the post-Renaissance European world.

One of its key points lies in its dismissal of people who claim to be able to make gold by alchemical means, and other frauds. While the early 17th Century environment into which it was released was still an era deeply coloured by religious faith, many people were scornful of the claims in anything such as the Fama because they had been the victims of spiritual frauds before. Chief among such frauds was the Reformation, which had failed to deliver a more perfect world; and also the Counter-Reformation, which flopped in like manner. Both simply created new elites, and worse, a new intensity of religious warfare.

It was always hard to find a Master, or even a community of aspirants with high intentions and intense aspirations, and the Fama drew published responses from literally hundreds of hopeful or angrily dismissive writers.

Those who did find the current underlying what might well have been a high-minded literary prank often kept silent about it, or put out coded texts under pseudonyms. And anyone, now as then, who comes across a group, fraternity or school that produces some happy and longed-for collusion between personal history and the Eternal, might want to keep the information secret. The world doesn’t want to know, and it will argue with anyone who claims it.

As it has moved into a more open stance, occultism has, on the surface, split into two primary camps: the credulously uncritical, who have no desire to grow up, and the relentlessly critical, who refuse to admit this is the Aeon of the Child, and that retaining a sense of wonder is a critical component in spiritual growth.

Lecturing and hectoring on this topic serves little point. People will do what they do. Actual seekers need their credulity in order to remain open to magical possibility; and actual practitioners need applied skepticism, not only to avoid being gulled, but also to follow the clues pointing to their actual True Will (while not obliterating those clues arising, equally validly, out of the sense of wonder and willingness to believe). Therefore, on this day of Solstice, I simply commend you to your own desire to wonder and believe, and your ability to use discernment to go past what’s fatuous and fraudulent: and express the hope that the brightness of this high midsummer season offers the impetus to find the particular community of fallible humans who credibly and wonderingly seek the same ecstasy, gnosis and certainty as you do.

Love is the law, love under will,

Edward Mason

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