Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
Human typology is important in the mystery school context. Our self-masking needs to dissolve for us to come close to the central mystery, that of ourselves, and we create our masks out of what we are.
Teaching, likewise, requires close observation of each student’s mental approach and viewpoint, as well as the reactions these stir in us. Most newbies are awkward and defensive as they test out the system for its rigour, depth and general security, and are watching out for what people don’t or won’t say. Such reactions offer a teacher clues to the traits that need to be encouraged or redirected. There’s no manual for this: there’s only a teacher’s willingness to learn, offer wrong or right guesses, and to be rejected when a student is unready to hear certain things.
Aside from astrological Sun-signs, or maybe use of the Enneagram, the Jungian system is the most widely used system of psychological typing in esoteric circles. In this, I generally class myself as an introverted feeling type. As a result, for years I was baffled by people who scored high as thinkers (thinking being the second of the so-called rational functions), and who analysed situations in terms of discrete concepts and precepts. Again and again, I tried to read the great philosophers only to find myself bored with their work because they were writing about, not directly out of, human experience. I tire-kicked Zen as a teenager, and dipped into Idries Shah’s books on Sufism, and immediately decided that the non-rational or anti-rational approach was the true or correct one. As it is – for those us who don’t relate tightly to the thinking function, or find it confusing or restricting.
Fast-forward a few decades, to where I began heading up a mystery school myself, and that attitude turned out to be insufficient. I’ve had to do a lot of listening to be of any use as an instructor. I never quite feel I’ve mastered putting myself actually inside the worldviews of people working out of the other Jungian functions, but it’s endlessly fascinating – and useful, obviously – to try. I’m comfortable teaching the Golden Dawn-derived system we use in our Temple precisely because it isn’t dependent on either myself or students having a particular function-orientation. It accommodates those who prefer a psychological view of magick and mysticism, as well as those for whom gods, angels or some conception of God itself are as real, and on their own plane as concrete, as any person they meet. Just as there are those for whom the spiritual essence of sexuality, expressed and experienced in multiple ways with multiple partners, is the core of Thelema, as well as those for whom conventional monogamy is sufficient and easier.
And so on, and so on. I can’t avoid putting my own stamp on what we do, but the system itself is the real teacher. And as more people work through it, the wider the variety of instructional styles that emerges.
Our psychological type affects how we approach the mysteries, as well as how we experience the different elemental degrees (our Temple has degrees, not grades, to avoid confusion with the grade system of A.’.A.’.). The First Order, working from Malkuth up to the threshold of Tiphereth on the Tree of Life, uses an alchemical system of four elements that parallels Jung’s typology. But that work done, and the student being prepared to enter deeper into the mystery, another level – individual rather than personal – comes into play.
The First Order system aims to equilibrate the individual psyche. Equilibration isn’t about eliminating difference, of course, but the opposite: of reinforcing the actual basis of what we are, while making more space for the less active aspects: what Jung calls the inferior functions. But one’s type relates directly to individual True Will, and spiritual realisation is necessarily individual. Crowley was scrupulous in never defining what Knowledge and Conversation actually is, because he understood the uniqueness of any one person’s attainment, and how pinning it to some notional definition was unworkable. Those who are coming close to it know they’re on track, because the so-called Holy Guardian Angel will offer its own proofs and confirmation.
The Ordo A.’.A.’. (the initials standing for words meaning Silver Star) lies ‘beyond’ our own Temple. I’m in it, but I separate what I do there from my work in the Temple. And one vital effect of the A.’.A.’. system is that it puts us in touch with our own inner experience, regardless of our religious ideology.
I fully accept the criteria of the Aeon of Horus, and that Ra-Hoor-Khuit is the overarching and determining archetype of our times. That seems self-evident from the radically changing world around us. But there’s a reason why The Book of the Law advises (I, v. 50) “Thus ye have star & star, system & system; let not one know well the other!” And it’s simply that where we end up may be only peripherally or partially related to a specific belief system, even including that of Thelema itself. Nor does this matter to anyone but ourselves, or secondarily to our teachers.
My former teacher, James Eshelman, observed recently (and many times before, with different wording): “One might reasonably question whether A.’.A.’. is necessarily Thelemic. Though my own access to it is Thelemic, I submit that A.’.A.’. per se is outside of such distinctions.” And if we look through Crowley’s instructions for A’.A.’, which are rigorous and, especially for earlier grades, very specific, there’s no requirement that one actually be a Thelemite. So, if that Divinity that we call the Holy Guardian Angel insists we relate to it as Allah, or Saviour, or Christos … don’t fight it, feel it.
Or think, sense or intuit it, as you find appropriate according to your type.
Granted, few seek admission to A.’.A.’. if they don’t self-identify as Thelemic. But that doesn’t pre-determine any eventual realisations, or how reconciliations of inner conflicts actually pan out. (Or Pan out, for that matter…) The Student requirements for A.’.A.’., for example, require people to read broadly to avoid sticking themselves in an ideological bottle that would take a lot of effort to smash out of when it’s time.
One’s psychological type, then, doesn’t exactly indicate what will be found on our road to Bliss. On the other hand, what’s found on that road, or trail, or in that wilderness, will connect in some manner to whatever type we are. The HGA and the individual self might seem vast distances apart, but they share key characteristics that at one end manifest as a human personality, and at the other as whatever kind of God or requirement or revelation we are to discover. A core aspect of K&C (not, please its definition!) is that it embraces all that comes to pass in the crossing of that gulf.
Allowing all parts of the self to speak in their season is key, or the full unfolding of our deepest nature never happens.
Love is the law, love under will,