June 21, 2015 TOLS

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

Somehow, the dinner conversation last Friday touched on the Abyss, which the other people present saw as some kind of positive experience, to the extent anyone could grasp it. I simply quoted the old adage that it would be the utter absence of anything positive, because in deep spiritual ordeals all the markers are absent.

Eventually, we come to realise that the markers, and all the positive constructs we have, are arbitrarily derived from memories and experiences, and that includes all conceptions of God or the Shining Void. For the inconceivable goal we’re aiming for, once it starts to manifest, turns out to be more immense than anything we can imagine, or postulate in any intellectual sense. The beginning of the encounter, assuming it’s authentic and emotionally real, is bound to be stifling and scary to the intellect because we simply can’t encompass it with the mind we’ve been using so far. Consciousness has to adjust to the very different perspective that’s emerged, which is why we use terms like ‘Abyss’; though Crowley also refers to the ‘desert.’

In the Golden Dawn system, where the personal intellect (in Hod) looks to the core spiritual reality (in Tiphereth),  it perceives something very upsetting, which is why we place the Devil card on the connecting path to represent this experience. On the other side of the Tree, all the things we desire and wish for are expressed via Netzach. From here, squinting into spiritual reality,  we can only see Death, and the extinction of what we love.

Accordingly, approaching the centre-point of the Tree, we find ourselves confounded, and in utter darkness. Which is why we call this practice ‘occultism,’ meaning ‘studying stuff that’s hidden, or occluded.’

The real spiritual journey goes away from the world of light, into darkness. Our task isn’t to make it light, though often people will say that, but rather to accept it as the unfathomable depth it is. Along the way, we might declare ourselves believers or atheists, aspirants or Adepts, or any other label that seems useful to us at a given time. But it all gets real – not conceptually real, or describably real, but actually real – when we start letting the darkness speak through us.

Love is the law, love under will,

Edward Mason


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