Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law
Thelema, I occasionally complain, is poor in mythology. We have Crowley’s own biography, which is epic in its way, and full of mysteries, and we have a few tales of other prominent Thelemites and their efforts to establish or advance the Aeon. But while the Koran has relatively few stories or mythic figures (though some), virtually all other religions have myth-based roots. Even dour old Theravada Buddhism has the birth-tales of Gautama Buddha, and stories of him and his closest disciples.
Not so the Book of the Law, or the other Holy Books, with the arguable exception of the horned cerastes’ tale in Liber LXV.
Myth says much about a spiritual endeavour, and it fleshes out the character of the principal figures in the system. Nuit and Hadit are fairly straightforward in Thelemic philosophy, being as much principles of consciousness as gods in the more traditional fashion, but Ra-Hoor-Khuit is rather different. We assume his legendary biography from the Ancient Egyptian stories, since he follows his murdered father Osiris in those, even as we also differentiate ‘our’ Horus from the original Son of Isis. Hoor-pa-kraat is trickier to pin down, since he is silent and invisible to our physical vision. But aside from these considerations, we are not dealing with a conventional start-of-an-Aeon story with these guys, not at all.
I’ve blogged about this topic before, but what got me into it today was coming across Jung’s essay, The Myth of the Divine Child, from a book he co-authored with Karl Kerenyi in 1941:
Jung, I’ve found, should never be taken whole, but swallowed in small pieces, preferably with an understated and contemplation-inducing red wine, like the Bordeaux he favoured himself. He is always skating over the line between science and philosophy (which, admittedly, is what most psychology has been doing for 120 years and more). Yet he always offers a useful corrective for the over-excited occultist, providing caution and balance to our enthusiasms.
Chapter III of our Book has Ra-Hoor-Khuit (and his various alternative spellings) erupting with fiery enthusiasm in all directions, and his overall character seems clear. Yet he is “the Hawk-headed mystical Lord,” not the magical or military or other type of Lord, and he has depths that simply don’t reveal themselves until we have stripped away a lot of our conventional and rational assumptions. For he has to become more than just “The Kid on a Rampage,” to be a complete symbol or embodiment of the HGA.
That thought was underlined by some of Jung’s own remarks in his essay, where he speaks about the dangers of trying to explain these things in conventional terms, or using easier terms or frames of reference than the dynamic fact of the archetypes themselves. For instance:
“There is no ‘rational’ substitute for the archetype any more than there is for the cerebellum or the kidneys.”
And, speaking of historical child-myths: “Often the child is formed after the Christian model; more often, though, it develops from earlier, altogether non-Christian levels – that is to say, out of chthonic animals such as crocodiles, dragons, serpents or monkeys … In dreams it often appears as the dreamer’s son or daughter, or as a boy, youth or young girl; occasionally it seems to be of exotic origin, Indian or Chinese, with a dusky skin, or, appearing more cosmically, surrounded by stars or with a starry coronet; or as the kind’s son or the witch’s child with daemonic attributes.”
In other words, the Child archetype is always unearthly, in every way. And, as Jung adds, “The child paves the way for a future change of personality.” For a child necessarily has to grow, or initiate growth.
Yet our Ra-Hoor-Khuit has no Nile hippopotami to fight. He has already crushed an Universe, thanks very much, and nought remains. He is by definition the winner until his Time is done. His energy is a perpetual outpouring until “another prophet shall arise, and bring fresh fever from the skies.” And that is far, far from now. He has taken his seat in the East, which by definition is an unassailable station.
Key archetypes seem to have re-constellated at the start of this Aeon, and Ra-Hoor-Khuit is an entirely different kind of Divine Child to any of his predecessors. I have no clear notion of how that changes our relationship to the unconscious, but it has to mean a deep reconfiguring of many things relating to the kind of way in which we will come to see ourselves as we move through and out of this century’s human (and planetary) crisis.
Spiritual reform always takes us back, and not just forward. Jesus cited the Law and the Prophets, the Koran and Mohammed cited the same Prophets, and Mahayana Buddhism quotes the sutras and presumed teachings of its forebears.
Thelema, too, reached back to a pantheon that had ceased to be worshipped a millennium and a half before its advent, and re-cast the essence of three of the Netjeru (more if we count Tahuti, Isis and the latecomer to the party, Set). But it changed the set-up, and in doing so it changed the nature of consciousness itself.
Jung speaks in his essay of how “The threat to one’s inmost self from dragons and serpents points to the danger of the newly acquired consciousness being swallowed up again by the instinctive psyche, the unconscious.” That idea is not dismissed, but it is fading as humanity moves haltingly into this Aeon, and progressively more people accept the craziness within as our true God. The division between consciousness and unconsciousness is less rigidly enforced as a consequence.
On the way to this aim, considering the different aspects of the Child archetype strikes me as a useful means of perceiving what we might be coming to. Deepening the link to Horus cracks open the inner doorways that it’s time we passed through.
Love is the law, love under will,