Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
The Vision of Netzach is the Vision of Beauty Triumphant. This fits with the sephirah’s name, which is normally translated as ‘Victory.’ Unsurprisingly, since Venus and the deities of love are associated with Netzach, its Virtue is Unselfishness, and its Vice is Unchastity or Lust. In the Thelemic context, I take that to meet love not dedicated unto Nuit as verse 51 of Chapter One of Liber AL instructs: bloodless love, you might say, that doesn’t heed the object of desire as a consciousness parallel to one’s own.
As noted previously, I had a particular vision for Malkuth; a happy moment (more like an hour) of realisation for Yesod; and the memorable experience I mentioned in the last post for Hod. I recall no specific visionary moment from the two years I spent working the degree pertaining to Netzach, even if my diary records a lot of interesting imagery from invocations or meditations.
And in retrospect, that lack of specificity was the point. In that time, a period of considerable intensity, I became the senior leader in my local temple, broke through some limitations on my magical ability, and underwent rough but ultimately releasing realisations about what I could and couldn’t do as an initiate.
Most important to me, after a long period of nothing more than an occasional day trip to New York State or weekend in Montreal, the year I entered that degree I enjoyed opportunities to visit California, Portugal, Germany, and Holland. My ‘Vision’ of Netzach was not visual, but consisted of an expanding experience of the world I wanted to know better. The Beauty that triumphed for me was one that broadened my appreciation of cultural and historical differences, each journey having its moment or day of spiritual exaltation that expanded my understanding of my own existence.
In The Mystical Qabalah, Dion Fortune notes (Ch. 22) that “all mind is group mind in Netzach, but in Hod the human mind has its beginnings.” So, in moving on from Hod we are going from the personal self to the deeper waters of our nature, wherein we begin to discover how these personal selves are simply localised manifestations of universal consciousness. This process is possibly unending, but moving up the Tree from Netzach includes progressive unveilings of that supra-personal nature.
In everyday life, we experience ourselves largely within the context of the four lowest sephiroth on the Tree. And while it’s a very broad typology, we all tend to be either more Hod-oriented or Netzach-oriented. My ‘type’ would be Hod, since I love playing with ideas, verbally and conceptually. It was no accident that I worked in the magazine business for more than three decades.
‘Netzach-people’ are more conversant with their emotions or feeling nature, and less strict about philosophical or conceptual precision. When I moved to Netzach (magically speaking) I was no longer in home territory, and the experience overwhelmed my psychological tools and attitudes. The Hod degree took me less than five months to wrap up, and apart from the Vision mentioned in the previous post, was lacking in high points. Netzach required almost five times as long. Often, I’ve felt I never completed its work; and in some senses, I never will.
In Hermetic Qabalah, we stress the Greco-Roman deities and their correspondence to the sephiroth. Thus, Mercury is our Hod guy, and Venus is Our Lady of Netzach. This is very helpful as a quick reference to the Tree for us to memorise, but it overlooks the fact that the attribution is only really true in Assiah, the most accessible level of each sephirah. Netzach’s choir of angels, the Elohim, confuses people because that’s also the God-Name of Binah, but their name (‘gods,’ essentially) indicates the supra-rational character of the forces involved. Fortune refers to them as “the formative influences whereby the creative force expresses itself in Nature,” a phrase that bears consideration in depth.
The Archangel, Haniel, a name that translates as “Grace of God,” likewise indicates a deep spiritual process. The God-Name, YHVH Tzabaoth, is a more ‘technical’ designation in Qabalah, but carries the import of something that goes beyond our usual categories for living and dreaming.
For many, the Beauty Triumphant may well appear in the everyday observation of a lover. One person told me it came as a realisation of non-figurative painting that he’d never appreciated previously. As an artist, this was a major step for him.
And no doubt more than a few people over the years have had actual visions of Venus (or Hathor, or Bhavani, or Oshun, or Freya…), or Haniel. Others might see something that’s appreciably a representation of YHVH Tzabaoth Itself.
But the point of writing this series of posts was to stress the variety of the ‘Visions’ that are possible, and to encourage aspirants to look to the whole range of their experience if no discrete and overwhelming image presents itself.
Each sephirothic Vision we see or experience is going to be one more piece of the puzzle; one more aspect of the self-mystery decoded. The road to Knowledge & Conversation of the HGA requires us to know and to do our True Wills, rather than manically pursuing some artificially conceived path to an imagined transcendence. The Visions are each pieces of the puzzle, showing us who and what we are in the different states of being we inhabit (i.e., the sephiroth).
Too often, we allow egoic ideas of personal will to overwhelm our spiritual perspective, since we all want love, success and fun. As they accumulate, the Visions teach us what we can enjoy beyond those things, necessary as they are to sanity and meaning in life. They make it possible for us to align, step by step, with the Root of our existence.
Love is the law, love under will,