Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
Describing the Visions or potential Visions of the lowest four sephiroth becomes progressively more difficult. What, then, are we to make of Tiphereth, which has several versions of the Vision according to different sources? My tally includes: Vision of the Harmony of Things; Mysteries of the Crucifixion; the Vision of Beauty (the usual transliteration of the name Tiphereth); and the Beatific Vision, which sounds like the previous one, but has significant differences. St. Thomas Aquinas defined the Beatific Vision, eight centuries ago, as a human being’s ‘final end’ in which one attains to a perfect happiness that surpasses both faith and reason. The Catholic Encyclopedia says it is “the immediate knowledge of God which the angelic spirit and the souls of the just enjoy in heaven.” Which both sound like cursory descriptions of the K&C.
As the central sephirah on the Tree of Life, Tiphereth is the major transition point. Its virtue is Devotion to the Great Work, and its Vice is Pride. Those two mean a division happens here, with the aspirant either finally grasping the immensity of the adventure he has embarked upon, or falling into the trap of inflating his own ego. However, it’s a safe bet that anyone coming this far will experience, and manifest, both these tendencies at different times.
It can become tedious to reiterate how the A.’.A.’. system operates on a higher arc than the Golden Dawn one (using ‘Golden Dawn’ in the generic sense of ceremonial working of the elemental Qabalistic mysteries ), but for Tiphereth the point needs to be made. An aspirant of the A.’.A.’. is not truly an Adeptus Minor until the Knowledge & Conversation of the HGA is attained: that, essentially, is the order’s definition of Adepthood. We are further told this is an occurrence that occurs within the Briatic level of the Tree of Life.
On the G.D. level, the experience is a step lower, occurring in the world of Yetzirah, so something less complete occurs. There is some crossover, with some G.D. Adepti having a more intensive and penetrating experience than others, but by and large, this concept holds up. The mystical state of the K&C (which has relatively little or even nothing at all to do with “facts and chats”) is permanently transformative for those who undergo it. The Yetziratic experience, while life-changing, can be abandoned and decay in those who assume the Work is now done, and then drop any further practices.
Tiphereth is the goal for us as aspirants working the First Order mysteries. We are instructed to push on through test and trials until we are invited to Second Order initiation. (We can’t apply to join this particular club). Here, we’re told, lie key answers to the issues we have grappled with for X number of years on our way to the solar centre of the Tree; and indeed many of these become apparent at this point.
The Mysteries of the Crucifixion is not high on Thelemites’ to-do lists, but they can be worth looking into. The Mysteries, as opposed to the actual fact of death by extreme torture (and our own need to grovel in sorrowing gratitude), concern an opening to Gnosis, and allowing of an influx of spiritual energy (a.k.a., ‘grace’). They require meditation, the sheer intensity of actually contemplating such a gruesome death, and Cosmic-scale sacrifice, creating barriers to us being able merely to think about them.
The Beatific Vision was touched on briefly above, so that leaves the Vision of Beauty and the Vision of the Harmony of Things. These two, I suggest, are functionally identical in nature.
The influx of psychic energy that happens on initiation into Tiphereth should, if the timing is right, produce an expansion of consciousness and of the idea of selfhood. That leads, as mentioned above, to some degree of ego expansion, but also produces a new vision of life. Most important, it should (assuming the candidate was ready and the ritual was “rightly performed, with joy & beauty” as per Liber AL, II, v. 35) produce a sense of immense possibility, and a relaxation of key issues around individual identity. The new Adept enjoys a measure of appreciation of how identity is a mutable thing, a convenience for the enactment of life-scenarios, and amazingly, isn’t ultimately critical in life. He or she isn’t invulnerable, but there is a growing sense that the suspicion or hostility of others is directed at something provisional, and it isn’t as necessary as before for the new Adept to defend or justify a given opinion or position. Aiwass would have chosen cleverer words, but to say that to the Adept, in essence, “everything’s cool,” is not a bad way to put it. Contrary currents and impulses will cancel themselves out, ordeals and trials end in time, and while an individual can aid the life-process and the growth of other aspirants, he or she is only essential until the next one in the chain comes along.
There are also bound to be peak moments when there is full-on awareness of the beauty, the excellence, the complete safety even, of existence. If the Mysteries of the Crucifixion are about realising “O grave, where is thy victory?” and that one’s consciousness is not the property of the personality, then here is a further indication that it’s all alright. The Universe, eventually, is self-correcting or at the very least, self-regulating. And from its Centre, as each one of us experiences matters, come a supporting Love, Power and Wisdom that we can identify as the Holy Guardian Angel.
And in all that, I submit, lies the essential Vision of Harmony that is the essence of Tiphereth.
Love is the law, love under will,