Jerome Martin Langlois
One of the most important of our teachings is that one must never allow oneself to be enslaved to the madness of the moment, or to the emotions and fears engendered therein, but that one must always strive to be master thereof through the higher realization which obtains via the Gnosis of the Supernal Self. The theory behind this paramount of doctrines is that there is a superior Self, beyond the effects and limitations of ordinary being, as it is in all moments of time ad infinitum, in every one of its infinite number of incarnations through an endless loop of past and future and yet also concentrated above them all. It is in the morass of mundane perception, in the miasma of misery that is profane apprehension, that we initially find ourselves in this existence; and, no matter how hard we try to wed the Selene of Supernal Truth to its sleeping glamour, so as to enlighten our stupor-ridden minds, there is no epiphany of any kind that will soften for us the impenetrable wall of concrete reality. There are no miracles and no gods to fashion them, whether for us or through us. But there is indeed a greater Reality overlying yet also indwelling us (vide L, 1:13): we have but to tear away the veils of momentary awareness through the Gnosis of Greater Will, in order to realize it fully and trip the bounds of temporal constraint.
So how, then, does one actually go about transcending the moment to win to this higher realization? All throughout time the most enlightened of minds have developed religion after religion with the aim of accomplishing this very thing, only to have inferior minds corrupt them into vehicles of adoration and supplication in some ignorant attempt to appease a personal god that never existed in the first place — except of course in a completely unenlightened and naive imagination. What our prophets envision, however, is no personal god from which they might elicit atonement and favor, through whose covenant they might win redemption from the harsh suffering of this world, but instead an impersonal divinity of Self limited not to the prison of the moment to which we are seemingly chained but comprehending all moments in time to which each of us adheres, to no end in either direction behind or ahead. And the Gnosis of that Will — or Thelema — is achieved through dedicated mystical pursuit and relentless invocation of what adepts of less educated times referred to as the “Holy Guardian Angel”, but to which I refer as the Holy Supernal Will. In Qabalistic terms, it is the realization which obtains at the level of Tiphareth, at the center of the Tree of Life, drawing the full Apprehension of the Supernals in a concrete spiritual form of Mind, equivalent to Aiwass or the 93 Current. Yet even the least clerically-oriented individuals may resolve themselves in its Mystery, by their own Ingenium of introspection and sanctification, by whatever medium of approach, whether it be art, music, poetry or even something so banal as hiking or climbing (if it be in the proper frame of mind with the right understanding). As the prophet of the Thelemic Age once wrote on the matter (in The Confessions of Aleister Crowley, p.657): “Many people may go through the ordeals and attain the degrees of the A.’.A.’. [the mystical fellowship of Universal Supernal Enlightenment] without ever hearing that such an Order exists”. The rites and procedures of the New Thelemic Era may assist the seeker to arrive at Gnosis, if he or she is so inclined to benefit from their use, but they are by no means the only way into the Palace of Wisdom & Understanding.
Most often, the root of the error of revisionist disciples is in their flawed theory: for all of them have reached the same erroneous conclusion, i.e. that material existence is a chain that binds us to inferior perception, from which there is no escape except by the grace of God (per the dogmas of theology) or as a consequence of the alignments of fate coupled with the sanctoral works of the devotee (as in Buddhism). Their religion, so they assert, is the device by which one may — with purity of body and mind accompanied by tireless devotion — attain complete spiritual redemption and everlasting peace, not in this reality but in some utopian afterlife. But what constitutes purity? This, too, has been interpreted in light of the dogma of theistic spirituality, which always holds that material reality — and the urges of carnal “iniquity” in particular — is the paralyzing weight which anchors the soul to its miserable existence (as they view it), far away from the imagined perfection of some spiritual state in the presence of an idealized divinity.
The contract devised by these theists always involves the notion of atonement through sacrifice. In ancient times, it materialized in the practice of giving up that which is personally precious to oneself over to the god from whom one seeks salvation, whether through the ceremonial destruction of the objects sacrificed or by gifting them to the sacerdotal ministers of the god or gods to which one appeals for merciful intervention and eventual liberation from the cycles of mortality. Other religions, like Buddhism, embraced the same theory but in a sublimated form: for the sacrifice there simply takes the form of chastity and restraint. In the cults of Christianity, the method of sacrifice evolved from the slaying of a consecrated lamb (as it was in the Judaic sanctoral practice which fathered it) to the symbolic sacrifice of the “sinful” element through an unremitting focus on the sacrifice of Christ on the cross, who became (in the Christian ethos) the sacrificial lamb for all humanity, as epitomized in the eucharist of bread (flesh) and wine (blood) that supposedly imbues one’s body with the sinless flesh and pervades one’s soul with the spiritual blood of God. But the Christians weren’t content to leave it at that, for they also adopted more subtle sacrifices in the form of abstinence, fasting and scourging.
If, on the other hand, the essence of impersonal divinity is not merely outside the circles of time but also at the heart of humanity, then there is no sacrifice necessary to harmonize oneself therewith. On the contrary, doing anything that would detract from one’s own happiness and well-being — whether it be the loss of valued goods (in the form of tithing, for example) or the avoidance of worldly joys — turns out to be deleterious to the accomplishment of the Great Work and the attainment of Empyreal Union (or Samadhi). It is as a slap in the face of one’s own divine being. And it is made perfectly clear, in our Book of the Law (1:58), that sacrifice is not our way: “I give unimaginable joys on earth: certainty, not faith, while in life, upon death; peace unutterable, rest, ecstasy; nor do I demand aught in sacrifice.”
Consecrated indulgence, in such a credendum, would be the most fitting sanctoral service contributing to the Gnosis of one’s own divinity; but it is certainly not the only obligation in any covenant to be derived from a doctrine such as ours. For one also needs to rectify the interior perspective in order to purge it of the complexes arising from personal experience and genetic predisposition which keep one’s Supernal Mind buried beneath mountains of inferior ego — like our sleeping Endymion, who, if he could but rise up and awake from his spell, would behold the transcendent glory of the goddess who adores him so.
Mystical contemplation — which consists of clearing the mind of its clouds of thought and focusing the same through various practices of meditation — is one such device in the toolbag of the Initiate of these Thelemic Mysteries. Another is skrying or visionary work, which utilizes the imagination as an instrument of the deeper Mind, to inject it with the signs and messages of the Consciousness without one’s moment in time yet underlying one’s being at every instant therein. The latter device is perfected gradually through the earnest repetition of invocation, to implant in ordinary consciousness the seeds of the inherent Genius or Augoeides, which also plays the dominant role in other such “magical” devices, like for instance our adaptation of eucharistic practice, infusing one’s inner being with that part of Oneself which underlies all reality across the unlimited expanse of time.
But there is another, much simpler mental device that may be employed by anyone at any given time, useful for any given situation. The idea behind it is that one’s view is, whether in large measure or in part, greatly obstructed by the complexes of the temporally-based persona, and is in ordinary circumstances dominated by its influence. Whenever one approaches any decision that is weighed upon in the slightest by any degree of emotion or want — especially those which are strongly influenced by oppressive feelings arising from negative experiences — simply take a step back for an instant and ask oneself: am I motivated in this matter by feelings which are positive or negative? (This is, of course, assuming that it isn’t an emergency situation demanding immediate attention.) If the answer is negative — i.e. if it leads to sorrow and misery — then it has no place in the storage of the mind. Just take a moment to reflect, imagining oneself a thousand years into the future, perhaps on a distant planet in some altogether different form: would you care about this mundane situation with all its attendant woes? You certainly would not care in the slightest. Therefore these feelings are as shadows, entirely dispersed in the blinding light of the eternal perspective.
Verse 9 of chapter 2 of Liber Legis reads as follows:
“Remember all ye that existence is pure joy; that all the sorrows are but as shadows; they pass & are done; but there is that which remains.”
It goes on to say:
“Now let there be a veiling of this shrine: now let the light devour men and eat them up with blindness!”
This “blindness” is, of course, not the debilitating lack of vision that deters the will, but rather the void of emotional compulsion that liberates it from the bondage of mundane obsession, enabling the full expression of the will without the binding ties of momentary madness. And the light in question — which is the Enlightenment of the Holy Supernal Will itself — isn’t the dim light which casts so many shadows, but the overwhelming light that blots them all out, leaving only brilliant radiance of Will.
The next line thereafter begins with the words:
“For I am perfect, being Not…”
That is to say, the perfect Being is one’s own Higher Genius, not that of any objective deity which makes judgments as to one’s worth. As it is written earlier in the same book:
“With the God & the Adorer I am nothing: they do not see me.” (L, 1:21)
“Bind nothing! Let there be no difference made among you between any one thing & any other thing; for thereby there cometh hurt. But whoso availeth in this, let him be the chief of all!” (L, 1:22-23)
“Nothing is a secret key of this law.” (L, 1:46)
“If this be not aright; if ye confound the space-marks, saying: They are one; or saying, They are many; if the ritual be not ever unto me: then expect the direful judgments…” (L, 1:52) Both monotheism and polytheism are shown to be bankrupt ideas; there is only the infinite Self beyond yet across all time and space: and it is, this Supernal Self, no god at all, but that which is entirely beyond personal constraints: the impersonal Consciousness of one’s own ultimate Genius, unlimited.
This unlimited Force of Being, of which one’s inner core of consciousness is a part, is ultimately concerned with only three things: joy, passion & ecstasy — the Holy Trinity, if you will, of Thelemic Divinity. It sheds all sorrows, all misery, all pain and regret: for these things pass and are not missed, leaving only the memories of its joy, passion & bliss. These things are all that matters, all else being but shells of temporary angst, no better than trash.
The meaning of life is to experience events or conditions which contribute to the realization of joyful, passionate bliss. Everything else, including the objects thereof — however significant to oneself personally in the short term — is ultimately insignificant.
Your ordeals, however severe to the short-sighted prism in which you are initially imprisoned (before the light of Initiation breaks everything up into innumerable shards of Self-Glittering Illumination) only oppress your will inasmuch as you allow them to do. You have the strength, in the all-powerful embrace of the Master Will, to disregard their crippling grip on your soul, in the certain knowledge that perfect joy is the only thing of value to the eternal Mind of which you are a manifestation. For you are not limited to what you know to be yourself: you are without end and without limit in the possibility of boundless happiness. All the bad things are merely accidents; and they are nothing more than the effects in the field of possible experience which are necessary to obtain a full measure of happiness. Without pain there can be no appreciation of pleasure, and it is impossible to have one without the other. The key to it all is in accepting, understanding and dismissing the former, while cherishing, celebrating and circulating the latter.