Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Instant Karma

The Book of the Law serves as the "bible" of Aleister Crowley's Thelemic ideology. He claimed that he didn't write it himself but that it was dictated to him by a non-human Intelligence. He said that proof of this lies in the qabalistic analysis of the text which revealed things he couldn't have possibly known.

We can get a small taste of this just by looking at the first six lines of the first chapter:

1. Had! The manifestation of Nuit.

2. The unveiling of the company of heaven.

3. Every man and every woman is a star.

4. Every number is infinite; there is no difference.

5. Help me, o warrior lord of Thebes, in my unveiling before the Children of men!

6. Be thou Hadit, my secret centre, my heart & my tongue!

One exercise might be to analyze each verse according to its number. For instance, line 1 suggests the Supernal Triangle, the top three Sephiroth on the Tree of Life. 1 = Kether, Had = Chokmah, Nuit = Binah. Some lines will appear obviously connected to the number of their verse, others may seem to bear little or no relation.

Verse 6 has an obvious allusion to this notion of communicating Tiphareth that I've been harping upon. This interests us because the idea appears some 10 years before Crowley became explicitly aware of it. The Book of the Law was 'received' in 1904. It wasn't until 1914 during a series of Operations known as "The Paris Working" that Crowley became aware of the cognate relationship between Tiphareth (6) and Hod (8), or as he realized it at the time, between Christ and Mercury. He regarded this as a new discovery. The Book of the Law expressed this idea through Crowley 10 years before he became consciously aware of it.

Another line, verse 3 Every man and every woman is a star, appears intimately related to this basic approach to the mysteries advertised here in the last several blog postings..

When I first heard this statement years ago, I wondered what it meant. Is it poetic metaphor or does it indicate something literal? I suggest that it's a little of both.

What does it mean to be "a star" in this sense? Some suggestions for further research:

  • Study the commentary on the Star tarot trump from Crowley's Book of Thoth
  • Study the Book of Lies and observe how it leads to the final chapter called Starlight.
  • I get a lot from listening to certain music. John Coltrane has at least one very obvious album that clearly communicates this idea.

Had one convincing synchronicity with music years ago while practicing yoga. I put the cassette tape of David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars into a boombox and pressed REWIND in order to listen to the song Starman, the first song on that side of the tape. The tape rewound, I pressed PLAY and turned up the volume. After Starman finished, a completely unrelated, non-David Bowie track played. This made no sense at all. How could the cassette play something different? It turns out that I had the boombox function set to play FM radio. When I turned up the volume after rewinding the tape, the radio station played the exact same song Starman at exactly the same time I went to play it.

The song Pride by U2 about the life and assassination of Martin Luther King is another one that's inspired me.

At some point Crowley came up with a list of Saints aligned to his work. It's been semi-seriously suggested that John Lennon be added to this list. I couldn't agree more. Some very good evidence for Thelemic Sainthood is provided by the song Instant Karma. I like it because it connects these starry ideas with death and bardo training. It will be seen, in future postings here, that a great deal of Magick has to do with expanding our conventional beliefs and limitations about the big D, death.

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