The Abyss
Liber XI

[Daíath]

 

   

    Introduction
1. The Ordeal: An Holy Thelemic Overview
2. The Ordeal of Ida Pendragon
3. The Ordeal of an Majestic Spook
4. The Ordeal via Enochian Magick
5. An Analysis by a Master of the Temple

 


 


 

 

 

 

 






Introduction  

"SOMA is the moon astronomically; but in mystical phraseology, it is also the name of the sacred beverage drunk by the Brahmins and the Initiates during their mysteries and sacrificial rites. The ísomaí plant is the asclepias acida, which yields a juice from which that mystic beverage, the Soma drink, is made. Alone the descendants of the Rishis, the Agnihotri (the fire priests) of the great mysteries knew all itís powers. But the real property of the true Soma [íThe Elixir of Lifeí] was (and is) to make a new man of the initiate, after he is reborn...


"The partaker of Soma finds himself both linked to his external body, and yet away from it in his spiritual form. The latter, freed from the former, soars for the time being in the ethereal higher regions, becoming virtually ías one of the gods,í and yet plainly preserving in his physical brain the memory of what he sees and learns. Plainly speaking, Soma is the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge forbidden by the jealous Elohim to Adam and Eve or Yah-Ve, ílest man should become as one of us.í"

-H.P. Blavatsky The Secret Doctrine, Vol. II: Anthropogenesis (p. 499) Theosophical University Press

Having recently passed by a Thelemic archive or twain on one of our observational strolls, we were quite taken by numerous references to an apparently transcendental and transformitive experience which appears to be called "The Crossing of the Abyss."

Although we are in no wise permitted to comment specifically on the process, nevertheless we have captured a brief, albeit disjointed, snapshot, funneled it through common UFOlogical perceptions and presented it here. Not as a studied art or science but merely as the briefest and shallowest of descriptions for your consideration.

It is no big secret that the subject of "aliens" holds an High Degreeį of interest for the Holy Blue Brethren and we have been quite intrigued on many occasions to note certain crossover points where the very diverse socio-cultural ideologies and ontologies of our species appear to overlap somewhat.

And indeed, what has remained veiled for millennia.

In regards to the strange process noted above, it was not long after reading certain Thelemic remarks on this subject that we recalled a portion of Strieberís book "Majestic" from a few years back which appears remarkably similar in many respects.

Hence the title, Whitley and the Abyss.

It has been often rumored that Mr. Strieber has enjoyed certain Wiccan affiliations in the past so bearing this in mind, one wonders if these formerly inculcated belief systems may have filtered their way into the tapestry of his current "space alien" mythology or if certain occult groups have long been privy to a view of what A.F. Col. Donald E. Ware (ret.) has succinctly termed the "larger reality."

This series is in four parts.

Part one here contains a snippet from the alt.magick FAQ entitled "A Glimpse of the Structure and System of the Great White Brotherhood" which pertains to the process noted above.

Part two is a portion of a [metaphorical/allegorical?] dramatic story which appeared in Crowleyís Equinox -- the "official organ of the A:.A:." -- in which a young woman at the turn of the century is guided on the abyssmal journey by a fellow initiate (with apparently hidden agendas) and provides an interesting yet deeply veiled account for those adept at reading between the lines.

Part three is the excerpt from Strieberís novel in which a young intelligence officer (also a member of a secret "occultic [intell] society" which maintains itís own "initiation ceremonies," has itís own hierarchical "need to know" classifications and structures and enforces itís own version of "sacred oaths") has an encounter with some "aliens" and is transported via some strange elixir to his own disturbing yet ostensibly enlightening "crossing of the abyss."

Part four is an Enochian flavoured perception of the same phenomena.

See if you note any similarities between the core substances of each expression. Then see if you can determine why this might be.

-Frater Caeruleus

 

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The Abyss
Part I

A Glimpse of the Structure and System of the Great White Brotherhood

Excerpts from Alt.Magick FAQ #7: "A Glimpse of the Structure and System of the Great White Brotherhood."

"The Order of the S. S." (Silver Star, Argon Astron, A.'.A.'.) is composed of those who have crossed the Abyss; the implications of this expression may be studied in Liber 418, the 14th, 13th, 12th, 11th, 10th, and 9th Aethyrs in particular. All members of the Order are in full possession of the Formulae of Attainment, both mystical or inwardly-directed and Magical or outwardly- directed.

[...]

Every active Member of the Order has destroyed all that He is and all that he has on crossing the Abyss; but a star is cast forth in the Heavens to enlighten the Earth, so that he may possess a vehicle wherein he may communicate with mankind. The quality and position of this star, and its functions, are determined by the nature of the incarnations transcended by him.

To attain the grade of Magus he must accomplish Three Tasks:

  • the renunciation of His enjoyment of the Infinite so that he may formulate Himself as the Finite

  • the acquisition of the practical secrets alike of initiating and governing His proposed new Universe

  • the identification of himself with the impersonal idea of Love

Any neophyte of the Order (or, as some say, any person soever) possesses the right to claim the Grade of Master of the Temple by taking the Oath of the Grade. It is hardly necessary to observe that to do so is the most sublime and awful responsibility which it is possible to assume, and an unworthy person who does so incurs the most terrific penalties by his presumption.

[...]

"The Order of the R. C." The Grade of the Babe of the Abyss is not a Grade in the proper sense, being rather a passage between the two Orders. Its characteristics are wholly negative, as it is attained by the resolve of the Adeptus Exemptus to surrender all that he has and is for ever. It is an annihilation of all the bonds that compose the self or constitute the Cosmos, a resolution of all complexities into their elements, and these thereby cease to manifest, since things are only knowable in respect of their relation to, and reaction on, other things.

[...]

To attain the Grade of Magister Templi, he must perform two tasks; the emancipation from thought by putting each idea against its opposite, and refusing to prefer either; and the consecration of himself as a pure vehicle for the influence of the order to which he aspires.

He must then decide upon the critical adventure of our Order; the absolute abandonment of himself and his attainments. He cannot remain indefinitely an Exempt Adept; he is pushed onward by the irresistible momentum that he has generated.

Should he fail, by will or weakness, to make his self-annihilation absolute, he is none the less thrust forth into the Abyss; but instead of being received and reconstructed in the Third Order, as a Babe in the womb of our Lady BABALON, under the Night of Pan, to grow up to be Himself wholly and truly as He was not previously, he remains in the Abyss, secreting his elements round his Ego as if isolated from the Universe, and becomes what is called a "Black Brother." Such a being is gradually disintegrated from lack of nourishment and the slow but certain action of the attraction of the rest of the Universe, despite efforts to insulate and protect himself, and to aggrandize himself by predatory practices. He may indeed prosper for a while, but in the end he must perish, especially when with a new Aeon a new word is proclaimed which he cannot and will not hear, so that he is handicapped by trying to use an obsolete method of Magick, like a man with a boomerang in a battle where every one else has a rifle.

[...]

...he must employ to this end the formula called "The Beast conjoined with the Woman" which establishes a new incarnation of deity; as in the legends of Leda, Semele, Miriam, Pasiphae, and others.

[...]

From the Abyss comes No Man forth, but a Star startles the Earth, and our Order rejoices above that Abyss that the Beast hath begotten one more Babe in the Womb of Our Lady, His concubine, the Scarlet Woman, BABALON.

There is not need to instruct a Babe thus born, for in the Abyss it was purified of every poison of personality; its ascent to the highest is assured, in its season, and it hath no need of seasons for it is conscious that all conditions are no more than forms of its fancy.

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The Abyss
Part II
The Ordeal of Ida Pendragon

Excerpt from "THE ORDEAL OF IDA PENDRAGON," which appeared in The Equinox, An. VII Vol I No. VI

THE GREY HOUR


"TO resume," observed Rolles as he removed the tea-tray, "since you have done no prescribed practices (wicked little sister!) you cannot banish the body by bidding it keep silence. So it must be banished by exhaustion, and the spirit awakened by a sevenfold dose of the Elixir."


"Have you the Elixir?" she asked, rather awed.

"It is entrusted to me," he answered simply. "To this laudable end I have appointed a sufficiency of Bisque Kadosh at the Cafe Riche, followed by Homard Cardinal and Truffes au champagne. With a savoury of my own invention. The truffes au champagne of the Cafe Riche are more to be desired than all the hashish dreams of all the wicked, and than all the divine dreams of all the good. We shall walk there, and drive back. This incense shall be kindled, and this lamp left burning."

He took a strange object from a locked cabinet. It had flowered chased pipes of gold, copper and platinum, coiling about an egg of crystal. The three snakes met just above the egg, as if to bite or to kiss. Rolles filled the egg with a pale blue liquid from a Venetian flask, then pressed the heads of the serpents just a little closer together. Instantly a coruscating flame leapt between them, minute, dazzling, radiant. It continued to burn with a low hissing noise rarely interrupted by a dry crackle.

"It is well," said Rolles, "let us depart."

Ida Pendragon had not said a word. She put on her hat and followed to the door as fatalistically as the condemned man walks to the gallows. She had passed through anticipation; she was content to await what might be.

At the door she whispered, hushed in awe of the real silence of the room with its monotonous hiss, in his ear. "You have the Lamp. I almost begin to wonder if you have not the Ring!"

"íThis is a secret sign,í" he quoted, "íand thou shalt not disclose it unto the profane.í Tonight yours be the ring -- the Eternal Ring, the Serpent to twine about my heart."

"Ah! could I crush it!"

He closed the door. Like a priest celebrating his first high mass he led her through Paris. Neither spoke. Only as they mounted the steps of the Cafe he took her arm and said, sharply and sternly:

 

"Attention! From this moment I am Edgar Rolles, and you are Ida Pendragon. No more: not a thought of our real relation. Man and woman, if you will; beasts in the jungle, if you will; flowers by the wayside, if you will; but nothing more. Else you will not only fail in the ordeal, but you will be swept aside out of the Path. You were in greater danger than you knew this afternoon; you will yet pay the price."

"I understand," she said. "You devil! I love you." "And I love every inch of your white body!"

They ran laughing arm in arm through the swing doors.

[...]

Edgar Rolles sat curled up Hindu fashion on his bed. The sacred lamp still hissed. At his side lay Ida, her arms stretched out cruciform. She hardly breathed; there was no colour in her face. One would have said the corpse of a martyred virgin. On her white body its own purity hovered like a veil.

Edgar Roles watched the lamp, erect, attentive. It went out. Hardly a hint of grey filtered through the blackness. In his hands he held two threads. "One is black, and one is white, he mused, and only God knows which is which. So only God knows what is sin. In our darkness we who presume to declare it are liars -- charlatans, groping quacks at the best. Will the sun never dawn? For us on whom the lightning of ecstasy hath flashed for a moment -- ímuch may be seen by its lightí -- the light of the tempest.

 

But the Light of the Silver Star? Oh, my Brothers (he began to speak aloud) give me wisdom as you have given me understanding! Knowledge and grace and power? These are nothing and less than nothing. Is not this a precious think that you have given into my charge? Am not I too young among you to bear so wonderful a burden? It is the first time that I have dared so far. The Abyss! The Razor-Edge! Frail bridge and sharp! Yet is it not a ray of the Evening Star, a ray of Venus, of the Love Supernal! ..."

Can I tell black from white? It seems I can -- and then the certainty flickers, and I doubt. I doubt. I am always doubting. Perhaps a wise man grows angry, and declares his will. íIt shall be what oícock I say it is,í or ...see ! I lay the threads on her white breast. No doubt remains."

Then clear and loud: "Ave Soror!"

The girl, as it seemed mechanically, murmured the words "Rosae Rubeae."

"Et Aureae Crucis," he rejoined.

Then together, very slowly and distinctly: "Benedictus sit Dominus Deus Noster qui nobis dedit signum."

It seemed hardly possible that her voice joined his. The lips hardly moved; it was as if an interior voice spoke in her heart. Yet the room was suddenly filled with a pale green light -- or was it rosy? -- or was it golden? -- or was it like the moon? That was the strange thing about it. To every name one put to it an inward voice answered: No, not that; like that, but not quite that. Luminous, spectral, cloudy, shimmering -- it was all these, and something more.

He placed his hand upon the girlís forehead.

"Are you perfectly awake?"

"I am awake, frater."

"Can you give me the sign of your grade?"

"I must not move. But I am poised for diving, frater."

"The word?"

Haltingly came the answer: "Ar--ar--it--a."

"One is His beginning; one is His individuality; His permutation one. Do not forget it, little sister."

"Are you ready?"

"I am ready. Farewell -- farewell for ever!"

"Farewell."

He took his signet-ring, and pressed a spring. The bezel opened and disclosed a small jewelled wheel, divided into many compartments. He pressed a second spring. The wheel began to revolve, and in the silence sang a tiny tune. It was a faint tinkle, like a distant cow-bell, or like a chime heard far off, heard from the snow. There was an icy quality in the note.

"Where are you?"

"I -- I --" she broke off.

His eyes lit with joy.

"I am in the sand; I am buried to the waist in the sand. I see nothing but sand."

His face fell again.

"What is sand?" he asked.

"Oh -- just sand, you know. Leagues and leagues of sand; like a great bowl of sand."

"But what is sand?"

"Sand -- oh! sand is God, I suppose." There was a patience and weariness in her voice, as of one who has suffered long and is at rest, or convalescent.

"And who are you?"

She did not answer the question. "Now I see sky," she said. "Sky is God, too, I think."

"Then do you see God?"

"Oh no! I think I am God, somehow. It is all like it was before, long ago. I was once a spider in the sand. God is a spider; the Universe is flies. I am a fly, too. ...And now the desert is full of flies."

Rolles bit his lip; his face was drawn with pain. At that moment he looked an old man.

"Black flies," she went on. "Horrible white maggots. And now there are corpses. The maggots play about their mouths and eyes. There are three corpses that were God when they were alive. I killed Him. That was when I was a camel in the sand. Now there are only my bones."

"It may be only a veil," he muttered, not wishing her to hear. But she heard.

"It is a veil," she said. "But is there anything behind veils?"

"Look!"

"Only the sand."

"Tear it down!"

"There might be Nothing behind."

"There is Nothing behind. It is through that that you must pass."

"This veil is God. I am a holy nun in the trance called Rampurana. I am canonized. My name is on every banner. My face is worshipped by every nation. I am a pure virgin; all the others are soiled. Thought is worse than deed. All my thoughts are holy. I think. I think. I think. By the power of my thought I created the Word; and by the Word came the Worlds. I am the creator. I will write my law upon tablets of jade and onyx."

Rolles bowed his head in silence.

"I am thought itself," she went on quietly. "And all thought is I. I am knowledge. All knowledge is in three. Three hundred and thirty-three. I am half the Master. I have cut him in two."

The adept shuddered.

"That was when I was an axe. I will not be an arrow. I will be an axe. ..." She gave a giggle.

"I am gleeful by reason of hate."

There was a pause.

"And I am gleeful because I am reason. ..."

"All reason ends in two. I have cut the Master in two."

"Can she pass through?" wondered Edgar. "Is it a fault to be identified so well with that which she beholds?"

"There are devils," she cried. "Black, naked screaming devils. They touch, and at a touch each oozes back to his slime. This slime is Chaos."

"Ararita!" he breathed the word upon her brow.

"Donít touch me! donít touch me!" she screamed. "I am holy! I am God! I am I!" Her face was black and distorted with sudden passion.

"Itís quite different to my own experience in many ways," thought the watcher. "Yet -- is it not the essence of all ordeal, all initiation, that it should be unexpected? Otherwise, the candidate would have passed through the gate before he approached it. Which is absurd."

The last word must have been audible.

"Absurd!" she cried. "Indeed, it is not absurd. It is all rational. It is you who are absurd."

"Do you understand what you are saying?"

"No! No! I hate all who understand. I will bite them. I will bite their waists." Dropping her voice suddenly: "That was when I was a mouse-trap."

"Dear God! this is like delirium."

"Oh! go on about God. I donít mind God. I could tell you wonderful things about what I have done to God. I was a Nonconformist preacher once: I had secret sins. They were mine! Mine! How proud I was of them! Every Sunday I used to preach against the sin that I had done most in the week. There are many butterflies in the desert; ever so many more than one would think. This proves that God is good. And then, you see, there are beetles. Beetles and beetles. And scorpions. Dear little amber beasts. There! one has stung me. It is the sacrament of hate. I will sleep in a bed of scorpions and rose- leaves. Scorpions are better than thorns. Why do I wander about naked? And why do I thirst? And this torment of cold? It ought to be hot in the desert. And it isnít. Now that proves -- oh yes, my cat! you shall have milk. I will strike a rock for you. Milk and honey."

She started up suddenly, and put her hands to her face, then threw them round his neck.

"Edgar, darling!" she cried, "your pussy has had such a dreadful dream. Come and love his girl!"

He dared not tell her that she had tried and failed, that she had come come {sic} back as she set out. He flung his will into that act of mercy; his kisses ravished her into delight.

It was late morning when they woke, faint with rapture, fresh kisses blossoming on their young lips, as the sun himself lit their awakening with his love.

Only then came memory, and solemnity, and sorrow.

[...]

So, with a thousand tear and kisses, they parted. She would not come to see him off; her self-command was weakened alike by her new love and by the terrible ordeal that she had undergone. Her mind remembered nothing of it -- such is the merciful order of things; but her soul, beaten with rods, was sore.

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The Abyss
Part III

An Majestic Experience

Following is an excerpt from Strieberís "novel" Majestic wherein an alleged military/intelligence operative -- dying of lung cancer and seeking to appease his battered conscience -- describes events which took place much earlier in his life; events brought on by his contact with "alien visitors."

The Alien Elixir

How incredibly alien they were. Had I understood then who they were, I wonder if I would have acted differently. All of my life I have wished I knew what they thought of me. It must have been an incredibly funny, poignant experience -- if they had the full range of human feeling available to them in those strange bodies.
"Open your mouth," the man said.

"I will not."

"Goddammit, I knew it. Look, I gotta..." He threw himself at me. He was huge and as hard as stone. I was too spent to resist him, even for a second. With one arm around my chest he held me from behind. With his free hand he forced open my jaws.

I tried to clench them but his fingers were powerful. The woman had a graceful little bottle from which she withdrew a curved dropper.

My jaws were open, I was helpless. She put three drops of ice-cold liquid on the tip of my tongue. When they let me go I smacked and coughed. I spat.

"You can spit," the man said. "It doesnít matter."

"What have you done to me?"

"You needed that. Youíre going on a trip."

"I want to go home."

They pushed me into one of the seats. I quelled a wave of nausea, but it was followed by another, stronger one. The man reached around behind my seat and came out with an airsickness bag from the pocket. TRANSCONTINENTAL AIR TRANSPORT was printed on it in red letters. I used it.

The air had changed. Far from being cold, it was now thick and hot. It was getting hard to breathe. Whatever was happening to me, my body was being taken to the extremes of endurance. In those days we knew nothing of hallucinogenic drugs.

Without a sound the walls of the room became clear.

At first I did not understand what I was seeing. A huge shining strip of light curved off into the sky. Beneath it there shone the amazingly complex surface of a gigantic sphere colored in a thousand shades of tan and green and blue.

Then I saw that it was all surrounded by reefs and oceans of stars, stars in endless numbers, stars beyond belief in a billion colors winking, as if Godís own treasury had been spilled.

We appeared to be in the rings of Saturn. How far from earth would that be? I couldnít even begin to remember. However, I was completely convinced that we had come an awfully long distance in a very short time.

In the middle of the clear wall was a round doorway. It did not appear to open into the view around us at all, but revealed broad plains beneath the light of a strange, brown sky. It looked like a patch pasted on the wall of stars.

I had no intention of going through that door.

The Chronicle of Wilfred Stone
The next second I was standing in a desert. It was strewn with sharp black boulders that shone dully in the weak light. A forlorn breeze fluttered my paper garment.


I was aware of the fact that Saturn was a ball of gas, so I did not imagine myself to be there. I didnít know where I was. They had removed me from reality. A few minutes before I had been struggling in the depths of a cave, now I was on a desert worse than the Sahara.

I have wondered at those events, trying to determine if they were physically real or if they happened in some other way.

I was here, and the grit underfoot was real and the air was crackling dry and the sky was brown.

I staggered a few steps, hitting my naked foot against one of the stones. I sat down, rubbing my ankle. I looked around.

In a way that is almost impossible to describe, this place was unfamiliar. Even the details were wrong. Perhaps especially the details. The shape and color of the stones, the quality of the sand, all of it was wrong. Even the air against my skin felt different.

I wasnít really thinking anymore. I was just here, my eyes looking out into the open.

Which was, of course, the whole point. My humanity had dropped away. I was still conscious, but I was an animal again.

And I was so lonely. I raised my head to the brown sky and keened. My sound was the only noise in the place. It seemed to be coming at once from far away and from deep within me, deeper than I had ever been. I took a breath, did it again. My spirit rose with the sound, for a moment to fill the empty air with the magic of being.

Then it died away and I was little again and it was getting dark.

I suspect that we made such sounds when we lived in the forest.

Grabbing a rock I stood up. I threw it a tremendous long distance.

It landed with an empty thud.

I raced across the plain, dodging and skipping with a grace I had never before possessed.

When I came to a high point I stopped. Seeking for the scent of water, I smelled the air.

A growl of frustration came from my throat. The sound startled me. At first I thought there was some kind of animal behind me. Then I thought, "No, that is how youíre supposed to sound."

I was me, me alone. No name, no education, no expectations. Just me.

The sky was pale and unmarked by clouds. Not far above the horizon there was a powdery brilliance, which I presumed was the sun in deep haze.

Next I scanned the horizon, looking carefully for some sign of life, a swatch of green, perhaps, or the glitter of water. Then I looked for smoke or just the outline of a building.

The place was completely empty and entirely silent.

Again I smelled the parched air. I was already quite thirsty; I couldnít live like this for long. The air was so dry that it was leaching moisture from my body. My hands looked like paper, the skin puckered and shriveled. I touched my face, feeling fissures that had never been there before. And my nose was cracked inside.

Where would I go, naked except for a flimsy piece of paper? Graceful or not, my feet were thoroughly banged up from the mad run. I donít think there was a single rock that wasnít sharp.

For the most part the desert seemed absolutely flat, but off to my right the land rose. I could not judge distances. The views, though, seemed much longer than they had any right to be.

I walked in the direction of the rising land. At least this would keep the sun behind me. What had appeared to be the gentlest of rises soon became quite steep. I wasnít going to be able to keep this up forever. My chest and head ached, my legs felt like lead, my feet were on fire.

Very suddenly I started to have trouble seeing. At first I didnít understand why, because I did not realize how fast night came. By the time I realized what was wrong the sun was already on the horizon.

It seemed as if the air literally absorbed light. The instant the disk of the sun disappeared it was absolutely dark. There were only one or two bright stars visible through the dusty haze.

God, this place was ugly.

I sat down. There was no point in walking farther without light. The dark was like ink, like something you could feel.

I wished theyíd at least left me my lighter.

Then I was crying bitterly. The tears came without warning. I had been left here to die. It was so damn unfair and I was so far from home.

Later I heard something, or thought I did. Now that it was dark I didnít want this. I didnít want to hear anything that I couldnít see.

The sound was low and slow and high in the air. It was as if some tremendous thing was floating through the sky above me, breathing.

The breathing got louder and louder. I felt like it was right above me, huge. I cringed, waiting for it to land on me.

Instead it went away. I let out my breath.

No sooner had I begun to relax than there was a tremendous rattling noise in the distance.

It got closer and closer and lower and lower and I could hear the breathing again, fast and excited. There was urgency in it, like a starving prisoner inhaling the aroma of the jailerís soup.

A new sound started up, sharp scraping. It was very regular, as if somebody was slashing knives together.

Something whizzed through the air just above me, so close that my hair was touched with a breeze.

Involuntarily I shrank away-and saw a red glow out of the corner of my eye. I looked. Redness spread along the horizon on my left.

A moment later a huge red star popped up and the place was bathed in dim, bloody light.

There seemed to be a forest of thin trees all around me. It took me time to understand that I was looking at tall, black legs, many of them.

It took every ounce of my composure not to scream. I was under what appeared to be a gigantic insect of some kind, perhaps a spider. The rattling noise started again. I could see sharp mouth parts working.

Jumping, twisting, turning to avoid the legs I made a dash to get away from the thing.

It rose up into the air, making a gigantic leap. I had to scramble to avoid it landing right on top of me. Again I ran. This time I threw stones at it.

It leaped.

I evaded, but barely. I scrambled up the rise on the theory that those jumps would be harder uphill. They werenít. It sailed high into the red air and came down on top of me.

Legs clutched, mandibles scraped -- and I was caught. I grabbed a rock and hammered against one of the limbs. For all the good it did I might as well have been trying to break steel pipe.

I fought against its quick, clever legs. Finally I went wild. I hit, kicked, bit. The jaws were slashing and I could see a bright green tongue darting in and out of its mouth. I was brought closer and closer to being sliced to pieces.

I could not possibly taste good to the thing. It was sure to tear me to pieces and spit me out. I was furious at dying so pointlessly.

Then the legs pressed me against the wide open mouth and I began to die.

As I sank away I saw around me a starry night of home. I was back at our old house. We were playing on the porch, my sister and I. I saw her beside me, attending to her beloved doll Ricardo. That word -- I hadnít thought of it since I was tiny. The moment was bathed in a light that seemed to contain some essential emotion of loss and urgency.

There was between me and the thing that was devouring me a kinship of tremendous power. It pushed my fear aside and I lay like a raptured lover in the forest of legs.

If this was death, from where did love emerge?

I was dropped on the ground from a distance of a few feet-put down gently. For an instant I saw the complex face of the thing that had held me. It looked like nothing so much as a tremendous mantis. But those eyes -- huge, reflecting the red air -- were not blank. I was shocked. Somebody was looking at me. Joy rang out. There was peace, wisdom and then a cock of the head: the irony of our situation. Soundless in the charged air, laughter.

I was left collapsed on the ground, drained now not only of my culture and my name but also of my physical strength.

Bit by bit I was being demolished, reduced to the simplest nub of self.

I lay staring at the sky. Did I sleep? I donít know, but when I finally felt like getting to my feet I was stiff and ached in every joint.

Keeping the red sun on my right I forced myself up the rise. As I walked I understood that I had been brought a long distance. Before me there stood the most tremendous cliff Iíd ever seen. It seemed to go up for thousands and thousands of feet.

On its highest ridge there was a very distinct blue glow. The glow was pulsating.

Life.

So the attack had not been an attack at all. Somebody had simply been helping me.

The cliff was not sheer. There were plenty of footholds, and I had already reached a dizzying height when the red sun sank below the horizon.

Again darkness came abruptly. I was left hugging the wall in front of me, afraid to go another inch.

I donít think it was dark for more than ten minutes. When the pale sun rose again I resumed my climb.

There were moments of dizziness when I would have to stop. I wasnít in shape for a climb like this. My throat felt as if it had been packed with powdered glass. My head pounded.

Not only was I thirsty, I was also becoming hungry. I kept remembering that beef stew Iíd had for lunch. Once I even sucked a bit of it from between two teeth.

When that happened I hugged the rock and cried like a baby. The loneliness came again, and stopped me for a long time.

The higher I went the more difficult the climb became. Worse, the soil up here was friable and there wasnít a single stable handhold. I had to dig down then haul myself up as the dirt collapsed around me.

Above me the blue glow was massive. I tried to call out but it was no good. I hadnít a trace of a voice.

At this height the cliff was more like a sand dune. To make headway I had to lie against it and squirm. I was so frustrated that I would have been in tears, but I had no tears.

It took me some time to realize that Iíd made it.

Before me was a sparse but huge park. I dragged myself onto the surface, which I found to consist of tightly matted grass, bright green. I inhaled it, chewed at it trying to get some moisture. It was very dry.

I pulled myself to my feet. Off to my left there was a stand of tall, narrow trees. They were really huge, a hundred and more feet high by my estimation.

Directly ahead I saw a truly welcome vision, a cluster of buildings. They were obviously adobe. It looked very much like a Hopi town. I started stumbling forward.

A smell came to me on the air-or rather, a sensation. This was dampness. It loosened my drum-tight skin. It filled my nose with life, made my lungs open.

As best I could I ran.

Then I saw it. A fountain. It was made of black, shiny stone, round, with water playing out of a nozzle in the center.

I plunged my head in and opened my mouth. The water was glorious, cold and pure and perfect. I could feel my skin drinking, my mouth, sucking and drinking. Never had I experienced such raw pleasure. It was ecstatic, delicious, almost sexual in its intensity.

Finally I raised my head. Beyond the fountain there was a small garden.

In the garden stood a child. Her looks did not matter to me; what I saw was the radiance within. I ran to her as would a youth to his perfect love.

[the transcription stops as the author recollects the interview]

I finally felt what I should have felt from the beginning for Wilfred Stone. My youth and arrogance had prevented me, though.

I looked at that old man in a completely new way. I reached toward him. He looked down at my hand, and then at me. In his eyes was an emotion I cannot name. It sent a jagged edge of fear through me, as if I had scented death.

"Turn it off," he said. I put down the tape recorder. He flipped the switch. He didnít actually tell me to leave out the material that follows, but that was the implication.

I do not feel that he was right, but out of respect for him -- yes, respect -- I took notes on this part of his narrative of the other world, rather than record it.

[the experience resumes]

The wise child walked quickly away, a chalky ghost in the gloom. She was the size of a three-year-old but her movements were mature.

Will called out.

She stopped when she heard him. When she smiled he sensed what he described as something almost vampiric about her. There was a sense of tremendous, overwhelming power, the night in the child.

He felt himself in the presence of tremendous wisdom. This was what it was like to be with somebody who had gone beyond the human.

His next words just popped out, as if formed from purest instinct. "Help us," he said.

The response was immediate. The next second he was back in his boyhood home in Westchester County.

The whole place was flooded with pure, sweet light. He could hardly believe it. And this was no illusion. Will says that he was there.

Whatís more, he remembers the event now from two different perspectives -- that of himself as a little boy encountering a strange, shadowy man in his room ...and also that of himself as the man.

The old red fire engine was there, standing against the wall opposite his crib.

He moved slowly around in his room. The wonder of it made everything seem jewel-like and perfect.

Then he noticed movement in the crib. His own curly head, his blue eyes-the Willy Stone of thirty and more years ago rose up and climbed deftly out to the floor. Will could smell his baby freshness, could hear him, see him.

"Oh God, God," he told me, "Nick, my heart just broke in two. I was so little! And in that huge, shadowy, mysterious world, the courage in the eyes..."

The wise children, the others, had brought him home to the best and purest thing that he was.

He remembered a warm, huge hand that had come out of the dark ... and suddenly the curtains blew and the moonlight came in and he saw a huge, terrible man, a nightmare man bending over him.

He screamed, a high bullet of a sound.

Feet pounded from downstairs. Will the man saw his fatherís balding head shining in the moonlight as he came up the stairs. Behind him his mother floated in her lace and silk.

He stepped into the shadows.

Will as child was terrified. "Daddy! Man! Man here!"

He saw his own father engulf him in himself and carry him like a limp offering back to the crib.

Then the room fell away, growing smaller and smaller until it was a dot of light in the air, and then was gone.

The vampire child was dancing slow turns around him. She stopped and smiled a dangerous smile. And he felt nothing but love.

At the far end of the oasis there was a tall arch, and beyond it a round, tumbledown building.

He wanted to go there, but she restrained him, pushing against his belly as a clown child might against her clown father.

Leaving him for a moment she ran to a small table. She pointed. On it there was a plain gray plate and three gray pancakes. Will realized that he was ravenous. He remembers still the taste of that food, the pure flavor of the buckwheat from which the cakes were made, the sense of a freshness he had never tasted before.

There was also a wide bowl of water. The girl came and scooped it up for him and he drank from her cupped hands.

Afterward she sang to him in a whispering voice, in a language he did not know. He began to feel sleepy and lay down on his side.

Much later he was awakened by a soft hand stroking his head.

He jumped to his feet. All the weight of his years seemed to have fallen away.

He walked, then, as his excitement rose; finally he ran to the ancient building. Where the blue-gray stones were intact their perfect fit reminded him of Inca work, but for the most part the place was cracked and crumbling.

He went up the steps and into a wide, cool hall. It was made of dark-blue stone worked with great intricacy. When he tried to follow the labyrinth of these carvings his head began to pound. Finally he had to stop looking at the walls, the ceiling, and keep his eyes on the floor.

There was a circle of children sitting before him. It was all so very familiar. Words came to him: beyond fear there is another life.

Was this the place the dead went?

Had he been killed? Was that what this meant?

He went to the center of the circle and waited, standing quite still. He soon heard a drum beating out in the corridor. The sound stirred him, infected him, made him start to move.

The children began to chant in repetitive notes, wonderful notes.

He spread his arms and started to turn. The room whirled and the drum pulsed and chanting hypnotized him.

He remembered his own beginning.

He was moving swiftly and secretly across the sky of home. There were little flecks of cloud. He went past them and down into the spreading summer trees. He moved around a great, gnarled limb, his heart full of love and delicious with the secrecy of his coming. His movement was so stealthy that not even a grasshopper stirred from her rasping as he passed by.

Then he saw a window. The shades were drawn but he passed through them as if there was nothing there.

The room was dim and very quiet. A young woman lay on a bed, her head turned to one side. She was as fresh and lovely as new light, covered only by a thin gown. Brown curls spread over her brow. Her belly was huge.

He loved her terribly, and could not resist going closer to her. Then he began to drift downward. He could no longer float.

In an instant he was inside her womb, a glowing cavern. Her body was roaring, the heart fluttering like a tent in the wind, her whole self a bubbling, oozing bladder barely managing to contain its liquids.

He swam into the fluid of her and drank her and smelled her essential flower, and was filled with the taste and sense of her.

There began a dialogue between them, long speaking together of the days they would spend as mother and son.

He would love her as a boy, but when she grew old he would abandon her. His love for deception would replace his love for her and so she would die alone, her breast weakly shuddering, on a cot in the hallway of a public cancer ward.

He sat before me, his head bowed, tears streaming from his eyes. So this was what he didnít want recorded and why he never, ever mentioned his mother. I wanted to help him, to offer him some word of comfort but I could not. We are all betrayers, all of us.

To find true joy one must first accept true pain.

Once again he was back in his old bedroom, only not as a man. This time he was a little boy again. He was dancing and dancing. It was a moonlit night and there was danger in the air. Terrible things were happening.

He saw waves of ships crossing the highest air. They were gray disks and the streets below rang with screams.

But more people were singing than were screaming and chains lay abandoned that had weighted their shoulders.

"The lamb will lie down with the lion." The secret meaning is that the son will love the errant father, the lamb will welcome the hungry nuzzling of the wolf-mother, the rat will perish of love as the owlís talons pierce his heart.

Beyond fear there is another world.

Go Back



The Abyss
Part IV
Enochian Temples: Generating the "Abyss" Experience with the Temple

by Benjamin Rowe

1992

 

WARNING:

The technique described herein can be VERY DANGEROUS to the emotional, mental, and spiritual well-being of the magician who makes use of it. I am releasing it solely because full disclosure was one of the requirements under which the Enochian Temple system was originally given to me. The entities who provided the basic information feel that people can not grow to spiritual adulthood without being exposed to adult hazards. My experience of the results prevents me from being quite so cold- blooded. The same goals can be accomplished by more gradual means, as those entities have stated themselves. The magician who chooses to use this technique must take full personal responsibility for both the decision to do so, and for any events resulting from its use.

Should a magician want use it despite this warning, he or she should do so only after constructing a strong, fully charged Temple which includes the altars of the sub-elements. And any invocations using this technique should be immediately preceded by the erection of the strongest wards the magician is capable of constructing.

The names of a Tabletís Seniors can be formed into a table on their own by placing their names one above the other, going clockwise from the Senior of Jupiter. For the Earth Tablet, the table of the Seniors would be:

 

A

C

Z

I

N

O

R

L

Z

I

N

O

P

O

A

L

H

C

T

G

A

L

I

I

A

N

S

A

A

H

M

L

I

C

V

L

A

I

D

R

O

M

 

Similar pseudo-tablets can be formed from the other elemental tablets. Names of six letters are formed by reading down the columns. These names already exist in the Temple, where they are formed by drawing a circle clockwise from any square of the Senior of Jupiter, connecting the corresponding squares in the other Seniorsí names. In their natural place, they express the radiatory effect of the Elemental King as his force passes out along the paths provided by the Seniors. But the names can also be used in another way.

First, hollow hexagons are formed, as in figure ( ), one-half unit thick with outer faces one unit wide. Each letter of a name is assigned to one of the wedge-like segments of this structure in clockwise succession. Each nameís hexagon is placed immediately below the corresponding arm in the wheel of the Seniors, about two-thirds of the way from the center of the Temple to the end of the arm, with the base side at the same level as the tops of the pillars. The hexagon attributed to the Sun is in the center of the upper Temple, with the Elemental Kingís beam passing through the hole.

In the chart as given above, the columns are attributed (from left to right) to Venus, Sun, Saturn, Earth/Luna, Jupiter, Mercury, and Mars. When used in invocations, the name should be vibrated immediately after that of the King or corresponding Senior, and at no other time. Also, the first enochian key should always precede the invocation of the element when these names are used. When they are visualized in the upper Temple, an appropriate telesmatic image for the Senior (or the god-form of the related planet) should be visualized standing upright above (not in) the hollow center. (1) The magician himself should stand in the beam of the King while invoking them, and attempt to identify himself with it to the greatest extent possible.

As the Elemental King and each Senior is invoked with the corresponding name from the table, the hexagon should be visualized as projecting itself downwards into the lower temple, forming a hollow crystal column. The force of the King or Senior is channeled down through the column and then radiates outward through the faces. (This is in contrast to the normal Temple formulation, where the Seniorsí force spreads out to form a curtain around the lower Temple.)

In the Enochian system, six of the planets are attributed to the first six sephiroth of the Tree of Life. The seventh, Saturn, takes in the last four sephiroth as a group. In the formulation here, the Senior of Saturn takes Solís place in Tiphereth as the governor of the elements, and the Elemental King abandons his solar attributes, taking on his secondary attribution to the path of Shin, which connects Tiphereth and Kether in Achadís version of the Tree of Life.

In the Tree of Life, the centralizing effect of Sol normally causes the forces of the upper Tree to be focused in Tiphereth. But when Solís force is repressed or removed, the balance of these sephiroth moves to the empty area in the center of the upper Tree. The path of Shin passes through this area, but it does not provide any focus for the forces of the six sephiroth. (2) Each of the sephiroth becomes focused in itself, and the attractive force of each draws equally on the empty center area. That area experiences a uniform pull outwards in all directions, resulting in the rending and dispersal of anything placed there. A conscious being passing up the path of Shin perceives this effect as the experience of the Abyss.

Normally, the Enochian Temple expresses the essential unity of the Tablets with the whole Tree of Life as a balanced, integrated structure. Using the technique presented here suppresses that integrity and replaces it with a strong force towards dispersion. The magician, identified with the Elemental Kingís beam of light, places himself to experience the full strength of that dispersion.

Depending on the degree of success, the magician may experience a variety of perceptions. At the least intense level, he may experience sensations of inexplicable "wrongness" and non-specific paranoia, or a sense of jittery energy like an overdose of methedrine. At a somewhat more intense level, he will experience a sense of his soul being ripped into extremely small pieces, while each piece is simultaneously being crushed to a point.

At full force, the experience then evolves into what can only be called the perception of voidness; the negation, the removal of any being or value from absolutely everything perceptible, both internal and external. The intensity of this voidness can not be adequately described. At this stage the paranoia sometimes returns, causing the magician to perceive the voidness as an all- consuming malevolent entity. Giving in to this paranoia, struggling to avoid being devoured, brings one on to the path of those whom Crowley calls the Black Brothers. If one does not struggle, that which perceives is itself absorbed into the void and another condition supervenes for which description is futile.


Footnotes:

1. Images for the Seniors of the Earth Tablet are given at the beginning of each Seniorís section in The Book of the Seniors, which is available through the Archives.

2. The idea that an eleventh sephira exists in this position is one of the most vile lies ever perpetrated. It is unfortunate that some otherwise competent scholars have made their reputations by spreading it even further. While there is the appearance of something occupying the center of the hexagram when it is viewed from lower down in the Tree, this appearance is entirely hallucinatory. The Tiphereth consciousness merely sees a reflection of itself in the surface of the Great Sea, as a skin diver sees a distorted reflection of himself in the waves above his head.

Go Back

 


The Abyss

Some wonderfully iconoclastic and myth-shatteriní notes proceeding from the V.H. Frater Joshua Norton, MoT

Concerning the Abyss
From the PODnet Thelema echo:
Date: 26 Nov 93
From: Josh Norton
Subj: the abyss

Thus said K. B. to Josh Norton:

oh good! i thought that you might find my reaction offensive. BTW, iíve been tryng to find out something about how you conceptualize the abyss. iíve been looking through whatever iíve found of your writings, but havenít been able to find much. is there a paper that youíve written floating around in cyberspace anywhere, that might give me some idea of your views on this? (iíve never felt that what the GD or crowley has said about the abyss seemed valid. yet, iíve not been able to even figure out my own conceptualization of it. i just know that the crowley/GD writings on it, donít feel right to me.) so little has been written about it, by anyone. iíve even been through some of the jewish cabalistic literature, and still havent dug up much.


Thereís not a whole lot in one place -- it tends to get brought up as a side-issue to some other topic. Besides, most of those papers were written before I claimed the M.T. grade, so are mostly second-hand information received by inspiration or told to me by various magickal beings. Not very reliable.

Other places, I donít think thereís really much available. Crowleyís the only one Iíve seen talk about it in a magickal context to any great extent. He must have got the idea somewhere, but I donít know where; Iíve never seen any sources he might have read. (Perhaps Paul H. or some other scholarly magician can clue us in on that.) A couple of English Christian mystics -- canít remember the names -- talk about it in a similar way. In other places itís used for a variety of different experiences, confusing the issue.

The primary usage of the term is to denote a "gap" or discontinuity between the perceptual states and internal organization of the Ruach or mind aspect, and the perceptual states of the transcendental grades. This is how Crowley uses the term.

The traditional Western interpretation of this apparent discontinuity is to say that there is a real gap between the divine levels and the lower levels, as if God had taken a sword and cut all connections between the Supernal Triad and the other sephiroth. And having accepted the reality of the division, they necessarily go on to view the transition to transcendental levels as requiring the seeker to somehow "leap" or "cross over" this gap. One gets the impression that this transition involves all sorts of horrific experiences, confrontations with demons, violent destruction of the self, etc., etc.

My own experience denies this view almost entirely. In the reality of the universe, there is no gap of any sort. All parts of existence are completely connected to each other, and are constantly interacting. All of them are involved in every event; the transcendentals as much as any other.

The Abyss is an illusion generated by the way in which the Ruach filters, organizes, and assigns priorities to the elements of experience. All the things that make up the experience of the MoT are already present in the raw experience of the person. Itís just that the way the Ruach processes experience creates internal structures into which those things donít fit.

(Iím going to have to build up to my point -- please be patient.)

Letís start with an extremely simplified example to illustrate this. Say youíve got a little computer that does certain things when it gets a signal. Whoever programmed this computer put in instructions for what to do when it gets the signals "01", "10", and "11". It is capable of also receiving the signal "00", but has no programmed instructions for that case. So what happens when it receives a "00" signal? It either ignores it, or treats it as one of the signals for which it does have instructions. As far as its internal activity goes, the signal "00" simply doesnít exist.

On a vastly larger scale, this is what the Ruach is doing. It only processes information for which it has a hard-wired program, or for which it can create new programs by adapting and combining older programs. Any information for which it canít make an interpreting algorithm simply doesnít exist, as far as it is concerned.

Most of the Ruachís processing programs are software, and some of them are capable of modification in such a way as to handle the usually-excluded data that makes up the transcendental experience. The problem is that nearly all its programming derives (sometimes through many levels) from adaptations of the basic "hard-wired" instructions for processing and responding to raw data from the physical senses. Thatís why the sephira Yesod, where this processing takes place, is called "The Foundation" of the Tree of Life.

So the entire structure of our minds, from our basic emotions up to the most inclusive "intuitive" level, has a built-in bias towards seeing and processing data in sensory-like ways, and an equally complete inability to see or process information that canít be fit into that schema or its more abstract analogues.

Now as I said in another message, nearly all of the path of initiation is a process of expanding the number of levels at which we can perceive consciously and integrating each new level into what came before. When this process is done for a given level, its functioning becomes relatively automatic, and falls below the threshold of awareness. Throughout most of the process the expansion and integration are fairly well-balanced, so that new levels open up at about the same speed with which we integrate the old ones. The progress is incremental, allowing gradual adaptation of old programs to new uses.

But as we reach the Exempt Adept level (in Chesed) we also get close to the limits of the available data-flow that can be easily integrated into a structure based fundamentally on the programs for processing sense-data. The Ruach, deprived of its means of further expansion, turns towards improving its internal models, making them more complete, tying up loose ends, and consciously dealing with aspects of the integration that were previously done through automatic unconscious processes. The mind starts to develop its "Grand View" of the universe, in which all its knowledge is brought together in a single structure.

This is where the "Abyss" starts to come into the picture. As with previous levels of integration, the "Grand View" level begins to fall below the threshold of consciousness. The conscious self starts to look around for new levels to explore, and doesnít see any. Itís not that there isnít anything to see; there is plenty there. Itís that the consciousness is so accustomed to seeing the universe through the pre-processing of the Ruach that it literally cannot perceive anything that doesnít fit into the Ruachís integrated structure.

The person thus enters into a curious and somewhat unpleasant state. He seems to be living in a wasteland, devoid of the life-giving, perpetually-stimulating diversity of the earlier stages. His invocations never seem to produce anything new, just variations on experiences that he already knows well. His efforts to forcefully project his awareness into higher levels leads him into states that arenít truly new, but are obvious distortions and perversions of his normal state of awareness. He feels like heís run up against a barrier like the light-speed barrier; no matter how hard he pushes, he never quite gets through it. And beyond the barrier -- perhaps making up the barrier -- there appears to be nothing but a void, a total lack of any perceptible quality whatsoever. This is the so-called "Abyss".

I can testify from my own experience that the Wasteland is well-named. It is a desert in which the hunger, the thirst for a touch of a higher spirit can reach excruciating levels. (The biblical crucifixion seems to me to be a compact but very appropriate description of this stage.) The intensity of the need is so great that sometimes total oblivion seems a preferable state.

I can see how someone reaching this stage might eventually decide that there really isnít any further to go, turn his back on it, and try to continue living in the world he has known. This is what Crowley says makes a "Black Brother", one who denies the spirit and sees himself as the epitome of creation, with no purpose higher than his own desires.

But youíve got to keep pushing, no matter what. Because, while oneís conscious experience is utterly miserable, on unconscious levels there is a very great deal going on. As I said, the perception of this gap or void is an illusion, produced entirely by the limitations of the Ruach with its biased processing structures. Fortunately, the universe doesnít give a damn about our illusions; it just keeps working in its own way, whether we see it or not.

In the unperceived under-reality, the magicianís invocations (and more important, his intense hunger for the spirit) are actually producing a response from higher levels. These may even erupt into the conscious level on occasion, so that for brief moments the magician gets a glimpse of what it is like on the "other side" of the non-existent gap. But the details of these experiences are usually forgotten almost as soon as they are over; the mind simply canít retain them in its current state.

Anyway, these underground activities produce the usual destructive effects on the structure of the Ruach, and condition at least the highest levels of the structure so that they can change their program along lines that are not limited to the biases mentioned above. This allows the transcendental levels to enter the person on a conscious level, thus creating the impression that one has "crossed" the "Abyss". But there was really no Abyss to begin with; just an inadequate perceptual organization.

Josh
 



The Illusion of the Abyss
by Benjamin Rowe,

1997


This piece was written for an English occult magazine. I forget the title I originally put on it -- something cleverly pompous.

The word "abyss" has seen widespread use in the occult community, with many different meanings. In various times and places it has been used to represent everything from the Christian Hell to existential angst. In this century, among the many occultists influenced by Aleister Crowley, the term has taken on a specific reference to the process of transcendence, the events by which a personís awareness transforms from an individualized state into a transcendental or "enlightened" state. Crowley called this process "Crossing the Abyss".

Crowleyís description of the process is highly dramatic and equally idiosyncratic. It is also extremely vague, consisting of a few symbols and metaphors that he used throughout his life, without ever attempting to expand or explain them, or to explain in detail the relationship between the transcendental and human levels of being. Perhaps this vagueness is the reason for itís popularity; it provides a simple, easily-grasped image, however mistaken it might be.

Crowley perceived the "Abyss" as a literal gap in the stuff of creation, separating the human levels of existence from the transcendental or divine levels. He describes this gap as a region of nullity and terror, in which anything that enters is torn asunder. (In this much, he was following a long-established theme in Hebrew cabalistic lore.) In order to attain to enlightenment, the magician must "leap" into this Abyss, where his human self is ripped apart and destroyed. If he has established enough momentum in his climb towards the divine levels, then the divine spark in himself (freed from its bindings to his human self) will be carried over to the other side of the gap to become a Master of the Temple, the magickal grade equivalent to the basic enlightened state.

Somewhere along the way from one side to the other, Crowley says, the magician must also confront and temporarily become the "Demon of the Abyss", whose nature is Dispersion. Crowley named this demon Choronzon, a name for Satan from the works of Dr. John Dee; but the characteristics he assigns to the demon owe more to the "Dweller on the Threshold" from Bulwer-Lyttonís Zanoni novels. It is unclear how this confrontation relates to the destruction of the magicianís human self.

Crowleyís description of his own "crossing of the Abyss" is recorded in his book The Vision and the Voice. The record conforms closely to his metaphor of the process. However, his depiction disagrees in many ways with those provided by other enlightened people across the years; it also disagrees with my own experience of that process, which was achieved through the same means Crowley used: John Deeís "Enochian" magickal system, coupled with the system of lore from the Western traditions of ceremonial magick and the cabala.

From the perspective of my own experience, the whole "Abyss" concept is nonsense. There is no gap between the divine and human levels of existence; the transcendent being is already constantly present and active in every person. Since this is the case, there is nothing to "cross" or "jump". The discontinuity, to the extent there is one, is entirely a matter of perspective; the transcendent view *is* dramatically different from the Self-centered view common to the lower levels. But there is a constant connection and interaction between the divine and the human; they make up a single, undivided system.

Rather than a separation, our normal lack of awareness of the divine aspect of ourselves is a matter of ignorance. Through ignorance, reinforced by a lifetime of conditioning and habit -- and reinforced even more by magickal disciplines -- the transcendent being in a person is deluded into believing it is something that it is not: an individualized "self" or "soul", operating in the mundane world through the medium of a personality mask. In its ignorance, it becomes so thoroughly identified with this self (which is a constructed thing) that it becomes unaware that it is anything other than that self. You might think of it as a weird sort of dharana or deep meditation; a concentration on an object of meditation (the self, in this case) so intent that the difference between the perceiver and the perceived disappears.

Achieving transcendence therefore is not a matter of creating a bridge over a gap, or of leaping a gap, or anything of that sort. Rather, it is a matter of awakening the already-present transcendent being from its state of identification with the self, getting it to realize and act from its natural state.

What it takes to do this can vary widely. It might require something as catastrophic as the complete destruction of the "self", as in the typical Abyss myth; but it could equally be as subtle and gentle as a breath of air slipping out through an open window, leaving the self completely intact. In my own case, it was somewhere between these extremes. There were some long and rather painful steps leading up to it, but the final event was quick, undramatic, and utterly simple.

To put the event in context, there are two main thrusts to the magickal/cabalistic approach to initiation. First, through invocations, astral explorations, meditation, etc., it seeks to open up the hidden portions of the mind (both sub- and superconscious), to bring their activity under conscious direction, and to make use of them to explore and perceive the corresponding aspects of the universe at large. The scope and control exercised by the individual is constantly increased, and the various parts brought into a state of tight coordination.

At the same time, the cabalistic side of the work seeks to bring about an ever-increasing synthesis in the "contents" of the mind. Through the use of correspondences, the chaos of raw experience is gradually reduced. Ideas and experiences get organized into hierarchies, each level abstracting something from the lower ones, so that ever-greater numbers of events become instances of ever- simpler ideas. Eventually things coordinate into an elegant system of archetypes, energies, and relationships.

By the time the person has achieved and absorbed the highest purely human level and become an "Exempt Adept", both these processes have pretty much been exhausted. Those parts of the personís being that are capable of being controlled and coordinated by the individual self are as integrated as they are ever going to be. The contents of the mind have been reduced to an integrated scheme and an encompassing philosophy. He is the Complete Individual, so to speak. Such people -- as Crowley notes -- tend to become leaders of "schools of thought" for spreading their philosophy; or they become priests or social leaders of some sort.

Crowley talks about the next stage of the process as if it were something to be consciously decided; but in fact, if it happens out of anything except necessity, the person is probably jumping the gun.

 

(I should note that the description that follows is from my own experience, coordinated with a very few other peopleís; your mileage may vary. And this applies *only* to the magickal/cabalistic approach; it doesnít seem to occur -- at least not with the same severity -- in the more mystical approaches of the Eastern systems.)

The Exempt Adept now enters into a period of increasing "dryness", what I call "wandering in the wasteland", following the myth of the Grail Knights . I donít know how this associates with the so-called "dark night of the soul" -- descriptions of that never resonate for me. He has reached a point of diminishing returns in both his magickal and cabalistic endeavors.

His magickal work still raises his consciousness above its normal level; but instead of staying at that higher level, he always seems to fall back to the point where he started, or advances only the most minute increment -- far too little for the amount of effort expended. And such advances as he makes eventually turn out to be only variations on what he has already accomplished, not something truly new. There seems to be some sort of asymptotic principle in effect. Each increment he moves above his current level requires substantially larger amounts of effort; he can expend all the energy at his command without getting to a stable higher level.

A similar state exists with respect to his cabalistic work. He continues to make elaborations on his synthetic scheme, but finds that new additions and expansions decrease in frequency. At the same time he becomes aware that there are aspects of existence that cannot be fit into his present scheme without destroying it utterly and starting over from scratch; he doesnít know what these aspects are, exactly, but he can sense them looming over the horizon.

And his finely coordinated Self seems to be spinning its wheels in most of its endeavors. He can still act out the functions of the Exempt Adept, but gets less pleasure and fulfillment out of doing so. He canít get a grip on things, on a way to use this great Self of his; he feels like he is trying to act in a frictionless environment.

The reason for all this is that the Adept is looking for something that isnít there -- that is, a continuation of the path as he has experienced it so far, with its blinding revelations, ecstatic highs, encompassing archetypes, etc. There just isnít any more of that, above his current level; such things are characteristic of the human-accessible magickal realms, not the transcendent realms. But he doesnít know that.

Needless to say, the Adept in this situation is a pretty miserable character. Not all the time; usually he can go about his business in the character of the Adept without any difficulty. But periodically the futility of it all hits, and the despair and desperation can reach incredible levels of intensity. What he wants, more than anything, is to get OUT, without seeing any way of doing so. Like the mythical Christ on his cross, he calls out to his god, and gets no answer. All he can do is suffer alone.

But even despair has its limits; when nothing one does can have any effect on the situation, one eventually just gives it up. He gets beyond hope of anything happening, beyond despair that nothing is happening, and just lives life as it comes, without any particular plans or expectations, without any desire beyond the moment. He goes on because that is what he does, and for no purpose. This whole process can go on for a long time. In my own case, the period of increasing despair lasted over five years, the period of "just living" lasted another five.

The actual awakening of transcendent being seems an anticlimax after the wasteland period. Even now, four years after the fact, I am uncertain exactly what triggered the moment when it awoke. All I recall is that some chance remark by a person in an online discussion group caused me to make an assessment, and the being noted that it was no longer identical with the self, but was aware without dependence upon the facilities of the individualized "soul". It was now the no-thing-ness of Binah, instead of identifying with the differentiated activities of the lower spheres. It could put the self on, like a set of clothes, and off again at will.

What happened then is another story. But a few things to note:

Despite being very unpleasant, there was no destruction of the individualized self involved; the transcendent being simply "stepped out" of it, leaving it more or less intact, for the moment. A rather substantial re-orientation of it took place later, but it was still undamaged.

There was no "jumping into the Abyss"; in fact, no Abyss as such.

There was no confrontation with the Demon Choronzon, or any other supposed "denizen" of the "Abyss". No apparently external horrors of any sort, not even Chthulhu.

No particular invocations were involved in triggering the event. It took place during an hiatus in my Enochian work, and that work was directed to other purposes in any case.

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