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Posts Tagged ‘Adeptus Minor Initiation’

Back when I was a  youth first getting a handle on this magic lark, I had a vision. Well more of a fantasy really. Riding home on my scooter from a Pagan social gathering of many covens, I imagined a similar situation for my beloved Golden Dawn. I envisioned a time where there would be several (or many) different outer Golden Dawn temples in Perth, each approaching the tradition differently, even quite differently. However, there would be a single inner RR et AC College, where adepts would come to serve and deepen in the Rosicrucian magical tradition.

The other day I was reminded of this fantasy by the words on the Ba Iset Order of the Rosy Cross blog describing their Order: “Golden Dawn based in the Outer; Global Rosicrucian in the Inner”. I love the ‘Global Rosicrucian’ phrase, and while I have no idea if my reading of it is what BIORC means, it sounds like what I envisioned.

Though I was not consciously aware of it at the time, my fantasy-vision was based on the esoteric principles inherent in the GD and RR et AC. The outer order is concerned with balancing the personality, and the inner with the use of the balanced personality by the deeper self and the One. Outer order experiences can therefore be quite different for folk, though often following a broad theme. The inner order experience, in the Golden Dawn at least, centres around magic.

The aim of magic is to become ourselves, and yet in doing so we lose ourselves. We become more deeply a person with unique and strong characteristics, but these are subservient to our connection and service to the One. Metaphorically the light of Goddess / God / the One is shone down and focused through the lens of our personality (which is cleaned and purified by the Outer work). In this way the Light of the One reaches the earth unhindered and focused and magnified – which is why the Magnificat talks about Mary’s soul ‘magnifying’ the Lord.

Each of the various magical initiatory streams, through their practices and blessings serve to bring a person towards being more themselves, more real, more solid and present in the material world. So the various GD Orders imagined in my little fantasy would be serving the same ends, though by different outer means. At the same time however, the final aim is more inner than outer. It’s all in these words from the GD Equinox ceremony (or is it MR? AO? SM? – someone please correct me, as some folk are so concerned we get the right initials):

Fratres et Sorores of the Order, seeing that the whole intention of the Lower Mysteries, or of external initiation, is by the intervention of the Symbol, Ceremonial, and Sacrament, so to lead the Soul that it may be withdrawn from the attraction of matter and delivered from the absorption therein, whereby it walks in somnambulism, knowing not whence it cometh nor whither it goeth; and seeing also, that thus withdrawn, the Soul by true direction must be brought to study of Divine Things, that it may offer the only clean Oblation and acceptable sacrifice, which is Love expressed towards God, Man and the Universe. Now, therefore, I confess and testify thereto, from my Throne in this Temple, and I promise, so far as in me lies, to lead you by the Rites of this Order, faithfully conserved, and exhibited with becoming reverence, that through such love and such sacrifice, you may be prepared in due time for the greater Mysteries, the Supreme and inward Initiation.

…the Supreme and inward initiation :) Doesn’t that make you smile? :)

Now each of us is different and a unique form of the One. So we will experience our magic in different ways. This is why RR et AC  magic is more akin to exegesis than literal interpretation; we make our own magic by personal interaction with the tradition. It is why the RR et AC and other streams teach us by formulae, not complete unchanging rituals – we are to create new forms, new magic, new rituals. This is very important, as it enacts the mystical connection of the self and personality, the inner and the outer.

Sometimes, once we are connected to the inner and circling that ol’ “Supreme and inward Initiation”, we are directed and called upon to act in the outer in a different way to those around us. This is one reason why, after a certain period of unfoldment some folk are ‘moved out’ or have to leave their mother-lodge. As they become more themselves, they are directed by the inner to work with different symbols, themes, beings, motifs and mysteries. Sometimes, if they are unlucky bastards, the inner tells them to start a group to do all this.

Now a sensible mother-Order rejoices (or at least accepts the inevitable) when this happens, even if it means losing one of their best initiates. Apparently Dion Fortune did this when W.E. Butler started being the receptacle for a different set of inner contacts than the ones currently directing the Fraternity of the Inner Light. Elsewhere Dion writes about the need to give senior members their own tasks and duties to guide junior members, and so avoid any ‘stagnation’ of the ‘magnetism’ they have received from their initiations and practices. As they have received, so too they must pass on, to keep all in flow. Dion asserts this practice helped avoid any schisms in the Fraternity. I am not sure if there have been actual schisms following Dion’s death, but if there have they have kept their dirty washing away from the public eye far better than many GD groups :)

So, one form of ordered and healthy expansion of the magical tradition occurs via senior folk gaining a new commission from the inner and going off to form their own outer expression of the mysteries – hopefully at the same time remaining on the Christmas card list of the mother-Order’s leader(s). Really, a good Order would recognise this and even ‘charter’ the departing initiate(s). This is a wonderful thing as it reflects an eternal truth – diversity on the outer, unity on the inner.

Less wonderful is ‘expansion’ via schism which often occurs when senior folk have inner directions to form new outer forms but are not given blessing and support to do so. This has happened far too many times in the Golden Dawn for anyone to feel happy about. Another problem is when a senior initiate is persuaded or chooses to stay within a mother lodge, despite inner promptings, because they are waiting to receive promised ‘higher teachings’ and knowledge. To ignore inner directions for these reasons is very harmful. The senior initiate’s connection will be hampered, and at the same time the presence of new or differently formed currents and contacts, seeking to be earthed, will be introduced into the mother-lodges’ egregore. A messy situation indeed.

Now, since the greater mysteries, or Inner Order work is more concerned with inner experience (contained within the principles of the Rosicrucian tradition) there is a great wealth of wisdom to be gained from the inner itself, regardless of putative ‘higher’ or third Order teachings.

Recently a Facebook friend of mine wrote some beautiful words on this theme. After a certain time of unfoldment, specific spiritual and magical teachings become simply a framework and starting place for further deepening, guided by the inner. Adepthood is where there is no leaning on outer Orders, groups, teachings or masters. While all of these things assist and aid our service and unfoldment, they are simply there to assist our unfoldment not direct or constrain it.

In the GD tradition this is the stage of the completed Adeptus Minor. As I write in By Names and Images:

The Adept connects with the deeper objective forces of Yetzira, symbolised by the full elemental powers, the planets, the Sephiroth and the Zodiac. She learns to navigate and move into the various realms of Yetzira at will. By doing so she is able to connect with and draw down all the powers and blessings she needs in order to re-make her personality self and to promote healing and spiritual growth in others. She also has the ongoing expanded awareness of the Higher and Divine Genius and is more and more able to obtain whatever magical or spiritual instruction she requires without reference to an outside human agency. However, she may often choose to maintain a connection with the physical Order so as to work in harmony with other Adepts in their service to humanity.

The centrality of the grade within the whole schema of unfoldment reflects the centrality of the associated Sephira, Tiphareth on the Tree of Life. All is expressed and combined, reflected and distilled through Tiphareth, which connects to the Utmost via Gimel. This is why, when functioning fully at this grade, there is no need for external teachers. It is also one reason why, I think, when discussing the teachings at higher grades, Nick Farrell says: ” Any new information automatically categorises itself at the 5=6. If it is a system, new or not, it is by its very nature 5=6.”

This is not to say, of course, that there are not wonderful and deep teachings at the ‘higher levels’ – there are certainly some by now, though I am not sure how true that was historically. However, these teachings must be integrated and infused into one’s own individual communion between outer and inner, lower and higher, personality and self, circle and point. The Adeptus Minor can commune with the inner, receive all they need from the inner, so outward teachings from any external ‘higher’ sources or orders are secondary to their mystical Conversation – put simply, they are not needed. Waiting for external, ‘higher’ teachings when one is connected to the inner, and able to be held and guided by the inner (as will happen with the right motivation) misses the whole mystery of the Adept grade in the first place. Right-ho? :)

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The Flying Rolls of the Golden Dawn (really the RR et AC as Outer members did not receive them) were a series of documents lent, lectured on and circulated to members of the Order. Whilst being considered supplementary to the official text of the Order, they are often interesting and full of practical instructions and considerations. They have all by now been published, though some versions miss a little text, which i will try and rectify soon. Like most GD documents they can be a bit opaque. I am reproducing here Flying Roll X – ‘Concerning the Symbolism of Self-Sacrifice and Crucifixion Contained in the 5°=6° Grade’ by Mathers with commentary as it presents some vital points for aspirants to this Grade. The text without commentary can be found throughout the web, like here (this site chosen only because it reproduces the footnotes; the document i copied from did not have them, the Francis King reproduction does.)

Flying Roll X

Dealing first of all with the diagrams in the First Order and proceeding upwards, it will be noticed that in the lowest Grade in the Outer (0°=0°) there are no diagrams properly so called, but that on the two Pillars is depicted the symbolism of the passage of the Soul from the Egyptian Ritual of the Dead: this being as it were a synthetical aspect to be developed and explained with the advance of the candidate through the various stages.

Commentary: The diagrams depict an Egyptian mystery understanding of the passage and transformation of conscious after death which was (and still is) viewed by many Western magical authorities as a blueprint for personal initiation and transformation whilst still living. Mathers refers here to this blueprint, depicted in the pillar diagrams, as showing the stages of the initiate as she travels through the complete Outer Order.

After the first Grade comes the 1°=10°, where we find the first form of the Sephiroth in the Tree of Life; -this is the representation of the Flaming Sword descending, but it is not until the 2°=9° comes that we begin to find the actual symbolism of self sacrifice. The 2°=9° Altar Diagram, then, represents the Serpent of Wisdom twined through the Paths. In the 4°=7° Grade, however, you are shown the same Serpent, its representation being that of the Serpent Nechushtan. This was the Serpent of Brass that Moses made in the Wilderness, and which was turned around the central Pillar of Mildness,-having three cross bars upon it,-representing a species of triple cross.

Commentary: The symbolism of self sacrifice within the Theoricus 2=9 grade that Mathers mentions but does not clarify is the actual Serpent of Wisdom itself. This diagram shows a serpent crawling up the Tree of Life embracing each of the paths in reverse order (32nd, 31st, etc). It is a symbol of the ascension of consciousness from Malkuth to Kether, a movement from a solely material orientated viewpoint towards a new vision and realisation of the inner worlds and inner divinity of All. This ascension of consciousness requires a surrendering and a sacrifice of our Malkuthian consciousness. With respect to the image of the serpent or dragon, we see this as a transformation of the circling dragon, biting its own tail as it encompasses the sphere of Malkuth. With the Theoricus initiation (after the solid integration of Malkuth through the Zelator initiation) and a willingness to move beyond the material, the serpent may let go of her own tail and begin the ascent upwards.

The brief reference to the connection between the serpents within the Theoricus and Philosophus (4=7) diagrams shows again the self-sacrificial theme. The serpent, being in this context a key symbol of transformation of consciousness through self sacrifice, is shown in both grades for a similar purpose. Within the Theoricus grade it is, as we said above, to help the initiate move beyond the realm of Malkuth and into the inner realms of herself and the universe. Within the Philosophus grade it is to help awaken the principles of self sacrifice within the initiate, who is now completing her Outer Order work and whom requires a radical change of heart before they can approach the Inner Order and its selfless ideals of service.

Dealing now with the Altar Diagram of the 3°=8° Grade, it will be seen that Adam is the Tiphereth part: wherein he is extended. That is to say that the form of the man is projected from there. The figure of Eve stands in Malkuth in the form of the Supporter.

Commentary: The diagrams of Eden before and after the Fall should be referred to here. They may (together with the images on the Pastos referred to later) be found within Regardie’s Golden Dawn and also at http://www.hermeticgoldendawn.org/art.htm Mathers says clearly that the form of humanity is created from Tiphareth. This indicates that humanity is potentially a conscious bridge between the transcendent Unity in Kether and the Immanent Unity in Malkuth, just as Tiphareth mediates between these two Sephrioth. The name ‘Adam’ comes from (or at least is connected to) the Hebrew ADMH, Adamah, a word meaning ‘earth’. Adam may then be translated as ‘earth being’ or ‘of earth’. We are all then Adam and within the Western mystery tradition the name does not refer to a discreet individual human being, nor solely to the male half of humanity. Adam refers to ourselves as conscious creatures of earth, created as the creation story in Genesis states, ‘in the image (or pattern) of the One and the Many’.

The name ‘Eve’, like Adam does not refer to a discreet human being or the female half of humanity. It stems from the root meaning ‘to manifest’ or ‘show forth’ and refers to ourselves as unconscious beings of earth. Here unconscious does not refer to a defect in consciousness but to those unconscious and automatic aspects of the self that keep us functioning everyday, allowing us to be conscious. This is what Mathers means when he states that Eve is in the role of the supporter. This is akin to the Cabbalistic idea of the Nepesch and Guph supporting the functioning and integrity of the Ruach, and Adam here may be equated with the Ruach and Eve with the Nepesch and the Guph. Malkuth further supports ‘the whole edifice’ of the temple and shows the Western understanding that physical existence and the body is the reason for creation. It is only cultural convention and bias that posits women with Eve and the unconscious and Adam with man and the conscious. From a Western esoteric viewpoint we are both Adam and Eve and both are required.

The first ideal form of the Man is in Adam Kadmon-behind the Kether form and, as it were, the prototype of the Tiphereth form. This Tiphereth answers to the letter Vau of the Holy Name, as representing the Prince. The letter Vau also represents the number Six and Adam was created on the Sixth Day, for Tiphereth is the symbol of the Creation. Furthermore, the Hexagram consists of the two forms Fire and Water;-i.e. the ideal Fire and the ideal Water; the Spirit and the Water of Creation,-the spiritual Ether and the Ethereal Fire (the Fire of the Holy Spirit). Thus, in the Creation the Man is extended from Tiphereth i.e. the moment Adam is created, that is the beginning of the reflection of the lower Triad, and, finally, of Malkuth.

Commentary: Mathers uses several intertwined esoteric symbols here to give the basic message that the fully realised human being is still only a reflection and creation of the One and the Many within Unity, Kether. Yet this is significant as the divine impetus and glory is reflected from the One to each and every human being. Just as Kether is behind and beyond Tiphareth on the Tree so too is the letter Yod (Y), the initial letter of YHVH, behind and beyond the letter Vau (V). Mathers here refers to an old Qabalistic understanding of Tiphareth as being the symbol of creation, here meaning creation of the material universe. This refers to the role Tiphareth plays in connecting and mediating the divinity of Malkuth to Kether and Kether to Malkuth. Tiphareth allows creation to live and evolve since without the role it plays as mediator, material existence could not be infused by the higher powers.

The reference to the Hexagram is at first obscure but again refers to the Tipharetic function of meditating between the lower and higher, Malkuth and Kether, immanence and transcendence. The two triangles that make up the hexagram are symbols of fire (the upward triangle) and water (the downward triangle). The fire triangle is also a symbol of humanity’s aspiration unto the One and the water triangle a symbol of the One’s aspiration to humanity. Mathers’ uses some traditional confusing references to convey the same idea. Finally in this passage, Mathers states that the reflection of Adam Kadmon (Kether) through the Tipharetic Adam finds its completion in the creation of humanity into physical existence (Malkuth).

Eve is the synthesis of Creation and represents the Mother of Life, as the name ChaVaH is. The 3°=8° diagram thus represents the establishment of life, i.e., created life, and the Good and Evil is represented in Malkuth, and it is the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil because it is the balance point between Good and Evil: for in the material body we are placed to give the victory to which we will. Hence the significance of the words of the Serpent, ‘Ye shall be as Gods, knowing Good and Evil’.

Commentary: Mathers calls Eve the synthesis of creation since she represents the combination of physical and instinctual aspects of the self. The Mother of Life refers to the reflection of the power of the ‘Greater Mother’ of Binah, the ultimate aspect of form within the Universe, within the ‘Inferior Mother’ of Malkuth and Eve, and thus also within each of us. The physical reproduction of life and sexuality is also obliquely referred to here. The name Eve (ChVH) as we have seen refers to physical manifestation and through that the creation of life, as Mathers point out. The rest of the passage is self explanatory and refers to the Ruach (our will) within our Adam, being above our Eve, being able to choose either the ‘good’ or ‘evil’ within the world. This divine power of choice is ‘inherited’ from our creation in the image of the Elohim.

But the knowledge of Evil brought with it the descent into the Qlipoth, and although Malkuth is directly involved in the ‘fall’, the Sephiroth immediately above cannot be said to have actually entered into the knowledge of Evil. Therefore in the allegorical account of the Creation in Genesis, it is said that Man is checked from putting forth his hand to take of the Tree of Life, so as not to involve the higher Sephiroth in the ‘Fall’, which, (he being unbalanced in himself) would only have precipitated disaster.

Commentary: Within the Western traditions there are many understandings of the Fall. The one implied here is that Adam was let down (literally J) by Eve who allowed herself to be tempted to descend into the realm of the Qlippoth. This occurred through Eve being enamoured of the evil within Malkuth. We can interpret this as saying that our Nephesch, having no moral guidance or will, becomes attracted to and enmeshed within patterns of behaviour which are self gratifying and self serving, even if they are detrimental to the world, others and even ourselves. It thus can become split off from the morality and conscious direction of our Ruach. All this occurs within the realm of Malkuth, that is the physical flesh and blood world of relationships, emotions, sensation, sexuality and interaction with other people. The Qabalistic understanding reproduced by Mathers is that it is this real flesh and blood world, the Macrocosmic Malkuth, that is the cause and stage for the Fall. The reference Mathers makes to Man being checked from grasping the Tree of Life refers to the barriers to the ascension of imbalanced consciousness that are within us. Our Nephesch is self serving and self gratifying, but it cannot move upwards and permanently ‘infect’ our Ruach, (without our Ruach, or will, allowing it to do so). This is the function of the various rings-pass-not within our being. These barriers can of course be ignored and we can move our lower consciousness and its attendant energies into our higher realms, but using Mathers’ words it will precipitate disaster. This is what occurs when techniques such as those designed to raise the Kundalini are undertaken without the required purification occurring beforehand.

In the 4°=7° Diagram we find represented the Fall and the consequent rise of the Dragon, which in the 3°=8° Diagram is represented coiled beneath Malkuth in the Kingdom of the Shells; but it only raises its heads to the Sephiroth by right of the Crowns of the Kings of Edom. These latter represent the Worlds of unbalanced force before the Creation is established. They furthermore symbolize the places of the Sephiroth which are hollowed and before the light fills the cavities. ‘Before all things were the Waters, and the Darkness, and the Gates of the Land of Night.’ Note also the War of the Titans who rise and fight against Jupiter. The Edomite Kings, therefore, are not altogether evil, but they are partly connected with Evil. They are the Forces of Restriction. The result, therefore, on a higher plane, in the Tree, is that the Great Serpent rises to Daath, and if the Four Worlds be placed upon the Tree itself, it will be observed that the cutting off by the Serpent is between Yetzirah and Briah. Thus Evil cannot arise into the World of Briah, or indeed transcend the limits of Yetzirah.

Commentary: The Dragon represents those tendencies towards evil within us. It is able to rise from Malkuth and enter into the various levels of our consciousness represented by Sephrioth Yesod through Chesed because of the nature of those Sephrioth. These Sephrioth, being within the world of Yetzira are open to manifold energies, both of good and evil. The Biblical references that Mathers quotes (used also within the Philosophus 4=7 initiation) refer to the mixed nature of these Sephrioth and need not concern us further here. Since the human being is a reflection of the greater universe, we too have these qualities within us and our Yetziratic realm is open to the evil represented by the Dragon. The World of Briah, the sphere of activity of the Neschamah, both within and without us, is a realm of pure consciousness and thus unable to be effected by the Fall.

But if we seek for the correspondence of Evil in the Worlds of Briah and Atziluth, it will be found to consist in a lesser form of Good-a limiting, restricting, and binding Force without which you cannot have Form on the higher planes. It is only in the Worlds of Yetzirah and Assiah that the analogue of this principle becomes absolutely Evil. This idea was expressed by the Gnostics when they said that the Achamoth attempted to comprehend the Pleroma, and could not understand it, and from the grief of her were formed the demons and the evil spirits.

If therefore we seek to institute an analogy between the Microcosm it will be seen that the Nephesch refers to Malkuth and Assiah. Ruach will refer to Yetzirah, which is the World of Formation; therefore the formative principle operating in Ruach gives form to all ideas, and is that which weighs, balances, and works in things. Ruach can also have an evil side.

Neschamah equals the higher aspirations of the Soul, which aspire to the ideal. There can be no positively evil side to Neschamah: -there will only be a higher or lower aspiration.

If the Ruach overpowers the Neschamah; if the Neschamah seeks the lower good, both will be ruined. The following of a false idea cannot be said to be exactly evil, but is a lower Good than it should be.

Commentary: These ideas are discussed in the paper on the Qabalistic Souls. From my understanding the phrase concerning the Ruach overpowering the Neschamah is a little misleading. The Ruach is not able to overpower the Neschamah as such – it is not ‘stronger’ than the Neschamah. However, since it is the centre of our wills, it is very powerful and can block the influence of the Neschamah within our lives, which in effect cuts us off from the Neschamah. Again I am not too clear about what Mathers means when he talks about a lower good, but I think the term is a way of expressing what occurs when the Neschamah is linked to a macrocosmic principle that is not evil but not as expansive and as compassionate as it could be. This can be understood by applying the paradigm of the various subtle bodies. Roughly speaking the Neschamah can be equated with the lower spiritual body, a sphere of consciousness that cannot be said to be open to evil, but certainly is still within the realm of duality (Chokmah-Kether)  This is what I think Mathers is talking about.

Neschamah will answer to the World of Briah:-so also will Chiah, which is allotted to Chokmah; but you cannot touch the Yechidah part of you with your Ruach,-you must use the consciousness of the Neschamah. This Yechidah will, together with Chiah, be the ‘Higher Genius’, though this again will not be the Highest Self. For in and behind Kether will reside a part of the being, which it is impossible to understand, and which one can only aim at; this is the Highest Soul, and answering to the highest part of Yechidah, cannot be touched by Neschamah.

Commentary: The terminology used by Mathers here is not consistent with other Golden Dawn documents and care needs to be taken to avoid confusion. The Yechidah may be allotted to Kether and the World of Atziluth. See the notes on the Qabalistic Souls. Mathers here states clearly that we are unable to gain complete consciousness of our full beings.

There must be a mode of transferring the synthesis of the consciousness making up the Man to this upper Sephirah. The Fall, which cut away the higher from the lower Sephiroth in Daath, was also our descent into this life, as it were, from that Upper and Higher Soul. Therefore our object is to get into contact with that again, which is only to be done through the Neschamah, which is the Divine Mother of the Soul,-our Aima.

Commentary: A key point, only hinted at here, is by the phrase “synthesis of consciousness making the Man” which refers to the Ruach, the personality self and the hidden aspects of our selves. As mentioned in our notes on the Qabalistic Souls, the Ruach is disparate in nature and one of our first tasks in spiritual unfoldment is to unify the various aspects of the Ruach under control of our conscious will. This unification is what Mathers refers to as a synthesis. Once this is unification of self is achieved we ‘transfer’ it, via sacrifice, to the Neschamah, so we know ourselves anew and fully from that level of consciousness. Another way of presenting the same process is in the description of the Neschamah descending into the prepared Ruach. In either case the key to all is the Neschamah principle within us. Mathers now continues below to describe how the powerful Adeptus Minor initiation ceremony can help kick start this process along. Only a few comments will be added to this section since we do not need to discuss the inner workings of this ceremony within the Outer Order.

When the Candidate enters the Vault and kneels down at the second point, he does so at the centre of the Altar above the symbolic form of the Adept, who is the synthesis of the sides of the Vault, whence he has come forth and occupies a central position between Kether and the World of the Shades,-being there protected by the rising glory of the Golden Cross and the Rose.

Commentary: The Adeptus Minor initiation is associated with the Sphere of Tiphareth and the establishment of a higher level of service and consciousness within the initiate as symbolised by the various images, figures and myths associated with Tiphareth. The initiation ceremony itself has three parts or points and takes place within a specially constructed seven sided room, the Vault, which is charged to represent the tomb of Christian Rosenkreutz.. In the first point the candidate is admitted, bound upon a Cross to make an oath for spiritual unfoldment and service and exposed to the Rosicrucian currents. In the second point the one of the officers of the ceremony takes on the form of Christian Rosenkreutz and lies in a coffin, the Pastos, concealed by a circular altar placed above it. The candidate is led into the Vault and becomes part of the Rosicrucian myth of finding the body of Christian Rosencreutz. Christian Rosenkreutz here is, as Mathers puts it, the synthesis of the sides of the Vault representing the seven planets and the seven lower Sephrioth, that is the worlds of Assiah and Yetzira. He is the fully unified Ruach under the direction of the higher powers of the Neschamah. An important point is that he has ‘come forth’ from the worlds of Assiah and Yetzira, the regular worlds of existence and mundane life. Through will, surrender, spiritual unfoldment and sacrifice he has become in Biblical terminology, a ‘just man made perfect’.

Then this Prayer is said: ‘Unto Thee, Sole Wise, Sole Mighty, and Sole Eternal One, be Praise and Glory for Ever’. Now it must be the Macroprosopus, the Amen, who is addressed here,-the Lord of Kether who has permitted the Aspirant who now kneeleth before Him to penetrate thus far into the Sanctuary of His Mysteries (which is in the Centre of the Universe). Not unto us, but unto His Name be the Glory (which is the Name YHVH with the addition of the letter Shin). ‘Let the influence of Thy Divine Ones descend upon his head,’ (These Divine Ones are Angelic Forces, and the Higher Self is in the nature of the Angelic Forces, as the Highest Self is in that of the Divine One.), ‘and teach him the value of Self sacrifice, so that he shrink not in the hour of trial, but that thus his name may be written on high’ (that is, that the Divine NAME formulated in him may be brought up, as it were, to the heights) ‘and may stand in the Presences of the Holy One’ (which Genius will be a mighty Angelic Power, and in form far different from the petty personages we are here) ‘in that hour when the Son of Man is invoked before the Lord of Spirits and his Name in the Presence of the Ancient of Days’.

This will be the synthetical form of the Son of Man, the BEN ADAM, who is the synthesis of the Ruach of the Universe; in other words, the allusion is to the Great God of the World of Yetzirah, or the Microprosopus, the Son of the first Adam when he is invoked before the Lord of Spirits, which can be but in Kether; and his Name in the Presence of the Ancient of Days. ‘He Who is ancient before the Gods, ancient before time, ancient before the formation of the Worlds, He the ETERNAL AMON-or even He Who is before AMON, and Whom the plumes of Amon’s head-dress only touch’.

Commentary: The function of the prayer quoted by Mathers, whose explanations are not easily discernible, is to help link the candidate with a number of spiritual blessings, currents and beings. The One Being is first invoked followed by Yeheshua. Simultaneously CRC is also present within the form assumed by the concealed Chief. Angelic powers are also asked to give the blessings and to teach self sacrifice, the embodiment of which is beneath the candidate under the altar, the form of CRC. The candidate then becomes caught, as it were, between the blessings being invoked and their natural attractive point, the form of CRC, and they will enter her deeply. The prayer continues to refer to the stage of the unfoldment of the candidate when her name, that is her Shem-light-sound-vibration, is perfected and she is like CRC. Then, she will join and become an harmonious part of the conscious soul of humanity and all conscious creatures (the Ruach of the Universe) serving and receiving the blessings of the One Being within Kether, the Ancient of Days. Mathers then refers to the transcendent and unknowable nature of the One within Kether through reference to Amoun, the Concealed One.

Now the foregoing partly represents the mode in which the Initiate becomes the Adept:-the Ruach directed in accordance with the promptings of the Neschamah keeps the Nephesch from being the ground of the Evil Forces, and the Neschamah brings it (the Ruach) into contact with the Chiah, i.e., the Genius which stands in the Presence of the Holy One (=the Yechidah=the Divine Self), which stands, as it were, before the synthetical God of All Things. That is the only real way to become the Greatest Adept, and is directly dependent on your life and your actions in life.

And upon the lid of the Pastos this process is symbolically resumed: there we see the suffering Man, pitiful and just, before whose justice and purity the heads of the Dragon fall back, but on the upper half there is depicted a tremendous and a flaming God, the fully initiated Man,-the Adept who has attained his Supreme Initiation. It will be noticed that in the 4°=7° Diagram the heads of the Dragon have seized the Sephiroth but, as before remarked, on the lid of the Pastos they are falling back from the figure on the Cross-they are dispossessed only by the sacrifice of the Lower Self.

Commentary: Mathers here is very clear for once. The key that Mathers emphasizes is that of actions in life – the use of the Ruach/will to reduce the tendencies for self centred and destructive actions of the Nephesch. The supreme initiation refers to the inner change of consciousness from Ruach based to Neschamah based. When this occurs the Ruach, in one sense lives within the Neschamah (or the Ruach is so infused by the Neschamah) that the dragon of the Fall cannot enter into the Yetziratic Sephrioth. The influence of the world of Briah is so strong within the regular everyday parts of our lives that the tendency towards evil or (destructive and self serving actions cut off from the One) is reduced considerably. This of course represents the path of the completed Adept and is one we can aspire towards but which can never be achieved via a particular set of practices or a magical training program. As Mathers indicates it is only the willing surrender of the lower, regular everyday sense of self to the deeper and more connected Self that allows this to occur.

Recall to your mind that passage in one of the Eddas: ‘I hung on the Tree three days and three nights, wounded with a spear, myself a sacrifice offered to my (Highest) Self,-Odin unto Odin.’ It will furthermore be noticed that this way of looking at the matter at once makes a reconciliation between the account in the Gospel of the Christ as a calm, peaceful, and pitiable Man, and the representation in the Apocalypse of a tremendous and flaming God. A glance at the top half of the Pastos shows the descent as a Flaming Sword which casts out the evil,-the whole surrounding being white with brilliance. ‘And He had in His right hand Seven Stars… and the Seven Stars represent the (Arch)angels of the Seven Churches’, or Abodes in Assiah, at His feet…

Commentary: The theme of the sacrifice of the Ruach to the Neschamah, the lower self to the higher is continued here. Mathers also makes the point that the Neschamah inspired person cannot be equated with the previous Ruach inspired person. The changes are so dramatic and complete that the Adept may be considered to be a new person. The image of the restoration on the lid of the Pastos refers to the descent of the Neschamah into the lower seven Sephrioth, shown by the white light and the lighting sword. The Neschamah has become active and dynamic, the Ruach responsive to the Neschamah, a reversal of the normal state of affairs within the average human being, where our lower wills are active and controlling and that which is deeper within us simply waits for our focus to change. The seven Archangels, represented by the Stars refer to the deeper, Briatic aspects of the Sephrioth Chesed through Malkuth, Briah being associated with the Archangelic realms. These are directed by the Higher Genius of the Neschamah to enter even unto the body (the Assiatic ‘churches’, or abodes of the spirit) of the Adept, transforming her utterly.

The life of Nations is like the life of men;-they are born, become intellectual, direct that intellect to black ends,-and perish. But every now and then, at the end of certain periods, there are greater crises in the World’s history than at other periods, and at such times it becomes necessary that Sons of God should be incarnated to lead on the new era of the Universe. I do not affirm that Christ was necessarily a man who obtained Adeptship in that incarnation, but rather one who had obtained Adeptship and come down to be incarnated again to lead up the new era.

Commentary: Mathers here presents a Western esoteric understanding of Christ that has become a standard dogma for many people in the contemporary Western traditions, though not shared by the magical Christian traditions our Order ultimately receives its commission from. Mathers’  view rests upon a Western understanding of reincarnation and spiritual development mostly promulgated by the Theosophical society, of which Mathers was an important member. In this view Christ was a completed Adept, through a number of incarnations, before the historical events circa 4bce-30ce. He had so developed Himself (before and after death) that He had merged and become one with the Soul of Humanity and the world. To institute a great change in humanity He once again became incarnated through the willing lower self and body of Jesus of Nazareth, who himself was a great Adept. This occurred fully at the Baptism at the hands of John the Baptist. Christ then indwelling within Jesus – Jesus the Christ – became literally the Light of the World in earthly form. His incarnation, willing sacrifice and resurrection therefore affected not only Himself and those around Him, but the entire world, since He was the soul of the world in flesh. This applies equally to His Nephesch as it does to His Ruach and Neschamah.

It was, however, necessary in the crucifixion of so great a Soul,-so that the form might actually suffer,-that everything except the Nephesch should be withdrawn, which would be the reason for the cry of the Nephesch, ‘My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?’ For the Nephesch which was temporarily abandoned in this case was the cloak of that incarnation. In other words, the only mortal part about the Man, or the God, and then only after incurring that physical death, as it were, could the other divine parts suddenly come down and make it the resurrected or glorified body, which, according to the description, had after the Resurrection the apparent solidity of the ordinary body and the faculties of the Spirit body. Because if you can once get the great Force of the Highest to send its Ray clear down through the Neschamah into the mind [Ruach - Fr IAML], and thence, into your physical body, the Nephesch would be so transformed as to make you almost like a God walking on this Earth. The Ruach, then, has to undergo a certain check and suffering in order to attain its Apotheosis-which is the Work of our Adept.

Commentary: The real flesh and blood world of Malkuth involves suffering and pain. For the sacrifice of Christ to be effective in reaching all levels of the human condition, pain and suffering were required to be experienced by Christ. Therefore his Neschamah and Ruach temporarily were withdrawn, since if they were present the pain would be accepted willingly, the suffering lessened to nothing. The suffering of the Nephesch of Christ, which was taken on willingly by the Ruach but not the Nephesch (hence the cry of Christ), therefore affected the whole of the Nephesch of humanity. Once the Nephesch (and Guph) had so suffered and died they were then aligned to the greater plan of the Incarnation. Being so aligned they were able to be reconnected with and infused fully with Christ’s Neschamah (through His Ruach). This produced the Resurrection and the re-creation of the body (Guph) of Christ into a body that was both completely ‘material’ (Guph and Nephesch) and ‘spiritual’ (Ruach and Neschamah) at once.

In the fully Initiated Adept, the Nephesch is so withdrawn into the Ruach that even the lowest parts of these two principles cease to become allied to the body and are drawn into the first six Sephiroth. This is again brought out in the Obligation, where you say, ‘I pledge myself to hereby give myself to the great Work, which is so to exalt my lower nature that I may at length become more than human, and thus gradually raise and unite myself to my Higher and Divine Genius.’ If it is a very great thing to unite yourself to the Genius, how much more so must it be to unite yourself to the God that is behind it!

Commentary: Mathers, influenced by Victorian morality, is equating the body with the self serving and destructive impulses of the self and the world around us. His description here seems to describe the process of Adeptship from another angle to that previously used – the withdrawal of one part of the soul into that which is higher rather than the infusion of the lower by the higher. These two tendencies, one the one hand the divinization of the body and on the other, the rejection of the body as a divine vehicle, are found side by side within much of the Golden Dawn tradition. This reflects the state of affairs within the Western esoteric traditions that the Golden Dawn developed from and both exoteric and esoteric Western Christianity.

Looking at the Pastos, it will be seen that it represents a kind of triple cube, the whole of which is placed between Light and Darkness. The lid is half Light and half Darkness (the upper end is the symbol of Light, and the lower the symbol of Darkness), while the sides have the Colours placed between the Light and the Darkness. At the head is placed a Golden Greek Cross, representing the Spirit and the Elements, and a Red Rose of seven times seven Petals, and there are four Rays which go out from it. But at the foot,-that on which the feet rest as if they were exalted by it,-is the Cross exalted on a Pedestal of Three Steps, viz. the Obligation Cross. This latter is also to an extent represented on the top in the crucified form, and symbolises the voluntary sacrifice of the Lower Will, which is incidental to allying the intellect with the higher aspirations and to the establishment of your consciousness therein:-thus if the ordinary consciousness were centred in the Ruach, you could touch the Neschamah, while if it were in the latter, you could touch the Genius.

Commentary: To get a good sense of this and for the comments below, I recommend studying the Adeptus Minor initiation ceremony.

Now this transference of consciousness from Ruach to Neschamah is one object of the ceremonial of the 5°=6° Ritual:-it is a thing which will be more readily understood when the Grade of Adept Adeptus Minor is reached [the Adeptus Minor grade had five sub Grades, the highest Adept-Adeptus Minor was where the inner workings of the initiation were discussed - Fr IAML]. It is especially intended to effect the change of consciousness into the Neschamah, and there are three places where it can take place. The first is when the Aspirant is on the Cross, because he is so exactly fulfilling the Symbol of the Abnegation of the Lower Self and the Union with the Higher Self:-and also there is the Invocation of the Angel H.V.A.

The second place is when he touches the Rose on the representative of C.R. in the Vault, when he has taken on himself the symbols of suffering and self-sacrifice, and says that his victory is in the Cross of the Rose.

The third place is when he enters the Vault in the Third point and kneels down and the Chief Adept says:-’I am the Reconciler with the Ineffable. I am the Dweller of the Invisible. Let the White Brilliance of the Divine Spirit descend.’

In these three cases a possible exchange of the consciousness from the Ruach into the Neschamah is initiated, so that whether he understands it or not, the Aspirant actually approaches his own Genius.

The most complete part of the actual contact is in the Third point, where the Chief Adept says:-’I am the Resurrection and the Life! He that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live; and whosoever liveth and believeth on me shall never die.’ I.e., if you can live at will in the Neschamah and touch the Genius, you will have made a great step towards the divine Elixir, for you will be worthy to sit with the Gods, and that which you drink of is the real Elixir, the Elixir of the Spirit of Life.

Then the Second Adept says:-’Behold the Image of the Justified One, crucified on the Cross of the Infernal Rivers of Daath,’ and the Third Adept shows deific antithesis, -the Exaltation into the Divine. Then the Chief Adept says again:-’I am the First and the Last’-the Aleph and the Tau and the Yod and Heh Final of the Sacred Name,-’I am He that liveth but was dead, and behold I am alive for evermore, Amen’, that is using the name of the Egyptian Deity AMON, or Amen, who represents the Ideal God Force,-’and I hold the Keys of Death and of Hell’ (because if you stand on Malkuth and keep your touch with the Gods, you hold the Keys of that which is below)-

Commentary: Referring to this last paragraph: within the ceremony the Second and Third Adepts between them invoke the powers of self sacrifice of the Ruach (crucified image on the lower half of the lid) and the descent of the Neschamah as a result of this sacrifice (the Genius with the flaming sword on the top half of the lid). This confers upon the initiate this movement of sacrifice and the resulting exaltation of consciousness. Once this has been achieved then the Adept may reach even unto Kether and Kether mystically is within Malkuth.

But the Lower Self all this time has an existence, for it certainly is not quite eliminated:-it is cast forth from the Nephesch, yet preserving a link with it, it goes down into the Qlipoth, and in this connection, it is well to observe that what may be really Evil on this Earth Plane, may be even as a God among the Demons. The words ‘He descended into Hell’ have such a significance.

Commentary: The instinctual and self serving patterns that are within us are not destroyed by our exaltation of consciousness. They become the bridge by which we may access the genuine Qlippothic realms within us and proceed to their reformation and transmutation. This is the work of the next grade of Adeptus Major and as always within the Golden Dawn the keys to the following grade are present within this initiation.

This Third point then represents the Attainment of the Divine:-and the Second Adept proceeds to say-’He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit sayeth unto the Assemblies’, (i.e., in Malkuth) and if the Voice of the Divine is found in Malkuth, it must find its echo in the Realms beneath.

Then follows the Exaltation into Neschamah of the Consciousness of the Chief Adept, whose Voice seems as if he were symbolically standing with his head in Atziluth, whence his Voice reverberates through the Worlds, sinking down below Malkuth unto the Dominion of the Shells, and he says:-’For I know that my Redeemer liveth’ (the Redeemer is He that brings again) ‘and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the Earth. I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No man cometh unto the Father but by Me etc.’ This whole passage of the Chief Adept is formed of a collection of utterances which are, as it were, the speeches of the Great Gods, which he can only hear when he is still further exalted into Kether. ‘I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life’ is the Reflected Triad. ‘No Man cometh unto the Father but by Me.’ Then the Neschamah speaks; down to ‘I have entered into the Invisible.’ Then it is as if the Consciousness went into the Genius, which says ‘I am the Sun in His rising; I have passed through the hour of Cloud and of Night.’

Commentary: For convenience I reproduce this speech in full below.

For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth.  I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.  No man cometh unto the Father but by Me.  I am the purified.  I have passed through the Gates of Darkness into Light.  I have fought upon earth for Good.  I have finished my Work.  I have entered into the Invisible.  I am the Sun in his rising.  I have passed through the hour of cloud and of night.  I am Amoun, the Concealed One, the Opener of the Day.  I am Osiris Onnophris, the Justified One.  I am the Lord of Life triumphant over Death.  There is no part of me which is not of the Gods.  I am the Preparer of the Pathway, the Rescuer unto the Light; Out of the Darkness, let that Light arise.

Then follows:-

I am Amon, the Concealed One, the Opener of the Day’,-like the Great God in Atziluth-’I am Osiris Onnophris, the Justified One’, who is perfected in the Balance and risen above all considerations that come from Maya, or illusion, and Who seeks only the eternal life from above, and then, as if in a supreme moment ‘I am the Lord of Life, triumphant over Death. There is no part of Me that is not of the Gods.’ (That is the Voice of Kether). This again is followed by a synthetical culmination, as if all the Divine Ones united in the utterance: I am the Preparer of the Pathway, the Rescuer unto the Light! Out of the Darkness, let the Light arise!’

Then the Aspirant is prompted to say:-’Before I was blind, but now I see’,- representing again the blindness to the Neschamah Consciousness and the passage into this.

Whereupon the Chief Adept says:-’I am the Reconciler with the Ineffable! I am the Dweller of the Invisible! Let the White Brilliance of the Divine Spirit descend!’

The Aspirant is now told to rise an Adeptus Minor of the Rose of Ruby and the Cross of Gold, in the Sign of Osiris Slain,-and then ‘We receive thee as an Adeptus Minor in that Sign of Rectitude and Self Sacrifice.’

Commentary: Mathers’ comments here are concerned solely with the meaning of the words within this part of the initiation and there is of course much inner work occurring also. A key point is the reception of the new Adeptus Minor in the sign of Rectitude and Self Sacrifice. This refers to a point made earlier by Mathers, the Ruach through moral development and allying the intellect to the higher aspirations (rectitude) may be able to sacrifice itself to the Neschamah.

The affirmation of the three parts is then proceeded with-The Chief Adept says:

‘Be thy Mind open to the Higher.’ Second: ‘Be thy Heart a Centre of Light’, and Third: ‘Be thy Body the Temple of the Rosy Cross.’

Commentary: The three aspects of the Self are now invoked, aligned and linked to the spirit of service. The mind, the mental plane of the Neschamah, the heart, the centralizing principle and astral-emotional body of the Ruach and the body, the etheric and physical bodies of the Nephesch and Guph.

The Pass Word is then announced, which is formed from the Mystic Number of the Grade, 21,-this Pass Word, however, is the Divine Name of Kether, Eheieh,-and it is used as the Pass Word of this Grade of Tiphereth in order to affirm the connection between the two.

Then the Chief Adept says that the Keyword is I.N.R.I. The three Adepts themselves represent Chesed, Geburah and Tiphereth. The Creator, the Destroyer and the Sacrificed One, ISIS, APOPHIS and OSIRIS = the name IAO. The Symbol of Osiris Slain is the Cross; L is the Sign of the Mourning of Isis; V the Sign of Typhon and Apophis; X the Sign of Osiris Risen; = LVX, the Light of the Cross, or that which symbolises the Way into the Divine through Sacrifice. So that the symbolism in its entirety represents the Exaltation of the Initiate into the Adept.

Commentary: This refers directly to the mysteries of the Adeptus Minor grade and does not concern us here.

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