Astron Argon

Morals & Magickal Integrity

Living Consciously and Deliberately
by Frater Zephyros

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

The Great Hall of the Library at Alexandria
A reconstruction based on scholarly evidence

The whole point of development in the outer college of the A.’.A.’. is to get to a point of ‘Conscious Living,’ something very few people ever really get to taste. Those amongst us who do get to this point, we call Adepts as they’ve become masters at life. In this world, the quality of our lives is the direct result of the standards that we hold to and that we make those in our life hold to. So one of the first efforts that we can make to becoming ‘awake’ and more fully human is to consider our boundaries. Healthy psychological boundaries, consistently and consciously applied are our first fight for liberty and self-awareness. So for example, if an acquaintance of mine crosses a boundary, such as in using physical violence, even though he or she calms down later, I learn that this kind of person should not be in my life. And no matter how much I enjoy his or her company in other situations, the fact that they are willing to cross my personal boundary in a given situation is intolerable for me.

Holding to this, though later, I can say it is in the past and my mood that has now mellowed, produces a certain strain that removes this now mellowed element of my psyche from this standard, I’ll need to hold to conscious ‘reason’ in order to enforce this and not be moved by my emotional attachment to this person. If I fail to do this, even though I receive an apology (which I can accept) from this acquaintance, I am most certainly paving the way for the recurrence of this situation with the next argument and even possibly, a more virulent, even more violent situation yet to come. Most people are not conscious of this and find themselves in circular patterns of self-destructive behavior because of this lack of awareness. I have even had people tell me that I was too hard for being so ‘un-forgiving’ and should “lighten up” or “sweep it under the carpet for everyone’s sake”. But then I look at them and see the ruts that they are cycling through.

Marcelo Ramos Motta wrote that one should lose ‘racial consciousness’ and what he meant was family heritage. In other words, the idea that ‘blood is thicker than water’ is a foolish notion that allows our families to hold us in certain cyclic ruts as they can tap the deepest buttons on our psyche; buttons that won’t be undone and that are embedded in our psyche from our earliest moments in infancy. It is said that a prophet is never recognized in his or her own country or in other words, our family knows us in diapers and has watched us go through all our changes in growing up. They would not expect to keep from transgressing our boundaries as they have the life-long habit of doing so. And so clinging to one’s nuclear family is literally clinging to one’s unconsciousness and choosing to remain asleep, but for the comforts of family. This of course, is a consolation, so ballyhooed in Liber AL vel Legis.

Hold everyone in your life to your boundaries; if a relative transgresses them, act in the same way you would a new acquaintance in your life. You will find this a very hard thing to do, especially at first, but growth is almost always painful. In this process, you will wake up to your dignity and your liberty and at least this tiny part of the work will be done. But note, this process must become a permanent fixture in your actions and responses to life and living situations. The act of employing this ‘reason’ is an on-going process that you will meet with over and over again.

Reason for Plato was a function of the higher mind, the ‘asar un nefer’ in our science. One must be ever vigilant to hold to one’s standards. Vigilance is the price of Liberty. But it will also leave you outside the fray of society, a good bit alone: AL II.25: “Ye are against the people, O my chosen!” They would have you give up your standards in order to keep you in the herd and they won’t like it when you refuse. We hold to all kinds of boundaries that are as necessary as the air we breathe; physical and emotional violence are but two of them. A certain path to a greater awareness would be to take stock of one’s personal boundaries. Take the time to not only note what they are, but why and how they came into being. Are they more universal in that most other people also share them? Or do some of them belong uniquely to oneself?

Maintaining this as a standard of behavior cultivates personal and magickal integrity. Integrity is defined as the steadfast adherence to a strict moral or ethical code that keeps us in a state of being unimpaired; maintaining a quality or condition of being whole or undivided; completed and wholesome. Its magickal import is perfectly summed up by Marcelo Ramos Motta:

The petty man is not ashamed of what is not benevolent, nor fears doing what is not right. Without prospect of profit, he does not dedicate himself to what is good, and without pressure from others; he does not redress his errors. However, self-correction in small things would make him chary in things of greater consequence. If good deeds are not accumulated, they will not be sufficient to create character in us; if bad deeds are not accumulated, they will not be sufficient to disrupt our lives. The petty man thinks that small good deeds are unimportant and does not do them; he thinks that small bad deeds are unimportant and does not abstain from them. Thus his evil accumulates until it can no longer be disguised, and his guilt grows until it becomes intolerable.

We move then to a more direct consideration of what morals and ethics are and how they serve us individually and collectively. Morality is derived from the Latin ‘mos’ and ‘mores’, denoting customs and practices that are meant to be pragmatic in nature. In this sense, murder is ‘immoral’ because allowing it to occur would destroy the social fabric. The ‘right and wrong’ of it has to do with pragmatism as do all the existential problems of the superego or conscience. The problem of Christism and associating behavior with the rewards of heaven and the punishments of hell along with the angering of the parent-figure that is the god in a Judeo-Christian culture is what really confuses any real understanding of this; as do all actions that are considered immoral. If we combine this with the study of ethics (derived from the Greek word, ethos—denoting character), then we can derive more conscious standards or codes of conduct and moral judgment.

The Manifestation of a personal ‘Logos’ comes by way of that Platonic ‘reason’ and though its focus is on the self, there is an important consideration that belongs to the ‘not-I’ or the rest of our community. It is for this reason that the Probationer of the A.’.A.’. is told to append an adoration of Nuit (Not-I) onto every ritual. Remember, everything that we do, each and every conscious moment is part of the ritual of life. And so in considering others, those others of our community, we develop a greater profundity. Considering community of course, means considering the state, our republic. The word ‘republic’ is derived from the Latin phrase ‘res publica’ and means ‘public matters.

For Plato, this belonged to the Politeia—the state. In ancient Greece, ‘polites’ were citizens and to be polite was to practice citizenship. This then becomes an important boundary. Stephan A. Hoeller in his book Freedom: Alchemy for a Voluntary Society, notes: “Politics, in the classical Greek understanding of its meaning, was really a phenomenon of psychological individuation.” Of course, if we understand dialogue and debate to be self-revealing and as a process of self-discovery, this makes perfect sense. And this brings up an important problem in the Thelemic community. AL III.59 directs us: “As brothers fight ye!” and Crowley notes in his commentary that we should “fight like gentlemen, without malice.” But of course, he notes the greater import of this line as we ourselves are each our own enemy, when in his commentary he states:

“There is perhaps a magical second-meaning in this verse, a reference to the Ritual of which we find hints in the legend of Cain and Abel, Esau and Jacob, Set and Osiris, et cetera. The “Elder Brother” within us, the Silent Self, must slay the younger brother, the conscious self, and he must be raised again incorruptible.”

And so as brothers together, we must help each other to conquer ourselves as again, we each are our only enemy. Marcelo Ramos Motta has provided us with an excellent perspective on this as well. In his commentary to AL III.26: “These slay, naming your enemies; & they shall fall before you.” he states:

A profane slew a beetle before Ra-Hoor-Khuit, naming a person he considered his enemy; and soon after, the profane went mad. An Initiate slew a beetle before R-Hoor-Khuit, naming a person he considered his enemy; and soon after, this person fell before him. An Exempt Adept slew a beetle before Ra-Hoor-Khuit, naming the person he considered his worst enemy, that is, himself; and soon after, he became a Master of the Temple.

Unfortunately, the misinterpretation of AL III.26 & 59 has led to a Spartan state of slander, vice, verbal abuse, harassment and libel in the general Thelemic community. And what’s worse, the alleged Adepts of this community have condoned it by their passive acceptance of this behavior and their not speaking out against it; calling for its cessation. They veil their vice in the virtuous words of statements such as “these people are doing their will,” which is about as fallacious as one can get. These people are not doing their will, but submitting to their petty desires and there is no virtue in their behavior whatsoever. And these alleged Adepts are showing their cowardness and lack of leadership.

AL III.57: “Despise also all cowards; professional soldiers who dare not fight, but play; all fools despise!”

Overall, this promotes an entropy of vice in the Thelemic community. I’ve also noticed those of my Probationers and Neophytes affected by this. Often by the time they are about to fail and quit their study with me, they precede this action with some lie or set of lies, either directly to me or directly about me later on. Such a betrayal, even the lies of omission, are a betrayal to their own Logos. And their immorality is even a direct betrayal of the Magickal Oaths they’ve signed as they reinforce their ignorance. Note that what smoking cigarettes does to the lungs, so does their immoral behavior taint their capacity of soul and it becomes progressively addictive in the same way that a drug addiction opens up incorrect behavior in the bodily processes until the body can no longer function correctly.

Considering Plato’s politic with the state (republic) & polite (citizen), manners and their importance to the health of the state, specifically our Thelemic community, it is important that we remember that we are all but cells in the one body politic. Each time we trash one another, attack one another, slander and harass one another, we are hurting the whole of us and the whole of the human community in general. If you can feel this, you have perfected your Adoration of Nuit and you show that you understand that much better, the nature of Love. If you can’t, any excuse you make, any virtuous words used to rationalize your vice is but the act of your unconsciousness.

Developing morality is the initial key provided to the Aspirant in Masonry and therefore in all the mystery schools of the West that have evolved from it. This includes of course, the Golden Dawn and Thelema. Crowley was proud of his Masonic initiations. Morality then becomes the essential tool by which one is enabled to maintain the open-mindedness and commitment so vitally necessary for the work. In contrast, the baser human instincts along with their corresponding tendencies must result in a spiritual blindness. As such, they immerse us into the darkest area of our sensory perceptions and we can’t even see the beauty in the physical world of the senses; much less even, the spiritual world beyond the senses.

Love is the law, love under will.