Astron Argon

The Syncretic Nature of Thelema

Frater Zephyros

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

The following two sections contain extracts in some places almost verbatim from Carlos Casteneda’s conversations with don Juan Matus.  Some quotes from Liber AL vel Legis and other Holy Books of Thelema have been added where correspondences have been identified.  Note that there is much in these teachings that render the system of the A.’.A.’. more complete and that this is a valuable contribution to the ongoing research and development of Scientific Illuminism.

For students of Thelema, there is much that is suggested in the Oaths and Tasks of our system that has derivations from Buddhist, Hindu and Tantric canons.  The system then further relies on the experience and wisdom of the Teacher for information that is verbally communicated to the student.  And further, there is a tradition of developing ‘archives’ for every student so that research, insight and information may be passed along from generation unto generation.

Unfortunately, most lineages so far, have become obsessed with this idea of disciplic descendency; traceable back to the one whom supposedly started it all.  Yet even the Master Therion admits that he forged his link with the ‘Great White Brotherhood’; implying that there is no ‘unbroken chain’ of transmission.  Rather, it is a connection made with a spiritual source through ardent effort and the study of the accumulated wisdom of those individuals that have come before us.

This is an organic process that adapts to a sense of place in history.  Any dogmatic adherence to principles, techniques, beliefs and speculations of our predecessors is not only limiting, but a dangerous stifling to spiritual development by its very intractable lack of spontaneity—a necessary component of ‘love under will’.  Love needs spontaneity for its subsistence; ‘all else is a curse’.

Yet do not believe for one moment that each generation must reinvent the wheel.  There is that which is learned and recorded in the archives of the ‘Great White Brotherhood’; appended to the collective body of inquiry bequeathed to us as their descendants of which we claim heirship, communion and benediction.  From this body, we may benefit from what is already known and we can modify this through experimentation and analysis as we synthesize the canon that belongs to our place in time.

It is important to note that every generation has its emissary.  And that that emissary speaks to those who can hear.  That voice may come from quarters that could not be anticipated or expected.  For example, Dion Fortune and Madame Helena Petrovna Blavatsky have much to teach the Thelemite.  Yet both of them eschewed our most holy of holy books.  Syncretism is a modus operandi in Thelema.  Anyone who is a student of spiritual and religious history can see how obvious this is when reading Liber AL vel Legis.

It seems quite probable that  Mr. Casteneda never even heard of Aleister Crowley and his work.  Yet the two have provided us with a body of work that is quite complementary; each fulfilling what the other is missing.  Casteneda fails in providing directly applicable technique and truly quantitative analysis while Crowley is missing a clear delineation of certain attitudinal postures and the corresponding synthetic psychological responses that seem so implied in his work.  The two together have proven to be quite potent.

And so it seems that the development of a ‘Man of Knowledge’ as surmised by don Juan and Mr. Casteneda, speak to a current of development necessary for the ‘Adept’ of Thelema.  So much attention is paid by one Thelemite of another about failures in initiation and loyalty to those whom have come before (as if some ego lust for power).  And yet no one has ever really taken the time to respond to this by-product of the work.

What is it that really causes failure?  What are the signs that this is happening to me or my master?  How can I evaluate the authenticity of another?  Of myself?  So much is missing from the Thelemic archives.  What sits in its place is public documents printed with accusations and expulsions.  False claims of authority for dispensing and withholding knowledge and experience that is the natural right of every man and woman.

And the only semi-valid response offered to counteract this failure tendency has been expounded in the necessity of absolute and unquestioning loyalty by the disciple to the master.  However, this kind of blind trust is not feasible in our culture.  And we know too well of the kinds of abuse and cultic manipulation that is often connected with this.  How many cults have led unwitting dupes to their own demise?  How many masters have met their own failure through the adulation of their semi-competent sycophants?

The whole idea of developing archives is to contribute to the body of inquiry into the nature of life.  This is Scientific Illuminism!  It is a science and not an oral transmission of unchangeable gnosis.  Each generation must prove itself by forging its’ own link as did Sir Crowley.  And every individual must forge this link for oneself; verification comes from within oneself and the magickal record as well as without oneself in one’s association with others of the same kin.  Anyone whom rests on any other laurel than this, rests on a farce.

The true teacher is a perennial student and can and must learn from even the lowest and most base of life forms.  All have something to teach us.  The Yacqui Indian and Sorcerer, don Juan was quite clear in this as he taught Mr. Casteneda to learn from lizards and toads as much as from men and woman.  And he went right to the emotional core of his disciple; helping him to ‘see’ these things as opposed to pondering their intellectual veracity.

This of course, is the mark of a truly great master teacher.  And that method can only be expounded by a study of all the works published by this man.  However, for archival purposes, there is much to be extracted and assimilated into the archives and journals of Thelema.  What follows is one such extract.

Of the True Nature of the Black Lodge and its’ Overcoming

“Obey my prophet!  Follow out the ordeals of my knowledge!  Seek me only!  Then the joys of my love will redeem ye from all pain.  This is so; I swear it by the vault of my body; by my sacred heart and tongue; by all I can give, by all I desire of ye all.”  AL  I.32

When a man starts to learn, he is never clear about his objectives.  His purpose is faulty; his intent is vague.  He hopes for rewards that will never materialize for he knows nothing of the hardships of learning.

He slowly begins to learn—bit by bit at first, then in big chunks.  And his thoughts soon clash.  What he learns is never what he pictured, or imagined, and so he begins to be afraid.  Learning is never what one expects.  Every step of learning is a new task, and the fear that man is experiencing begins to mount mercilessly, unyieldingly.  His purpose becomes a battlefield.

And thus he has stumbled upon the first of his natural enemies:  Fear!  A terrible enemy—treacherous, and difficult to overcome.  It remains concealed at every turn of the way, prowling, waiting.  And if the man, terrified in its presence, runs away, his enemy will have put an end to his quest.

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

Yet, if he defies fear by responding with courageous persistence in his pursuit of knowledge, a moment will come when his first enemy retreats.  The man begins to feel sure of himself.  His intent becomes stronger.  Learning is no longer a terrifying task.

By then a man knows his desires; he knows how to satisfy those desires.  He can anticipate the new steps of learning, and a sharp clarity surrounds everything.  The man feels that nothing is concealed.

“Fear not at all; fear neither men, nor Fates, nor gods, nor anything.  Money fear not, nor laughter of the folk folly, nor any other power in heaven or upon the earth or under the earth.  Nu is your refuge as Hadit your light; and I am the strength, force, vigour, of your arms.”  AL  III.17

And thus he has encountered his second enemy:  Clarity!  That clarity of mind, which is so hard to obtain, dispels fear, but also blinds.  It forces him never to doubt himself.  It gives him the assurance that he can do anything he pleases, for he sees clearly into everything.  And he is courageous because he is clear, and he stops at nothing because he is clear.

But all that is a mistake; it is like something incomplete.  If the man yields to this make-believe power, he has succumbed to his second enemy.  He will rush when he should be patient, or he will be patient when he should rush.  And he will fumble with learning until he winds up incapable of learning anything more.  He will be clear for as long as he lives, but he will no longer learn, or yearn for anything.

Anais Nin said about America:

“All around there is excitement in place of exultation; rush and action in place of depth; humor in place of feeling.”

To continue learning, he must defy his clarity and use it only to see, and wait patiently and measure carefully before taking new steps; he must thing about all that his clarity is almost a mistake.  And a moment will come when he will understand that his clarity was only a point before his eyes.  And thus he will have overcome his second enemy, and will arrive at a position where nothing can harm him anymore.  This will not be a mistake.  It will only be a point before his eyes.  It will be true power.

“There is great danger in me; for who doth not understand these runes shall make a great miss.  He shall fall down into the pit called Because, and there he shall perish with the dogs of Reason.”  AL  II.27

He will know at this point that the power he has been pursuing for so long is finally his.  He can do whatever he pleases.  His ally is at his command.  His wish is the rule.  He sees all that is around him.  But he has also come across his third enemy:  Power!

Power is the strongest of all enemies.  And naturally the easiest thing to do is to give in; after all, the man is truly invincible.  He commands; he begins by taking calculated risks, and ends in making rules, because he is a master.

A man at this stage hardly notices his third enemy closing in on him.  And suddenly, without knowing, he will certainly have lost the battle.  His enemy will have turned him into a cruel, capricious man.

A man who is defeated by power, dies without really knowing how to handle it.  Power is only a burden upon his fate.  Such a man has no command over himself, and cannot tell when or how to use his power.

To defeat power, he has to defy it, deliberately.  He has to realize the power he has seemingly conquered is in reality never his.  He must keep himself in line at all times, handling carefully and faithfully, all that he has learned.  If he can see that clarity and power, without his control over himself, are worse than mistakes, he will reach a point where everything is held in check.  He will know then when and how to use his power.  And thus he will have defeated his third enemy.

“I am unique & conqueror.  I am not of the slaves that perish.  Be they damned & death!  Amen.  (This is of the 4:  there is a fifth who is invisible, & therein am I as a babe in an egg.)”  AL  II.49

“Lurk!  Withdraw!  Upon them!  This is the Law of the Battle of Conquest:  thus shall my worship be about my secret house.”  AL  III.9

“This shall be your only proof.  I forbid argument.  Conquer!  That is enough.  I will make easy to you the abstruction from the ill-ordered house in the Victorious City.  Thou shalt thyself convey it with worship, o prophet, though thou likest it not.  Thou shalt have danger & trouble.  Ra-Hoor-Khu is with thee.  Worship me with fire & blood; worship me with swords & spears.  Let the woman be girt with a sword before me:  let blood flow to my name.  Trample down the Heathen; be upon them, o warrior, I will give you of their flesh to eat!”  AL III.11

The man will be, by then, at the end of his journey of learning, and almost without warning, he will come upon the strongest of his enemies thus far:  Old age!  This enemy is the cruelest of all, the one he won’t be able to defeat completely, but only fight away.

This is a time when a man has no more fears, no more impatient clarity of mind—a time when all his power is in check, but also the time when he has an unyielding desire to rest.  If he gives in totally to his desire to lie down and forget, if he soothes himself in tiredness, he will have lost his last round and his enemy will cut him down into a feeble old creature.  His desire to retreat will overrule all his clarity, his power, and his knowledge.

“Let the Scarlet Woman beware!  If pity and compassion and tenderness visit her heart; if she leave my work to toy with old sweetnesses; then shall my vengeance be known.  I will slay me her child:  I will alienate her heart:  I will cast her out from men:  as a shrinking and despised harlot shall she crawl through the dusk wet streets, and die cold and an-hungered.”  AL  III.43

But if the man sloughs off his tiredness, and lives his fate through, he can then be called a man of knowledge, if only for the brief moment when he succeeds in fighting off his last, invincible enemy…Death.  At that time and in that moment, Courage, Clarity, Power and Knowledge is enough.

“Thou art exhaust in the voluptuous fullness of the inspiration; the expiration is sweeter than death, more rapid and laughterful than a caress of Hell’s own worm.”  AL  II.63

“Harder!  Hold up thyself!  Lift thine head!  Breathe not so deep—die!”  AL  II.68

“Ah!  Ah!  Death!  Death!  Thou shalt long for death.  Death is forbidden, o man, unto thee.”  AL  II.73

On the Way of the Warrior

A Warrior is an impeccable hunter who seeks power.  And if enough is garnered, attains true knowledge and the perfection of the spirit.  This hunted power is entrapped and stored; and even though power must be expended to maintain one's incarnation, this power is rigidly conserved and used sparingly so that it might swell in its vessel and become knowledge.

"With the vehement appetite of a beast I hunt Thee through the Universe."–VII:1-2

To acquire power one must become available to power.  This is done systematically, and with great caution.  Everything is calculated and then those calculations are abandoned in order that one may act.  That action must be guided by unbending purpose; fending off any interference that may come its way.  For a Warrior is attuned to survive in the best of all possible fashions.

"For pure will, unassuaged of purpose, delivered from the lust of result, is every way perfect."–CCXX:I.44

Therefore a Warrior must not be offended by the actions of others.  Rather, impeccable control must be maintained over the nature of one's own being.  For a Warrior assumes responsibility for all decisions made and all conclusions reached with a conviction so strong that one is ready to die for them.  Each step through this time/space continuum must be deliberate and willful.

"Fear nothing.  Fear nothing.  Fear nothing."–LXVI.58

Power is hunted in an immaculate fashion and not in a drunk or crazed manner, nor with the disposition for wasting time fumbling in the darkness of self-deception.  In this way, a Warrior also knows that self-importance blinds one and prevents one from truly understanding or appreciating the worlds about us.  For a Warrior has to be perfect in order to deal with the power that is hunted.

"My disciples are proud and beautiful; they are strong and swift; they rule their way like mighty conquerors."–XC.24

A Warrior knows that everything one does hinges on personal power.  For one who has none, these events seem like incredible miracles and magickal feats.  Yet it takes power to even conceive of what power is.  Still, let it be said that this power is a feeling or a mood that attaches itself to the core of our being and radiates about our aura.  This is attained with great ardor and leads most certainly to knowledge.

"Now in this is the magical power known."–CCCLXX.8

The mood of a Warrior involves a process of evolving the spirit.  One must master control of the emotions and the reflexive tendencies of the nervous system.  The rituals that are performed should be viewed as postures of power.  So to become accessible to this power, one should master the astral plane to the point that it is as real and valid as the material plane.

"Thou shalt instruct thy servant in his ways, thou shalt speak often with him."–LXV:I.30

Finally, death is one's eternal companion; always at arm's length; stalking us to the end of our days.  It is the only wise advisor for nothing matters outside its touch.  A Warrior is mortal; yet with an impeccable spirit which has stored power enough that when death does finally touch us, the Warrior can stall death for just a moment; long enough to rejoice for one last time in the ecstasy of this power.

I saw the ravens of death, that flew with hoarse cries upon the carrion earth, I saw Thee in these.–DCCCXIII:II.7

Love is the law, love under will.