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From: Bill Heidrick 
Subject: Re: Orders and Individuals (was Originality, was woopee!, was L
Date: Thu, 14 Nov 1996 09:28:49 -0800 (PST)


Tim Maroney  wrote:

>Excellent question. I hear a lot about mystical systems "working", but no 
>one ever seems to ask what that means.

Possibly on grounds that it's a general approbation or comment on function.
Doesn't say more than that there is an area of cohesion in the function.

As to a question of "a mystical system" in OTO, this is particularly
difficult to address.  The initiations use several different systems, not
much that would be mystical per-say, aside from the notion of use of symbols
and the invisible officers.  Those systems are harmonized to an extent, and
different students would ascribe different importance to them -- useful
in itself, since that allows a candidate to progress by whatever works at
the time in the set.  The paradigm of life from conception through birth,
age and death, extended by elaboration in the degrees after IIIrd into
particular work in life, seems the most important to me.  That's from
Masonry and precursors.  The use of Kundalini Yoga in the various penal
signs and so forth would be a close second by my thinking.  Magical effect
seems to flow from both of those, as does the nature of OTO as a place to
work out Thelemic social and personal questions.  Aside from the shift
toward Thelema, nothing in those two subsystems or paradigms originated with
Crowley.  Crowley did elaborate a little and cut a lot, but the mechanism
apart from the orientation to Thelema is pretty much intact as he found it.
Crowley's main substantative change in OTO is fixing the VSL to Liber AL,
with the appropriate ramifications.  "The Book of the Law" appears to
echo this in its very name.  Study is promoted, but by individual selection
mainly.  Mysticism and Magick abounds, but by the interest of the members
individually and collectively.  That's the core mystical system in the OTO.
It's not entirely passive on the part of OTO; but recommendations and
resources are provided, not rigid dictation outside the initiations and
the Gnostic Mass as particular forms in use.  This does frustrate a good
deal, but people have to pursue what interests them in OTO -- not take
fixed direction from on high as to how to proceed in their personal
attainments.  Aeonics, correspondences and the rest are identified and
fixed as patterns; but I have not seen a rigidity in regard to "truth"
in these things -- just insistence on accuracy of record regarding these
things as expressed and worked in context.  Detailed belief is discouraged.
The only rigid mystical belief structures seem to be in the area of
direction by the individual him or her self and a primary belief in Thelema
as revealed in Liber AL -- under individual interpretation.  Naturally enough,
some local OTO groups will compound that with the social fixation of an
individual or the common pecking order of the group.  When that gets out of
hand, the group either stagnates or breaks up -- if necessary, by external
intercession.  Specialization by the group is encouraged a little at Camp
level, tolerated a bit at Oasis level and viewed askance at Lodge level --
unless it is handled in such a way that multiple options continue without
undue sanction.  Beyond Lodge level, where most of the operation of OTO
structure exists, it does get narrow again.  However, that's in
administration and service, with specialized studies for the individual
members.  About 3% of OTO members proceed into those areas.  The information
in the studies is widely available outside OTO membership, although the
contextual setting is not as accessible.

In regard to A.'.A.'., almost all the structure of that came from the
G.'.D.'. paradigm, with the details and a very few deeper changes modified
by Crowley.  A.'.A.'. does have a narrow curriculum, with efforts at
precision -- vide _Equinox_ IV, 1.  However, Crowley affirmed that the
system does not claim uniqueness or perfection, allowing a challenge to
bypass everything to the level of Magister Templi.  The Great Work, HGA,
Passage of the Abyss and the rest are structures -- somewhat flexible in
the mystical categories and extremely individual in the experiences.

This is the best I can do off the cuff to come to an address of your
questions on grounds of what the mystical systems are.  It isn't much
of a focus on your challenge, and no answer.  I simply do not see these
things as dogma, rather structure and staircase design.  If you would
rather use an elevator or escalator, good luck finding one.

93 93/93
Bill Heidrick

----- End of forwarded message from Bill Heidrick -----

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