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Left-hand Path

From: (Gideon Ashlayah)
Subject: Re: Left-hand Path
Date: Fri, 07 Feb 1997 04:39:04 EST

Care Frater,

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

On Thu, 6 Feb 1997 17:15:43 PST  writes:

>>>>most people who equate A.C. with Black Magic are those who have read
>>>>little or none of his writings. 

>I have read everything published and I simply don't think this issue is
>clear as some would make it.  In fact I think the evidence indicates
>though Crowley made strong statements he himself is having fun in
>the issue.

"Eschew obfuscation". 

What "evidence" indicates A.C. "having fun" by obscuring this topic?

>>>>Even the most general [non-biased] study
>>>>of the Crowley Corpus reveals this to be inaccurate. 

>I must admit a bias, in favor of Crowley. But with such writings as the
>to Lucifer and Satan,

The "Hymn to Lucifer" represents Lucifer in the same context as the
Kabbalistic equation "Nahesh is Meshiah" [Nun-Chet-Shin and Mem-Shin-Yud-
Chet], or "the Serpent is the Redeemer" [roughly], and not as the Xian 
concept of Satan; therefore, IMO, freeing it of any connotations of
"black magic" or "devil worship" or any other such term.

By "Satan" in the above context, I assume you mean A.C.'s translation of
Baudelaire's "Satan's Litanies" which Crowley divided up into "The
Litany of Satan" [Collected Works, Vol. II, page 15-16] and "Gloire et
Louange" [Collected Works, Vol. II, page 18]? I tend to consider such
pieces of these as mere devices used to rebel against the overwhelming
oppression of Xianity. Having, myself, been subjected to such oppression,
and having likewise rebelled through "satanic" venues in my youth, I
tend to feel that such things as these are irrelevant to the later
work of the man, just as my early rebellion is no sign of my "mature"
work. Neither do I feel that a translation/interpretation [published
in 1905 e.v.] of a poem [first published in 1857 e.v. in Charles
Baudelaire's _Flowers of Evil_] can have any bearing on a magical
philosophy. It might be a sign of character, or taste, but not of
magical work; for example, my fondness for the works of Thomas Ligotti
is a reflection of my taste in literature, and not a reflection of
my mystical/magical practices.

As to A.C.'s "devil-worship" he defines it rather well in MTP:

	"This 'Devil' is called Satan or Shaitan, and regarded
         with horror by people who are ignorant of his formula,
         and, imagining themselves to be evil, accuse Nature herself
         of their own phantasmal crime. Satan is Saturn, Set,
         Abrasax, Adad, Adonis, Attis, Adam, Adonai, _etc_. The
         most serious charge against him is only that he is the
         Sun in the South. [...]
           We have therefore no scruple in restoring the
         'devil-worship' of such ideas as those which the laws of
         sound, and the phenomena of speech and hearing, compel
         us to connect with the group of 'Gods' whose names are
         based upon ShT, or D, vocalized by the free breath A.
         For these names imply qualities of courage, frankness,
         energy, pride, power and triumph; they are the words
         which express the creative and paternal will."
         [_Magick: Book IV_, Part III, Chapter V, p 165-166.]

>as well as the somewhat in joke that makes the Gnostic
>Mass a Black Mass (note Liber XV = the Devil in the Tarot)

Perhaps it's a joke, as you say--A.C. was fond of such word-play--
however, the only way to take Liber XV as a "Black Mass" [as per
its usual definition & not the poem of the same name from _Clouds
without Water_] is to assume Atu XV is a representation of the Xian
"devil" and not the Thoth Tarot trump of the same number. The Crowley
trump XV can be described by the paragraphs which immediately follow
the above quotation from _Magick_.

         "Thus 'The Devil' is Capricornus, the Goat who leaps
          upon the loftiest mountains, the Godhead which, if
          it become manifest in man, makes him AEgipan, the All.
            The Sun enters this sign when he turns to renew the
          year in the North. He is also the vowel O, proper to
          roar, to boom, and to command, being a forcible breath
          controlled by the firm circle of the mouth.
            He is the Open Eye of the exalted Sun, before whom
          all shadows flee away: also that Secret Eye which makes
          an image of its God, the Light, and gives it power to
          utter oracles, enlightening the mind.
            Thus, he is Man made God, exalted, eager; he has come
          consciously to his full stature, and so is ready to set
          out on his journey to redeem the world." [Ibid. p 166]

>the issue is far
>from clear.

I find it clear enough:

          "The Devil does not exist. It is a false name invented
           by the Black Brothers to imply a Unity in their ignorant
           muddle of dispersions. A devil who had unity would be
           a God."

>A problem also arrises in the resolution of opposites in Liber I
>and the abandonment of the Great Work to certain exalted grades above
>abyss, wherein it is necessary by Crowley's own definitions to practice
>and embrace the Dark Side.

Firstly, if it's not too much trouble, give *exact* citations where A.C.
says "it is necessary" "to practice evil and embrace the Dark Side".
Or are you, perhaps, getting this post confused with the "Star Wars"
discussion currently underway on the list? Admittedly, Liber LXV,
Chapter IV, verse 33 _does_ mention "the Death-star"... ;>

But more seriously, you mention "certain exalted grades above the
abyss"; these have no bearing whatsoever on this discussion. _Magick_
[page 276, quoted in a previous post] explicitly states that the
Brothers of the Left-Hand Path remain in the Abyss, and do not [can not]
rise above it.

And, as to the "opposites" & the concept of "above the Abyss" I can
only refer you to meditation/study on/of Kefale 11 [The Glow-Worm] of
Liber 333, wherein it states [among other things] "They are above
The Abyss, and contain all contradiction in themselves."

>Also the statements that may be classified as class
>A in the Vision and the Voice about the subject, ie from the mouths of
>Angels themselves, are paradoxical and could easily be interpreted to be
>descriptions of Crowley, even prophecies about O.T.O. particularly the

As Liber 418 is a rather large work, with many "class A" angelic quotes,
I will ask you to cite specific sections and/or references if you wish me
to discuss them.

Also note that, as a gesture of respect to the Order, I will not
engage in discussions of the VIIth [or any other] degree of the
O.T.O. I do not see how such discussions are relevant to the current
topic at any rate [with, perhaps, the exception of Chapter IV of
Liber 24].

>>>Do you mean Black Brother or Black School?  Crowley clearly means
>>>things by these terms.
>>meant it as I wrote it:  "Black Magic" [as per the definition given in
>>MTP; for which, see my earlier post to Mr. Rezenov].

>Yes but do magicians of the Black School do Black Magick, if not then 
>what do
>the terms mean.

It appears I must give yet another quotation--

       "Hoping that you are now recovered from the devastating
        revelations in the matter of the Yellow School, I must
        ask you to brace yourself for disclosures even more
        formidable about the Black. Do no confuse with the Black
        Lodge, or the Black Brothers. The terminology is unfortunate,
        but it wasn't I that did it. Now then, to work!
          The Black School of Magick, which must by no means be
        confused with the School of Black Magick or Sorcery, which
        latter is a perversion of the White tradition, is distinguished
        fundamentally from the Yellow School in that it considers the
        Universe not as neutral, but as definitely a curse. Its primary
        theorem is the 'First Noble Truth' of the Buddha--'Everything
        is Sorrow.'" _Magick Without Tears_, Letter 7, page 72.

>Crowley may have defined Black Macick in his own terms, but it is 
>doubtful that
>he was unaware of the fact that he was advocating practices clearly 
>defined as
>Black Magick by almost anyone else who uses the term.

Perhaps this will help:

    "The moral is--if all your folk are sure you are a black magician,
     You may as well enjoy the joke; you cannot damage your position."
    from "The Mosque Bewitched" in _Konx Om Pax_

>These include, besides
>the above, summoning the demonic forces of Hell he advocates to 
>beginners in
>his preliminary Magickal instruction Liber O where the Goetia is 

With terms such as "embrace the Dark Side" and "demonic forces of
Hell", I'm beginning to think this is an episode of the Ankerberg

Perhaps you should re-read chapter I of Liber O, verse 1-2 in

        "1. This book is very easy to misunderstand; readers are
            asked to use the most minute critical care in the
            study of it, even as we have done in the preparation.
         2. In this book it is spoken of the Sephiroth and the Paths;
            of Spirits and Conjurations; of Gods, Spheres, Planes,
            and many other things which may or may not exist.
              It is immaterial whether these exist or not. By doing
            certain things certain results will follow; students
            are most earnestly warned against attributing objective
            reality or philosophic validity to any of them."

Also, re-read A.C.'s "Initiated Interpretation to Ceremonial Magic"
that prefaces his version of the "Goetia", wherein he says in a
rather matter-of-fact way, "The spirits of the Goetia are portions
of the human brain."

>Having symbolic sex with demons, particularly Satan, as a means of 
>ones 'Holy Gaurdian Angel' in his Liber Sameck.

Give explicit citations of A.C. recommending "intercourse with
the devil", symbolic or otherwise. It seems, to me, that you are
purposefully twisting the rite & its symbols for the sake of this
debate. It is true that the ceremony does have the magician thrusting
hir "will symbol" deeper and deeper into the beyond until the peak
of "spiritual orgasm", but it says explicitly in Liber Samekh,
Point II, Section G,

        "But if the Operation be performed properly, his Angel
         shall have accepted the offering of Dew, and seized with
         fervour upon the extended symbol of Will towards Himself.
         This then shall He shake vehemently with vibrations of
         love reverberating with the Words of the Section."

The "symbolic sex" is *with the Angel*, and not with demons.

The name "Satan" is invoked 3-5 times during the ceremony: once in
section B with "A-ThELE-BER-SET (Thou Satan-Sun Hadit that goest
without Will!); once in section C. with has "AR-O-GO-GO-RU-ABRAO (Thou
spiritual Sun! Satan, Thou Eye, Thou Lust! Cry aloud! Cry aloud! Whirl
the Wheel, O my Father, O Satan, O Sun!)"; and 3 times in section
C with "O (Satan, thou Eye, thou Lust!)" [repeated three times]. Each
occurrence of the word makes it clear that it is used here just as it
was at the beginning of this post in the section on A.C.'s so-called

The calling out of "Satan" during this rite does not mean you are having
intercourse with "him" any more than calling out someone's name while
masturbating means you are making love to them.

>Sodomy as a means to
>enlightenment, vida the Baghi Muattar, etc. etc. etc.

What has sodomy got to do with black magic/devil-worship/etc.? I
don't follow you here.

But at any rate, the Bagh-i does not give "sodomy as a means to
enlightenment", but uses the relations of the Satirist and his
"cup-bearer" as an allegory for the relations between God and

       "The book itself is a complete treatise on mysticism,
        expressed in the symbolism prescribed by Persian piety.
        It describes the relations of God and man, explains how
        the latter falls from his essential innocence by allowing
        himself to be deceived by the illusion of matter. His
        religion ceases to be real and becomes formal; he falls
        into sin and suffers the penalty thereof. God prepares the
        pathway of regeneration and brings him through shame and
        sorrow to repentance, thus preparing the mystical union
        which restores man to his original privileges, free will,
        immortality, the perception of truth and so on."
        _Bagh-i-Muattar_ page 8.

As Coleman Barks puts it [in his interpretations of Rumi]: "the way
you make love is the way / God will be with you."

>>Whereas "Black Magic" and "Black Brother" are related to a certain
>>degree [again, see the definitions/descriptions given in MTP], 

>Clarify if you would.

Some descriptions [from _Magick_]

      of Black Magic--

	"Hence to will anything but the supreme thing, is to
         wander still further from it--any will but that to
         give up the self to the Beloved is Black Magick--" page 62

        "There are, of course, entirely black forms of magic. To
         him who has not given every drop of his blood for the cup
         of BABALON all magic power is dangerous." page 276

      of the "Brothers of the Left Hand Path"--

	"[...] the Brothers of the Left Hand Path [...] are they
         who 'shut themselves up,' who refuse their blood to the
         Cup, who have trampled Love in the Race for self-
         aggrandizement." page 276.

Now, it seems logical with these definitions, that we might say something
like "all Brothers of the Left Hand Path are black magicians, but not all
black magicians are necessarily Brothers of the Left Hand Path".

I hope I have helped to clarify some of these things; if not, as always,
I am at your service.

     Love is the law, love under will.

Pax vobiscum,


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