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TMaroney: Choronzon, Abyss, Existential Crisis

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.magick,alt.magick.moderated,talk.religion.misc,talk.religion.newage,alt.thelema
From: (nagasiva)
Subject: TMaroney: Choronzon, Abyss, Existential Crisis
Date: 20 Aug 1996 11:37:56 -0700

[networked among friends, originally from an email list]
[from email: Tim Maroney ]

I'm surprised not to have seen more responses on Choronzon.

in Crowley's system, Choronzon is a paradoxical figure: simultaneously 
oneself and not oneself, the liberator and the slave-master, the trap of 
reason and the gateway for manifestation of the divine. Choronzon 
inhabits the Abyss, that wilderness of thought in which all reasoning is 
circular -- relation attached to relation, twisting and releasing, with 
no solid noun anywhere to be found -- the Hell of Prepositions. All ideas 
of the I and the Universe become fluid, or rather gaseous, and so they 
blow away.

>From below, the Abyss is a curse, but from above it is a blessing. The 
Black Brother, remaining in the Abyss and refusing self-destruction, is 
the shadow or reflection of the Magus, who creates Truth though knowing 
it can only be perceived as lies. Neither exists without the other. The 
account of the Black Brothers in "The Vision and the Voice" is shot 
through with parody and contradiction; behind every damning denunciation 
is a playfully paradoxical panegyric.

It is no wonder that some of Crowley's own followers or shadows have come 
to identify with the figure of the Black Brother even though they do not 
understand the Abyss: in it self and universe are annihilated together, 
not one sacrificed to the other; and in the aftermath, the self creates 
the universe, rather than being subsumed in it. All this is written in 
plain language in "One Star in Sight". It is no fault of Crowley's if his 
critics cannot read.

In modern philosophy the ordeal of the Abyss is opened to all through the 
despair and nausea of existential crisis. The fundamental challenge of 
this century has been the lack of any firm foundation for belief of any 
kind -- the necessary consequence of evolutionary biology, which revealed 
all our thoughts and perceptions as the flickerings of arbitrary 
instruments. This crisis which Crowley wanted reserved for high adepts is 
today undergone by practically anyone of any insight or intelligence.

Of course in this Sargasso of unmeaning many grab for any rope which 
seems to hold the promise of salvation. In systems there is a false 
security and an early release from the requirement of doubt. Crowley's 
own system becomes just as vapid as any other when it is used in this 
way. He did not foresee a world in which the gates of the Abyss swung 
open for all. His system of spiritual grades was set up for Victorians 
and has little applicability today. When liberation is so close to hand, 
becoming an "adept" is likely to enslave rather than set free. The world 
has moved on but the system has remained the same. If there are now 
adorers rather than revilers of Choronzon, I like to think it is because 
they have grasped this fact on some intuitive level, and so set out to 
skewer the now pompous and wooly system which seemed so radical almost a 
century ago.

Tim Maroney


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