by Whiskey Stevens
I have been a practicing Thelemite for 11 months now as February was the month I first met my mentor and began taking an academic track. Each time I have begun to waiver on my journey I receive dreams, sometimes they are reoccurring with the same dream happening several nights within the same week. Every dream, each full of symbolism, provides me the chance to reflect and understand what my subconscious is trying to tell me.
Throughout my exploration of Crowley’s works and diving into what it means to discover ones own True Will and thus carry out the Great Work I have had many realizations that felt like a collision of energies. Many of these epiphanies are internal and personal and not meant for the outside world, some are more general, external, and philosophical in nature, both I suppose the same thing. When I think of Crowley’s words on the Great Work:
“The Great Work is the uniting of opposites. It may mean the uniting of the soul with God, of the microcosm with the macrocosm, of the female. with the male, of the ego with the non-ego—or what not.”Aleister Crowley, Magick Without Tears (New Falcon Publications, 1991), p.9
I can think of many things in my life that are, but both ends of the same snake, and I can see reflections of that in everything we are taught to meditate on. Within the tarot each card in the major arcana comes with what looks like an opposite which upon further reflection merges to become the same. For example, the Hierophant (The Magus of the Eternal) and the Lovers (The Children of the Voice, Oracle of the Mighty Gods), on the outside they look very different but upon further reflection their paths are similar. The same is true when we look at the Death card (The Child of the Great Transformers, Lord of the Gate of Death) and the Temperance card (The Daughter of the Reconcilers, The Bringer Forth of Life). All seem to be the head and the tail of the same snake. Depending on our own projections we may see different things and at times I find it best to meditate with both the Thoth Tarot and the Rider Waite-Smith, the latter of which, can at times, more clearly depict the opposites which further only speaks to Crowley’s work of uniting opposites within his own tarot deck and his purpose for going to the extremes.
Of course, one doesn’t have to be focused on Crowley’s work to come to this realization, we can see the symbol of the ouroboros throughout many different cultures and attributed to many different meanings. For the sake of this paper, I will attribute the meaning of the ouroboros to uniting two to create zero or 0=X. When you go looking for opposites you will find them, and I believe you will find a way to know both for what they are, as in Liber Tzaddi it says:
“My adepts stand upright; their head above the heavens, their feet below the hells. But since one is naturally attracted to the Angel, another to the Demon, let the first strengthen the lower link, the last attach more firmly to the higher.”
All of that is very nice to say but where does it leave us in terms of our community? In terms of our thinking about the Old Aeon and the New Aeon? I have come to see both sides of some of the arguments and disagreements that we often have within the Thelemic community and the wider occult community. Disagreements like reading about magick or practicing the magick, consensus Thelema or non-consensus Thelema, do talk about the Book of the Law or don’t talk about it, all at least to me look like the same snake. If we remain only on one extreme of the spectrum, only seeing one end of the snake, how will we ever know there is another end? How will we ever come to see the whole?
So, what about this talk of awaiting the new aeon? Surely, we all understand that there are seasons and cycles in both the microcosm and the macrocosm. But can we not also see that everything is a reflection of the eternal child merged together from two opposites? Why stay waiting for the new aeon when it is but a different side to the same coin? The old aeon, the new aeon, and whatever aeon we believe to be next are all the same snake, all a continuous loop of the same reflection. So, why wait? It is time to alchemize the present! We are in “it” because we are “it”. We are all both the old aeon and the new aeon and therefore we are already where we have been looking to be. But it also true that “do as thou Wilt shall be the whole of the Law” which means my own choosing to not wait on a new aeon is only my own choice and does not need to be anyone else’s.
When looking at opposites we may see many wild exaggerations at each end of the spectrum, taking different religious texts far too literally, and far too figuratively. What is there to do but to merge the two! Being too literal will only have us waiting around for the next coming of Christ and being far too figurative will only have us imagining a change without doing any internal work to merge the opposites within. It is through both extremes that we come to find the truth, or the truth for ourselves. But you say, “what if it is my Will to take the book literally?” then do so. And if you say, “what if it is my Will to read it solely figuratively?” then do so.
The first period is simple, quiet, easy, and pleasant; the material ignores the spiritual; the second is of suffering and death: the spiritual strives to ignore the material. Christianity and all cognate religions worship death, glorify suffering, deify corpses. The new Aeon is the worship of the spiritual made one with the material, of Horus, of the Child, of the Future.
Isis was Liberty; Osiris, bondage; but the new Liberty is that of Horus. Osiris conquered her because she did not understand him. Horus avenges both his Father and his Mother. This child Horus is a twin, two in one. Horus and Harpocrates are one, and they are also one with Set or Apophis, the destroyer of Osiris. It is by the destruction of the principle of death that they are born. The establishment of this new Aeon, this new fundamental principle, is the great work now to be accomplished in the world.Aleister Crowley, The Equinox of the Gods (New Falcon Publications, 1991)
When reading this text from both ends of the snake one may begin by taking it too literally and then too figuratively, if there is such a thing. We I read it I begin to feel that there is more at play and that the future is also an illusion, the future can never be anything more than the present. Horus the Child of the Future is really the Child of the Now. Any “future” aeon will be the same snake.
In the Confessions of Aleister Crowley we read:
“I may now point out that the reign of the Crowned and Conquering Child is limited in time by that of the Book of the Law itself. We learn that Horus will be in his turn succeeded by Thmaist, the Double-Wanded One; she who shall bring the candidates to full initiation, and though we know little of her peculiar characteristics, we know at least that her name is justice.”Aleister Crowley, The Confessions of Aleister Crowley (Penguin UK, 1989), 400.]
Is Thmaist still the same snake? Still two parts of the same whole? Two wands and a double-edged sword are but opposites of the same object.
So, we see that I have come to my own conclusion as a projection of my own religious dilemma. Through the merging of opposites, I have seen my own illusion of waiting for the future and I have come to know the present. I have begun to try to reduce the 2 into 0 in my own mind. But if it is true that the Book of the Law is there for everyone to solve their own religious problems and to converse with the intelligence which informs it, then it is for each individual to independently search through their own nature to come to their own understanding by which they will have their own moments of uniting two into zero. My paper is but my own projections – my own religious dilemma solved through reading the book and meditating on the symbolisms of my own dreams.
Love is the law, love under will.
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