Using "non-crowley" techniques in the AA syllabus

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Using "non-crowley" techniques in the AA syllabus

Postby Halcyon » Tue Jul 24, 2007 7:56 pm

Hi,

I have a question regarding the A. A work for someone who knows about such things. Each grade has certain tasks and tests that the student must master, and for each grade certain texts (the various libri for example) are recommended. I'm curious to know if the student is in any way constrained or discouraged from choosing texts and techniques from outside this body of work? I.e. am I right to assume that the student can follow his/her own intuitions/judgments in selecting particular non-crowley derived techniques to work at so long as they lead to the mastery of the tasks required for their grade?

For example Astral Projection could be approached from the method in Liber 0, or using something akin to the "Llewellyn Guide to AP", or the student might devise their own approach.

This understanding seems in line with Crowley's comments regarding his approach, but I'd be interested to hear peoples views.

Regards,
Joe.
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Re: Using "non-crowley" techniques in the AA sylla

Postby dshoemaker » Tue Jul 24, 2007 8:15 pm

Dear Halcyon,

93

Quick answer: There are some places where mastery of the *result* is required, and others where one clearly needs to be well-versed with a specific technique or other material from an official Liber. Regardless, I can't imagine a situation where anyone would be *discouraged* from experimentation with "outside" materials, as long as the criteria described above were met.

93 93/93

David


Halcyon wrote:Hi,

I have a question regarding the A. A work for someone who knows about such things. Each grade has certain tasks and tests that the student must master, and for each grade certain texts (the various libri for example) are recommended. I'm curious to know if the student is in any way constrained or discouraged from choosing texts and techniques from outside this body of work? I.e. am I right to assume that the student can follow his/her own intuitions/judgments in selecting particular non-crowley derived techniques to work at so long as they lead to the mastery of the tasks required for their grade?

For example Astral Projection could be approached from the method in Liber 0, or using something akin to the "Llewellyn Guide to AP", or the student might devise their own approach.

This understanding seems in line with Crowley's comments regarding his approach, but I'd be interested to hear peoples views.

Regards,
Joe.
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Re: Using "non-crowley" techniques in the AA sylla

Postby Halcyon » Tue Jul 24, 2007 8:23 pm

dshoemaker wrote:Quick answer: There are some places where mastery of the *result* is required, and others where one clearly needs to be well-versed with a specific technique or other material from an official Liber. Regardless, I can't imagine a situation where anyone would be *discouraged* from experimentation with "outside" materials, as long as the criteria described above were met.

Thanks for the reply. What I'm considering here is the idea that this seems allow th student the chance to *personalize* the work to themselves in a way that many other systems don't. This seems a powerful concept as it should allow people to "slant" their approach to those methods they find the most natural - be they hermetic, ritual, what have you.
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Re: Using "non-crowley" techniques in the AA sylla

Postby dshoemaker » Tue Jul 24, 2007 8:47 pm

93,

Everyone will have a natural "slant", of course, and accordingly, they'll bring their own ingenuity to the situation. However, the A.'.A.'. system will require them, *at least*, to cover the materials already in the system. Any "outside" practices will be done in addition to, and not instead of, the core curriculum. This has a balancing effect. That is, they will be challenged to experiment with certain practices that might fall outside their natural interests and strengths. Otherwise, there would be a danger of becoming more imbalanced by enhancing one's strengths and ignoring one's weaknesses. The most striking example of this is the co-existence of ceremonial work and yoga. Many people will naturally prefer one over the other, but to advance through the grades, everyone has to experiment with, and display some degree of mastery over, both of them.

93 93/93

David

Halcyon wrote: What I'm considering here is the idea that this seems allow th student the chance to *personalize* the work to themselves in a way that many other systems don't. This seems a powerful concept as it should allow people to "slant" their approach to those methods they find the most natural - be they hermetic, ritual, what have you.
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Re: Using "non-crowley" techniques in the AA sylla

Postby Jim Eshelman » Tue Jul 24, 2007 9:02 pm

Halcyon wrote:What I'm considering here is the idea that this seems allow th student the chance to *personalize* the work to themselves in a way that many other systems don't.

Agreeing with David completely throughout, let me add a note.

The answer is YES if, by "personalize," you mean also study whatsoever you want along the way, supplement the instruction, etc.

The answer is NO if, by "personalize," you mean "change the requirements and alter either the tasks or the nature of examination."

More generally (as has already been said), you can study anything you want. Nonetheless, it isn't a "write your own program" system. There are specific results needed in order to cover the ground necessary for what comes later.

So, for example, you can read all the books on "astral projection" (so called) that you want, and do all the drills and get all the results that you want (and please note in this that no two such books necessarily will have the same definitions of even what the task is, let alone how to go about achieving it) - But, when the time comes for examination in that task, what's going to matter is whether you can pass the specific tests the A.'.A.'. uses.

Or, to take another example, you might choose to do any number of structured meditations of the Path of Resh; but if your diary doesn't show the record of having performed the specific Meditation MMM from Liber HHH, and having passed the examination alluded to therein, then the task for the Path of Resh won't be marked as complete.

Or, as a third example, in the grade where part of the task is to "complete one's knowledge of the Qabalah," even though several specific Qabalistic instructions are assigned, this may or may not complete the knowledge of the Qabalah you need. It likely will be the basis of the examination - but may not be everything you need. Therefore, the best choice is to take up whatever else you are guided to study on the subject.

This doesn't disparage the value of all the other stuff you might choose to do as well.
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Re: Using "non-crowley" techniques in the AA sylla

Postby Halcyon » Wed Jul 25, 2007 6:35 am

Thank you both for your insights into this.

Jim Eshelman wrote:The answer is YES if, by "personalize," you mean also study whatsoever you want along the way, supplement the instruction, etc. The answer is NO if, by "personalize," you mean "change the requirements and alter either the tasks or the nature of examination."


Yes, I get what you mean. This is what I was after - I've only recently been considering this system and I'm still wrapping my mind around things.

I've set myself a technique from Crowley's "Magick" (Asana) to "test the waters" so to speak and have been doing this for the last month. I'll keep at this daily till christmas and then see where I want to go.
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Re: Using "non-crowley" techniques in the AA sylla

Postby Jim Eshelman » Wed Jul 25, 2007 7:39 am

Halcyon wrote:I've set myself a technique from Crowley's "Magick" (Asana) to "test the waters" so to speak and have been doing this for the last month. I'll keep at this daily till christmas and then see where I want to go.

The main result being targetted by this task is that one become able to sit for very long periods of time without the body disturbing one.

The secondary goal is training in will. I know of nothing at all (accessible to pretty much all people on demand) which will SO train the will and show you the strengths and limits of your own strength, endurance, perseverance, and heroism as does training in asana the way that Crowley assigns and tests it.
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Re: Using "non-crowley" techniques in the AA sylla

Postby Halcyon » Wed Jul 25, 2007 4:40 pm

Jim Eshelman wrote:The main result being targetted by this task is that one become able to sit for very long periods of time without the body disturbing one.

The secondary goal is training in will. I know of nothing at all (accessible to pretty much all people on demand) which will SO train the will and show you the strengths and limits of your own strength, endurance, perseverance, and heroism as does training in asana the way that Crowley assigns and tests it.

Not to mention sheer bloody-mindedness ... :) Crowley mentioned somewhere [paraphrasing] "by doing certain things certain results will follow .." (always admired that statement ...) - I can't remember the exact quote but it's in Liber 0 I think. I'm going to see how accurate this is applied to his work before I commit more.

I'm presently sitting for 30 minutes once per day. I've found that my practice has improved a little since I began in that, once settled in, I will become *relatively* still for random short periods of time. At this point my still periods are when what I'd call "major tremors" generally cease and my muscles just have little spasms/shifts. This is NOT easy nor comfortable yet :shock:

Since you seem knowledgeable in this - Would there be an advantage in practicing twice a day after a bit (I'll probably give this another month)? Also, care to venture an estimate as to the time it generally takes to reach the stage of "steady and easy"? In "Magick" Crowley simply alludes to "... in the final months of my own practice".
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Postby Rey De Lupos » Wed Jul 25, 2007 5:46 pm

Quick answer: There are some places where mastery of the *result* is required, and others where one clearly needs to be well-versed with a specific technique or other material from an official Liber. Regardless, I can't imagine a situation where anyone would be *discouraged* from experimentation with "outside" materials, as long as the criteria described above were met.

Thank you for a succinct and pertinent answer, David. I am in complete agreement. It is almost a requirement or should be a requirement that any student of the A.'.A'. experiment and work with what is unique to their own star's inherent quality. Not to mention that so much of the A.'.A.'. material is 'dated' and in need of revision and adaptation. But, as a foundational model, it is exceptional.

As the adage states, "Do what thou Wilt.".
93, 93/93

Fraternally in L.V.X.,
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Re: Using "non-crowley" techniques in the AA sylla

Postby Jim Eshelman » Wed Jul 25, 2007 7:01 pm

Halcyon wrote:Since you seem knowledgeable in this - Would there be an advantage in practicing twice a day after a bit (I'll probably give this another month)? Also, care to venture an estimate as to the time it generally takes to reach the stage of "steady and easy"? In "Magick" Crowley simply alludes to "... in the final months of my own practice".

It depends on the individual, but a year is good work for most people.

And it's not always that simple. When I was in the grade where that was tested, I spent about 6 years not working on that part at all (working on other things - but also, admittedly, procrastinating) - then undertook and mastered that in 4 months. So you could say that I spent 4 months to master it, or that I took 7 years of which the first 6+ were very busy finding the right four months! :mrgreen:

As for how often to practice - this is individual, and has to fit into your life circumstances. Certainly, more practice is better than less practice, and there's no reason not to do it twice a day! You may find, though - depending on how you spend your day, and how you prepare yourself etc. - that the two practice periods are different. That is, outer stillness has a reciprocal relationship with inner stillness.
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Postby Jim Eshelman » Wed Jul 25, 2007 7:04 pm

King of the Wolves wrote:It is almost a requirement or should be a requirement that any student of the A.'.A'. experiment and work with what is unique to their own star's inherent quality.

That is quite specifically the task of the Probationer. Exactly on the nose!

It's a necessary "discovery" phase before settling into the more standarized curriculum that starts in 1=10 (and, especially, in 2=9).
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Postby Rev.D » Wed Jul 25, 2007 8:08 pm

Nice topic, most interesting and certainly makes me think about this form of training, something which I've been loathe to commit to yet feel I need to for future work.

I already have my own methods and system, and up until now it's been fine, worked well although I recognise the fact that working all this out on my own without any form of support structure can be most frustrating. Unfortunately I've been put off by the prospect of such training due to my anti-social nature although 2 years in a tattoo studio fixed that!

Nice thread, very helpful.

I have a rather pagan/heathen background in Magical/spiritual terms so if anyone could point me in the right direction I'd be most grateful.

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Re: Using "non-crowley" techniques in the AA sylla

Postby Halcyon » Thu Jul 26, 2007 6:44 am

Jim Eshelman wrote:That is, outer stillness has a reciprocal relationship with inner stillness.


That's an interesting statement. From reading some of Crowley's yoga references I kept finding statements promoting concentrating on an infinity - the horizon etc as an aid to stillness. When I experiment with this and similar ideas I find that such concentration *does* in fact make my posture go still - or at least still-er.
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Postby Halcyon » Thu Jul 26, 2007 6:49 am

Rev.D wrote:I have a rather pagan/heathen background in magical/spiritual terms so if anyone could point me in the right direction I'd be most grateful.


Depends what you mean by pagan/heathen - these terms mean different things to different people. Most magical systems deal with spirituality to an extent, though they often don't lean towards a particular religion. Crowley's Thelema is taken by many as a religion, but Crowley wrote about this almost as a distillation of spiritual concepts.
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Postby Rev.D » Thu Jul 26, 2007 10:45 am

Although much of what I do is instinctive and overtly Cthonic in nature, I have much inspiration derived from my Anglo-Saxon heritage, using runes, shamanic practice etc. I do however attribute modern English to such rather than using antiquated terms. Since systems developed with culture I don't see the need to try and reconstruct something when I can update it for the modern age.

I deal greatly with what might be called the underworld also, and the Deed/Root/Record.

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