Substituting God Names in the A.'.A.'.

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Substituting God Names in the A.'.A.'.

Postby Luce » Wed Jan 20, 2016 2:31 am

This question is primarily addressed to Jim, though all are welcome to answer. This is an attempt to further a conversation we had via private message; Jim expressed frustration at that medium of communication, as he said he'd prefer everyone be able to read his replies on the public forum in the event that other people might benefit from the resulting discourse.

I have raised this issue with Jim, but I have not received a satisfactory answer. I admit the possibility that this is because it is not the answer for which I am looking.

I come from a somewhat unique place: I am a Christian who feels called to join the A.'.A.'.. Crowley's writing is, to me, no less than sublime, and the A.'.A.'. itself, as defined by Crowley, is the order I have been seeking for a number of years.

Crowley presents the A.'.A.'.. as a progressive non-sectarian magical order whose purpose is to train individuals in magic and mysticism, with the aim of attaining K&C-HGA and the crossing of the abyss in order to fulfill one's true will and enter the City of the Pyramids. When described, the A.'.A.'. appears just that; yet, when analyzing the requirements of the order, one finds that the promise is not quite delivered.

The A.'.A.'. claims to be free from dogma, yet this claim falls flat when one realizes that one must employ specific, unalterable rituals. This brings me to my question.

Jim has told me that aspirants of the A.'.A.'.. can, in no way, shape, or form, alter the prescribed rituals or practices. While I understand that alteration must be limited for a host of reasons, I do not understand why certain minor alterations cannot be made. In my case, I hail from a monotheistic religion; as such, I am unable to offer worship to other God names. I therefore wish to swap out god names where applicable, under the guidance of my superior. I was told this was not an option.

The changes I wish to make are few. For example, when I perform Liber Resh, I will say, "Hail unto thee who art Adonai in thy rising..." When I perform the LHR, I say, "Christ, slain and risen." I am careful to do my best to keep the symbolism the same, e.g., when performing Resh, I use Adonai at noon when facing south to match the LBRP. With the help of my superior, I believe I could find suitable substitutions from the Christian "pantheon" (if you will) that would not alter the symbolism or effect of the ritual.

But yet, I am not allowed to do this if I were to join the A.'.A.'., and I cannot quite figure out why. I cannot think of anything more dogmatic and more sectarian than dictating which names for God must be used and not allowing for any wiggle room whatsoever. I am fine with 99% of the practices of the A.'.A.'.., and would only wish to change the god names in certain places to keep me in obedience to my religion.

I understand that the A.'.A.'. teaches that all god names are merely different ways of referring to your HGA -- but if this is true, why am I not permitted to refer to my HGA by a different god name? I am unsure if I personally believe that every god-form is an aspect of the one true God, but because my religion teaches that other gods are false gods, I do not wish to violate that. I am not looking to get into a discussion concerning the veracity of this -- I remain on the fence about the issue, but that is not my concern here. My concern is that the A.'.A.'.. purports to be non-sectarian, but then requires its members to say very specific god names from very specific pantheons. That is the exact opposite of non-sectarian; that is dogmatic and shows a lack of revisability. If the A.'.A.'. is free from dogma, why can I not mildly alter the rituals by changing a single word?

It comes down to this: whether or not Christianity is the one true religion, my HGA thus far has revealed himself to me through the Christian paradigm. Why can I not use the names that I know my HGA by? Why, if I join the A.'.A.'., do I have to use Egyptian deity names, when my HGA has told me (to the best of my discernment, anyway), to refer to him by Christian and Jewish names?

I think the A.'.A.'. needs to carefully consider its actions in light of its ethos. An order cannot claim to be scientific and free from dogma whilst simultaneously dictate which god names an aspirant MUST use. This completely flies in the face of the A.'.A.'.'s stated ethos. An organization that claims to teach universal religion, but then requires its adherents to worship an Egyptian sun God, is not teaching universal religion. The organization can, of course, use those god names -- that's not the problem. The problem is forcing all adherents to use the same god names and being unwilling to permit any substitution.

All I'm told is that the problem lies with me -- that there are psychological blocks and hang-ups that I have. This may be true, but what if it's not? What if it is actually a violation of my higher will to use these god names? Are we so convinced in the truth of thelema that we are unwilling to admit the possibility that we are mistaken? And if Ra, for example, is different than Adonai, I would be worshiping a different God. Jim, even if you think I'm nuts and my fears are baseless, can't you at least see where I'm coming from? Can't you see how dogmatic this looks to me? How is this different than the Muslim requiring adherents to say that they accept Mohammed as God's messenger? Or Christianity saying you must say the name of Jesus? If we want to get away from the iron grip of dogmatic religion, can't we allow for some modifications? I'd be completely fine if I was allowed to use something completely incontrovertible, like "God." I'm not even demanding that I bring the name "Jesus" into this. All I'm asking is to substitute god names out that I feel my HGA prohibits me from using. Only I know my HGA; do you think Crowley would want an aspirant to go against the guidance of his HGA just to be "by the books"? If someone's HGA asks them to change a ritual, shouldn't they follow it? Isn't that the entire point of this? Does the jot and tittle of the rituals really usurp the authority of an aspirant's HGA? That really seems like putting the cart before the horse, no?

The conclusion is this: My HGA seems to be leading me to join the A.'.A.'.. But I know my HGA under the Christian faith and therefore my HGA does not allow me to call him by certain names (at his stage in the game, anyway). In this exceptional circumstance, can't an exception be made?

TL;DR: If I join the A.'.A.'., I am not allowed to alter the god names of any of the rituals. I believe this goes against the non-sectarian and anti-dogmatic ethos of the organization. Why am I not allowed to make minor alterations under the guidance of my superior and in response to the leading of my HGA?
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Re: Substituting God Names in the A.'.A.'.

Postby Luce » Wed Jan 20, 2016 2:45 am

Seeing as this is the policy of the organization, I understand that no amount of griping will alter it. But is there an appeal process where a committee could decide my case? Or do you, Jim, just have the final say? There must be some process that issues like this can be discussed? I'm assuming the order, like any organization, grows and adapts as time goes by.

I don't want to appeal to emotion here, but from the day I started reading Gems from the Equinox, I knew this was my path. This is not some interest or passing fad -- I am ready to drop everything and commit my life to this. You have no idea how serious I am about prosecuting the Great Work -- this is what I want to spend my life on. I need to find someway that this can work.
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Re: Substituting God Names in the A.'.A.'.

Postby Takamba » Wed Jan 20, 2016 3:23 am

I'm going to start by appealing to you on two counts.

Count 1: No where have I ever been told that the A.'.A.'. is a non-dogmatic system. The Law of Thelema, another thing in itself, can be approached with a non-dogmatic slant if you wish, but it is, after all, a law - so therefore itself is a dogma. I've been approached many times by others asking me how I reconcile this "non-dogma" myth with the very dogmatic rules applied even to one aspect of my work, yoga. My response? Where did this "non-dogma" myth come from?

Count 2: "Thou shalt have no other gods before me."

That commandment tells me there are other gods indeed! It's just that I'm only allowed to call one of them Most High. And you know what? That's what I do. And Most High is indeed his name (the English versions of the scriptures that are rampant today wash over all those complexities, but the god of the Jews had many names and those are the names you are using).

Elohim
Adnoi
YHVH
Atoh Gibor Le-olam Adonai
El Elyon
El Eloha
El HaKadosh

oh so many more and in permutations.

And if when one touches the holy foot of one's better angels, one does not see the beautification of every single name for every single deity, then one has not made the changes required.

Also, there's a little thing about formulae. These "vibrations" (in deed) are meant to affect you, to create change within and without in your life. And they are declared Class A texts and that's that about that.

You may, for example, experience certain "vibrations" whilst imagining "I do this in violation of the commands of my Lord," and then zzzzzzsnaaaappppppp you change and realize, "oh, I misinterpreted that command. Here is my Lord!"
"If we are to have Beauty and Love, whether in begetting children or works of art, or what not, we must have perfect freedom to act, without fear or shame or any falsity."
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Re: Substituting God Names in the A.'.A.'.

Postby danica » Wed Jan 20, 2016 6:05 am

Luce, how can you be in advance sure that these names/formulae are "wrong"?
Without personal experience with the system as it is, you can neither confirm nor dismiss the methodology of the AA.

Imagine you want to learn a new (strange, exotic) language but decide to discard some of its letters because you think they don't get along with the letters you already know from the language you used thus far. So, however diligently you study this new language, without accepting the whole of its basics (its alphabet, its grammar as it is, etc) you can not actually get to know and give yourself a chance to use it properly.

From what you've written, I see two conflicting impulses: one pulling you toward the AA, with its work and exploration into the yet-unknown; and another pulling you toward staying in the "already-known" (safe?) spiritual framework, which you describe as Christian.

I can't pretend to know what's the "right choice" for you in this situation. But I do know for sure that inner growth and evolution come from being open to experience the New and to venture into the Unknown.
"Write, & find ecstasy in writing! Work, & be our bed in working! Thrill with the joy of life & death! Ah! thy death shall be lovely: whoso seeth it shall be glad. Thy death shall be the seal of the promise of our age long love. Come! lift up thine heart & rejoice! We are one; we are none."
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Re: Substituting God Names in the A.'.A.'.

Postby Hermitas » Wed Jan 20, 2016 7:57 am

:shock: Luce,

For comparison, look how the Lord led Peter. The first is the principle. The second is a concrete example. [brackets mine.]

Meditate on these.

The Transfiguration
Matthew 17:1-5 (NIV)

17 After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 2 There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. 3 Just then there appeared before them Moses [representing the Law] and Elijah [representing the Prophets], talking with Jesus.

4 Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”

[Of course Peter thinks this. Peter thinks his teacher is being instructed by the ultimate instructors in the Law and the Prophets - the ultimate characters in his tradition of faith.]

5 While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”

[Tradition is useful for training at the beginning. But don't trade the leadership of the Living Lord for it.]

Peter's Vision
Acts 10:9-20 (NIV)

9 About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray. 10 He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. 11 He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. 12 It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles and birds. 13 Then a voice told him, “Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.”

14 “Surely not, Lord!” Peter replied. “I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.”

15 The voice spoke to him a second time, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.”

16 This happened three times, and immediately the sheet was taken back to heaven.

17 While Peter was wondering about the meaning of the vision, the men sent by Cornelius found out where Simon’s house was and stopped at the gate. 18 They called out, asking if Simon who was known as Peter was staying there.

19 While Peter was still thinking about the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Simon, three men are looking for you. 20 So get up and go downstairs. Do not hesitate to go with them, for I have sent them.”

[Tradition is useful for training at the beginning. But don't trade the leadership of the Living Lord for it.]


Like I said. Meditate on these. They'll hit you right, or they won't. Spend some time on it. You may dream or find your own instruction.

If you really feel stuck with this, I recommend perhaps the BOTA as the order that has taken the most pains to facilitate the initiation and instruction of Christians. At some point, however, no matter where you go, you'll probably have to deal with this.

The Lord is neither small nor truly named by human tongues.

My two...
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Re: Substituting God Names in the A.'.A.'.

Postby Jim Eshelman » Wed Jan 20, 2016 8:01 am

Luce wrote:Crowley presents the A.'.A.'.. as a progressive non-sectarian magical order whose purpose is to train individuals in magic and mysticism, with the aim of attaining K&C-HGA and the crossing of the abyss in order to fulfill one's true will and enter the City of the Pyramids. When described, the A.'.A.'. appears just that; yet, when analyzing the requirements of the order, one finds that the promise is not quite delivered.

This form of non-sectarianism representation is pretty true during the original Equinox period. Examination of the 1919 material in Equinox III:1, and even more so One Star in Sight, shows it being non-sectarian only in the sense that all sects are honored as subsets of Thelema (my words); i.e., the spirit is the same AND it is pointedly, explicitly Thelemic. (The original design didn't even disclose the unpublished Liber Legis until the 2=9 grade.)

The A.'.A.'. claims to be free from dogma, yet this claim falls flat when one realizes that one must employ specific, unalterable rituals. This brings me to my question.

Is that dogma? (I'm not saying it isn't. I'm posing a question.) Would you consider it dogma to affirm that all gymnastics training must consider the consequences of the law of gravity? If yes to the first and no to the second, what's the difference? (Again, these are dialectic questions.)

Jim has told me that aspirants of the A.'.A.'.. can, in no way, shape, or form, alter the prescribed rituals or practices.

I doubt I said that. I likely said that one must learn and master them exactly as provided, test on them as provided, and pass them on as provided. After having mastered it in this way, what one does in one's own Work is another matter.

In a fine cooking school, a chef trainee must learn to make the core French sauces "exactly so." This has nothing to do with what he or she does when starting a restaurant after graduation.

If, by chance, I am remembering correctly, your objection was that you didn't want to learn / master / practice them as given in the first place, you wanted to reframe them before starting out. Not only would that not be the A.'.A.'. system (it's you starting your own system), it also shows a barrier in yourself that is truly dogmatic, i.e., unable to see past the arbitrariness of the whole matter and adopt other language and forms interchangeably with your own. These would be psychological (one might even call them spiritual) limitations that the system quite pointedly seeks to burn out of people, and more or less says so in the first few minutes of admitting someone as a Probationer. (If I'm not remembering our conversations correctly, i.e., this isn't you I'm remembering, then the point stands but, of course, it doesn't apply to you :) .)

In my case, I hail from a monotheistic religion; as such, I am unable to offer worship to other God names.

"Unable" is bullshit. I think you mean that, if you adhere to the dogma of a specific system you accept, then you are not permitted to do this within the rules of that system. You are, however, perfectly able to do it. You are making a choice to let something else be more important to you than your progress in the system. You are also holding onto exactly the kind of spiritual rigidity that the system seeks to neutralize.

Look, nobody expects you to start out with the Understanding that comes at the end. But I do want you to understand that the goal is to get you (get all of us!) past the idea that there is one particular definition of God - to get to a place where monotheism, polytheism, pantheism, atheism, etc. are interchangeable and one deeply, deeply gets that these are only lines drawn by the intellect, labels composed to sort reality - and REALITY is bigger than the labels of the moment - to get you to where you see how you see these things more or less indifferently in any other variant experience someone else describes. All the rest is politics and social engineering. (I'm quite willing to leverage politics and social engineering, BTW - that's something the Mysteries have always done. I just like to be clear that this is what we're all doing.)

I therefore wish to swap out god names where applicable, under the guidance of my superior. I was told this was not an option.

You need to learn, practice, master, and pass examination on the material as delivered, and then do whatever you want in your own Work. Besides the fact that this pushes you hard in an area that you are limiting yourself, it is also necessary for you to be able to pass the original system on as received to those who come after you.

As a Probationer I detested a certain book by Blavatsky I was required to read. I later balked for years at memorizing 27 simple lines that (coincidentally?) were inspired by something Blavatsky brought through, even though I'd memorized hundreds of similar lines previously. (In hindsight, I think I have some past life issue with Blavatsky; but that's entirely beside the point that my personality was balking at this stubbornly.) To her great credit, my Superior was aware that what I wanted really didn't matter a whit - that her job was to deliver the system as received and watch my personality dance and squirm and resist and play all of its other little ego games until I eventually settled back to the point that there was really nothing there to resist and, besides, if I wanted to move on in the system more than I wanted to take a stand, then I eventually would do so- when I was really ready. And I did.

The changes I wish to make are few. For example, when I perform Liber Resh, I will say, "Hail unto thee who art Adonai in thy rising..." When I perform the LHR, I say, "Christ, slain and risen." I am careful to do my best to keep the symbolism the same, e.g., when performing Resh, I use Adonai at noon when facing south to match the LBRP. With the help of my superior, I believe I could find suitable substitutions from the Christian "pantheon" (if you will) that would not alter the symbolism or effect of the ritual.

If these words in Resh are an issue, then you have missed the core realization that comes from Resh (which, admittedly, often doesn't come for years). The practical solution is to learn it as originally taught, test on it as originally taught, adore Ra-Hoor-Khuit with all your heart and soul (or at least mouth and persistence) for a long stretch of months, and commit to passing it on to those who come after you as you originally received it. After that, I don't care what you do with it in your own private work.

If you can't or won't do this, then there are many other things in which you will fail, deeper and closer to the results you seek.

I... would only wish to change the god names in certain places to keep me in obedience to my religion.

I would certainly like to challenge that obedient temperament - at least to the point where you are fully in charge of extending or withholding obedience at will.

I understand that the A.'.A.'. teaches that all god names are merely different ways of referring to your HGA -- but if this is true, why am I not permitted to refer to my HGA by a different god name?

If you believe this is true, why does your personality resist calling your Lord and Savior Jesus Christ by some other name like Yoda, Fred, Casper, Maggie Ann, Satan, Kali, Coocoocachoo, or Donald Trump? Again: If there were no other reason, it is sufficient reason that this approach will challenge personality-level limitations you have put on yourself.

Another parallel: Early in my A.'.A.'. time, in a conversation with Soror Meral on Liber III, I said I didn't see any reason in arbitrarily doing something that caused physical pain. She suggested I might examine why I was resistant to experiencing pain. She didn't want to cause me pain either, and she was certainly not suggesting that I should want to cause myself pain, nor to encourage me to cause myself pain. She simply rightly detected that my insistence on this point showed an issue I had to overcome. (In fact, the magnitude of my insistence was likely the clue that I had an actual issue.) The right attitude at the animal level, of course, is to avoid the pain, at least unless there was a greater survival reward. Above the animal level, the right attitude was to be ultimately indifferent on the matter, to get that pain comes and goes and, while I might not seek it, I certainly shouldn't govern my life by avoiding it.

I am unsure if I personally believe that every god-form is an aspect of the one true God, but because my religion teaches that other gods are false gods, I do not wish to violate that.

Again: a choice, something under your control.

I am not looking to get into a discussion concerning the veracity of this

Please notice that I haven't addressed that either. I've only talked about (things like) what your intellect is doing with that idea.

If the A.'.A.'. is free from dogma, why can I not mildly alter the rituals by changing a single word?

OK, go ahead and change the word "but" to "and" wherever you want to in the rituals. Just don't change names and symbols. :)

To say it a different way: Changing something that means something to you is a bad idea in this sort of thing, though it's fine to change things that don't really mean much to you at all. Why? Because, again, the dismantling of various personality-related ideas (including, ultimately, the idea that the personality is who you really are).

It comes down to this: whether or not Christianity is the one true religion, my HGA thus far has revealed himself to me through the Christian paradigm. Why can I not use the names that I know my HGA by?

In those places where the HGA name is called for (e.g., at a certain point in the Pentagram Ritual) you most certainly can and should! But there are other practices that quite clearly distinguish themselves from the HGA operation. For example, Liber Astarte is quite explicit that its Bhakti Yoga task is not to be confused with the invocation of the HGA. Will you be able, holding Jesus Christ as the name of your HGA, to undertake the practice of choosing another god, from some pantheon, who is quite explicitly not your idea of your HGA and writing and practicing a ritual of profound adoration to him or her for a protracted period of time? If not, you would not pass a fundamental practice of the 4=7 grade. (And there is a good reason for doing it that way, which one probably wouldn't see until on the other side of the practice.) Also, Liber Resh is quite explicit that the four gods adored are not what you are truly adoring by the ritual; they are method. This doesn't at all interfere with what you understand to be what you are truly adoring.

Why, if I join the A.'.A.'., do I have to use Egyptian deity names, when my HGA has told me (to the best of my discernment, anyway), to refer to him by Christian and Jewish names?

Because (1) it {******} you off or scares you, and that's a clue that it's something you need to work on, and (2) because it's a system you are picking and, seemingly, wanting to change and rewrite as if you already know more than the designers and caretakers. One wonders why you don't just go choose something else. The answer, most likely, is that that same HGA is pushing you hard in a direction that will bring you up against these very limits you are putting on yourself.

An order cannot claim to be scientific and free from dogma whilst simultaneously dictate which god names an aspirant MUST use.

Every time I picked up a calculus book, I had to learn all over from the beginning because the book used different nomenclature, different language. Even though I had passed in the matter twice before, I had to start, on the third occasion, as if I didn't have a clue, because it's all about how the language is being used.

You seem to think that the Names are things in and of themselves. You are confusing an inexpressible constant for the variable names. (See note about Fred above.) Nothing is more truly scientific in method than the arbitrary adoption of label names for the purpose of an experiment, especially when one is dealing with unknown quantities.

An organization that claims to teach universal religion, but then requires its adherents to worship an Egyptian sun God, is not teaching universal religion.

You could convince me that this is true if the aspirant already worships an Egyptian sun-god. In that case, it would just be reinforcing an established sectarian position. But for someone who does not already worship an Egyptian sun-god, it's brilliant!

Understand that "universal religion" is not the same as "freedom of religion." Universal religion is the recognition that all religions whatsoever are the same religion, just using different variable names for cultural or other reasons. It doesn't further the ultimate separation of seemingly distinct religions but, rather, removes separation.

The organization can, of course, use those god names -- that's not the problem. The problem is forcing all adherents to use the same god names and being unwilling to permit any substitution.

Nobody is forcing anybody. Just don't use the system that uses the names you don't want to use. Do something else.

You are showing yourself to be stubbornly dogmatic and quite averse to universal religion. It would seem to me that you would have something to gain from a system that would soften those rigid boundaries; but that's not my call, it's just my opinion. It's your call.

All I'm told is that the problem lies with me -- that there are psychological blocks and hang-ups that I have. This may be true, but what if it's not?

Great question. What do you see as the consequences if you persevered in the system and, oops, it wasn't you after all?

What if it is actually a violation of my higher will to use these god names?

Life will then correct you. Anytime we make a serious enough mistake, life smacks us exactly as hard as it needs to back onto our own track. (This answer is aside from the fact that I personally, profoundly doubt that anyone's "higher will" is connected with labels of any kind. It deals with things that are behind those labels.)

On the higher will question, I'm more interested in why you seem driven so powerfully to align with this particular system. That you are intellectually willing to do so earns you my respect. That you seem so powerfully compelled to do so engages my curiosity.

Jim, even if you think I'm nuts and my fears are baseless, can't you at least see where I'm coming from?

I think I do. And... well, not to bore you with repeating myself... see what I've written above. Where you're coming from" is the raw matter of what the system takes and works with.

Can't you see how dogmatic this looks to me?

Yes, I see how dogmatic it looks to you. I also see that it isn't dogmatic. You are being dogmatic.

"Should therefore the candidate hear the name of any God, let him not rashly assume that it refers to any known God, save only the God known to himself {emphasis added}." The Probationer hears this, perhaps the single most important instruction in the entire A.'.A.'. system, within moments of being received.

How is this different than the Muslim requiring adherents to say that they accept Mohammed as God's messenger?

A.'.A.'. doesn't require that you believe anything at all, just that you do certain things.

I'd be completely fine if I was allowed to use something completely incontrovertible, like "God." I'm not even demanding that I bring the name "Jesus" into this. All I'm asking is to substitute god names out that I feel my HGA prohibits me from using. Only I know my HGA; do you think Crowley would want an aspirant to go against the guidance of his HGA just to be "by the books"?

If you already have that certainty of communication from your HGA, then you don't need the system. If, however, you aren't really certain, they this is just a theory, and the way to test all such theories (including all such perceived communications from the HGA) is to test it in action. Test it by following it, and see where that takes you; test it by challenging it, and seeing where that takes you. Rinse and repeat.
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Re: Substituting God Names in the A.'.A.'.

Postby gurugeorge » Wed Jan 20, 2016 11:57 am

Luce wrote:TL;DR: If I join the A.'.A.'., I am not allowed to alter the god names of any of the rituals. I believe this goes against the non-sectarian and anti-dogmatic ethos of the organization. Why am I not allowed to make minor alterations under the guidance of my superior and in response to the leading of my HGA?

Hmm. OK, think of it this way. All the various Orders are their own specific thing, all the various systems of attainment are their own thing, with their own traditions. But none of them (if they are genuine) will dictate to you how to approach the most fundamental questions. All they will do is give you a toolset.

The A.'.A.'. is a specific system of attainment and its rituals and practices are already a non-sectarian distillation of practices from many other systems, including Christianity (I don't know if you've noticed, but A.'.A.'. symbolism is rich with Christian symbols and concepts, as well as Egyptian, Hindu and Buddhist.)

And while there are lots of fairly strict rules and a strict system or progression for bread-and-butter stuff that prepares you for the main "goals" (K&C, Crossing of the Abyss), it's never dictated to you how you should try and attain those crucial "goals". That's between you and your God.

So how does that link up with something like Christianity? The fault of the old religions, from the Thelemic point of view, is that while they do give you tools, they also do something more than just that: they also tell you how to go on and use them, what to expect, and what to call your result.

This is the thing of dogmatism that Thelema (partly) came to destroy. For example, for Catholicism and Protestantism both, Christ is, dogmatically, something external to poor little me, the worshipper. It was quite a tricky job for mystics in the Christian tradition to avoid even hinting that "Christ" was anything other than the one-shot-historically-incarnated Son of God, who is wholly external to the worshipper, or for mystics in the Islamic tradition to depart too far from God as being the wholly external entity who instructed Mohammed in a one-shot, final set of instructions for mankind, through the Angel Gabriel. But is God only something external, or also something internal? In fact, Christian tradition itself hints that He is something internal too (not just something that talks to you internally, but something that is in some sense also intimately you). But that messes with the "authority" of the lineage. The message can't be gotten rid of entirely, but it has to be downplayed, and mystics always had to toe the downplaying line (if they didn't, they got into trouble, like Miguel Molinos or, in the Islamic case, Mansur al Hallaj).

All this is on a razor's edge actually. In one sense God is very much an external thing worthy of worship (or at the very least, it sometimes pays to view Him that way). But in another sense, God is something very definitely within the worshipper, and (in a sense) more intimately the worshipper than the thing the worshipper ordinarily feels him or herself to be. Crowley put it in a nutshell when he wrote (in MiTaP):-

By God I here mean the Ideal Identity of a mans inmost nature. "Something ourselves (I erase Arnolds imbecile and guilty not) that makes for righteousness".
(The reference is to Matthew Arnold, a poet and literary figure of Victorian times, who had said God is "a tendency not ourselves that makes for righteousness".)

At some point you have to make a choice: you have to accept or reject the principle that Christ is in you. If you accept it, then it's all fine, Christ can also be external to you and worshipped. But so can any other God. In that case, the situation is that you acknowledge that all religions are "about the same thing", but you just wave in a friendly fashion to the other ones that don't float your boat: "that's nice, but I'll stick to my own preferred iconography, thanks".

However, if you reject that principle, and stick with the (from a Thelemic point of view) corrupt dogma of Christianity (as a human tradition), that God is outside you only, and that this version of "God" is the only right one, then you've got a fundamental contradiction with Thelema, and you can't really carry on both at the same time.

The clue is to notice that in either case, it's your decision.

It's all about "energized enthusiasm". If the symbolism of Christ gets you going, gets you excited and enthused about life, then that's the thing for you and nobody can take it away from you - so long as you bear in mind that the Christ you're looking for is also in you. Remember that God is omnipresent, you are not a black hole where no divinity is, on the contrary, the divine in you is your closest access to the divine. All priests, churches, Popes, gurus, teachers, gods, even God, are (or should be) merely external representations, adjuncts, helps.

Btw, what I've been saying about Christianity applies to all the religions from a Thelemic point of view - they are all corrupt, or all ok and perfectly workable, depending on whether they diminish your (the seeker's) fundamental divinity or not. Because most of the Asian religions start off accepting this almost as a primary principle - e.g. "You are THAT" - they are off to a better start - the problem with them is that, just as Abrahamic religions have often done, they "keep the people down", e.g., their form of corruption is more practical, in that they uphold caste systems, allow "monks" and the like to vampirize their people, and in practice often also maintain the fiction that God, or the Buddha, is something external, way over there ...

In fact, the Thelemic "message" is nothing new, all that's new is that it's out in the open, democratized, so to speak, whereas before it was esoteric (mainly because some of the smart people who understood it, but were in positions of power and worldly authority, thought it would cause chaos in society if it were widely known and understood). IOW, all that's new is that we now have a religion that proclaims the "secret" of everyone's divinity openly as everyone's birthright, something anyone can access and live from the truth of, something everyone can, actually, "handle", and that contrary to such a truth being widespread being likely to cause chaos, it will actually result in a more ordered, more benign society.

Just some food for thought, FWIW.
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"To wake up is to wake the world up" - D.E.Harding
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Re: Substituting God Names in the A.'.A.'.

Postby Hermitas » Wed Jan 20, 2016 6:28 pm

The way that can be told is not the Eternal Way.

The name that can be named is not the Eternal Name.

-Tao Te Ching
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Re: Substituting God Names in the A.'.A.'.

Postby Hermitas » Wed Jan 20, 2016 7:20 pm

Bottom line though, brother.…

I see you having way more trouble with 666 and the Mark of the Beast as something you're really going to have to think a lot about.

This particular method of instruction may not be beneficial for you. Maybe choose an order whose material you may not be so potentially allergic to. Take a step back. Take some time to discern this matter. Investigate some other orders.

I know the trouble you will have. It's messy.

But if, in the end, you feel drawn back this way, then let's strap one on.
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