4 powers of the sphinx

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4 powers of the sphinx

Postby bethata418 » Sat Nov 12, 2005 4:12 pm

THELEMA

what of the powers of the sphinx?

i mean i know its: to will, to know, to dare & to be silent.
i also believe i understand the meaning of each word, and how they sorta inter-connect, but i feel i dont really know what is going on with it. is it just so simple i am over looking it, or what?

i see some connectivity of each with the words latin roots, but though this is cool it still isnt what i am really looking for. am i looking to hard? anyone want to throw a few pearls in this direction on the subject?

AGAPE

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Postby Jim Eshelman » Sat Nov 12, 2005 10:50 pm

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

So what are you looking for, exactly? I'm thinking you don't know the question yet - so it's hard to answer it. ;)

Where is the gap you are perceiving? What kind of information do you not have on this that you think you should?

Have you read the section on the Four Powers of the Sphinx in Chapter 3 of The Mystical & Magical System of the A.'.A.'.? Here is the essential text, part of which might address your unarticulated questions.

To Know, To Will, To Dare, and To Keep Si-lent: these are the four traditional maxims of the aspiring magician, the Four Powers of the Sphinx.

These Four Powers are attributed to the four elements. They frequently are symbolized by the four Kerubic (or “Fixed”) signs of the Zodiac, the images of Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, and Aquarius.

The mysterious symbolism of the Sphinx itself also is attributed to the sephirah Malkuth, especially in the sense that it is a visual and symbolic synthesis of the four elements through these governing Kerubic forms.

Different writers have allocated these Four Powers to the four elements in different ways. Nor did Crowley limit himself to one way of listing their correspondences. The exact attributions do not matter for our present purposes. They can be evaluated by each Neophyte individually, in the process of building her own understanding of the Four Powers of the Sphinx, and in the process of evolving her own inner symbol system and magical methodology. Among Crowley’s writings, the primary references for these different views can be found in De Lege Libellum, and in Liber Aleph, The Book of Wisdom & Folly, both of which were a part of the Probationer Syllabus. There is additional teaching in a document given to the Probationer on the occasion of her initiation. A still different formulation is given in Liber 777, Col. L. Another helpful reference is Magick in Theory & Practice, Cap. XXI, Sec. V.

It is important to understand that these “powers” develop in ascending layers. One never “masters” them in the sense of having fully acquired them. They continue to reappear on ever-higher levels, appearing in progressively more subtle aspects. For this reason they are represented as the four sides of a solid, balanced foundation – the first row of brick and mortar, so to speak – of the Pyramid of Initiation which the magician is building toward the stars. Without such a solid and balanced foundation, the structure eventually will topple and fall. The higher goes the building (the closer to its apex one reaches), the more likely the fall. This is as true psychologically and spiritually as it is in architecture. For this reason, the A.'.A.'. encourages – in fact, requires – a gradual, progressive, balanced advance in the Great Work, resting upon a solid, sure foundation. As the Probationer was taught in Liber Libræ,

Therefore. . . , Establish thyself firmly in the equilibrium of forces, in the centre of the Cross of the Elements, that Cross from whose centre the Creative Word issued in the birth of the dawning Universe.

As Liber 185 and Liber 13 tell us, the Neophyte is given four distinct practical tests in these Four Powers of the Sphinx. These tests are designed by the Neophyte’s Zelator. From unpub-lished instruction by Crowley, we know that these Four Powers are to be attained “on the material plane.” This is consistent with the understanding that the Powers will be tested and refined as one progresses onward through the grades. Crowley’s unpublished guidelines are available for Zelatores to use in designing these four tests. It would not be proper to include them here – for not all of these tests are given with the Neophyte’s knowledge.
Love is the law, love under will.
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Postby bethata418 » Sun Nov 13, 2005 3:56 pm

THELEMA

your absolutely correct my question was extremely vague. its that i am wanting to learn more of this but i guess i am having a hard time in knowing where to start. how should i interpete these powers? in life or in magick, or probably more correctly in both? what is to dare in magick? is this like to do a goetia ritual though you are not completely ready? to be silent in magick? is this just keeping order type secrets or also say when you learn of something cool and magical on your own, you should keep it to yourself instead of sharig with others?

AGAPE

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Postby Bastkity » Sun Nov 13, 2005 7:27 pm

Learn them in life first. Master them as best you can there. Even the 1=10 of A.'.A.'. (equivalent in most senses to Second Order of the old Golden Dawn) is only tested on them on the material plane. Develop them as character traits, look at areas in your life where these are called upon and/or where they provide solutions.

No, don't use Goetia to prove your courage. :twisted: :roll: Foolhardiness is not courage.
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Postby bethata418 » Sun Nov 13, 2005 7:42 pm

THELEMA

thanks, but what if one wants to work on it in the magical level? any pointers?

AGAPE

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Postby Jim Eshelman » Sun Nov 13, 2005 8:53 pm

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

In the absence of any more concrete questions, I'm not sure how anyone could give you any concrete answers.

For example, I don't even know what you mean by "magick."

PS - In case it is of any use or interest to you, in Temple of Thelema these four "powers" are worked on and developed in the 1° through 4° (especially at the practical and psychological levels), and then balanced and integrated in a later degree to that the Second Order members have a solid foundation for their subsequent building.
Love is the law, love under will.
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Postby serpentine418 » Sun Nov 13, 2005 10:51 pm

93 Frater 418,

The Four Powers of the Sphinx are discussed in some detail in Liber Aleph and in In The Continuum volume 2, number four (reference courtesy of dshoemaker, moderator). See General Discussion section for info on ordering ITC copies.

Regarding your post in which you are asking about examples such as *daring* to proceed with a Goetia ritual without feeling ready, etc: In my opinion, the four powers of the Sphinx are meant to balance each other, just as the four elements are meant to balance each other. Pursue each one of them, but not to the detriment of any other. "To know" that one is not ready but to "dare" regardless without desperate need would be foolish, IMHO. Prepare your knowledge and your will, keep silence where necessary; once all is in place, dare to proceed despite your fears. That's just my thought; I'm still at an early stage of figuring this out myself....

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Postby bethata418 » Mon Nov 14, 2005 12:53 pm

THELEMA

i apologise about not being concrete about what i want to know about the 4 powers if the sphinx, but i guess that is only due to i do not properly understand them. so in this case i will explain what i think each means and if you all will be so kind as so tell me where i may be right or wrong and expand on my thougts if needed.

to will: to figure out what your will is, or more realisticly which direction your will is. for me i know my will is to be a thelemite but from there i feel sorta lost. recently i took action on this, since i did not know what my will was i figured out what my will wasnt. and i moved 400miles away to start fresh and work closer to what my will is. i now believe i am doing my will but i have much much further to go on this.

to know: to gather the information that is needed to properly perform your will.

to dare: to not be afraid of "losing" what you have to gain what it is your will to gain. with this said i am not really talking about material things, though it could be material. for example be daring and step outside your comfort zone in order to better accomplish your great will, do not be afraid of failing.

to be silent: this for me is the real confusing one, i mean i completely understand the need of silence in order secrets, but i am for sure this power means much more than that. the other day i was thinking about this and recorded in my magical diary: when you figure out something "cool" about a certain magical concept it is best to keep silent, because naturally you have the urge to tell, and by not telling it intensifies the meaning in you.

how does this sound?

AGAPE

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Postby Jim Eshelman » Mon Nov 14, 2005 1:37 pm

Those are very good.

I want to emphasize, though, a point I've mentioned above - These powers are developed in layers, and they mean quite different things at different levels. Their meanings are progressive. They don't mean the same thing, say, to a 7=4 of A.'.A.'. as they do to a Neophyte, etc. Yet the 7=4 is still developing them, perfecting the four walls of the pyramid that (by then) is very nearly complete.

That pyramid building metaphor is probably the best: Think of each layer of developing these as being another row of stones. But the key thing is that they be developed evenly - don't raise one side of the pyramid too many rows ahead of the others. Keep them in even development, since they are all part of a single structure (or, as Crowley put it, they are separate powers of a single being - the Sphinx).

I recently wrote a small piece on these powers addressing the question of where someone might start, and I came to the conclusion that one should start at the beginning - with the most straightforward meanings:

...take them at their plainest meanings wherein knowledge means educating yourself, and nurturing your natural curiosity; will means diligent purposefulness and persistence in a selected course of action; courage is rising above fear; and silence is discretion in speech and preservation of confidences.


PS - This is post No. 666!
Love is the law, love under will.
Yours in L.V.X.,
Jim Eshelman
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Postby bethata418 » Mon Nov 14, 2005 6:15 pm

THELEMA

this really helps out alot, i read in your AA book about the building up of the powers in a pyramid, but this really helped more, or maybe it just sunk in this time.

thanks anyways

AGAPE

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