Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
Welcome to the A∴A∴. You are now part of an exclusive organization that is entitled to initiation into Magick (profound wisdom of live beyond the bounds of scholarly study). You have found the secret school that will give you the initiation that you otherwise cannot have. This means that if your teacher tells you to do something that is ethically wrong or destructive you must do it, or otherwise you will be barred from the order and lose the golden thread of initiation right? —– Wrong!!!
You are no better than anyone if you join the A∴A∴ or any other organization. And the longer you cling to this illusion the more disappointed you will be when you meet other individuals even Christians, yes Christians who are not in the order or know nothing of the occult and yet are physically, mentally, and spiritually superior to yourself. Believe me there are other magi who either by birth, karma, or accident have attained to the pinnacle of their own powers. Of course there are many who also reach attainment through a different order, a different formal system using a different mythology and different set of symbols. There are also rare individuals, who through a combination of trials, the development of reasoning, study and honest introspection have also attained to adept-hood while being professed atheists/intellectuals. (Nietzsche and Sartre come to mind here.)
Some people who have their illusions of exclusivity to initiation and the possibility for greatness quit the order once they meet other ‘adepts’ outside of our school. Then sooner or later they come to regret their decision; they realize that there is something beautiful in the A∴ A∴ and it’s structure and it’s magickal current, but by the time they have understand their loss it is often too late. They had failed their test of initiation, they weren’t honest in their own introspection.
The bottom line in all this is that the one and the many are equivalent. Truth is one, its appearances and paths are many, but in the end all successful initiation leads to the same end. Hence Crowley wrote that the adepts of the three magickal schools white, black and yellow, all drink at the same table.
My own experience has shown me that since the day we are born that life itself is initiating us. What is life? It is simply being interacting with it’s own nothingness: Nuit and Hadit. This interaction is dynamic, disruptive and unstable, hence the aphorism: ‘change is stability’. Ra-Hoor-Khuit, the solar god of war in Thelemic mythology is this violent dynamic that is at the heart of all life, all being. To be, means that something contradictory must not be. Hence violence on all levels is inherent to life. That is why when we truly banish in the ceremony of The Star Ruby, we make the signs of NOX, the Night of Pan. Pall is all, he is the archetype of being in itself which is everything and nothing, the cosmic egg. Only when this all being is negated in specific ways can beings per-se manifest and show themselves. So to be is to suffer, but this suffering is truly the echo of pure joy, the joy of being in its totality.
But being has structure and rules and it is ever striving and evolving in this instability of beings to become self conscious and self determined. As stars we are basically a particular interaction/combination of being and nothingness unfolding a complete concept which is semi self conscious and semi self determined. Our goal though, is to become wholly self conscious and wholly self determined. This entails changes in our internal and external behavior. Of course knowing what to do, and doing it, are not the same thing; that is why Magick is not to be confused with some scholarly pursuit even though formal study is an important component. Study, practice, and trials are all necessary. We need to suffer consequences in order to change our internal and external behavior, in order to become more awakened and wise. We need ordeals and life for everyone is the hard school of initiation.
Everyone, including animals and objects are going through their own initiation, because all things have a degree of perception and internal drive, (at least according to Leibniz and myself) and all things are changing, bringing an opportunity for evolution. This entelechy and inner drive for more power (will to power) in all things is the driving force for initiation and it is this drive for expansion that gives all self conscious beings the opportunity to actively work with these inherent forces to facilitate this natural and inevitable transformation of consciousness.
The A∴A∴ is simply one of many occult schools that uses symbols, mythology, ceremonies and occult exercises to facilitate a conscious initiation. If we are serious aspirants in this order and we don’t take the criticisms of our teachers personally, we can succeed in a conscious process of initiation using a mythos, and schema of practices that are in alignment with the current mode of being: the zeitgeist of this point of history. This means that we are using a mythos and symbols that are meaningful to the structures in the human psyche as it exists in the modern/postmodern world that we find ourselves in and offers ways of aligning ourselves with the world around us in ways that are constructive. (Joseph Campbell points out that the older myths, particularly in the biblical tradition are out of date, meaningless and misalign the psyche to the current demands of life as it is Now.) Naturally since I accept Liber AL vel Legis I think Campbell has hit the proverbial nail on the head. And the answer to this challenge is expressed in our work to create an authentic mythos and culture in Thelema that is post Judeo/Christian in nature.
So anyone can become initiated if they choose to be conscious and some I suspect attain it by accident. If you are reading this, you probably belong to neither of the above mentioned cases as people are not usually interested in what they have always had. Yes the claims that student’s make to being a born adept are not taken too seriously in this neck of the woods.
So what happens when we sign the oath in the A∴A∴ then? Well we make an agreement with our own archetypal self, our unconscious and the collective unconscious. In short, we make a covenant with being. We ask and agree that it be tough on us, that it educate us that it cut us no breaks and that we will face whatever comes to us with a straight back. It also means we will be committed to our teachers and to our assigned tasks. But if we break our oath and choose to toy with old sweetnesses, we are in effect making war with our own unconscious and the life force. Still worse, by breaking our own word the forces we have summoned to initiate us move into unconsciousness, which means we will suffer, but a much worse, often fruitless suffering, since it is a suffering without the light that would come from our conscious participation and utilization of the mythological language came that allows us to swim in the sea of consciousness.
Love is the law, love under will.