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Aeon418
11-05-2011 22:00
[QUOTE=Ross G Caldwell]People often forget - or don't take seriously enough - that Crowley believed that there was a correct, initiated association of the trumps with Hebrew letters and signs, planets, and elements. Would-be commentators should immerse themselves in GD teachings, ritual and history to begin to understand Crowley's symbolic world.[/QUOTE]Well said, Ross. :)

Getting a handle on Crowley's symbolic world view is an essential part of creating a solid foundation on which future exploration and speculation can be based. Knowing how Crowley used and viewed these symbols provides much needed context and direction. I don't understand how some people can advocate ignoring that context in favour something else. Like it or not, the core Thelemic texts were filtered through the architecture of Crowley's mind and thought patterns. To then claim that Crowley's views and ideas are irrelevant to the understanding of these texts is crazy in my opinion.

Ross G Caldwell
11-05-2011 22:01
[QUOTE=Aeon418]
Of course it depends on how you interpret the third ordeal, but I am not inclined to disagree with you. [/QUOTE]

Speaking of the Ordeals, here is an interpretation of The Comment (in Class A) as a key to them.


A comment on The Comment

The four injunctions of "The Comment in Class A" or "Tunis Comment" can be seen as magical and moral tests, and as interpretative keys to some passages of the Book of the Law. That is, each is one of the Powers of the Sphinx or Magical Virtues, each an element, and each also explains one of the "Ordeals" of AL III: 64-67, as well as to the "grades" of "thelemites" in I:40, followed by the summary command of the Law.

1. Each of the four admonitions or injunctions corresponds to one of the four Powers of the Sphinx - "To Know" (Scire), "To Will" (Velle), "To Dare" (Audere), and "To Stay Silent" (Tacere).

The first admonition, "The study of this book is forbidden. It is wise to destroy this copy after the first reading", corresponds to Scire, to know. Those who know their Wills will be in agreement with the essential moral message of the book, and have no further need to read it. Those who either do not know, or know but are curious and courageous anyway, will disobey the admonition and dare to walk in a dangerous place.

Thus the second admonition, "Whosoever disregards this does so at his own risk and peril. These are most dire", corresponds to "Audere", to dare. It is daring to read it a second time, and thereupon to study it.

The third admonition concerns the Power of Silence, Tacere: "Those who discuss the contents of this book are to be shunned by all, as centres of pestilence." Thus they do not discuss it, but remain in silent contemplation, or do they do not mind being shunned by all, and become like Hermits.

The final injunction therefore corresponds to Velle, to Will: "All questions of the Law are to be decided only by appeal to my writings, each for himself." Thus this final sentence of The Comment presumes that the reader has dared to know, to have questions, to have respected silence in regards to others' interpretations, and finishes with an appeal to the primacy of the individual Will.

2. Each Power corresponds to one of the four elements:

Scire - Air - Fool
Audere - Water - Hanged Man
Tacere - Earth - Hermit (Virgo)
Velle - Fire - New Aeon ("Do What Thou Wilt")

(cfr. Liber D, s.v. 741 "(Sum of) 1-38; AMThSh, the letters of the elements, hence a concealed YHVH")

3. The Ordeals of reading AL III:64-67 can be read in the light of The Comment.

First Ordeal - Silver - To Know
Second Ordeal - Gold - To Dare
Third Ordeal - Stones of precious water - To Stay Silent
Fourth Ordeal - Ultimate sparks of the intimate fire - To Will

To Know the Book makes it the reflection of Silver (the Moon); to Dare to study the Book makes it the achievement of Gold (the Sun). To Keep Silence about the Book makes it the alchemical transmutation of Stones of Precious Water (the Secret). To Will the Book makes it the highest Initiation, Ultimate Sparks of the Intimate Fire (the Highest in the Lowest).

4. The Three Grades of Thelemites, with the final Power of the Sphinx.
THELEMA

The
Hermit
Earth
Lover
Earth
Man of Earth
All

Or -

THELEMITES

The
Hermit
Earth
Lover
Earth
Man of Earth
I
T
E ("Ite", To Go, the Fifth Power of the Sphinx, "Do What Thou Wiltů")
Sparks (the ultimate letter and reward of ordeal)

Thus the Man of Earth subsumes the other grades (by the letter "e"="earth" between all of them), and prepares for the final step, "Do What Thou Wilt Shall Be The Whole Of The Law", which is synonymous with the Fifth Power of the Sphinx, and the Fourth Ordeal of III:67. Note that the final sentence of the verse I:40 is not a grade, but an explanation of the word Thelema, which in itself has three grades, but is summed up in the last "word" of eleven words.

The word Thelema as three grades and "Do What Thou Wiltů" thus corresponds to the last Ordeal, "To Will", in which the Book will be seen as "ultimate sparks of the intimate fire."

That intimate fire is the Great Work, and the ultimate sparks are the creations flung out of the furnace of its activity.

Richard
12-05-2011 01:19
Since this forum is about the Thoth, there really can be no argument about the Heh-Star-Aquarius and Tzaddi-Emperor-Aries correspondences. I just personally feel more comfortable with the natural alignment of the simple letters with the zodiac. Simply interchanging Emperor with Star but keeping the GD's Letter-Path-Zodiac correspondences is not acceptable because I don't want to disconnect the Star from Aquarius. Sigh.

With my trusty Marseille Tarot firmly in hand, I shall run away from these arcane issues for awhile. :)

Always Wondering
12-05-2011 01:23
[QUOTE=Ross G Caldwell]Speaking of the Ordeals, here is an interpretation of The Comment (in Class A) as a key to them.
[/QUOTE]

This is very helpful, Ross. I was going to have to ask about the third ordeal this morning, but this explains so much. Thanks for posting it.

AW

Aeon418
12-05-2011 05:30
[QUOTE=Ross G Caldwell]Speaking of the Ordeals, here is an interpretation of The Comment (in Class A) as a key to them.[/quote]Ross, just out of curiosity, do you regard the Comment as Class A? It's official status is a bone of contention in some circles. At one extreme there seems to be the view that it is an inspired text whose purpose, among others, is to prohibit the kind of discussion we are having in this thread. At the other end of the spectrum there are people who outright reject the Comment as un-Thelemic.

As far as I know Crowley never gave it any official designation. The first occurance of it's Class A status that I can find is in a book authored by Marcelo Motta. Oddly enough it is also Motta's ex pupils, Breeze, Gunther, and Wasserman, who make the same claim today. (And of course Breeze a.k.a. Hymenaeus Beta is the current editor of the "official" Crowley publications at the moment, and so it's his view on the Comment that gets published.)

Knowing the circumstances under which it was written I'm not altogether convinced it is was "inspired" in the sense implied by Class A. (Basically it was a tool of convenience to get Norman Mudd off Crowley's back.) But I don't reject it either. I like the challenge it presents to the reader.

brightcrazystar
12-05-2011 05:39
[QUOTE=Aeon418]Yes, I see this same "Trump card" being routinely played every time a seeming incongruity arises or a personal theory is being threatened. So if a Crowley shaped obstacle should suddenly appear on the horizon, no problem. Just whip out the "Crowley knows not this meaning all card", and you can safely ignore anything and everything you don't like with a clear conscience and the glad smile. :D[/quote]

Note, I never said this. You seem to be tailoring me to be the advesary you are used to dealing with. I just exercise caution in thinking I know when he was right, or what he was thinking. Crowely made of himself such a man that it is impossible to know him through his writings. The study is for people willing to do their own research. The laity have everything spelled out for them. Crowley was MUCH more intent on making people make sense of their own work than his. Also note, I do not have a preference to associations - I do not work that way. To me "Let Tzaddi equal Aries" and "Let Tzaddi equal Aquarius" are dimensions I CREATE as working assumptions; the dimensions of variables I need for the formulas of my work. I will back up that there is no reason to switch the Sepher Yetzirah, but that is just because to me translation should be FAITHFUL. Footnotes can easily clarify Crowley's association - which has NOTHING to do with the Sepher Yetzirah. I do not say one is wrong, I say one has no basis in the Sepher Yetzirah.

As for what Crowley heard, no one here knows it was a Tzaddi. We only know it was remembered to be a Tzaddi five years later, on the other side of a bit of memory loss.

[quote]Which people exactly and when? Can you provide referrences?
Fine. But then the whole subject is in danger of being reduced to a quagmire of subjective, personal interpretation that is of no value to anyone beyond the individual reader. In that case the text loses much of it's wider contextual meaning and becomes a blank slate upon which anything can be projected. Without any outside frame of referrence each and every interpretation is equally valid and equally useless.
[/quote]

How much more need for dogma is there for a self-determining world. What better exposition of Law than a mosiac of the mysticism of the ages? The whole world is post-modern now, or at least post-post modern. Interpretation is everything.

As for who - Short list: Ebony Anpu was the last person to speak to Grady McMurtry. I was the last person to speak to Ebony, as he was my teacher and I subletted a room from him. He swore to me that it was a different matter entirely - nothing about any Hebrew letter at all. I honestly believe he believed that. What he told me made sense. I never spoke to Grady, but several people agree that Grady was convinced it was not a Tzaddi by Crowley himself - even if it was just an entertaining thought. Crowley to his end days entertained skepticism to his own integrity and importance. Why shouldn't we? Professor Bob Stein is one of the most enthusiatic and informed Thelemic scholars I know of, and he remains as unconvinced of any one thing or any other thing as I. He has lectured and authored papers on this subject. Sam Webster, Joseph Maxx, and others I knew far before there was a Open Source Golden Dawn, all still remain unconvinced. I have also heard it from several people down the O.T.O. line much more versed in this. The current Master of Tahuti Lodge and I discussed it this very last weekend, and several weekends before - during a social luncheon after Initiations. Several members of the Rose Croix, my own Bishop in the E.G.C., and even a member of the Electoral College (though Bob was one for 11 years anyways) that is one of the closest living links to Crowley himself - Bill Heidrick. It was Phyllis and Eshelman of all the people I met, who demanded it could be no other letter or solutions. Their fall-back each time was the same part of the Book of Thoth - a book known to have several other inaccuracies and contrary thoughts in it. Several people in the "Thelemistas" schism of the old Thelema Lodge (my old lodge) were some of the most senior people in the Order, and many are still leaving a verdict out. C.F. Russell also questioned it, and apparently debated both for it and against it with Crowely himself, each playing both part of the debate.

Personally, I have read many documents and not all of them vibe with the Book of Thoth interpretation. Furthermore, as a student and Initiate I am encouraged to think for myself, not simply take anything for granted. As for this, I see it is an INELEGANT solution - for it does not address the subject to the letter. It requires TWO letters go aright, not simply one.

[quote]Exactly. But every time someone says Heh=The Star=Aquarius, then automatically someone else jumps up brandishing a copy of the Sepher Yetzirah and demands an immediate halt.[/quote]

I personally do no such thing. But everytime someone brings up a copy of the Sepher Yetzirah with an unfaithful correspondence of Tzaddi and Heh, I do say there is no base for that besides in Crowely's work.

[quote]This has already been covered in J. Daniel Gunthers, Initiation in the Aeon of the Child (The Fixed Mercury p.109 - 114) As he correctly points out, Crowley received the vision at a time when he was still using the old attributions. Hence his comment that Heh and Vau are the perfected sulphur and salt, respectively.[/QUOTE]

But it was after the Equinox of the Gods, and the commentary was written long after his acceptance of Thelema and in by 1924 he was still using those attributes, which he dieliberates in some of his final years in his diaries - then PERHAPS there is no reason for anyone ese to think or claim they can address this with authority.

I have it on good faith, and can confirm by personal experience even the mystery traditions of the west that hold this change do not apply it across the board - not even Jim Eshelman. They use what suits their purpose, or what is the most harmonious, and sometimes simply what tradition dictates - even in regards to the letters Heh and Tzaddi. Crowley did the same, if that matters to you.

Aeon418
12-05-2011 05:49
[QUOTE=brightcrazystar]Note, I never said this. You seem to be tailoring me to be the advesary you are used to dealing with.[/quote]Just a quickie before I go out the door. My usage of the the word "you" was intended to be generic. I do appologise if you feel victimized by my comments. It was not my intention. :)

Richard
12-05-2011 07:46
[QUOTE=Aeon418].....Exactly. But every time someone says Heh=The Star=Aquarius, then automatically someone else jumps up brandishing a copy of the Sepher Yetzirah and demands an immediate halt......[/QUOTE]Forget the Sepher Yetzirah for a moment. What's bothersome is that there is a logical correspondence between the twelve simple letters and the twelve zodiacal signs. The pairings Heh-Aries, Vau-Taurus, Zayin-Gemini, etc. is a simple correspondence based on the order of occurrence of the letters and the order of the signs. The eleventh simple letter Tzaddi is paired with the eleventh sign Aquarius. [B]It is an observation, not an invention of the Sepher Yetzirah.[/B] Changing this violates the mathematical elegance, that's all.

[Now, back to the TdM.]

RLG
12-05-2011 08:12
[QUOTE=Aeon418]And why on earth would he? I'm suddenly thinking about Mohammed and a mountain for some reason...[/QUOTE]
Not sure what you mean here, I was responding to your comment.


[QUOTE=Aeon418]And behind all this lies the [i]a priori[/i] assumption that the Sepher Yetzirah attributions are correct. Their correctness seems to be justified merely on the basis of age and the fact that they have been copied a few times. Is there something else I'm missing here?.[/QUOTE]

Absolutely, the assumption is that the SY attributions are the starting point, and they are kept in every other instance of letter-zodiac correlation. so naturally i am indicating the idea of Tzaddi = Aquarius within the confines of the tradition whence it originated. if one goes beyond that tradition, then any correlation whatsoever can be spoken of. But AC was working from within the GD paradigm.

I think it would be helpful to distinguish between my insistence that the zodiac stays with the letter, and the supposed 'correctness' of such a thing. I don't care if the SY is correct or not, least of all do I presume this because of its age and tradition. I don't even use those associations myself. But when discussing this subject, one has to start where AC started, and that is ultimately from the SY, as modified by the GD, Mckenzie, Mathers, et. al.

Hopefully we can quit flogging that horse now. I say tradition be damned...but respected in its context.

[QUOTE=Aeon418]
At less exalted levels the mere re-naming of a Tarot card does not sit well with me. I just don't see what any re-naming could reveal to the wise.[/QUOTE]

Well, AC thought it pretty important to rename the virtues and the Angel/Judgement in his tarot. That's four re-named cards. (he also posited a couple alternatives to VI and XVI in TBOT). If renaming had no revelatory effect, why did he bother to do that?

I've seen you do lots of gematria on these pages; surely these different names for things don't reveal anything to the wise, do they ;-)

Litlluw

Ross G Caldwell
12-05-2011 18:37
[QUOTE=Aeon418]Ross, just out of curiosity, do you regard the Comment as Class A? It's official status is a bone of contention in some circles. At one extreme there seems to be the view that it is an inspired text whose purpose, among others, is to prohibit the kind of discussion we are having in this thread. At the other end of the spectrum there are people who outright reject the Comment as un-Thelemic.

As far as I know Crowley never gave it any official designation. The first occurance of it's Class A status that I can find is in a book authored by Marcelo Motta. Oddly enough it is also Motta's ex pupils, Breeze, Gunther, and Wasserman, who make the same claim today. (And of course Breeze a.k.a. Hymenaeus Beta is the current editor of the "official" Crowley publications at the moment, and so it's his view on the Comment that gets published.)

Knowing the circumstances under which it was written I'm not altogether convinced it is was "inspired" in the sense implied by Class A. (Basically it was a tool of convenience to get Norman Mudd off Crowley's back.) But I don't reject it either. I like the challenge it presents to the reader.[/QUOTE]

I've always taken for granted that it was Class A, and like you, I appreciate the challenge it represents (as well as its ironic humor). I like grappling with extreme and paradoxical things.

I guess the the fact that it is printed without equivocation in [i]Equinox of the Gods[/i], the note on page 126 of that book says it is "the really inspired comment" (the one promised in III:40), it seems authoritative in the 1938 AL, he reiterates his claim of "inspiration" in [i]Magick Without Tears[/i] 50 (p. 316 of the Falcon Press 1982 edition), and nothing Crowley himself writes seems to indicate any degree of doubt about its authority, just led me to take it for granted as "The Comment" promised in the Book itself.

But, you're right, I can't find an explicit assertion by Crowley that it is "Class A". I haven't seen the diary for November 1925 in which he must have written it.

I haven't met anybody who actually read it once and destroyed it. Most who go on to become Thelemites seem happy to take the "Dare" and become "centres of pestilence".

So - I guess there is room for doubt about whether it should be taken as Class A then (and therefore open to Qabalistic analysis). Common usage and Crowley's example would seem to put it there, but there is no explicit acknowledgment of its status beyond "inspired".


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