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Thelema and the ten bulls

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Snaut  Snaut is offline
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Thelema and the ten bulls

Hi all,

Recently I had to look something up and stumbled upon this totally
unrelated passage:

Originally Posted by DuQuette: Understanding the Thoth Tarot
... please pause and keep in mind that terms such as "Holy Guardian
Angel" and "Abyss" are simply convenient terms for universal spiritual
experiences that, in other times and cultures, are known by other
So I thought I would compare the Qabalistic/Thelemic system with another system of attainment I know of, namely Zen-Buddhism.
In Zen-Buddhism there is the famous parable of the search of an ox or
a bull. This is a series of ten stages of hunting a bull. These correspond to ten levels of attainment.
I will not explain the stages, please look here:

I think that these stages do not map directly to the Sephiroth. Though in the beginning only parts of the bull are seen. We see the footprints and in one tale the adept catches a glimpse of his tail.
In the middle of the story the bull is tamed.
Sounds remarkably like this HGA-thing.

At the end the bull and the self is transcended. This sounds like the
crossing of the abyss.
Top   #1
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ravenest  ravenest is offline
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It reads more like the reverse to me - the HGA seeking the aspirant .

The hunting, the taming, the using of the whip .... ON the HGA ????

and this ???

" 9. Reaching the Source
Too many steps have been taken
returning to the root and the source.
Better to have been blind and deaf
from the beginning!
Dwelling in one's true abode,
unconcerned with and without - "

If we are looking for the Ox in Thelema , he takes the same role (more like the stubborn ego or the unruly and untrained mind that needs training , not the HGA .

Liber Jugorum

0. Behold the Yoke upon the neck of the Oxen! Is it not thereby that the Field shall be ploughed? The Yoke is heavy, but joineth together them that are separate Glory to Nuit and to Hadit, and to Him that hath given us the Symbol of the Rosy Cross!

Glory unto the Lord of the Word Abrahadabra, and Glory unto Him that hath given us the Symbol of the Ankh, and of the Cross within the Circle!

1. Three are the Beasts wherewith thou must plough the Field; the Unicorn, the Horse, and the Ox. And these shalt thou yoke in a triple yoke that is governed by One Whip.

2. Now these Beasts run wildly upon the earths and are not easily obedient to the Man.

3. Nothing shall be said here of Cerberus, the great Beast of Hell that is every one of these and all of these, even as Athanasius hath foreshadowed. For this matter1 is not of Tiphereth without, but Tiphereth within.


The Ox is Thought. Man, rule thy Thought! How else shalt thou master the Holy Spirit, and answer the High Priestess in the Middle Gateway of the Crown? "
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ravenest  ravenest is offline
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Here is some cultural cross reference for you (as recommended in the DuQuette quote) ;

Fravashi *
Genius (mythology)
Guardian angel
Holy Guardian Angel
Shoulder angel

* eg; Fraveshi (in Zoroastrianism the make up of the 'psychic anatomy' is composed of 3 main concepts and how they interact;

The Soul, Urvan - Fate of the Soul
•All living creatures have a soul.
•With human beings, a person's character and that of their soul is built on the spirit a person chooses and is within that person's control through free will.
•With free will and free choice come responsibility and accountability.
•Human beings are responsible for their choices and therefore accountable in this life and in the after-life.
•The fate of the human soul depends on its store of thoughts, words and deeds. The human soul receives in the afterlife what it has given out in this life.
•The soul creates its heaven or hell, both of which are a state of spiritual existence and not places.
•All souls come from God. At the end of time, all souls will be cleansed and will return to God.
(Also see After Life, Body and Soul)

•There is another spiritual component that resides in all of creation, living and not living, called the fravashi (later farvard).
•An aspect of the fravashi, sometimes called the divine spark, gives every part and particle of creation the laws of asha - the laws that govern the spiritual and material universe.
•This aspect of the fravashi maintains, sustains and helps creation progressively move or evolve towards vahishtem anghuim and frasho-kereti, an ultimate and ideal future existence (also see reference in Khvarenah below).
•The fravashi can be thought of as the hand of God in all of creation, or perhaps, the means by which God's plan resides in all of creation. Since God's law and plan are in every part and particle of creation from the very beginning, there is no need for God to intervene in the evolution of creation from time to time.
• While the soul is personal, the fravashi is universal.
•The fravashi gives a person intuitive access to the moral and ethical laws of Asha, and allows a person to gain insights into the nature of creation through introspection.

•The khvarenah is the archetype of the person one can grow to if allowed to grow to the limit of her or his capacity in grace, that is, in keeping with the fravashi.
•The khvarenah is also a person's higher calling - their meaning in life.
•Every human being is endowed with natural talents that can be harnessed and developed to achieve one's highest potential, one's latent destiny in life, or one's higher calling. Alternatively, through choice, these talents can be employed to achieve base ambitions.
•A spenta mainyu - a brilliant, positive, constructive, and beneficent spirit - allows a person to perceive their higher calling.
•An angra mainyu - a gloomy, negative, destructive, and harmful spirit - leaves a person vulnerable to base ambitions.
•A spenta mainyu enables a person to choose asha, the path of goodness, and pursue her or his calling without expectation of reward.
•The khvarenah is specific to a person and is different for each person.
•The khvarenah that does not belong to a person cannot be seized by another person. The implication is that we should be content with our khvarenah and not be jealous and greedy of the other's khvarenah (here, good fortune) through.
• When all human beings realize their calling or full potential in grace, the world will attain vahishtem anghuim & frasho-kereti - the ultimate and ideal future existence, a heaven on earth. (Also see the section on Airyana Vaeja, the Aryan homeland, as paradise.)
•Human beings often limit or loose themselves. In either case, they do not achieve their full potential or capacity.
•While to some extent, a person's lot in life is determined by birth and circumstance, a person can find her or his latent khvarenah or calling by envisioning the person one aspires to become in grace, and then taking steps to realize the khvarenah despite daunting obstacles and adversity.
•To loose oneself is to loose one's khvarenah.
•In mythology, the khvarenah is like a bird that hovers over a person, and one that can fly away. If grace is replaced by evil ambitions, the bird is replaced by serpents growing out of that person's shoulders.
•A person's realization of her or his khvarenah is evidenced by a halo (farr in Persian), glowing brightly over her or his head - radiant as the sun. (See portrait of Zarathushtra at the top of the page - a physical representation of something perceived by the spiritual eye and senses.) The opposite of the light of a halo is darkness - like a dark cloud hanging over someone.
•A person's realization of her or his khvarenah cloaks that person with the aura of charisma and grace, the kind possessed by Zarathushtra and King Cyrus the Great.
•Khvarenah and the resulting charisma enable leadership that does not rely on authority.

United Fravashi
•A person's spiritual components, that is, the person's urvan (soul), mainyu (spirit), fravashi and khvarenah can unite and the spirits of the departed are generally referred to as that person's (united) fravashi.
•If the spirit, soul and khvarenah are in harmony with asha, they come together to form a united fravashi. If they are not in harmony with asha, then there is separation from the fravashi in this life, and by extension in the after life.
•The united soul and fravashi of the departed can be thought of as a spiritual soul, while the soul of the living - a living soul.
•The united fravashi of the righteous have the ability to become guardian angels.

This is the root religion of the west, and the beginning of these concepts (being the oldest scripture we have - starting before the earliest Vedas. For another strong influence on these ideas in western culture, see the Greek influence - Genius (mythology)
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Aeon418  Aeon418 is offline
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Originally Posted by Snaut View Post
I think that these stages do not map directly to the Sephiroth. Though in the beginning only parts of the bull are seen. We see the footprints and in one tale the adept catches a glimpse of his tail.
In the middle of the story the bull is tamed.
Sounds remarkably like this HGA-thing.
I agree. Although I think you have to beware of making direct comparisons. The language and the way ideas and concepts are framed in different systems can sometimes lead you down the wrong track.

The well known 'Ox herding' pictures you refer to are a good example. The first couple of pictures present no real difficulties. First there's the initial discontent and dissatisfaction with things. Then the Path is found in the shape of the footprints.

Picture 3 suggests a sort of 'breakthrough experience'. However it's just a partial glimpse of the HGA. But I think pictures 4,5, & 6 require a different approach. These pictures seem to represent the changing relationship and depth of connection between the aspirant and the HGA. There's no question of the HGA being tamed and ridden though.

In picture 4 the the Ox is presented as a wild animal that comes and goes as it pleases. This might represent the initial connection of the aspirant and HGA. It is often tenuous and elusive. It comes and goes of it's own accord without obvious explanation. Sometimes the most intensive efforts appear to yeild no results. While at other times the connection is made by doing nothing. It just sort of wanders back on it's own.

Picture 5 may represent the struggles of the aspirant and the deepening connection with the HGA. Practice is refined and strengthened. The lengthy and arduous process of finding out what works and what doesn't work. But if there is any taming to be done it is on the aspirant him/herself.

Picture 6 presents the successful outcome of the previous work. The connection between aspirant and HGA is longer a struggle. The man no longer needs to hold onto the Ox.
Top   #4



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