Settling The Manor At Tara Part 6

Part 1: Introduction 
Part 2: Models and Mandalas of Contemporary Initiation
Part 3: The Provinces and Their Attributes
Part 4: The Masters and the Treasures
Part 5: Elemental Attributes
Part 6: Thelemic Initiation Through The Provinces
Part 7: Afterword

Part 6: Thelemic Initiation Through the Provinces

Someone once described the Work of the Irish Order of Thelema as Thelema with shamrocks. This is an amusing observation. Yes we are thelemites, and yet most of this series has relied on Irish traditions. We are deeply embedded in a sense of place and culture, but also in our modern time and the particular character of living here and now on the island of Ireland. This is expressed as Déan cibé atá do thoil féin is é an dlí iomlán, or

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law

These elements may not be universally applicable to all but for those who work with these expanded correspondences they are a potent symbol set.

To the base of Irish traditions as a workable mandala, we can begin to add the layers relating more specifically to thelema. One of the elements we work with are the four emanations of the law, emblazoned on our lamen as light, life, love and liberty. As emanations, there is an implied fifth point in the centre as the law, from which these emanations emit, and express from. If we look carefully at the lamen of the order we see the word of the law, THELEMA, firmly standing at the centre. We find writings around these emanations in De Legge Libellum, and in the Heart of the Master.

Three of the four emanations of these are recognisable in wider streams of western esotericism through the ancient and primitive rites of Freemasonry (especially the rite of Memphis and Mitraism). Equally the mother lodge of the Golden Dawn, from which the cipher document of the Golden Dawn allegedly originated, was called Licht, Leben, Liebe, and these words form a significant part of the John Gospel. To this Thelema adds liberty as the watchword of our age. We also encounter these four emanations on the probationers oath of the A.’.A.’.

This aspect will not be of interest to all of you but transmits an important esoteric formula. In the probationers oath of the A.’.A.’. we encounter these four emanations in the four corners, enclosed in triangles, and with additional words underneath. These are specific to these emanations as encountered in the outer college of the A.’.A, but communicate a formula of wider significance. In the A.’.A.’. we meet a path of unfolding based on aspiration and attainment, one of the analogies for which is the building of a pyramid. Each pyramid has words starting with the letters L P D in them.

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In each of the pyramids on the probationer oath we have a successive building up – first the foundations hewn in the living rock(D), the ascending walls (P) and the capstone (L). D corresponds to the Hebrew letter Daleth (d – the Emperess), P to the Hebrew letter Pe (p – The Tower) and L to the Hebrew letter Lamed (l – Adjustment). We find in this the thelemic formula of 2=0 or (+1) + (-1)= 0 – the balancing and encapsulating of extremes. We can also view these as the three figures encountered in the Book of the Law as Nuit, Hadit and the child of the Aeon Heru-Ra-Ha (described as Ra-Hoor-Khuit and Hoor-Paar-Kraat).

While the A.’.A.’. works with the path of aspiration (building the pyramid), the Irish Order of Thelema works with the developed forms of these as a recognition of innate capacity. Thelema does not posit spiritual development, or becoming more, or better, but a process of unveiling, simplifying and becoming better able to embody who you already are. Our initiations are recognitions of the law of thelema and its developed emanations as a human birthright.

This can be seen in our temple spaces, where the four emanations are placed in the four quarters. At the centre sits the lamen or a volume of sacred law (The Book of the Law). They are attributed in our Order as follows, but in other traditions such as the A.’.A.’., they are differently attributed.

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These are some basic elements of our initiatory system. I emphasise some because the nature of initiation is that it is cathartic, that it effects change, and for it so do so, it is necessary to keep the exact content of the rituals and degrees secret and safe. Each initiate is bound to this by oath.

I would however like to take some time synthesising all of these layers into a unifying image of an initiatory journey, and in broad terms its means of operation. It should be noted that these are reflections on the work as I have encountered it and may not reflect a universal experience. In the Legge Libellum we are told:

“The great bond of all bonds is ignorance. How shall a man be free to act if he know not his own purpose? You must therefore first of all discover which star of all the stars you are, your relation to the other stars about you, and your relation to, and identity with, the Whole.”    – De Legge Libellum

Our initiatory cycle begins in the North with the rite of Cath, the primary theme of which is DISCIPLINE. In the provincial attributes we encounter the quality of battle, and also the element of air, and the sword. We also encounter the emanation of liberty. The cath rite and coursework focuses on taking on a self-DISCIPLINE, showing self-reflection and intellectual discernment, towards the goal of achieving liberty.

The next initiation is in the west and the rite of Fis, meaning knowledge. Here we also begin to start a process of PURIFICATION, out of the self-knowledge acquired at Cath, and we begin to recognise and leave aside those parts of us that are not of our will, and are inessential to our life’s purpose. Here we meet the emanation of light, as we go through a process of stripping away the inessential, we come closer to recognise the glittering image of our own star nature.

From here we travel to the East and the initiation of blath meaning prosperity. This involves a process of GROWTH, after stripping away the inessential, coming to recognise our strengths and further developing and embodying them.

We travel now to the South and the quality of harmony. Here we begin the process of INTEGRATION. The process of harmony brings the balanced harmony of one with all – the law of not only individual attainment, but the development of a social environment where this same innate star nature is recognised and actively enabled.

At the centre we meet the quality of sovereignty. Here we meet both the quality of self rulership in the king, and the quality of personification of the path preceding by living out of the lessons of each initiation.

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In the centre we can imagine we encounter the fifth element of spirit, but we encounter in thelema, and in Irish tradition an innate link between the concepts of spirit and matter. In Irish tradition kingship is bestowed on Amergin by three personifications of the land, the last of which was Eiriu.

In Thelema we encounter the earth as a living thing. There are several important indicators of a theology of immanence, of spirit in matter. This is found in the formula of Nox, the sign of which is the crossed circle, in the depiction of the earth as green (as opposed to the traditional dead depiction in alchemy and western esotericism where it is black) and several other places. This ties in with the idea that our spiritual or star nature is not separate from or above us, but inherently within us (even if obscured by our own complications).

We can also see this entire process as a magical ritual. In Magick in Theory and Practice we meet a comparable pattern as an outline of a magical process and offers us an equivalent to the Z documents in the Golden Dawn – a theurgic system which is mirrored in the mystery drama of initiation. The basic progression is as follows.

BANISHING
PURIFICATION
CONSECRATION  (Oath)
INITIATION/ INVOCATION
CHARGE TO THE SPIRIT

We can look at them in the context of the initiations as also progressing along the lightning flash from north to west, to east to south and to centre.

In the north and Cath we create a space through banishing, in the West and Fis we strip away the inessential through purification, in the east and Blath we engage in consecration through the special dedication of the most true part of ourselves to honest and efficient expression, in the south and seis we seek to integrate these qualities as a process of invocation. Finally, as the centre, we work out of the qualities we have encountered, not intellectually, but as a living embodiment of the law. We have in effect become personifications of the law as living talismen of light, life, love and liberty.

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There are many layers we can add to this, but this overview will hopefully give enough sense of some of the diverse influences and elements in our initiatory cycle.

The following diagram tries to tie together the various threads described into a single cohesive image. It hopefully depicts, in picture form, the convergence of the various elements addressed in the series

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Part 1: Introduction 
Part 2: Models and Mandalas of Contemporary Initiation
Part 3: The Provinces and Their Attributes
Part 4: The Masters and the Treasures
Part 5: Elemental Attributes
Part 6: Thelemic Initiation Through The Provinces
Part 7: Afterword