Settling The Manor At Tara: Part 2

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 2: Models and Mandalas of Contemporary Initiation

I am sitting outside on a crisp autumn evening, next to my dear friend Daniel, philosophising. In the background I can hear the subtle sound of the Liffey swelling and running after a day of rain. It wraps around the land I live on, and is ever present in my life. A kilometre to my South is the royal site of Dun Ailinne, the provincial centre of Leinster. Also within a few kilometres is the landscape of Brigid, and of Fionn and the warrior band the Fianna.

I am surrounded by myth, and meaning, and as I peer up at a jewelled sky I am filled with a sense of place and presence and realise this is what it’s all about for me – the land, and the mythic landscape, the moon, and the stars and the trees. Most of all it’s about a subtle spiritual sense of the immanence and living reality of nature Herself.

There is a certain truth to this kind of feeling, but it is not the stuff of written words. We as human beings have two tendencies – on one hand to systematise, and on the other to mythologise. Our drive to systematise creates attributes, and boxes and intellectual symmetries, allowing us maps of understanding. The map is not the territory, and we ask mythical questions to bring meaning and movement to potentially dead categorisations and attributes. This series offers a series of successive layers, which though initially appealing to the systematic drive, they offer imaginative doorways to meaningful mythical landscapes.

The initial layer I would like to look at is found in the work of the Swiss psychoanalyst Carl Gustav Jung. While a psychologist, the works of Carl Jung form potent meaning maps and charter the process of initiation. Jung uses the word individuation to describe this process of becoming who you are, and uses the term Self to describe the true unfolded, equilibrated state which you arrive at.

Jung offers a series of symbols to describe his system of western esotericism and psychology and describes in his Red Book that “there are not many truths, there are only a few. Their meaning is too deep to grasp other than in symbols”. He describes a series of symbols for the Self, which he sees as arising as a third principle or reconciliation point out of a series of oppose qualities or perspectives. In his book Psychological Types he describes this as “The raw material shaped by thesis and antithesis, and in the shaping of which the opposites are united, is the living symbol” (Psych Types, par. 827).

He ascribes a series of symbols to this arising Self including the circle, the cross and the quaternary. He also ascribes the square which I will deal with as the latter part of this chapter.

The Circle

The circle is a symbol which has a deep and primal resonance for us, the wheel of life and nature, ever turning, ever beginning where an ending seems in sight, as we continue in the great drama that is life.

We are cyclic and rhythmic creatures, from the rhythm of our week, to the passing through the year and the cycle of the seasons. The circle is a potent symbol of the individual, the seasons, the world, and the universe.

Aleister Crowley speaks about this Great wheel, or dynamic circle in the Book of Lies, using the analogy of the tarot as a complete and inclusive cosmology

Wheel and Whoa!
The Great Wheel of Samsara.
The Wheel of the Law. (Dhamma.)
The Wheel of the Taro.
The Wheel of the Heavens.
The Wheel of Life.
All these Wheels be one; yet of all these the Wheel of the TARO alone avails thee consciously.
Meditate long and broad and deep, O man, upon this Wheel, revolving it in thy mind!
Be this thy task, to see how each card springs necessarily from each other card, even in due order from The Fool unto The Ten of Coins.
Then, when thou know’st the Wheel of Destiny complete, may’st thou perceive THAT Will which moved it first. [There is no first or last.]
And lo! thou art past through the Abyss.

 

Aleister Crowley, The Book of Lies KEF.OH.

 

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The Cross

Jung dealt with the circle squared, being the circle considered as a series of dimensions or oppositions. This squared circle can be seen especially in mandalas.

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 The square implies four sides, or a series of two oppositions. In his cosmological system Jung describes four typologies of functions.

These form two groupings and oppositions also. To the east and west we place intuition and sensation which is a perceptual axis.

Intuition is the process by which we make connections and infer meanings beyond sensory data .

Sensation is the process of collecting concrete data through using our five senses

In the North and South we have an axis of discernment or judgement.

Thinking is evaluating information by applying objective and logical criteria.

Feeling is the process we use for evaluating information by considering what is important to me and you – the social perception of a situation.

Jungs typologies form a system of oppositions and reconciliations; at the centre of these the Self is encountered.

In Ireland we meet the four in the land through the four directions, four contemporary provinces, the dynamic form of the cross in the sun cross of Brigid, the four fire festivals, the four solar festivals, the four royal sites and lots more. In the place of reconciliation we have the fifth province of Meath.

The symbol of the circle, and its squaring (the cross) are brought together in one in the solar or so-called “Celtic Cross”.

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The Quaternary Reconciled (The Cross and Circle)

We began our journey with the circle, the self, eternal, undivided but also unrealised. Then we came to self-knowledge through a series of opposite experiences. In the combination of the cross and circle the Self is self-realised and works from a more conscious place. Jung referred to this process as ‘individuation’.

“Squaring the circle was a problem that greatly exercised medieval minds. It is a symbol of the opus alchymicum, since it breaks down the original chaotic unity into the four elements and then combines them again in a higher unity.

 Unity is represented by a circle and the four elements by a square.

 The production of one from four is the result of a process of distillation and sublimation which takes the so-called “circular” form: the distillate is subjected to sundry distillations so that the “soul” or “spirit” shall be extracted in its purest state.

 The product is generally called the “quintessence,” though this is by no means the only name for the ever-hoped-for and never-to-be-discovered “One.” ~Carl Jung

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Squaring the circle has also been called “fixing the volatile”, involving the processes of solve or breaking a symbol into its individual parts before coagula or putting back together consciously. This is the task of initiation and our journey through the provinces.

The relationship of the four typologies to the provinces will become more clear as we go on but the synthesis of these elements can be found in the lamen of our Order which is a rendering of the Celtic Cross.

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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

Settling the Manor at Tara Part 1

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 1: Introduction

This is the first of a series of posts on Irish cosmology, the Provinces and the Irish Order of Thelema

 As a child I grew up in a special, magical landscape in Co. Kildare in the Republic of Ireland. I grew up in a landscape whose very geography was shaped by the old stories, and Old Gods, and their identity and presence was deeply ingrained in the landscape. I grew up within a couple of miles of Dun Ailinne, where Finn Mac Cumhaill had residence and which served as the provincial royal site for the province of Leinster. Also within minutes’ walk from my home there was a Sheela na Gig in a ruined castle, stretching Her vulva, a face of femininity that stood as a stark contrast to the meek and mild view of womanhood otherwise available through the Catholic church, an institution I grew up on the periphery of.

I grew up next to earthworks, raths covered in massive towering native wood trees, rising like an island in the middle of an otherwise flat agricultural field. I grew up next to an old abandoned churchyard and church which was roofless, and open, covered and filled with plants, and being ripped down and transformed by ivy, just over the wall of which was a ‘holy well’. This meeting of land and church, the interweaving history of the land was a holy place, a place where nature and eminence and old Gods lived.

I grew up weaving Brigid’s crosses, collecting fruit from hedgerows, walking, and running and exploring fields and hedgerows with wide eyed wonder. Myth and story were a major part of my life as well as the sound bites of Irish which scattered my mother’s speech. I knew when I left the front gate my mother would offer her hand and say ‘tabhair dom do lámh’ and we would venture into the world, into nature, and on towards another adventure.

As a child I was brought to Kildare town where I stood in the ruins of the fire temple where a perpetual flame to Brigid, ancient Goddess and Irish Christian Saint, once burned brightly. I visited Brigids well and heard of its healing powers, and asked my mother about the rags and petitions adorning the tree next to it.

There was magic in the landscape, and stories and experiences and there was something that I instinctually knew as a child – the land is alive; a living, breathing, embodied being in Her own right.

And then, at some point along the way I lost my sense of wonder and joy. I grew up during the 80’s and 90’s, including the time of the so-called Celtic Tiger, a time of money and affluence and a feckless disregard for the sense of heritage which had long been repressed, and which had become important again. Families became distant, neighbours, even in rural areas, hardly knew each other, and even the almighty Church began to lose its power. Gaeilge, the oppressed tongue, lost its sense of magic and became an obligation of schooling. And I felt a deep and abiding sense of disconnection; from culture, from self, and from the land.

In my search for this sense of connection I turned to traditions emphasising a sense of experiential connection, and I started to explore various forms of Paganism. As time passes I feel less drawn to labels like Christian or Pagan, because I feel each person, wherever their sense of holism and spirituality brings them, can cultivate a relationship with the land and Her various faces. How they do that and what that means for them is really for them, but I am sharing my sense of connection in the hope that people will take their own very personal journeys. I believe that many people today, regardless of where they come from or what their faith background is, can hear the old stories and feel they are immediate and present in the land of Ireland, but this is a map, and not the territory. The territory can be found in nature, in the historical sites, in the old stories and in the engagement therewith.

My own journey also brought me to ask what about the age we live in? What is the zeitgeist of our time, and how do we live with our cultural heritage in a way that is relevant for today. This journey brought me to rhe law of thelema, which is expressed as “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law”.

The series of posts deals with the cosmology of the provinces and related material which offers a workable horizontal cosmological system.

This series of posts is greatly informed by my experiences with the Irish Order of Thelema, a self-contracted body of individuals in an experiential tradition asking what we can learn from such a journey through the provinces and their qualities in a modern way. While I have journeyed through the provinces, some of the lessons I have learned on my journeys were quite individual, leading me to further research and experiment. This series reflects a universal exploration of how we can meet the provinces and the qualities, through offering musings and source material. It also deals more specifically with the approach of the Irish Order of Thelema. It also has relevance to the work of the Order of the Silver Branch, a contemporary school of magick and mysticism working with the traditions of the island of Ireland.

I offer seed thoughts for individuals to bring this work with the provinces in their own directions, as well as insight into some aspect of the Irish Order of Thelemas approach and system. For those who feel allied with our cause, a unique system of genuine initiation through the provinces and their attributes is available. Each path is individual, and this cosmology can be experienced in its own right by simply working with the material, and this land. What is of merit in this series is shared and inspired by those I have walked my path with, who have and who continue to add their knowledge and experience to this subject, but any deficit I claim as mine alone.

With these few initial words and thoughts I invite you the reader to join me on a journey through the Irish landscape and hopefully to a renewed or deepened relationship with Her. In looking forward I turn to the words of the Irish mystic George Russell (AE) in writing to the poet magician W B Yeats:

“The gods have returned to Erin and have centred themselves in the sacred mountains and blow the fires through the country. They have been seen by several in vision, they will awaken the magical instinct everywhere, and the universal heart of the people will turn to the old druidic beliefs…

…though now few we would soon be many, that a branch of the school for the revival of the ancient mysteries to teach real things would be formed here soon. Out of Ireland will arise a light to transform many ages and peoples.” 

May this revival continue to unfold individually, as a cross-fertilising within the community and as a conversation with the land Herself.

So tabhair dom do lámh, as we embark on a very special adventure.

Brian Breathnach/ Frater Fionn

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

Winter Solstice – Open Day 2016

It is with great pleasure that we announce the Winter Solstice Rite of Croabh Rua, the Belfast Grove of The Irish Order Of Thelema.

This is both a seasonal celebration and an opimageen day. The day will commence with a talk introducing the work of the Order by Frater Stoirm D’Athrach.

We will be marking the occasion with the Gnostic Gaelic Rite, a ritual combining the traditions of the land with the law of thelema, being “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law”. This celebration will be accompanied by music on an early Irish metal stringed harp.

All are warmly invited to attend.

Guests are asked to bring with them a contribution for the feast, which will be held after the main ceremony.

The Solstice is one of our most exciting and memorable events, and this year promises to be no exception.

We look forward to seeing you all there.

When: 17th of December 2016ev, from 2.45pm onwards

Where: Craobh Ruadh Community Space, Conway Mill, Conway Street, Belfast

Facebook Event Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/220567698382508/

We’re Organising An Exhibition! The Candle of Vision Exhibition

The Candle of Vision is an exhibition of esoteric art happening from the 1st to the 10candle_flame_1th of April 2017 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. This will include both visual and performance art.

The exhibitions title, the Candle of Vision is a reference to seeing into the world of Spirit and is the title of the magical autobiography of AE, the Irish mystic, poet and artist whose 150th birth date is on the 10th of April.

Coinciding with an exhibition of art, there will be a festive celebration of the writing of the Book of the Law with talks, workshops, feasting, poetry, performance and community.

To keep in the loop watch here and follow the event page on facebook.

A facebook event page can be found here

 

Samhain 2016ev

Samhain was a poignant celebration of our ancestors, marked with an adaptation of the Drink to the Dead ritual and was led by our hard-working and long standing Grove Head. The Priestess wore a dark veil and spoke ceremonially with the ‘voice of the dead.’ The attitude of ‘no fear’ of Thelema and death as a the crown of life was also celebrated in the ritual. Perhaps one of the most moving moments was at end when everyone approached the Altar of the Dead and acknowledged their own lost loved ones. Past members who have passed beyond the veil were also commemorated with honour, namely our founding Grandmaster Wolfe and our dear Brother Storm-Bringer-their selfless dedication to Thelema and the work of the Order ever inspires our hearts. A wonderful homemade feast followed and was opened with a period of reflective silence. We were also very pleased to have an inactive member return after many years and welcomed many new guests to our sacred space, at least one of whom has already asked for formal membership.

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autumnal equinox 2016ev

The Autumn Equinox ritual was a performance of The Gnostic Gaelic Rite with our most experienced Priest and Priestess team who ad libed as the spirit moved them on the occasion to add an incredible degree of magical potency, operating with the Station of Fis, the Cauldron, in West.

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Seeking Submissions: Fortified Island #7

Fortified Island is the Journal of the Irish Order of Thelema, and focuses on Western esotericism and specifically Thelema. We feature a broad range of contributors from diverse backgrounds. In the last few issues we have been increasingly curating content by soliciting contributions on a specific theme and commissioning content from specific people.

We welcome: articles, artwork, poetry, book reviews, magical records, ritual and more

We have an issue theme of “Doorway of Perception” (including material on Energised Enthusiasm, visions, trance, channeling, rising on the planes, skrying, altered states of consciousness, conversing with spirits etc)

So please consider helping to build a genuinely diverse journal of Thelema by making a contribution. I am happy to discuss ideas.

Issue deadline: end of February (published at the Vernal Equinox)

Submissions to: fortifiedisland@gmail.com

There Is No God but Wo/Man

(Being an Introduction to the Law of Liberty )
Do You Accept Yourself As Your Own Lord and Saviour?

“There is no God but man”
So begins the text Liber Oz, published in November 1941 in response to the war and the crumbling of Western society. These words come from the author, poet, philosopher, spy, artist, mountain climber, chess master and occultist Aleister Crowley, who declared an end to the old social structures and the beginning of a new world characterized by self-determinism and self-realization. He summarized this new structure or law as “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law”. The main principle of this Law is that each human being has his or her own definite object in life. Each has every right to fulfill this purpose and none to do anything else. It is thus a law of freedom, but freedom is a two-edged sword, liberty and responsibility come hand in hand.
Do what thou wilt, does not mean ‘do as you like’. It is further explained by ‘Love is the law, love under will.’ Each experience we have is an act of love or union, between ourselves and one experience available to us, each experience must therefore be ‘under will’, chosen to fulfill rather than thwart ones true nature.
This true nature is God nature, and yet this nature of self and of God is not something of the starry dome above us. Aleister Crowley speaks about “Every Man and Every Woman is a Star” – we are the spark of the infinite and this divine or star nature is “the flame that burns in every heart of man, and in the core of every star.”
Some have said that “God is dead”, and certainly the moral absolutism of some bearded God-man in the clouds is rightfully dying, along with the age of oppressive morals and superstitious tyranny; being replaced by the recognition of our ability to steer the course of our own lives. With that goes the abolition of arbitrary judgement of worth based on race, religion, gender and sexuality, and a law for each and every person – Deus est Homo – God is the human being.
In previous times people have been condemned for ‘sin’ and called upon to be ‘good’ by the law of moral absolutism. In the new age we are open to choose from a breadth of possibility and to determine what is the right path for the individual, and to accept what is right for one person, may not be right for another. In establishing the right to self-determination we are also called upon to protect that right for each individual, each other person also a God or Goddess, a shining radiant star. God is expressed as the expression of will, or following ones natural momentum and direction – so that our work in the world is an expression of our own divinity. This work leads to liberty and the abolition of past conditioning and prejudices based on the superstition of Old Gods.
“There is no grace, There is no guilt, This is the law: DO WHAT THOU WILT.”
The Irish Order of Thelema is a body dedicated to the study and practical application of this new law in everyday life, building communities committed to the emancipation of each individual from the shackles of slave Gods, and cooperating to build a society and community based on the principle of the individual liberty of all.
Though we have entered a new age, many relics of a long obsolete worldview clamber to hold their control of the thoughts and actions of humanity today. From the religious right, to the undue influence of mass media and corporations, there are many threats to the recognition of the sovereignty and divinity of the individual. We can collectively help to establish, promote and grow the new law, being “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law”, and we will do this by meeting, by organizing and by cooperating to build a new and better world. For more information and to join the battle for individual liberty, contact us and join the Revolution!
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Adjustment, Emanations and the Equinox

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law
Déan cibé atá do thoil féin is é an dlí iomlán
 .
The Equinox is upon us again. As sol enters Libra I find myself looking at the Adjustment card, and the idea of balance. My sun sign is libra, and though I remain skeptical of astrological technology, I often find myself typifying certain qualities of Libra. I find myself seeking the balance as my lifes Work, and I can often experience this as extremes of imbalance. In the Irish Order of Thelema we aspire to work with the balancing of opposing extremes. The thelemic initiate is described as having “their head above the heavens, their feet below the hells” (Liber Tzaddi) – they are told to ‘achieve both weddings’. One of these weddings of extremes is found, in reconciled form, to the four quarters of our temples.
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. While recently reading The Heart of the Master, I came to a quote dealing with the process of equilibrium and I revisited the ideal temple as a set of equilibrated forces.
“Balance against each thought its exact opposite. For the marriage of these is the annihilation of illusion.”

The emanations of the Law can be experienced as the archetype of libra, a set of equilibrated forces, and their expanded form are a description of the 0=2 formula of Aleister Crowley. Three of the four of these emanations 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 mythological mother lodge of the Golden Dawn, from which the cipher document of the Golden Dawn allegedly originated, was called Licht, Leben, Liebe (Light, Life, Love) and these words form a significant part of the John Gospel. To this Thelema adds liberty as the watchword of our age.

In thelema we also find the four emanations in the work of the A.’.A.’., specifically on the probationers oath, one emanation in each corner.

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This aspect 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 triads 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. 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 0=2 or (+1) + (-1)= 0 – the balancing and encapsulating of extremes to arrive at a singularity, which in its perfect balance is innately transient and without value – thus being valued zero. It is a process of reconciliation. This formula is found in the work with opposing qualities, the work with upright and averse formulas, and in the work with the ‘creature of the slime’ and the ‘glittering image’.  We can also view these extremes as the three figures encountered in the Book of the Law as Nuit, Hadit and the reconciler of extremes, the child of the Aeon Heru-Ra-Ha (described as a composite of the extremes of Ra-Hoor-Khuit and Hoor-Paar-Kraat). Last year we performed a ritual exploring these three faces of Horus. All are a diverse series of experiential extremes which lead to the annihilation of illusion.

I am reminded of the words of Horus in the Cry of the First Aethyr:

I am light, and I am night, and I am that which is beyond them.
I am speech, and I am silence, and I am that which is beyond them.
I am life, and I am death, and I am that which is beyond them.
I am war, and I am peace, and I am that which is beyond them.
I am weakness, and I am strength, and I am that which is beyond them.
Yet by none of these can man reach up to me. Yet by each of them must man reach up to me.

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While the A.’.A.’. works with the path of aspiration (building the pyramid) through often opposing images, the Irish Order of Thelema works with the developed forms of these (the capstones or balanced forms) 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 elements of our Work, which is also echoed in our initiatory system. While our use of the emanations may be idiosyncratic, the principles, and the process of balance and reconciliation is a Work for all.

Frater Fionn

Love is the law, love under will
Is é grá an dlí, grá faoi toil

Small Scale Thelema

On ‘Independent Orders’, Diversification, and Experimental Approaches to Thelema

Frater Fionn

I am a thelemite, and I belong to a thelemic Order. Many people assume thilamens means I belong to the OTO, or Ordo Templi Orientis, which is the largest and most well known of the Thelemic Orders. However I have not and do not belong to this Order (though I am a congregant of the EGC). I belong to a small and independent Order called the Irish Order of Thelema. Of course the term ‘independent’ could also be easily applied to the OTO as a self sovereign organisation, but I mean this much more in the sense of an independent bookstore. While OTO has lodges across the world which have a certain culture and way of running their ‘bookshops’, there are also those who, out of reading and really enjoying books decide to open a bookshop that reflected their specific vision and emphases. We are thus independent of those streams of established practice and history, even though we are inspired and informed by them.

But enough of comparing or referencing ‘in relation to the OTO’. Don’t get me wrong, I think the OTO and their work is great and very important (and I know some wonderful thelemites who work with OTO), but there was an unfortunate time in the history of the thelemic movement where lots of people and groups were claiming to be the OTO, or like the OTO, or better than the OTO and so on so forth.   ::Yawn::   Luckily those days are behind us, and there are increasing numbers of small scale groups, organisations and Orders which are bringing Thelema in new directions, or with specific emphases and focuses without piggy backing on other Orders.

So why an Irish Order of Thelema? What impulses does it carry? And why does it appeal to me?

The Irish Order of Thelema finds itself working in an idiosyncratic way with the specifics of the land we live on. While this system is geographic and not necessarily universally applicable, we get inquiries and requests from the four corners of the world asking to join or to bring our system to their country.

We encourage individuals to look around and see what other Orders are active in their country as well as to feel empowered to create local activity and local expression as they will. It was always part of our intent to be a very explicit example to others internationally and the Order of Thelema is an international Order of which we are the Irish branch (and currently only branch? We are happy to hear from others worldwide with similar endeavours) Our policy is to encourage others to follow our example in regard to their own culture, autonomous but cooperative.

The Irish Order has a culturally specific initiatory cycle through the powers of the Irish provinces, but beyond the theurgic journey of awakening there is the question, what then? The Irish Order of Thelema also acts as a social laboratory, with three additional rites which are areas of research and practice. Each of these is a reflection of one of the three chapters of Liber Al vel Legis, the Book of the Law. These are necessarily of a more universal and experimental nature. Research and practices for living with the law of Thelema as exemplified in the Book of the Law really belongs to a social experiment that reaches beyond the Irish context. Thus this is an area of work for an International Order or cooperation of Thelema, with the opportunity to collaborate, share and create social, political and magical forms that can be both social laboratories and eventual models for real change in accordance with will.

 We are a modern thelemic group, and we do not claim masonic style lineage or ‘entitlement’ from any outer Order, nor do we acknowledge temporal power as having any significance beyond its own immediate sphere of function. We are, on one hand, a group of self-contracted people who have come together and are bound by contract and common culture to create the Order, however we have other aspects that connect us with the land and its unique expression through the Order, and other aspects that connect us with both the thelemic current and the ultimate source tradition.

 Today there are a lot of groups around that have started to define themselves through the idea of egregore, that there are elements of tradition that through repetition and longevity are alleged to build up an equivalent independent presence or identity on the astral. In Ireland there is a perceptible sense of tradition and entity, but it is not experienced as just an astral presence outside ourselves and the immediate world. There is an eminent sense of the Gods, and stories, and cosmology that can be experienced in and through the land. This is a difficult experience to convey, and like the egregore of a group or stream, it remains an abstract concept until it is experienced. There is a fitting resonance in the land with the work we endeavour to do, and a resonance with the land by those actively engaging with this work. This is the uniquely Irish element which forms part of our syncretic tradition and which, in its component parts, is often shared by others immersing themselves in the land and Her traditions. In other groups this very specific flavour, resonance or stream may be different, but is most likely there in some respect.

 There are also elements of Thelema which have an egregore. In a very general sense this is often described as the aeonic or 93 current, but beyond the immediate social implications of thelema there is the Golden chain which links us to the very source of the tradition. This golden chain is both the inheritance of certain ideas we wrestle with and practices that impart methods of achieving higher levels of consciousness, and a continuing line of communication by those who actively use these methods with the source or intelligence of the Tradition. The full implications of this are best understood in the context of Aleister Crowleys own initiatory journey, his founding of the A.’.A.’., his reformulation of the OTO in accordance with the law of Thelema, and the repercussions this has for later expressions of thelema. The understanding of this source is explicitly clear in the literature of the A.’.A.’. while in the OTO the office of the OHO or Outer Head of the Order speaks to an Inner Head or at least awareness of this source. In an Account of the A.’.A.’. the relationship between the A.’.A.’. and outer Orders is described as follows.

 From all time there has been an exterior school based on the interior one, of which it is but the outer expression. From all time, therefore, there has been a hidden assembly, a society of the Elect, of those who sought for and had capacity for light, and this interior society was the Axle of the R.O.T.A. All that any external order possesses in symbol, ceremony, or rite is the letter expressive outwardly of that spirit of truth which dwelleth in the interior Sanctuary. Nor is the contradiction of the exterior any bar to the harmony of the interior…. But all exterior societies subsist only by virtue of this interior one. As soon as external societies wish to transform a temple of wisdom into a political edifice, the interior society retires and leaves only the letter without the spirit. It is thus that secret external societies of wisdom were nothing but hieroglyphic screens, the truth remaining inviolable in the Sanctuary so that she might never be profaned.

 In Liber CCC: Khabs am Pekht we are told:

 But remember this clearly, that the Law cometh from the A.’.A.’., not from the O.T.O. This Order is but the first of the great religious bodies to accept this Law officially, and its whole Ritual has been revised and reconstituted in accordance with this decision.

 While the OTO serves as the first, and largest outer temporal vehicle to promulgate the law as the word of the magus of the aeon, others were expected to follow and both spread and diversify the manifestation of the law. Liber CCC then goes on to describe diverse ways to extend the law through temporal vehicles including education, university study, social impulses, publishing and more, a movement happening today through various bodies of endeavour.

 As well as the temporal vehicles which spread the sublimely simple word of the law, the law as applied to the course of everyday life and a confirmation of the law inherent to human nature, there are deeper layers of aspiration and attainment described as the ordeals of knowledge and conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel and the crossing of the Abyss inherent to the system of the A.’.A.’.. At a certain point in the progression of an aspirant to the A.’.A.’. there is attainment. The aspirant receives a word upon which a new school of thought is founded and they expound on this as an entire cosmology. For those who accept the law of thelema as an aeonic utterance, this individual attainment supplements the universal nature of the law in our age, forming an outer Order or movement of aspiration and attainment that expresses a unique emanation of the law.

We are one such body of endeavor, and these are exciting times for the development and progression of a still young philosophical, cultural and arguably religious movement. We are also aware of others who are engaging in these small scale experiments as thelemic covens, groups, colleges, Orders and many more and diverse forms and in writing this I wanted to highlight the importance of continuing social experiments, idiosyncratic manifestations and doing what feels right. It is my hope that with the growth of Thelema, there will be increasing numbers of interesting projects and experimental forms as we spread the law of liberty through pluralism and diversity.

Reblogged from: Standing At The Centre