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.

15027524_10154186418723215_6313847969649342849_n-1

15055791_10154186417083215_7777502044874188672_n-1

 

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.

september-equinox-jpg-653x0_q80_crop-smart

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!
quote-the-kingdom-of-god-is-within-man-not-one-man-nor-a-group-of-men-but-in-all-men-in-you-charlie-chaplin-107-43-01

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.

s0000001a

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.

lpd

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.

00

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

lamen.pngI am a thelemite, and I belong to a thelemic Order. Many people assume this 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.

Ard Ruide (the Irish Provinces and Their Attributes)

“Connacht in the west is the kingdom of learning, the seat of the greatest and wisest druids and magicians; the men of Connacht are famed for their eloquence, their handsomeness and their ability to pronounce true judgement.

Ulster in the north is the seat of battle valour, of haughtiness, strife, boasting; the men of Ulster are the fiercest warriors of all Ireland, and the queens and goddesses of Ulster are associated with battle and death.

Leinster, the eastern kingdom, is the seat of prosperity, hospitality, the importing of rich foreign wares like silk or wine; the men of Leinster are noble in speech and their women are exceptionally beautiful.

Munster in the south is the kingdom of music and the arts, of harpers, of skilled ficheall players and of skilled horsemen. The fairs of Munster were the greatest in all Ireland.

The last kingdom, Meath, is the kingdom of Kingship, of stewardship, of bounty in government; in Meath lies the Hill of Tara, the traditional seat of the High King of Ireland. The ancient earthwork of Tara is called Rath na Ríthe (‘Ringfort of the Kings’).”

(Taken from a poem called Ard Ruide. the Dinnseanchas)

The Stele of Revealing

I would like to take the opportunity to write about the Stele of Revealing. If you enter our Community space in Belfast, you may notice that in the North-East there is an alcove with a piece of wood painted with Egyptian designs and heiroglyphs. This is the funerary Stele of an individual named Ankh af na Khonsu. This particular reproduction is handpainted by Frater Ildanach of the Irish Order of Thelema. It is an important item in the thelemic tradition.1525493_10151901955061319_1853269786_n

The Stele was initially discovered in 1858 in a mortuary temple in Egypt. In the Equinox of the Gods, there is a description of the discovery of the Stele of Revealing and of the channeling of Liber Al vel Legis, the Book of the Law. In this account, the wife of Aleister Crowley began acting as a channel for Horus, the hawk headed God, and she indicated the stele as a depiction of Horus. According to Crowley it is a depiction of the three principles or ‘deities’ descriped in the Book of the Law and several translations or interpretations of the text appear in Liber CCXX – The Book of the Law.

In the Book of the Law it is also identified as a religious item to be placed in a place of veneration:

Get the stele of revealing itself; set it in thy secret temple – and that temple is already aright disposed – & it shall be your Kiblah for ever. It shall not fade, but miraculous colour shall come back to it day after day. Close it in locked glass for a proof for a proof to the world.

While working with Irish myth and cosmology, the ‘deities’ of thelema offer us core principles or archetypes of experience and we continue to work with these principles as images for the path.

Doug Blake offers a reading of the heiroglyphs of the stele, and their meaning:

Frater Fionn

Save

Save

Save

Seeking Submissions: Journal of Ogam Studies 2017

The Journal of Ogam Studies: Seeking Submissions for Summer 2017

SUBMISSIONS

We are currently seeking submissions for inclusion in the issue for release in Summer 2017. Significant contributions (of 5+ pages) will receive a free copy of the journal or an A5 advertising space to promote your book or initiative. Shorter submissions will receive a digital edition of the journal.

We welcome research pieces, profiles on individual ogham stones, links between ogham and tree medicine, esoteric interpretations, linguistic research, innovative applications, as well as artistic renderings of ogham studies from artwork to poetry. The editorial can be reached at: fortifiedisland@gmail.com

If you know of interested individuals or interesting voices please pass this on.

Deadline for submissions: 1st June 2017

HISTORY AND VISION

The first volume of the Journal of Ogam Studies was published in 2003, to include the research of Fr. Stoirm. This research was later integrated into the book The Poets Ogam: A Living Magical Tradition by the same author. The original vision was to create a space where ogam research, both academic and as a living system could be presented side by side, as well as artistic renderings of the ogam. We would like to create a space for inspiration, dialogue and cross pollination. We published a 2nd issue in April 2016 and would like to continue with this project by releasing a 3rd at the Summer Solstice (late June) 2017.

THE PUBLISHER

Fortified Island Press is the publishing arm of the Irish Order of Thelema, a not for profit community based organisation. All proceeds go to the costs and maintenance of a temple and Community space in Belfast, Northern Ireland and towards future publishing ventures.

Lughnasadh 2016

Lughnasa saw one of the biggest ever turn-outs at an Order event with approx 50+ people enjoying the sun and the legendary Lughnasffdb5199a198d35c7e662a1d3f5fa591a Games which hard-working members have ran locally for an incredible 17 years! Spears were thrown, arrows were shot, sword clashed on shield and all enjoyed! There was also a performance of a magical theatre piece written by a member. Later that evening a very special banquet was held in the temple to commemorate the 5th anniversary of the death of the Orders founding Grandmaster Wolfe. A commemorative CD of his music was also launched. His memory was well honoured.