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.
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.
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.
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.
On ‘Independent Orders’, Diversification, and Experimental Approaches to Thelema
I 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.
“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)
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.
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:
The Journal of Ogam Studies: Seeking Submissions for Summer 2017
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: email@example.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.
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.
Lughnasa saw one of the biggest ever turn-outs at an Order event with approx 50+ people enjoying the sun and the legendary Lughnasa 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.
The Summer Solstice ritual at the Giants Ring was led by the National Sovereign who designed a unique ritual for the occasion to symbolise the Sovereignty of the Land, with a Priestess to each of the Quarters and in the centre. The ritual involved a circumbulation around the earth works of all present which was wonderful to behold and struck a chord with something that would no doubt have happened way back when this earthwork was built.
Photographer Dermot Faloon was onsite to capture the days festivities. [hover over the picture with your mouse or click on your phone to go to the flicker feed]
“But all members must of necessity work in accordance with the facts of Nature, just as an architect must allow of the Law of Gravitation, or a sailor reckon with currents.So must all Members of the A.’. A.’. work by the Magical Formula of the Aeon.They must accept the Book of the Law as the Word and the Letter of Truth, and the sole Rule of Life… This is not in contradiction with the absolute right of every person to do his own true Will. But any True Will is of necessity in harmony with the facts of Existence; and to refuse to accept the Book of the Law is to create a conflict within Nature, as if a physicist insisted on using an incorrect formula of mechanics as the basis of an experiment.” – One Star In Sight (being an account of the A.’.A.’.
I have been musing on the Irish Order of Thelema in the greater scale of the thelemic movement, and how it seeks to serve the impulse of the law of liberty, and indeed how its work goes well beyond this island and its temporal manifestation. This also includes turning to the idea of the Order of Thelema and the Three Grades. The Order of Thelema is described in Liber Al vel Legis as follows:
The lover has accepted the law as the supreme rule of life, and has commited to the spread of the dominion of the law. This is the work of a lifetime. This work is in service to an outer Order, or work in the world as an expression of the law of liberty. This is an act of love, uniting inner convictions with outer action, but in a deeply pragmatic way as a path in the everyday world. All deeds, from the magickal to the mundane become a reflection of the law as the supreme law of life, and is thus appliciable to all spheres. This work is often manifest in the service to one of the outer Orders such as the Irish Order of Thelema.The Hermit is the aspiration of an aspirant to the A.’.A.’. (meant in the broadest sense), though the journey will certainly lead through the man of Earth, and the Lover grade. The Hermits are those who give of their Light only to the Law of Thelema and they are bound by no Law, except for the service to humanity.. A Hermit proper has passed the abyss, but the function of the Hermit as the transmittor of the light of gnosis is achievable through the Golden chain which links us to the third Order. The key to all of the grades are service, though each serves differently.
- The relation to “Gate” is explained above.
- TORA — “Law” pertains to Malkuth as it is the final consolidation of Divine Law that is established or begun in the first Sephirah, Kether. It is also ruled by inexorable laws, such as gravity.
- ROTA — “Wheel” pertains to Malkuth as it is where the circle of life, death, and rebirth occurs (i.e. samsara), the place where the cycle of life perpetuates itself generation unto generation, ad infinitum.
- TARO — “Tarot” is essentially a pictorial representation of the Word manifested. This is the same idea that Malkuth or Earth is the crystallization of the divine Will, the full manifestation of the Law. Further, the 22 lines of Liber Porta Lucis correspond with the 22 Trumps or Major Arcana of the Tarot and the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet, both of which imply the full manifestation of creation or Light.
- ATOR — “Athor”, or “Hathor” or “Ahathoor” or her many other names, is called “the Lady of the Path of Daleth” (Liber LVIII) and Daleth is the Path of Love. Further, Crowley attributes Ahathoor to Netzach, the 7th Sephirah which corresponds to Venus, the planet of Love. This conveys a particularly Thelemic doctrine: The Earth is a place where “Love is the law, love under will” (AL I:57). In the New Aeon, we no longer attribute the color black to Malkuth/Earth, but rather green. Green is the color of vegetatian and growth and life, rather than darkness and death; it is also the color of Venus, the Lady of Love. We of the New Aeon therefore see the Earth as a place of rejoicing, where we are “divided for love’s sake” (AL I:29) that we may take our joy in our acts of love under will.
- ORAT — Finally, “Orat,” which means “speaking” or “The Word,” relates to the Logos of V.V.V.V.V., the Light of the World, being mentioned throughout this text.