This is not the first interview I have conducted with Adam K, for Metaphysicality Inc blog; the first one, also for those new to Thelema, was so utterly delectable that I felt compelled to invite him back to serve us up another helping. Some interesting points were raised in the previous interview; to mention just a few: the Dark Night of the Soul, also known as Crossing the Abyss; #AmazonADlink: Qabalah and related matters, and the concept of True Will, and more.
Within this piece we look at Crowley's definition of magick, briefly examine the numerals 7 and ll, discuss LBRP and the Star Ruby, and talk a bit more on True Will, and also True Will harmonized by Love/Agape, and how not to become a Black Brother; the conversation is not limited to these things.
Adam and I have been friends for some time; and though we take presenting solid and viable matter seriously, we do appreciate a bit of fun at times, which comes across in the piece. With that said, here's Adam now, so let's bust a move, and get on with the show...
Metaphysicality Inc blog Administrator
Me: I appreciate that you accepted my invite to return for another go, Adam K. Thank you and welcome back.
Adam: It's my pleasure, and thank you for having me.
Me: The pleasure is mine. So allow me to begin with a particularly evocative query--is a Thelemite necessarily a magician?
Adam: The way I used to teach electronics--rather than give a student an answer, I'd help them think their way through. So we will answer your question with a logical chain of questions, the answers of which will build towards you answering it for yourself. Won't take long, I promise. (grins)
Me: Sounds like boatloads of fun--okay shoot. (rubs hands sarcastically)
Adam: What does Thelema mean?
Me: Thelema means will.
Adam: How did Crowley define magick?
Me: As an act of will.
Adam: More to the point, magick is the science and art of causing change, in conformity with one's will. Now, can someone who is not doing their will, or who is not at least trying to, truly be called a Thelemite?
Me: Well then let me ask you a question... to address your appending my description of an act of will--have you ever heard of an act of will that changes nothing? (confused look on face)
Adam: Any action produces change. An act of will produces the desired change.
Me: Okay. I get what you're saying--totally.
Adam: So no then, they are not truly a Thelemite.
Me: Alright. So to me, according to your response then, everyone on earth is a magician--unless they fail to get out of bed in the morning and basically each necessary act of each and every day goes unperformed. Thus the answer is yes, Thelemites too are magicians.
Adam: Yes, all Thelemites are workers of magick, whether they realize it or not. And, as another oddity, not all Thelemites even realize that is what they are. Some would argue that in order to be a Thelemite you must accept Liber AL. I would contend that you simply must accept the philosophy contained within it, which can be done without knowing that is what you are doing.
Me: Hunh? Run that by me again.
Adam: Say you believe in freedom to live your life as you see fit, and believe we should live and let live. You also believe we all have a higher purpose, and we should dedicate ourselves, each, to our respective higher purpose. So you practice focusing exercises and so on--all the stuff people do nowadays to prepare themselves for whatever calling they have. These are all part and parcel to Thelema. You are a practicing Thelemite, even if you have never heard that word before. Or at least that's how I see it.
Me: Alright, I see.
Now, there are a lot of rituals relevant to Thelema. Maybe we can mention one or two and invite you to remark in some way. For example, what can you tell us about LBRP and similar protection rituals--the Star Ruby, for example?
Star Ruby is also far more technical than LBRP. Various Signs of the Grades are used in it, the ritual is done widdershins instead of deosil, and on and on. There is a lot to explain. There are, of course, heavy Qabalistic elements in the Star Ruby, but there are also elements of geomancy.
Me: Alright, and it's sound magickal practice to do one or the other of these rituals, or another similar, prior to each magickal session, it more or less goes without saying.
Adam: Those can be found in the Signs of N.O.X. (Night of Pan) for example.
Me: Oops, we cross posted.
Adam: Definitely, in response to your statement. They eliminate all outside influences of an energetic nature, both positive and negative. The only energies that should be present during any magical working should be those that the magician(s) calls forth.
Me: Alright. But you meant to say that what can be found in N.O.X.? I am not yet familiar with N.O.X., thus I ask.
Adam: The Signs, such as puer, puella, and so on; they contain various elements of geomancy, including their names. Obviously, one needs to discover Self (the L.V.X. and its rituals) before discovering that which is other than Self, so anyone new to Thelema should start there.
Me: Aaah. (nods)
So then it seems, to summarize, two significant differences between L.V.X. and N.O.X., is each of Day & Night, and Self and Not of Self. I get that you are pointing out the Self/Not self thing; the other point of contrast is assumed from what I've read.
Adam: L.V.X. and its grades are about discovering Self (Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel goes hand in hand with this). This starts in Malkuth, where the practitioner gains the Vision of the Holy Guardian Angel (which is when he/she discovers they have a purpose, their True Will; and their job is to figure out what that is). Once K&C happens, a new part of the journey begins. It's no longer about discovering and knowing Self. It's about discovering that which is other than Self (Not-Self). That is what N.O.X. is all about. As well, L.V.X. is relative to light/day, thus N.O.X., night.
By the way--The Vision of the HGA should not be confused with K&C of the HGA; many have visions, whereas it requires diligent effort for most to achieve K&C.
Furthermore, I would advise taking a close look at Star Ruby. There is a very good explanation of it, in fact, in Duquette's book #AmazonADlink: "The Magick of Aleister Crowley: A Handbook of The Rituals of Thelema."
Me: Why that book?
Adam: Because it contains a great deal of significant topic matter towards a valuable education in Thelema. Dissecting it and learning what each part of it is all about will be very educational for fledgeling magick monkeys lol. That's an Ape of Thoth joke, btw.
Me: Oh, I see... like the Cynocephalus one, on the #AmazonADlink: Thoth Magus card.
Adam: Yuppers. But as for what we were discussing, the signs--in a sense, these things are very easy to explain and very hard to explain at the same time. Much in magick is very plain to see but is expertly hidden in plain sight. There simply comes a time in your life as a magician when things suddenly click, and you get these "AHA!" moments where things suddenly make sense, but you find yourself at a complete loss to explain them using words. The Signs are an example of this, unfortunately.
Adam: An example would be, that the only reason God is real, that God is infinite, that God is not fake, is because God is Not! There IS a God because God does Not exist! Try explaining that in simple words! Lol
Me: Hmm yes, more than the human brain can easily assimilate... I get it.
And as we move forth, I hear you place great value upon Liber Resh vel Helios. What do you feel can be gained through regularly practicing it?
Adam: At the very least, it gives you a moment to collect yourself and your thoughts. Four moments, actually. Throughout the day you are beset by chaos and madness--agents of Choronzon sidetracking your efforts, all day every day, it seems. Liber Resh serves as a sort of soft reset. It clears the cobwebs, so to speak.
There is, of course, more to it than that, but in the beginning there is nothing needed more than a method to get oneself back on track when everything is going to hell in a handbasket around you.
Me: What you said makes sense--to suggest that we as humans, as Thelemites, and as magicians, need to take responsibility for the energy status of our respective environments. Thank you.
Adam: No problemo.
Me: And it seems numerals bear great relevance in Thelema, especially the numbers 7, and 11. What can you tell us, first about the number seven.
Adam: Seven: the seven planets is the first example. Oddly, I did mention Puella earlier, which was the 7th geomantic figure. It means "girl," "beauty," "Purity." It is correspondent to Libra. Anyway, there are seven colors of the rainbow, seven lettered notes in music, seven chakras, and so on and so on.
There is a significance to the seventh sphere on the tree, and to the seventh grade of the A∴A∴; but to any Thelemite, a more significant number, I think, is the number 11. Eleven is the number of Nuit, and of magick (the letter k is the 11th letter in the English alphabet, hence its being added to magick).
Too, there are 11 letters in ABRAHADABRA. There are 11 words in "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law." Every grade in the A∴A∴ is paired with a sphere on the Tree, and when added together the two add to 11. The twin pillars appear as the number 11. It goes on and on like that.
Me: Confuzzled--spheres add to 11?
Adam: No. Well, sort of if you include the false sphere Da'ath, but no. If you are for example of the 3rd Grade in the A∴A∴, it is written as 3°=8□; 3rd degree in the 8th sphere. 3 and 8 make 11.
Me: No, because what about the other grades?
Adam: Same thing. If you are first degree, then you are in the tenth sphere. 1 and 10 make 11. 2nd degree and 9th sphere. 4th degree and 7th sphere. 5th degree and 6th sphere. Etc.
Me: Aaah yes, hmm, a specific MO was used to set the grades... I see said the blind man.
Me: I am learning Thelema without being engaged in an association or community of any kind. Some things take longer to discover when proceeding this way.
Adam: No doubt.
But if in fact you look at the name NU (Nuit), by Gematria it adds to 56, and if you add 5 and 6, what do you get?
Me: Err, look at that...well shag me sideways!
Adam: Oh my... Lol...
Me: Comic relief--I needed that! (laughs)
Adam: (smiles graciously)
Me: You touched before upon the numeral seven bearing some specific relevance to the seventh sphere. With me being new to Qabalism, may I ask, what's up with that?
Adam: You make contact with your HGA when you have progressed to the 6th sphere (5°=6□). The first sphere beyond that is, of course, the 7th. It is here that you begin to really know you have a ways to go before you are done. People tend to think they have accomplished the Great Work itself when they reach the 6th sphere, but getting caught up there can slow or even stop your actual progress. You can easily become a black brother at this point. The 7th sphere is the key to getting beyond that, figuratively and literally.
Me: Black Brother, deadbeat?
Adam: Black Brothers are a thing we will get into at another time. It's fairly simple and thus quite complex.
Me: Okay, but for those with raised eyebrows out there, that are sitting on the edge of their seats waiting for more on this--can you offer them a taste of the concept?
Adam: Sure thing. Black Brothers are those who have foregone the goal of Union. They have begun using magick in ways that have no connection to accomplishing their True Wills, and have indeed forsaken their True Wills. Christians do this readily by submitting to the "will of God" and denying their own will.
Adam: I'm fairly tired so I don't know how much sense I'm making.
Me: We're good.
Adam: Basically, Black Brothers are those who fail the ordeal of the Abyss, and thus become the enemies of the Great White Brotherhood, that of course are Thelemites.
Me: Ah. Okay. So to grossly summarize then, they would be those resisting ego death?
Adam: Yes. If Thelemites recognized a sort of evil, these people would be that. They are the result of facing Da'ath and Choronzon and failing to hold it together.
Me: 'Cos that's one hell of a conundrum, or contrast right there--because as they have chosen to resist ego death and thus could not become part of the oneness, they are in fact doing their will (albeit not their True Will), just not in a way that suits Thelemic concepts... but maybe the failure is less do with will and is more to do with getting tied up in confusion/feelings/fears/emotions, for them.
Adam: There's no clear way to respond to that, because who knows how and why it happens. It seems that the feeling of expansion into the greater unity would feel to them like dispersion, a second death, and they would fight it, trying desperately to preserve their ego-self. By doing so, they separate themselves from the unity and guarantee the very thing they fear: annihilation in the void.
Me: Nods. (stares raptly and blankly)
Adam: Does that make sense?
Me: Very much so, yes.
Too, just can't help but say--to resist ego death being so undesirable, guess Trump's not a Thelemite, hey? (winks mischievously)
Adam: (looks around the room mock-nervously)
A break was taken; this part of the interview picks up a day later...
Me: Okay, so we touched upon the concept of Black Brother when we sat down for the first amount of questions for this interview. I now see why you were a bit reluctant to go there... kind of a place that angels might fear to tread... a lot of grey, a lot of uncertainty. But as things generally go, no sooner had you presented the concept of Black Brother to me, than it arose for me in my own life as something to examine; so now I need to ask more... but I'll be gentle, I promise. (smiles)
Adam: Ugh. Ok. I feel a tad bit dyslexic explaining this.
Me: M'ya; alrighty then...
So you left me with the impression before, that a person who slips into, for lack of a better term, Black Brotherness, stands against the entirety of what Thelema stands for. This did not so much rise in the previous content of this piece, but more in matters we discussed peripheral to it after the fact. But I want people who are not familiar with this term, to be aware that this can happen (to become a Black Brother), as it's something one would likely not choose to experience. I need to ask this now--a Black Brother Thelemite, is in essence not a Thelemite at all... agree or disagree?
Adam: I would agree. For the Star Wars fans out there, it's a lot like the Jedi and the Sith. They differ in only a few points philosophically, but those few points make all the difference in the world.
Me: So you think there are Thelemites that would disagree with what I have presented here?
Adam: No. But there are some who would call themselves Thelemites that might. Lol!
In a sense, that isn't fair, as many would interpret it, since Thelema is all about individual True Will. But an understanding of what True Will actually is might argue in my defense.
Me: Well then let's have it... what is the proper definition of True Will, that would support what you've presented?
Adam: Each and every person has their own True Will, the purpose they were placed here in Assiah for. It is revealed in Thelema by one's Holy Guardian Angel. It is traditionally seen that way in Hermeticism as well. No True Will is in conflict with any other True Will. If two people are in conflict, at least one of them is not abiding by their True Will. Ultimately, as the Divine Will is the Will of the Universe, no True Will would then, by the very nature of True Will, be in conflict with it. And the Divine Will is to seek and find Unity.
Me: With that statement you are also implying that a Black Brother by his very nature, interferes with the fluidity of the free will of others... is this a correct assumption?
Adam: In a manner, yes. But a person doesn't become a Black Brother until after achieving attainment of Knowledge & Conversation with their Holy Guardian Angel, and they begin the Crossing of the Abyss. So up until that point they aren't really easily distinguishable from any Thelemite
Me: So to summarize then, they become a thorn in the side of others only after the fact (of failing to check their ego at the door as they traverse the Abyss); or so it seems.
Adam: Eggs actly.
Adam, I don't know if you'll be adequately prepared for me to ask this question, but I am going to toss it at you anyway and see what happens... given that according to pew research stats, the rate of Nones has been steadily escalating and the amount of mainstream Christians steadily decreasing for some time now, it should naturally follow, that the cross-section of Thelemites consists of steadily more and more young as time goes on. Is this according to what you see, the case? Fill me in, if you will.
Adam: Consider this: is Thelema something you call yourself, or something you are? I'll explain if necessary.
Me: Maybe explain please.
Adam: Well, a cat doesn't need to know we call it a cat to be a cat. Many (most, honestly) of our Thelemic saints would never think of themselves in terms of the word Thelema, yet they embodied what it means to be a Thelemite. Today, more and more, people are living their lives seeking their purpose here on earth and leaving others to do as they see fit. This is debatable in a political sense, I suppose, but I'm sure people can see what I mean. One hundred and seventy five years ago and more, this would not have been the case. We are living in a changing world, one becoming more and more Thelemic, though most have no idea such a concept exists.
Me: Mmm, yes, I see, and we touched upon this concept earlier but it was applied in a different way. I used the blind man quip earlier in this piece I think... lol. Gonna have to whack you with my white cane soon, I think, to resolve anything.
Me: In essence you are saying that not only are there many more young that are Thelemites, but there are more of every age bracket across the board.
Me: I now find myself brought to another thought... I was shocked yesterday to discover that some French poet dude, and not Crowley, first employed the term "Thelema." Who would have thunk it? What's his name again?
Me: Ah yes, François Rabelais. Thank you.
And for the grand finale question, I wanted to finish up with a powerful one--please offer if you will, your opinion on how the word "Agape," applies to Thelema.
Adam: Agape, like Thelema, enumerates to the number 93 through the system of numbers called #ad-Gematria. In that system every letter in the Hebrew alphabet (and in the Greek alphabet as well, as is illustrated by these two words) has a numerical value. When you add the letters of the word "Thelema" together, the sum is 93. The same is true of Agape.
Whenever two words or phrases have the same numerical value, they correspond to each other in some way. If this is the case, it serves a purpose to discover what those words or phrases have to do with each other. Thelema means Will. Agape means Love in a universal, unrestricted form. In Liber AL we find the phrase, "Love is the law, love under will." So clearly there is a connection to be found between those two words.
It is also worth noting that they are both words of power, or Logos. Agape was the Logos or Word of Jesus, and the Word still applies, tempered and guided by the Word of this present Aeon, Thelema. So we can see, that as Love is harmonized by Will, Will is harmonized by Agape, or Love.
Me: Awesome. And thus you have brought into play the next concept, that is ideal to conclude this piece with. Thelemites commonly issue each other the greeting "93/93"; and here we have clarified to those considering becoming Thelemites, why that is--it embodies Thelema/Will and Agape/Love standing side by side... which is basically a shorthand way to say--"Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. Love is the law, love under will."
Adam: Well put--I concur. (smiles)
Me: Thank you so much for sharing your opinions with myself and my blog visitors today, Adam K. I hope that it won't be too long before there's more.
93s, and bye for now.
Adam: I enjoyed the visit and the chat; 93s; yes, let's talk again soon.
That concludes our interview; thanks for joining us for another insightful experience with Adam K. Feel free to check back soon for more posts, on Thelema, and all sorts of metaphysical topics.
Related reading from within our blog:
Aleister Crowley, Some Things you Might Want to Know
Crowley :: The Legend and the Lies, Myths Exposed
On Crowley, and the Writing of the Liber AL vel Legis
To Mega Therion