Friday, November 16, 2018

The Beginning Magician, Part IV, Lesson 3


Note from the editor: In multiple genres of magick we see that practitioners commonly work with deities and other entities; and in that sense Thelema magick is no different. Magick can self propel, but with the help of deities and other various entities, we are in fact best prepared in all magickal, ritual, and spiritual settings.

Along with the description of Thelema deities, this post presents other necessary/relevant Thelema concepts; but it is not the author's intent to convert you to Thelema. The author of this work does not necessarily propose you consult this particular set of deities, but rather suggests that you use consideration of them for a starting place in magick if you do not have a pantheon of your own.

The very presence of any deity in your pantheon should hold a strong resonance. What do you know of them? Why are they there? What was their purpose through history? What does their history tell you about your own place in the microcosm or macrocosm? With the gods presented, Adam delves into what the relationship or symbolism of each is as it pertains to Thelema, to provide a clear example of what can be gleaned through paying attention to them as one works with them and learns more about them.

Magick Lesson 3: The Gods and Other Supernatural Beings

by Adam K.

We begin Lesson Three, with the question--”do gods exist?” Short answer: Yes, and no. Long answer: That's going to take a bit of explaining.

Without directly quoting him, the Thelemite author Rodney Orpheus once wrote something along the lines of, ”whether gods exist or not is unknown, but the universe behaves as if they do.” What this means is that if you pray or perform rituals to a particular deity, chances are you will get favorable results. This can be shown as true through repetitively engaging in your experiment, in form of prayer or ritual, and getting the favorable results you were expecting. Remember that scientific method referred to a few chapters ago? This is part of that.

It cannot be said with any certainty that any particular deity or deities exist, however. For example, science and scientists frequently present evidence that supports the theory that there may have been some sort of intelligent creator or creators behind the universe as we know and observe it. Invariably, there will be Christians who say, “see? Our God exists!” That is like saying that, since we are mostly water and bleach is mostly water, we are bleach. Just because something godlike may exist doesn't mean the Christian God exists. The same is true of all the various gods, spirits, elementals, and so on. But it also doesn't mean they don't exist.

The Thelemic god concept, Hadit

The gods of Thelema likely exist then? Sure, why not. And your personal experiences with those gods or any other, are the personal proof you have of their existence. Thelema is gnostic in nature, which separates it from religions and philosophies wherein the tenets propose that deities exist whether or not proof is seen.

What this all ultimately means, is that you must experiment and discover for yourself, in order for the gods you call upon to respond as you expect. As Liber AL says, “Success is thy proof...” In other words, if you repeatedly call on the same gods in the same way and get the same results, your success should tell you everything you need to know.

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Consider this though, that the gods and goddesses in question may not be so much human-like or even have any actual shape, as it were. But they may each be an energy body or entity, relative to a specific set of laws, principles, and energies--the mechanics of which collectively, they propel everything within our universe. However, it works best if we give them names, and keeps things simple if we can associate a specific appearance with them. It is strange how it works though, because at times these beings can manifest so fully that they can be felt.

Got it. So who are the gods of Thelema? Once more we are in the land of tricky questions. The truth of the matter is any and all deities are respected in Thelema and, in fact, in the end it is the Thelemite in question who is the god in question. However, for the purpose of far less confusing conversation if for no other reason, Thelema does have default gods that make it easier for Thelemites to talk about their practices with one another. Each of these gods corresponds with one or more gods in a great variety of other pantheons, and in some instances it can be understood that all gods are in fact simply aspects of a single god.

Isis (mourning Osiris)

Just answer the question, already! Who are the gods of Thelema? Alright, alright! Jeez... Well, the following is a bit of a clue, though admittedly it is a bit misleading, in the sense that rather than providing a concise list of Thelemic deities, it’s information that illustrates the link these particular deities have to Thelema. Thelema teaches that the history of man is divided into aeons, and so far there have been three aeons. We are currently in the Aeon of Horus, which began 20 March, 1904 ev (Era Vulgaris). Before that was the Aeon of Osiris, which began about the time of the first ancient civilizations, including Ancient Egypt. And before that was the Aeon of Isis, which existed in the time of the hunter-gatherer societies.

The Aeon of Isis is seen to have been matriarchal in nature, giving great respect and worship to the Moon and to the various great moon goddesses, motherhood was highly regarded, and so forth.
The Aeon of Osiris was a time of patriarchy, worship of the Sun, and the beginnings of agriculture. Man was working with carpentry and masonry, building with shaped wood and stone.

Unlike the Aeon of Isis when the male role in reproduction was not yet known, in the Aeon of Osiris it was no longer a mystery. Men saw the magick of reproduction as being all their own. As well, while the Aeon of Isis was a celebration of life and the power of the Mother to create it, the Aeon of Osiris was more about death and rebirth. The power and wisdom of women was less respected, and the strength of men who wielded the power to end life was exalted. It was taught that suffering and servitude in this life led to reward and riches in the next, and this teaching was used as a method to control others.

Horus; a Wikimedia file, by CC 4.0. author Jeff Dahl

This continued until the Aeon of Horus, and though many today do not realize it, the world we live in now is vastly different from the world before the twentieth century. This is the aeon of The Crowned and Conquering Child, the aeon of the rights and personal responsibility of the individual. Through sheer will and sheer determination, we can shape our own lives as we see fit. Of course, we are still caught in the death throes of the previous aeon as it refuses to let go; but it is dying. We are seeing it in the way the religions of the old aeon are warring with one another. Our new aeon is having its own growing pains as it works itself out, but it isn't the end of the world--it is the beginning of a new one.

The gods of Thelema are Egyptian? Yes and no. Some are and some aren't. In truth, some aren't gods at all in the traditional sense, but are rather concepts that fulfill the role of a god, such as Hadit does. We will explain these things as we progress. The following gods or concepts and their names are derived from Liber AL vel Legis, the central text of Thelema. In the book are three chapters, each dictated by and dedicated to a particular god or concept. Chapter one is the chapter of Nuit, Egyptian goddess of the infinite night sky.

Nuit, as portrayed on the Stele of Revealing
Nuit, shown at border of image top

Nuit can be seen depicted on the Stele of Revealing in her traditional form, arching over the heavens with her feet on one side and her fingertips touching down on the opposite side. She is nude, clothed only in the light of the stars that inhabit her body. As one concept describes, Nuit is the absolute embodiment of all possibility and potentiality. She is thought of as the infinity that the universe expands into, where her infinity makes the universe itself seem infinitely small. She is the circumference of the circle; she is infinite space and the infinite stars therein.  Ironically, because of her infinite nature, no thoughts we have about who or what she is can ever truly define her.

Liber AL describes her as being ”divided for love’s sake, for the chance of union.” The  union in question is that of man losing his ego based view to become part of the Oneness. However, from there he/she must transcend Oneness to become part of Nothingness--which is to join the Unity, and to do so is the Great Work of Thelema, which is encapsulated within the concept of Nuit being divided for love’s sake.

"Make no difference between any one thing and any other. We all exist. But we are all one. I am the only thing in my universe that truly exists. There is no you, because we are one, and in truth naught."

Another commonly used quote in Thelema is, “every man and every woman is a star.” Nuit is associated with the heavens and the stars; we, you and I, are the stars. Stars relate not only to Nuit but also to Hadit; Hadit is a manifestation from within the infinity that is Nuit.

Chapter two provides the message of Hadit, who in Thelemic cosmology is the lover and consort to Nuit. Hadit is not actually of the Egyptian pantheon but is an Arab word meaning divine utterance. The Winged Globe that typically represents Ra Harakte (a form of Horus the Elder) is referred to as Hadit in the museum records for The Stele of Revealing, and this “coincidence” is no accident in Thelema. Hadit as a word is similar in connotation to the word Logos. Aleister Crowley was the Magus who brought the word Thelema to the world--the Logos of this Aeon. Thus Thelema is a hadith--in the Arab sense, a divine utterance. In Thelema, the speaker of a divine Word is also called a Logos. When one attains the Grade of Magus one speaks such a Word, or alternately contributes to another Word.

Hadit as an entity is found beneath Nuit on the Stele in the form of a winged red globe, rising to meet her as her lover. He can be seen as the conceptualization of the universe within Nuit, especially as it was before the Big Bang; but essentially even as it is now, which is the infinitely finite universe, the point within the circle, the singularity. He is also seen as each of us as we grow into ourselves and become more our, uh, Selves.

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Hadit is the complement to Nuit, which is an unusual statement. He is not her husband in traditional Egyptian mythology, where her husband is Geb. So what does it mean? To grossly summarize, it means that while Nuit is all matter and all potentiality, Hadit is the action, the motion required, in order to cause anything emerge from all of her infinite and wondrous potentiality. To summarize then, in this context Hadit is an active aspect of Horus (Ra Harakte, that red winged globe we mentioned) which represents motion, activity, manifestation, and the divine Logos. And as far as I can determine, Geb can be seen as an earthbound variation of Horus. So the contradiction is, at the very least, lessened.

The third and final chapter is dedicated to Ra-Hoor-Khuit. He is an active god, who has another sort of passive, introverted and thoughtful form known as Hoor-paar-kraat; together they comprise the Horus who is the Crowned and Conquering Child of Thelema. In this context (there are various contexts with many Egyptian deities) RHK is the child of Nuit and Hadit. The names for his two forms respectively are Horus the Elder (Ra-Hoor-Khuit) and Horus the Younger (Hoor-paar-kraat); together they are Heru-ra-ha.

 Hoor-paar-kraat statue. Wikimedia Commons by CC3.0
Author, Patrick Clenet

Ra-Hoor-Khuit is Horus as Lord of the New Aeon. In Thelema he is the son of Nuit in her aspect as Isis (who is: Infinite Space and Infinite Stars), thus Hadit would reasonably be his father, while in traditional Egyptian mythology the father of Horus is Osiris. With that said, it is possible that this Horus is seen in Egyptian mythology as relating in some other way to Osiris; Egyptian mythology can be a bit confusing, honestly.

RHK is a god of vengeance and war. In his history, he defeated Set, the one responsible for the death of his father. One of his primary works is to kill off any remaining residuals of the previous aeon, or rather, guide us through to the New Aeon. Christianity is a residual from the Aeon of Osiris, and is not willing to relinquish its grasp so easily. Christianity is problematic in various ways, one being that it does not allow for freedom of religion and does not support freedom of will.

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Thelemites have no vendetta against Christianity, however, Ra-Hoor-Khuit's message is that patriarchal powered organizations must die, period, and Christianity is a major part of patriarchy.  Mind you, this does not mean all men are evil or that men holding positions of power is an evil thing. It simply means that each person, no matter their sex or color or creed or any other factor other than personal merit and effort, has equal beginning potential. It also doesn’t mean that the outcome will be equal for all people. It only means that there is nothing but the individual's will, which will ultimately be able to hold the individual back. It calls for an end to sexism; matriarchy and patriarchy are to be assigned to a past tense. It is the Aeon of the Individual.

This chapter quickly became longer than expected, and will soon carry further on. Bookmark us and check back soon.

Other Articles in This Series
Part One, The Preamble
Part Two, Elementary Level Knowledge
Part Three, Rituals
Part Four, The Gods and Deities of Thelema (this page)

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