Monday, May 22, 2017

The Mystic Marriage of the A.'.A.'. and the O.T.O.

As a result of the "From Cefalu to Sacramento" posts, I received the following remarks from a member of the A.'.A.'. who wishes to remain anonymous:


Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.

 “Duplexity” is a word manufactured in recent times from Crowley’s Word of the Equinox, 1915, “Duplex.”  Its potential meanings have been studied and the altered word adopted as a cry to arms by those who would support one A∴A∴ group over the others.  In December 2016, Frater Teleios wrote an essay about Duplexity, entitled One Truth and One Spirit, which he states is an examination of the concept, with a specific focus on the relationship of A∴A∴ groups with the O.T.O.  In some ways, this brief manuscript is a response to this essay.  In it, Teleios examines the roles of each Order and the relationship between them.  The primary argument is stated to be based upon the notion that the missions of the two Orders are the same, stated to be the promulgation of Thelema.

This statement seems at the least to be a radical oversimplification, and is likely simply erroneous with respect to the basic purpose of the A∴A∴.  The functional aim of the A∴A∴ would seem to be the development of individuals through a series of practices and initiations to promote mystical and magical development under the structure of Scientific Illuminism. The Oaths of the grades have no direction to promulgate the Law, only to proclaim openly one’s association with the A∴A∴, clearly not the same thing.

Therefore, I would venture that the premise of the essay is specious.
The essay illuminates a problem that exists in the arguments of people who have focused upon Crowley’s original statement as a device in the political debate about which claimant group is the “right one.” They have focused on only one part of what is said in the journal entry, the single word that result from Crowley’s masturbatory ritual.  His description of the ritual and its results contains other information that has not been considered as carefully, perhaps, as the Word.

As an example of this hypothesis, we can formulate an alternative argument here, starting with the original quotation about the word of the Equinox, 1915:
21 March 11.30 p.m. Weather cool and cloudy. Lights of temple(four small).The true moment of the Equinox was 4.51 p.m.Frater Perdurabo in manu illius. [Brother Perdurabo in his hand]Object: To obtain The Word of the Masters for this Equinoxfollowing.The Operation was most extraordinary, being done in full openTemple of NeophyteA∴A∴ in the Ceremony of the Equinox.
The orgasm and ejaculation were double, as it were twins, and in theinstant between the two, the word DUPLEX was placed in my mindwith a clarity and certitude that I have never previously known. TheElixir was abundant and excellent.Result: As above recorded, great success. Very remarkable all this;it is a word of mystic marriage of A∴A∴ and O.T.O. 
Instead of focusing on the word “duplex,” it is relevant to focus here on the concept of mystic marriage. 

This is an important concept in the Gnostic Mass.  In Liber XV, Section VIII is entitled “OF THE MYSTIC MARRIAGE AND CONSUMMATION OF THE ELEMENTS.” In this portion of the Mass, the Priest and the Priestess join the elements and themselves unite, indicating that for Crowley, the mystic marriage was an act uniting a thing ascribed with masculine dignities and a thing with feminine dignities.  It would seem reasonable to assign the O.T.O. as the masculine manifestation of the 93 current, with its social and outward-facing focus, and assigning the A∴A∴ the introspective and “passive” (in the sense of water and earth elements, rather than a statement about womanhood) face of the current.

Further, in Opus Lutetianum, it is stated: “In any series of Rites the roles of the celebrants should not be interchangeable.” Placing this on the structure being developed here, the goals and mission of the A∴A∴ and the O.T.O. ARE NOT THE SAME.

Crowley’s work, and indeed what the current-day aspirants are making of it, supports the idea that the A∴A∴ is the feminine aspect in the marriage, the “quiet and passive” partner.  The Order is made up of individuals doing the work, arguably not focused on the “promulgation of Thelema.”  The work of the A∴A∴ is, written clearly in the quote above, the development of the individual in isolation.  This is actually contrary to any sort of efforts toward promulgation (synonyms - make known, make public, publicize, spread, communicate, propagate, disseminate, broadcast, promote, preach). The members of the A∴A∴ form the hive mind that quietly and individually pollinates the more visible and active O.T.O.

Another clear indication of the feminine character of the A∴A∴ can be found in the Book of Lies:
3ΚΕΦΑΛΗ ΓTHE OYSTER The Brothers of A∴A∴ are one with the Mother of the Child.The Many is as adorable to the One as the One is to the Many. This is the Love of These; creation-parturition is the Bliss of the One; coition-dissolution is the Bliss of the Many.The All, thus interwoven of These, is Bliss.Naught is beyond Bliss.The Man delights in uniting with the Woman; the Woman in parting from the Child.The Brothers of A∴A∴ are Women: the Aspirants to A∴A∴ are Men. 
Aspirants in the A∴A∴ are not to know any other member, except their direct supervisor.  Their legal names are not used in publications; their actual identities are not important.  The argument of the quiet, development of the individual and the benefit to the larger society of the aspirants being the “female” of the pair is supported by the fact that in the Gnostic Mass, there are no women explicitly listed in the list of the saints. In fact, identity of females in the fraternal order (O.T.O.) have traditionally been hidden in general.

An important difference between the approach of the O.T.O. and the A∴A∴ is shown in this quotation from Magick Without Tears (MWT), further: 
“The Brothers of A∴A∴ are one with the Mother of the Child.the A∴A∴ concerns the individual, his development, his initiation,his passage from 'Student' to 'Ipsissimus'; he has no contact of anykind with any other person except the Neophyte who introduceshim, and any Student or Students whom he may, after becoming aNeophyte, introduce. The details of this “Pilgrim's Progress” arevery fully set forth in One Star in Sight […]” 
The presence of multiple A∴A∴ groups is also imbedded and accepted in Crowley’s original approach.  One Star in Sight sub figurâ CDLXXXIX states “The Adept must prepare and publish a thesis setting forth His knowledge of the Universe, and his proposals for its welfare and progress. He will thus be known as the leader of a school of thought.”

A discussion of the 8°=3 oath from states “His principal business is to tend his “garden” of disciples, and to obtain a perfect understanding of the Universe. He is a Master of Samadhi.”  Later, this same page reminds: “They are all, however, bound by the original and fundamental Oath of the Order, to devote their energy to assisting the Progress of their Inferiors in the Order. Those who accept the rewards of their emancipation for themselves are no longer within the Order.” Simply put, all those A∴A∴ members who achieve 8°=3 bind themselves by oath to forming their own new version of the order, to pass along their achievements.

It was without any doubt Crowley’s vision to have multiple A∴A∴ and A∴A∴-like organizations.  As an order, the A∴A∴ would be failing if this had not happened.  The existence of multiple A∴A∴ organizations also necessitates a certain amount of diversity within them.  That diversity does not invalidate any of them. Indeed, this would seem to endorse the existence of organizations such as the various Colleges of Thelema, Heart of Blood and many others.

In fact, Crowley’s view of spiritual attainment was flexible, as shown in this quotation from Liber XIII: “All these grades are indeed but convenient landmarks, not necessarily significant. A person who had attained them all might be immeasurably the inferior of one who had attained none of them; it is Spiritual Experience alone that counts in Result; the rest is but Method.”
Another pertinent quotation, this time from Porta Lucis: “We therefore who are without the chains of ignorance, look closely into the heart of the seeker and lead him by the path which is best suited to his nature unto the ultimate end of all things, the supreme realization, the Life which abideth in Light, yea, the Life which abideth in Light.” And lastly, “The first condition of membership in the A∴A∴  is that one is sworn to identify one's own Great Work with that of raising mankind to higher levels, spiritually, and in every other way." (Magick Without Tears) This being Crowley’s stated goal, we – his intellectual and spiritual children – might choose to keep our eyes on that prize.

To conclude this brief remark, the notes from Crowley’s journal of Equinox 1915 tell us a great deal about the relationship between the O.T.O. and the A∴A∴, but that the actual word of the Equinox is not the most informative part of the journal entry: 

The O.T.O. and the A∴A∴ form two partners in a mystic marriage, and they do not have the same mission. Rather they are different sides of the same coin, with the A∴A∴ creating richness inside the structure of the O.T.O. by the quiet contributions of the sisters and brothers of the A∴A∴ in every role and purpose in each O.T.O. body.

Love is the law, love under will.

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The authors of Horns of Cerastes are happy to share their insights, opinions, and interests in all matters Thelema. Anything uncited is probably an informed opinion, but there are times when we have been known to just have fun. Do be careful, it might get on you. Also, all comments are moderated.