Featured here with kind permission.
This article explores the link between three elements of magick – the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel, extraterrestrialism, and the Aeon of Maat. The link is intimate – stripped of jargon, they are different facets of an identical experience. The experience is that of trafficking with wider and deeper ranges of consciousness – often referred to as ‘Outside’ or ‘Beyond’. Dissolving the veils of jargon, we find a beautiful simplicity at the core.
‘The Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel’ is an extremely glamorous concept in the Western Magical Tradition. It remains nothing more than a concept until it has been experienced; and, once it has been experienced, the concept bears no relation whatever to the reality. This reality is an unshakeable insight into the substratum, the fountain of living waters which underlies and infuses the play of manifestation. Communion with the Angel may be realised by a formal Working such the Sacred Magic of Abramelin, or Crowley’s Liber Samekh; or it may arise with apparent spontaneity, an accumulation of experience which reaches ‘critical mass’.
Contact is not, though, at the behest of the magician; it is the Angel which opens the Operation. This is because the magician is a facet of the Angel, not – as he or she might like to think – an autonomous being. The human is a terrestrial expression of the Angel, nothing more. ‘Extra-terrestrial’, therefore, refers to vast reaches of awareness that stretch beyond the terrestrial, and of which the terrestrial is a limited expression.
This extra-terrestrial reality is often referred to as the Aeon of Maat, the Matrix or Womb from which manifestation arises. The Aeons have been interpreted as periods of time which are bounded by the Precession of the Equinoxes, but this superficial interpretation veils the reality to which the term points. As in the Angel and extra-terrestrialism, we must look beyond the concept.
Some readers may be wondering about the basis for the above remarks. A number of years ago I received an unmistakeable call to undertake the Knowledge and Conversation, and it seemed clear to me that Liber Samekh was to be my chosen instrument. This was in spite of the fact that I did not consider myself to be competent in some of the magical techniques of Samekh; however, since the time had clearly arrived, I had to do my best with the skills available. I stuck closely to the format of Samekh in terms of frequency of ritual, order of stages, etc. Liber Samekh is a very intensive Operation, an accelerating intensity and frequency of working that has to be kept to. This intensity gives rise to a powerful momentum, the nature and intensity of which can be appreciated only by someone who has undertaken something similar.
The accelerating dynamism of the initial ten moons of Samekh is a preparation for the eleventh, culminating moon. The expectation is that the dynamism generated will hurl the aspirant into rapturous, orgasmic communion with the Angel. It doesn’t; the essence of this final moon is one of waiting for the approach of the Angel, who has indeed been the instigator of the Working. This is an extremely hard lesson; undoubtedly, it has to be learnt afresh at first hand by the aspirant.
There is a passage of Liber LXV, The Book of the Heart Girt with the Serpent which captures this point beautifully:
The prophet cried against the mountain; come thou hither, that I may speak with thee! The mountain stirred not. Therefore went the prophet unto the mountain, and spake unto it. But the feet of the prophet were weary, and the mountain heard not his voice. But I have called unto Thee, and I have journeyed unto Thee, and it availed me not. I waited patiently, and Thou wast with me from the beginning. This now I know, O my beloved, and we are stretched at our ease among the vines. But these, thy prophets; they must cry aloud and scourge themselves; they must cross trackless wastes and unfathomed oceans; to await Thee is the end, not the beginning.
The nature of the Angel is at once both simple and profound. It is the Gateway to the continuum of consciousness which lurks behind the mask of multiplicity, and which is extra-terrestrial; this continuum is also masked as the Aeon of Maat, which is not a sequence of time but insight into Reality. This Reality is ever-present, veiled by terrestrial identity; we have only to cease to be hypnotised by our self-imposed limitations, for it to become apparent that we are that Reality, always have been, and always will be. Hence the above line ‘I waited patiently, and Thou wast with me from the beginning’; it really is that simple. The notion of the jivanmukta, he who is liberated whilst still living, is a glorious one; on the other hand, the only thing keeping us from this liberation is the illusion that we are not free.
Don’t take my word for it, though. Your Angel knows of that gorgeous little tavern ‘The Angel & Feathers’ which is always just around every corner…
Supping At The Angel & Feathers:
It is as well at the outset to clarify the use of the term ‘terrestrial’. It denotes simply that which is earth-bound, or human. The terrestrial vehicle is a mask, an incarnation of a consciousness, the veils of which dissolve in the course of initiation. ‘Extra-terrestrial’, therefore, indicates that which is out with or beyond the comparatively narrow range of human, earth-bound, terrestrial consciousness. ‘Beyond’ or ‘Outside’ is often used in a similar fashion – that which lies beyond the confines of the terrestrial vehicle. A fine example of the use of the term ‘terrestrial’ in this context occurs in the first paragraph of Lovecraft’s story Beyond the Wall of Sleep:
…From my experience, I cannot doubt but that man, when lost to terrestrial consciousness, is indeed sojourning in another and uncorporeal life of far different nature from the life we know, and of which only the slightest and most indistinct memories exist after waking…
We may guess that in dreams life, matter, and vitality, as the earth knows such things, are not necessarily constant; and that time and space do not exist as our waking selves comprehend them. Sometimes I believe that this less material life is our truer life, and that our vain presence on this terraqueous globe is itself the secondary or merely virtual phenomenon. Magick has a mystical core – the realisation of sunyavada, the emptiness at the heart of matter. This emptiness is simultaneously a plenitude, nourishing in its depths the seed of manifestation which flowers in its perfection and then fades. The rhythm of the universe is maintained in a perpetual expansion and contraction, becoming and absorption. Initiation is the unveiling of consciousness; whether this is viewed as an internal or an external journey makes little odds, since both amount to the same thing. It is the assimilation of magical and mystical experience – a process of understanding, of insight. The nature of this insight is an awareness that consciousness does not rest with the individual, but is universal or cosmic; there is a continuum, not a multiplicity of isolated units.
Whatever the nature of the magical or mystical practices pursued, the real change is at the level of Jnana – intuitive knowledge. What changes is not consciousness, but that which we have previously thought of as ourselves in relation to it. Awareness is no longer restricted to the terrestrial vehicle; the focus shifts, attuning to wider and deeper ranges of consciousness beyond what was formerly considered to be the self.
The sense of individuality is only a restriction or dungeon so long as we incarcerate ourselves therein, a bondage forged by our own preconceptions. We are all facets of the universe. There is no individual self which endures, but the flux and flow of perception, like wave after wave surging forth. The wave is a transient form of the water, giving way to another wave. Consciousness roils, throwing forth shadows from its depths; these shadows are the glamours of manifestation, a perpetual play which flows and shimmers, urgent and alive, sweeping this way and that. We are drawn from these shadows: not as monads, self-existent and eternally enduring; but as transient ripples of consciousness which flow outwards, melding and coalescing with other ripples. In this incessant weaving amidst the continuum of consciousness, self and not-self mingle and fuse, slipping back and forth, trespassing wantonly across apparent boundaries which have always been fluid.
To become alive to this transience seems an extraordinary thing; yet it is the most natural state in the world. It is a measure of how we have cut ourselves off from reality – drawn the covers over our heads and huddled in our ghettos. Initiation is a vitriol, dissolving the illusion of separateness. Only in recognising individuality as illusion, and ceasing to cling to it, can we see past what we are not, to the fecund infinity of that which we really are. This relinquishment is the pressing of the blood into the Cup of Babalon. It is a work of reconciliation: not of the melding of self and other, the microcosm and the macrocosm, the apparent individual and the rest of the universe, which have never been apart anyway; but of our awareness of that identity.
This reintegration is a path not of renunciation, but of fulfilment – of awakening to a wider, richer, deeper identity. It lies at the heart of magick, and is the Great Work.
Without such a vision, there is only results magic, which accentuates the sense of separation from the rest of the universe. This is the path of compulsive individuality, the attempt to seal up the blood in the body, to cling to the sense of separation, inured to the flux and flow of the universe – a tide which inevitably claims all transient shadows for the melting pot. This melting pot is the Cup of Babalon, from whence springs the gamut of existence, and to where it returns. Initiation is thus not something which occurs to an individual. The terrestrial vehicle is a refraction of a much vaster field of awareness.
As initiation runs its course, awareness becomes wider and deeper, less bound up with the terrestrial vehicle, and increasingly alive to reaches which lie beyond. This is not a steady process, but unfolds by leaps of intuitive insight. Its course is sometimes expressed as a move from the self towards the Self – the totality, the cosmic consciousness, of which the self is a refraction. All knowledge is Self-knowledge, and initiation is a process of re-membering, or reintegration. All apparent entities are ranges of consciousness, equally vehicles of the Self. There is a sea of sentience; we traffic with wider and deeper ranges, and there is assimilation: “For I am divided for love’s sake, for the chance of union”.
Entities such as Lam and Aiwass are no more entities in their own right than are human beings: not remote, august beings, but equally shadows in the sweep of sentience. The sentiments of Lovecraft in the passage already quoted are not so far from those of Crowley, when he wrote: My observation of the Universe convinces me that there are beings of intelligence and power of a far higher quality than anything we can conceive of as human; that they are not necessarily based on the cerebral and nervous structures that we know, and that the one and only chance for mankind to advance as a whole is for individuals to make contact with such Beings. Crowley’s traffickings with Aiwass and Amalantrah are examples of such contact. Crowley usually needed a medium to facilitate such communication, although there were occasions when mediumship did operate fitfully for him: the glimpses of Aiwass during the earthing of Liber AL, for instance. In the case of the Amalantrah Working, this mediumship was provided by several Scarlet Women, who were sensitised by sex, drugs, and alcohol in various combinations, and became oracular.
Their visions were often located at an astral Temple, peopled by doubles of those taking part in the physical sessions, as well as the forms of colleagues who were at a distance. Frequently what the medium was seeing and hearing was meaningless to her, but oracular and intended for the comprehension of Crowley. Communication was sometimes explicit; more often it was subtler, the essence being conveyed by means of numbers, symbols, I Ching hexagrams, Tarot cards, and the like. Communication in this fashion may seem at first sight perverse, and wilfully obscure.
However, the use of gematria and symbols can spark intuitive leaps, flashes of insight that are simply not amenable to expression in words. It is not unlike the mathematician’s approach to communication in terms of pure number, as being more precise than language in its apprehension. Thus, Workings such as that with Amalantrah, or those in the Algerian desert in 1909, go beyond the subjective – although there is bound to be some such tincture, like light shining through coloured glass. These are records of traffic with extra-terrestrial forces, and their worth is substantiated by the fact that, years later, other occultists are able to study these records and make creative use of them, with a view to picking up some of the multitude of threads and continuing with them.
To Be Continued…
Text: Michael Staley (with kind permission) – Starfire Publishing
“Holy Guardian Angel”: Sarah-Jayne Farrer
“Supping At The Angel & Feathers”: Matt Baldwin-Ives
“Evoking the Interterrestrial”: Matt Baldwin-Ives
“Amalantrah”: Matt Baldwin-Ives