An Open Epistle
on Changes Within Our A.'.A.'.
"Members of the Order are each entitled to found Orders
dependent on themselves on the lines of the R.C. and G.D. orders,
to cover types of emancipation and illumination not contemplated
by the original (or main) system. All such Orders must, however, be
constituted with the AA as regards to essential principles"
ONE STAR IN SIGHT by Aleister Crowley
The Members of the Order refer to those of the S.S. ~
We cannot dispute the fact, or be so narrow minded as to believe; that the teachings found in the lower degrees of the A.'.A.'. must be adhered to for the rest of the Aeon. ~ Change is stability. ~ Our beloved prophet, Aleister Crowley, knew that the evolution of humanity would inevitably bring forth new ideas. Rigidity to any particular initiatory structure or teaching implies stagnation. This, in turn, breeds our greatest contemptible sin which is restriction. If the A.'.A.'. is to move forward into the New Aeon it must reflect upon current societal needs and embrace new ideas which have unconsciously been affecting the masses. It must be ever ready to fulfill these, either within the given structure of the Order itself or by creating a new one. However, within our lineage, we knew that attempting to lay a foundation of a new Order below the Abyss along similar lines of the existing R.C. and G.D. to fulfill new teachings would only be continuing the problem, as we see it, rather than facing its phantoms, which prompted our inquiry in the first place. We felt the basic structure of the A.'.A.'. as it currently stands, based upon the Tree of Life system of hierarchy, tends to be restrictive, un-Thelemic and epitomizes an old aeonic spoon-fed mentality of a student/teacher relationship rather than the self-initiation implied within The Book of the Law. Of course others will disagree with this view and, in truth, that’s their own prerogative, as it is ours to embrace change. We began contemplating change years ago after watching many good students fall by the wayside in one A.'.A.'. branch after another. We began seeing a pattern which became easy to figure out. In Aleister Crowley’s day and age the availability of certain types of information was extremely limited. People were being taught the Hebrew alphabet as if it were something secret. A person would get a single typed copy of an unpublished manuscript and hold it in their hands as if it were a great treasure. The times have changed. Aleister Crowley could never have foreseen the quantity of books being published on the subject of magick. Nor could he have ever imagined the Internet or predicted the amount of ‘paper shuffling’ being done amongst people who barter copies for other copies. Some of the most secret fraternal secrets are published and easily available. There is little which cannot be obtained if a person has a serious desire to seek it out. The information which the general public has at its disposal far exceeds what most individuals had a hundred years ago when Crowley established our noble Order. Sadly, many A.'.A.'. branches have not kept up with the times. Some still teach the same curriculum, at the same slow pace, established over a hundred years ago. Some branches refuse to face the harsh reality that many people who approach the A.'.A.'. have been pursuing the teachings for years prior to joining the Order. They are not beginners. Many, but not all, are sure of themselves and the direction in which they want to go in both practice and beliefs. They believe that by joining the A.'.A.'. they’d be getting something more than they already understood. Most quickly realize that they were wrong. The initiations and teachings after becoming a Probationer or even a Neophyte are often handed out at such a slow pace that the person inevitably becomes dissatisfied or disgruntled. The pace within the Order often does not even reflect the aptitude obtainable or offered by the general society if one stayed an outsider. The person begins criticizing the Order itself for its inability to recognize their potential toward Thelema and magick and help them accordingly. This begins the pattern. By rocking the boat and being discontented they are usually ignored, refused further initiation and inevitably, they quit. On a different level, if this same person were as a child in a mundane school there would be a parent-teacher conference discussing how smart the child seems to be compared to the general curriculum being taught and that maybe, just maybe, their acting out behavior was little more than boredom. Instead of casting them aside, we’d take a greater look at their potential, possibly even advancing them forward giving them something harder to inspire their creativity and bring out the best which the child has to offer. This should be the goal of the A.'.A.'.. Seeking those who stand out rather than the sheep who sit contented on being spoon fed the same old nonsense that they’ve already had for years. With this in mind we shall begin our examination of the structure of our Order which prompted our change.
I know that the story behind the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and MacGregor Mathers has become a painfully worn out narrative and although some may argue that redundancy is often my middle name, this is one story I’ll let others tell. However, I would like to discuss the degree system of this fraternity which was symbolically based upon the old aeonic structure known as the Judaic or Qabalistic Tree of Life. This glyph consists of ten spheres or sephiroth through which, according to tradition, the creation of our known Universe came about. The Golden Dawn, like many fraternities, began its initiates in the lowest sphere of Malkuth or the tenth sephiroth and then slowly had them ascend the Tree. In order for an individual to assume his or her next degree they were required to effectuate a certain state of consciousness typified by what others thought was important in regards to the sphere in which the person presently resided. Granted, there are basics which must be grasped in order to fulfill each of the ten spheres but there is folly more often than not when using such a system. For instance, since the Tree of Life glyph is merely a convenient filing system for literally ‘everything’ in the universe it stands to reason that the ten spheres leave an immense amount of leeway as to what a fraternity believes is important for your spiritual attainment. Few initiates realize that it is the personal proclivities of the leadership which mold the direction the fraternity takes in regards to spirituality. Whether it leans toward Qabalistic, Chaldean, Egyptian, Enochian, Christian or even new aeonic thought, to mention only a few possibilities, depends upon the receiver or spiritual teacher who guides the organization. No mundane organization is exempt from this particular folly, even our own. In fact, standard A.'.A.'. requirements mimic Aleister Crowley’s personal inclinations as to what he believed should be your spiritual needs in relationship to his own attainments. Still, the greater misfortune of using a ten degree system is that it’s prone to patronize the megalomaniac who might pompously believe they are great because of the lofty degree to which they believe they have ascended. Sadly, since old Aeonic thinking dictates that the lower seven spheres on the Tree of Life are obtainable by all, requiring only someone else’s approval and because the Ego is never fully assimilated or destroyed below the Abyss, a true megalomaniac can, in theory, be raised up to a lofty position, possibly even ending up in charge of the organization itself. Although the ten degree system claims to be entirely the contrary, there is, in fact, no room for individuality within its structure if this type of person assumes a position of authority. This often spells the beginning of the end for a fraternity and historically we’ve seen this happen time and time again. If we look around right now we can point to a few organizations which suffer from this problem. So far few if any ten degree systems have produced the freedom to do what thou wilt without the approval of someone holding a higher degree. Thelema, on the other hand, professes individuality and as any modern historian will attest, the movement is at constant odds with those who are in charge of organizations whose actions dictate to the contrary. The top three spheres on the Tree of Life lie above what is termed the Abyss. These spheres represent the realm of the secret chiefs or spiritual masters who not only guide humanity but provide it with magickal and philosophical instructions. If, below the Abyss, the Sun lights the world and gives it warmth, then have you ever wondered what animates the Sun? Within the A.'.A.'. those who reside above the Abyss are Stars in the infinity of Nuit and as such they act as secret doors into the four quarters whereby knowledge is disseminated through them and radiated below. We cannot ignore the fact that such teachings, especially in regards to those like the Golden Dawn, are so potent that their influence on contemporary western magick may last for decades. However, using such names as secret chiefs, spiritual masters, or the pompous title of a hidden master is often misleading if not blatantly old Aeonic. It is the Ego speaking from below the Abyss, merely giving glorious sounding titles to that which it neither understands nor is capable of obtaining. In the new Aeon we’re beginning to realize that these spheres are simply new states of consciousness which had not been fully developed or explored in the previous Aeon. In fact, only one member of the original Golden Dawn ever attempted to cross the Abyss and reside in the third sphere of Binah; thus becoming, in theory, one of these old aeonic secret chiefs. It is no secret that he obtained the ability to act as a channel and draw down through himself remarkable new ideas. This person was Aleister Crowley, otherwise known as our prophet. Some magicians have been so bold as to suggest that one of Crowley’s greatest gifts to humanity was that he opened up the higher spheres by showing us the way to cross the Abyss. I tend to agree. Aleister Crowley fulfilled all the obligations when he received Liber AL vel Legis from the Gods in 1904. As the result of this book Crowley concluded that the entire system of the Golden Dawn was to be abrogated or changed to reflect new aeonic thought and that the Gods had chosen him to not only rewrite the rituals but dethrone MacGregor Mathers in the process; a noble aspiration on all accounts. The tragedy is that when Crowley began formulating a new Order he never attempted to establish it around the structure which was dictated within Liber AL vel Legis. Instead, he brought the Law of Thelema into the old Aeonic structure based upon the Golden Dawn’s ten degree system which correlated to the Qabalistic Tree of Life. Some believe that he did this because he had yet to fully understand the importance of the message found in Liber AL vel Legis. He could only relate it to the system of initiation which he had known, or the Golden Dawn’s. This is quite possible. However, I might point out that others will tell you that Crowley used this system for no better reason than to egotistically prove and flaunt that he had achieved those spheres which his predecessors, like MacGregor Mathers, could not fulfill. I tend to believe the Truth is found halfway between those perspectives. As for myself, I believe that many fraternities like the Golden Dawn, the Ordo Templi Orientis and even some branches of the A.'.A.'. have become black with pomposity due to this Tree of Life glyph. These fraternities are disillusioning many would be initiates with their complex structure of silly Halloween-style robes, out-dated Masonic regalia, hand-shakes and secret words, not to mention their labyrinthine and often old aeonic Rules, Regulations & Bylaws. The Thelemic inspiration which originally animated some of these fraternities has become too complicated with ‘this-plane-thinking’ as it webs itself like a spider through the spheres on the Tree of Life. Thelemites tend to forget that nowhere in Liber AL vel Legis does it mention that we must adhere to this ten degree structure. In fact, quite to the contrary it informs us, “Abrogate are all rituals, all ordeals, all words and signs.” (AL I:49) It does not state ‘a few’ of these rituals, it states ALL of these rituals. This should tell anyone that what the Golden Dawn established in relationship to the Tree of Life must be abrogated, repelled or abolished in regards to spiritual training since it pre-dates the reception of The Book of the Law. Our lineage began asking a serious question. Although the requirements are slightly different per degree, was Crowley correct by making the A.'.A.'. a basic extension of the ideas inherent in the system of initiation used by an old aeonic fraternity known as The Hermetic Order of The Golden Dawn rather than those within Liber AL vel Legis? After much discussion and deep meditation we came to the conclusion that he was wrong. The A.'.A.'., as Crowley structured it, is merely another old aeonic fraternity.
“Abrogate are all rituals, all ordeals, all words and signs. Ra-Hoor-Khuit hath taken his seat in the East at the Equinox of the Gods;
and let Asar be with Isa, who also are one. But they are not of me. Let Asar be the adorant, Isa the sufferer;
Hoor in his secret name and splendour is the Lord initiating.”– Liber AL vel Legis I:49
We believe that Liber AL vel Legis dictates a perfect Thelemic structure of initiation. It is primarily self-initiation. If we adhere to its concepts we avoid the pitfalls of fraternal patronization in order to prove that we have the right to proceed into the next Qabalistic sphere. I believe that success is the only proof required and that only you can truly be the judge of that. If anyone tells you otherwise, that you need them to justify your accomplishments, then you need to look inward and ask yourself, “Why am I empowering them?” Our branch of the A.'.A.'. offers a fresh look at fraternal organization and possible solutions to the pitfalls. Maybe not all of them, but at least we address some of the perplexing problems plaguing Thelema today. For starters, we did not resist change simply because the original was Crowley’s notion as to what our noble Order should be teaching. I cannot tell you exactly when these new ideas first took root in our lineage but it began with an honest look at the over-all structure of our Order in relationship to Liber AL vel Legis. This prompted us to do the inevitable. We embraced change below the Abyss which slowly evolved our teaching into something radically different than what other branches of the A.'.A.'. might follow. We began fulfilling that which we felt was not contemplated by the original (or main) system of our Order. For instance, it is no secret, even Crowley has mentioned it, that seven out of every eight Probationers never adequately attains to the Grade of Neophyte. Most branches of the A.'.A.'. will substantiate these findings. However, why must we be doomed as a fraternity to be spending our valuable time and energy on those destined to fall by the wayside? Shouldn’t we be asking ourselves where do the seven, who originally had Thelemic aspirations, fit into the picture rather than simply discarding them like old clothes? Have we forgotten that Liber AL vel Legis says the Law is for all, not the one out of every eight? Should we even concern ourselves with this problem? Better yet, we need to ask ourselves a more serious question. As a fraternity, are we failing to initiate because we’re using an old aeonic structure and then simply falling back on the concept that it’s the student’s fault, not ours, rather than facing the Truth? These, and many more, were tough questions which we began asking ourselves. We also discussed the ludicrous notion that what Crowley attempted to establish must be adhered to for the rest of the Aeon or the branch would no longer be considered true A.'.A.'.. Still, there are those who narrow-mindedly fear change and cling to this very belief. I’ve also heard it said that we should change our name because we don’t follow everything Aleister Crowley established to the letter. This is plain silly. We are A.'.A.'. and we acknowledge the essential principles of the Order, just not all of the old practices below the Abyss. So, regardless of the views of others and what they believe we should be doing, we’ve decided to move forward with change. Basically, we acknowledge that humanity is evolving and seemingly at a much quicker pace in this Aeon than in the previous. The strides which we have made in the last hundred years are remarkable. In reflecting upon our fraternal structure and our over-all teachings we faced the harsh reality that certain aspects of Crowley’s A.'.A.'. have definitely not kept up with the times. Regardless of such, should we cling to them? In truth, the answer is no. We should always move forward and attempt to fine-tune ourselves in order to remain a purer vehicle for the 93 Current. Yes, our branch has always felt the need to be honest. We remind our students that “mystery is the enemy of Truth” and we admit that although Aleister Crowley often dropped the name A.'.A.'. in his writings, portraying it as a vast organization dedicated to the service of humanity, it only tenuously existed at best during his lifetime. Here is Truth. Many of the members’ magickal degrees listed at the beginning of A.'.A.'. manuscripts are fake, mere padding to make people believe that there were high ranking members filling out all the degrees from A to Z when, in fact, most of the time there was only Crowley. This practice continues today in some branches. As we’ve said, the majority of members rarely advanced beyond Neophyte. Even when Crowley died in 1947 you could count all the active members above Neophyte on two hands, with fingers remaining, and most of those died within the next ten years or so. On paper it is truly a noble fraternity and one with the highest of aspirations for humanity. Yet in reality our beloved prophet was a difficult, if not impossible man and few could stand to be around him very long. We tend to forget that Crowley was far more prolific at writing about the organization than in his ability to establish it. Furthermore, and maybe even more important, it is our belief that because the Order has barely existed since its inception in Aleister Crowley’s mind almost a hundred years ago then possibly the Gods had a reason for this. Maybe what Crowley established which was based upon old aeonic principles needed to fall by the wayside in order to allow a new way of thinking to emerge. A new method based upon Liber AL vel Legis and not totally dependent on the old aeonic glyph of the Tree of Life.
One of the major differences in our branch of the A.'.A.'. compared to others is that they use ten grades, often called initiations, based upon the Tree of Life while the three mentioned in AL I:40 are merely peripheral sub-titles or divisions given to the ten. We reversed this concept. We have only three grades, the Hermit, the Lover and the man of Earth, which we do not consider initiations since Liber AL vel Legis doesn’t call them such. We acknowledge the possibility that these could correlate to the Tree, since everything does, but the latter is only a convenient filing system of self and are not grades in themselves. We feel the old system puts the cart before the horse. Let’s be honest. The fact is, according to Liber AL vel Legis, being a Thelemite encompasses only ‘three grades’ and not the ten upon which many fraternities are based. Our most Holy Book clearly states, “Who call us Thelemites will do no wrong, if he look but close into the word. For there are therein Three Grades, the Hermit, and the Lover, and the man of Earth.” (AL I:40) This line is not followed by “and you must correlate these to the ten degree Tree of Life systems used in the old Aeon.” We believe so strongly that this verse has been misinterpreted that the first major change in our lineage of the A.'.A.'. occurred when we threw out the ten degrees in favor of the three mentioned in Liber AL vel Legis. This might shock some people but we considered the move a return toward original Gnostic concepts of a three grade system rather than wallowing in a Judaic structure of ten. For instance the Basilidians, or Gnostics of Alexandria in northern Egypt, whose magickal formula of Abrahadabra is mentioned as the reward in Liber AL vel Legis, broke their entire system down into only three grades whose achievements encompassed the ‘Spiritual, Intellectual and Material.’ Yet how close is this concept mimicked in what Aleister Crowley has stated? We know that he wrote in The Equinox Vol.I No.7 (p.392) that, “Our system of initiation is to be triune. For the outer, tests of labour, pain, etc. For the inner, intellectual tests. For the elect of the A.'.A.'., spiritual tests.” Now consider what Liber AL vel Legis tells us in regards to the initiation system being three-fold. It informs us how these three grades encompass the mysteries of our Hierophantic Task. “There is a word to say about the Hierophantic task. Behold! there are three ordeals in one, and it may be given in three ways. The gross must pass through fire; let the fine be tried in intellect, and the lofty chosen ones in the highest. Thus ye have star & star, system & system; let not one know well the other!” (AL I:50) The major difference in our school compared to others is the breakdown of the triune. Old Aeonic schools utilize Qabalistic or Judaic Tree of Life symbology of the top three spheres, the next three and the remaining. These correlate to the S.S., R.C. & G.D. We do not adhere to this system. If others do, that is their prerogative.
the man of Earth
“Our man of Earth grade is more of a movement based in simplicity rather than an actual fraternity
in the Old Aeonic sense of the word. We do not want to complicate what we feel is the beauty of Thelema
by clothing it in a restrictive garment.” – Frater Iahwhs 7=4
Our interpretation of the lowest Hierophantic ordeal, or the task facing the man of Earth, is that the “gross must pass through fire.” Crowley believes these are the ‘outer labours.’ This is what the Basilidians would call the ‘material’ stage of an individual’s personal development. Regarding passing through fire, our world met its destruction by this element in 1904 when Horus took his role in the East as the Hierophant, thus beginning the New Aeon. Crowley claims that all souls would pass through this spiritual fire simply by accepting the Law of Thelema. This is the only prerequisite we have for membership in our branch of the A.'.A.'.—accept the Law and be prepared to live as a Thelemite. According to Crowley, “The man of Earth is the Adherent.” This implies an individual who is devoted to a particular cause or set of beliefs. In our case it’s the Law of Thelema. There is no initiation into this grade, nor is it imperative that you join in the presence of an actual A.'.A.'. member. As it was done in Crowley’s lifetime, joining the A.'.A.'. is simply a magickal affirmation on your part with the signing of a Pledge Form similar to the one designed by Aleister Crowley. Acceptance into the grade of man of Earth shall always occur at the New Moon or in her increase. This implies the birth of a child, innocent and receptive, in their triumph over darkness and fully aware of their quest for the Light of their Star. It is an affirmation that you, like ourselves, are a kindred soul in quest of the same thing—the Law of Thelema. In some respects the man of Earth degree is simply a confirmation that you have stepped out of the old Aeon and are willing to participate in the new. Its outer labors are those requirements of the material plane which must be fulfilled in order to receive the 93 Current. This is the whole crux of the degree. In our man of Earth degree there are no pretentious bylaws, rules, nor regulations which are un-Thelemically based in the desire to control others. Simplicity is our goal. We acknowledge that our primary objective is simply to establish Thelemic conduct. To us the man of Earth fulfills “the Law is for all.” (AL I:34) We want our students to study and prepare themselves for the ordeals of our world which, in many respects, is simply learning how to lift the veil or thick cloud of Maya which surrounds them and keeps them from seeing their Star. However, whether an individual decides upon an intellectual or a ritualistic approach, or simply desires camaraderie or friendship is up to each and every person. Who are we to judge who accomplishes more in an incarnation, meaning the turtle or the hare? If a student stays within the Grade of man of Earth forever, so be it. Unlike some branches of A.'.A.'. we place no time constraints on our student’s progress because that would imply that we know their True Will. Since no two lineages, or their outer extensions, are alike I can only speak for our own branch and say that this is our interpretation, albeit only a small part, of our student’s role. Other lineages may do things differently and we accept this. Again, there is no law beyond Do what thou wilt. One main difference in our branch is the distribution of what we call Epistles, Essays or letters between ourselves. This practice is radically different in thought than some branches of our noble fraternity might care to embrace but, then again, that is the Beauty of Thelema. The main goal of these writings is to simply share our experiences, our knowledge and our personal views of magick and Thelema. Since we encourage this type of writing, we are often confronted with concepts which are usually abhorred, stifled or ignored in other branches. At no time do we attempt to curb these thoughts, even if such contradicts our own personal views or that of others. Instead, we attempt to guide our students toward a better over-all understanding of Thelemic behavior. We remind them that, although it is their undisputed right to write as ye will in accord with Liber OZ, others do not have to believe in everything you’ve committed onto paper. It’s Thelemic common sense. What a person writes may simply reflect the Laws of his or her Universe and not that of another. Thelemites must begin accepting this fact on both ends in regards to what is being written and read. If an individual desires to move forward into the next Hierophantic task he or she must accomplish the ordeals of the man of Earth which encompass both Malkus and Nephesch, conscious thought and our animalistic nature. Qabalistically we can say that these are represented by the spheres of Malkuth & Yesod on the Tree of Life, if we require such reference points for further study. In other A.'.A.'. structures our ‘one’ grade would entail three separate degrees from Probationer and Neophyte to Zelator. The first two are very vague in their tasks while the latter, Zelator, implies a zealous student who has established a suitable Foundation which, of course, works out of Yesod-The Moon. Foundation is the key word. This is our interpretation of the first stage of A.'.A.'. training corresponding to the man of Earth. It should in no way be confused with older branches whose Golden Dawn type schools include grades up to Dominus Liminis. We do not utilize this system. Like Aleister Crowley, we refer to the Grade of the man of Earth simply by a single degree, or “Zelator.” There are many intellects out there with a vast knowledge of Crowleyanity who are seemingly trying to be adepts but few ever achieve a suitable foundation capable of seeking their True Will. Like any field of thought, knowing the subject does not imply that one is capable of doing it. Being Lunar, the foundation intimates that the student is beginning to show signs of breaking free from the thralldom of the mundane which enables them to move toward advancement. In some ways they’re becoming an adult. They’re also beginning to realize the Truth that they don’t really need an Order. In some ways the Order is merely the parent to their childhood. There can be no tests to prove that you have accomplished this goal. The change is subtle but very obvious. In the Grade of the man of Earth this implies that an individual’s Moon is beginning to reflect, or dare we say, receive the Light of its own Sun (Tiphereth) in an attempt to become Full. Thus we have Light in Extension. The individual has begun to aspire forward and is setting themselves up as a ‘receiver’ of the 93 or Solar Current which is in the grade of the Lover. Although not the only requirements in our branch, such minimal tasks like the Magickal Diaries, Liber Resh vel Helios, the Banishing Ritual etc are mandatory tools to help an individual become a vehicle for the 93 Current. However, again I must stress, if an individual wishes to remain in the Grade of the man of Earth forever, living amongst Thelemic peers while never attempting to move forward out onto their own, then their only requirement is that they must apply the Law of Thelema to their lives and live it.
“To us, a Lover implies one’s intellectual quest to understand one’s universe in which their Star is the center.
Since no two people are alike, we can only say that there is no law beyond Do what thou wilt.” – Frater Iahwhs 7°=4*
Acceptance into the grade of the Lover shall always occur on the Full Moon, symbolic of Sophia, the Virgin Wisdom of the father. According to Aleister Crowley, “The Lover giveth his life unto the work among men.” Aleister Crowley refers to the Grade of the Lover simply as the “Adeptus.” In our branch of the Order we believe strongly in what Aleister Crowley has stated, that “the Adept only has 2 real steps to take: [1. to achieve 5=6 which means bringing your Energy up to your Heart Chakra Tiphereth ... & then under that divine guidance to [2. essay the adventure of the Abyss.” The first magickal stage mentioned by Crowley occurs in the grade of the Lover. Although most individuals spend their entire life trying to obtain such, sadly, it is rarely ever fully achieved. This grade is considered the natural stopping point for most Thelemites, especially considering its Solar or 93 connections. Our interpretation of its ordeals encompasses one’s Ruach, our conscious ego, which represents everything within spheres Hod (8) up to Chesed (4) on the Tree of Life; the center of which spirals around the Heart Chakra, Tiphereth, the Sun. Again, I wish to point out, that in some A.'.A.'. branches spheres up to 8-Hod, including Dominus Liminis, are worked in the lower Golden Dawn school. We do not utilize this system believing it sets an individual up for failure within the confines of Thelema. In our grade of the Lover the Hierophantic Task tells us, like the second spiritual stage of the Basilidians, “let the fine be tried in intellect.” (AL I:50) We can say no more of these servants who are few & secret except that in this grade we empower our students with the ability to become power-zones themselves. As an adult we encourage everyone to establish their own kaaba Clerk House which is a task taken directly from Liber AL vel Legis. “Establish at thy Kaaba a clerk-house: all must be done well and with business way.” (AL III:41) We want our Adepts to build their own school of thought from beginning to end. We encourage the strong who realize the Divine Truth that they began their quest alone, within themselves and it is here that it shall end, within themselves. The world is your playground, information is everywhere and easily available. Seek what you need. It is here that individuality of thought and knowledge is accepted, diversity groomed and we believe strongly that an individual has the undisputed right to do what thou wilt. If what they establish in regards to their beliefs and ideas as the center of their Universe is justifiable then it will survive and further what Crowley calls this “chain-system.” Otherwise, the Gods are harsh, the ordeals severe and an individual can expect the direful judgments of Ra Hoor Khuit. (AL I:52) What they establish will fall by the way-side. Success is the only proof you need. Of course, like any parent, we will always be there from the beginning to the end, helping in any way we can in regards to your needs. The over-all goal of a true Lover is first to bring to birth energy and move it upward into their heart centre. Next, they take that energy and bring it back down to Malkuth in order to create a New Life by establishing a Clerk House which reflects their personal beliefs and studies. At this point they have the Authority to bring in new members into the A.'.A.'. in order that they “fail not an heir.” As dictated within the pages of Liber AL vel Legis the “rituals shall be half known and half concealed” (AL I:34). Finally, when a Lover feels they have fulfilled the obligation of reflection as to why they have chosen their particular incarnation, which implies that they know the Laws of their planet (incarnation) and its relationship to its Sun (i.e. Star), they’ll write their Thesis on their Universe. This should entail how their life has brought them to the threshold of a new birth epitomized by the Abyss. If all this is fulfilled the Lover may wish to take the Oath of the Abyss and throw themselves as a child in quest of a new incarnation.
A major requirement for this Grade is “Eleven years of service as an Adeptus” before one is admitted into the next Grade,
or that of the Hermit. It is written that beware lest this is not fulfilled for the Gods exact the price one way or the other.
“Those who have embraced the warmth of their Star
inevitably seek the source of its Light.” – Frater Authos 8=3
The final grade of the Hermit lies above the Abyss. According to Aleister Crowley these are called the Magisters. Of their ‘ordeals’ Nuit claims, “I write not” (AL I:34) and there are reasons for this. But here “the lofty chosen ones” reside “in the highest” (AL I:50) or beyond the Abyss. It is said that “The hermit goeth solitare and giveth only his light unto men.” This does not mean that a Hermit must retire from personal association with others, hide themselves away and deny their grade. Quite to the contrary, special dispensation can be granted by the A.'.A.'. if one’s Will implies otherwise. There is no law beyond do what thou wilt.
As you can plainly see, we perceive three ‘easy’ stages of spiritual growth to which the old Aeonic Tree of Life structure can be applied, but only as a guide for our students and not as individual initiations in themselves. We’re not advocating the total abandonment of the Tree of the Life structure, that is the business of each branch to decide. As for ourselves, we no longer adhere to the letter of such as a means of someone else interpreting an individual’s spirituality or growth, step by step. We only utilize this glyph as a convenient filing cabinet of the self, if an individual desires such. Yes, traditional A.'.A.'. degrees are occasionally used by our members by personal choice. However, they merely represent a reference point as to where an individual feels he or she is working in relationship to their Tree of Life and has no reflection in what others believe the accomplishment of that sphere entails. As an example, when an individual has entered the grade of the Lover they automatically work through all the old A.'.A.'. style degrees of 3=8 to 7=4 as such centralizes itself around their Star (i.e. Tiphereth). In other words, they immediately have the sum total of their Ruach or Ego to work through from all angles as they formulate their Universe and make connections with their Star. Nothing becomes unbalanced from Left to Right Pillar, all is centered around the Heart Chakra. We acknowledge that the old degrees relate ‘only’ to spheres on the Tree of Life and have absolutely nothing to do with our particular A.'.A.'. grade system. A Lover who works off Hod is considered no different than one working out of Chesed. In other words, we acknowledge that there is a correlation between the Tree of Life and the three grades but we stress to our students not to confuse the difference between apples and oranges. Finally, to appreciate what we are attempting to achieve in our branch of the Order, we must break down the Hierophantic Task more clearly and in brief. First, we want our students to learn how to live as a Thelemite and to constantly be reminded that; “The first condition of membership of 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 p.91), secondly, we want to bring our students into conscious personal relation with the centre of their Universe (Sun); and thirdly, for the advanced students we want them to make actual magical contact with the spiritual energy behind their Sun and thus draw actual force for them in order that they might guide humanity forward as dictated by the Gods. This is not our three-fold belief, but almost verbatim to what Aleister Crowley has already written. The second & third grades contain roles ‘beyond’ the Clerk House, which is primarily a vehicle for the man of Earth, although both also work within the Clerk House in a secret sense because the three ordeals are actually in one. Thus “ye have star & star, system & system; let not one know well the other!” (AL I:50) The key word being ‘well’ or not completely.
“Our branch of the A.'.A.'. has shifted away from being a mere grading school into a more Thelemic movement.
Although we have a history, we no longer care about the laurels of our predecessors or trying to establish the fact that we
have undisputed connections or authority all the way back to Aleister Crowley. We are acknowledging a new movement. We
are laying a new foundation for the future based on what we feel are the needs of Thelemites worldwide. Remember what Aleister
Crowley wrote, ‘Happy is the movement that has no history.’ He was justifying the birth of the A*A*, we are continuing in this legacy.”
– Soror Kalil
Edited/Reissued in Berkeley, California
Sunday September 28th 2014 e.v.
Sun in Libra, Moon in Scorpio
Love is the law, love under will.-AL I:57