Si Vales, Valeo
Why am I so adamant about creating new rituals? Using another person’s rituals with the intent of contacting their own HGA is like dialing the phone number for a pizzeria and expecting to speak with one’s mom.
But there are rituals that serve all sorts of applications. Rituals are important, for example, to maintain a tradition. Those I would consider “religious rituals,” as they served best within a community celebrating their egregore. But anyone that understands Gnosticism beyond its present anachronistic status will tell you, that every man and woman must develop their own relationship with The Divine. Intermediaries simply muck up the waters.
What does The Book of the Law say about rituals?
I:20 The key of the rituals is in the secret word which I have given unto him. And also
AL III.49: “I am in a secret fourfold word, the blasphemy against all gods of men.”
So what does Crowley say about this “fourfold word?”
“The evident interpretation of this is to take the word to be “Do what thou wilt,” which is a secret word, because its meaning for every man is his own inmost secret. And it is the most profound blasphemy possible against all ‘gods of men,’ because it makes every man his own God.” – The New Comment
To me, this seems to speak to originality. Each of us, according to our inmost nature, should write rituals which are meaningful to our own constitution. Each god is different, and so particularly in the use of magick, ritual and ceremony as a means to connect to one’s Higher Self, the rituals should be personalized.
I:33 Then the priest fell into a deep trance or swoon, & said unto the Queen of Heaven; Write unto us the ordeals; write unto us the rituals; write unto us the law!
“Law, in the common sense of the word, should be a formulation of the customs of a people, as Euclid’s propositions are the formulation of geometrical facts. But modern knavery conceived the idea of artificial law, as if one should try to square the circle by tyranny. Legislators try to force the people to change their customs, so that the “business men” whose greed they are bribed to serve may increase their profits.
‘Law’ in Greek, is NOMOC, from NEM , and means strictly “anything assigned, that which one has in use or possession”; hence “custom, usage”, and also “a musical strain”. The literal equivalence of NEM and the Latin NEMO is suggestive. In Hebrew, ‘Law’ is ThORA and equivalent to words meaning “The Gate of the Kingdom” and “The Book of Wisdom”. The New Comment
Here, The Master seems to be making a distinction between rituals which are done mindlessly, which have been used to control the individual and the rituals which, while standardized, are made to celebrate one’s community. No, the word NEMO is not a reference to the popular Pixar movie.
The word Nemo took on several slightly different but interesting meanings as the word was used by one culture or another. All these definitions could apply to Crowley’s comment.
For the Oromo people, it simply means “The Man.”
Homer used the word in his Odyssey to mean “Nobody Did It.”
When it the Odyssey was translated into Latin its meaning became “Nobody.”
So, if we applied these meanings to “Law” we see that the law that is being referenced here is not the law made by man, but perhaps something greater.
I: 34 But she said: the ordeals I write not: the rituals shall be half known and half concealed: the Law is for all.
The first demand is refused, or, it may be, is to be communicated by other means than writing.
(It has since been communicated)
The second is partially granted; or, if fully granted, is not to be made wholly public.
The third is granted unconditionally. The Old Comment
I believe that the true rituals cannot be communicated. Our language is not in any way a satisfactory tool to convey divine concepts. Therefore, the Qabalah was created, and why every Western Mystery Tradition that initiates insists at least its basic understanding. It isn’t a trick or a test. It is a way to ensure you will be able to pull as much of the mystery as possible from your initiations.
The second point, I see as the initiation rituals of a community. Even though they cannot be properly understood due to the failure of language, the candidate can experience their truths, which are communicated in allegory.
The third point means this: Any request for initiation should be granted.
The Ordeals are at present carried out unknown to the Candidate by the secret Magick Power of The Beast. Those who are accepted by Him for initiation testify that these Ordeals are frequently independent of His conscious care. They are not, like the traditional ordeals, formal, or identical for all; the Candidate finds himself in circumstances which afford a real test of conduct, and compel him to discover his own nature, to become aware of himself by bringing his secret motives to the surface. Some of the Rituals have been made accessible, that is, the Magical Formulae have been published. See The Rites of Eleusis, Energized Enthusiasm , Book 4, Part III. The New Comment.
The initiate is in fact initiating himself. No matter how powerful the allegory, how good the memorization and beautiful the props that are used, these things can only serve to provide the candidate with the excuse (for lack of a better term) to allow the expression of his inner life to play.
This is not to downplay the importance of ritual being rightly performed. As an initiator, one must take responsibility at least for creating a space conductive to the transmission of the secrets which will open the candidate up to a new adventure. Or, as Joseph Campbell might say: A Hero’s Journey.
I:49 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.
This verse declares that the old formula of Magick — the Osiris-Adonis-Jesus-Marsyas-Dionysus-Attis-etcetera formula of the Dying God — is no longer efficacious. It rested on the ignorant belief that the Sun died every day, and every year, and that its resurrection was a miracle.
The Formula of the New Aeon recognizes Horus, the Child crowned and conquering, as God. We are all members of the Body of God, the Sun; and about our System is the Ocean of Space. This formula is then to be based upon these facts. Our “Evil”, “Error”, “Darkness”, “Illusion”, whatever one chooses to call it, is simply a phenomenon of accidental and temporary separateness. If you are “walking in darkness”, do not try to make the sun rise by self-sacrifice, but wait in confidence for the dawn, and enjoy the pleasures of the night meanwhile.
The general illusion is to the Equinox Ritual of the G.’. D.’. where the officer of the previous six months, representing Horus, took the place of the retiring Hierophant, who had represented Osiris.
Isa is the Legendary “Jesus”, for which Canidian concoction the prescription is to be found in my book bearing that title, Liber DCCCLXXXVIII. The New Comment
This is synonymous with “certainty, not faith.” The sun rises whether you believe it will or not. The Sun does not care. It is a call to endure your ordeals, because just as the sun rises, so will you. For this new view of life, the self-sacrificing of Jesus is unnecessary and does not serve as a good example of the reality of the matter. Instead of sacrificing and pleading, we are to fight for our right to party.
II:5 Behold! the rituals of the old time are black. Let the evil ones be cast away; let the good ones be purged by the prophet! Then shall this Knowledge go aright.
“The ‘old time’ is the Aeon of the Dying God. Some of his rituals are founded on an utterly false metaphysics and cosmogony; but others are based on Truth. We mend these, and end those. This “Knowledge” is the initiated Wisdom of this Aeon of Horus. The New Comment
This is self explanatory. The old aeon glorified suffering and used enlightenment through pain. Those ideas are no longer valid or workable with our present understanding of nature. Therefore, these rituals are no longer proper vehicles (as he calls them) for initiating people into the mysteries.
II:35 Let the rituals be rightly performed with joy & beauty!
A ritual is not a melancholy formality; it is a Sacrament, a Dance, a Commemoration of the Universe. The Universe is endless rapture, wild and unconfined, a mad passion of speed. Astronomers tell us this of the Great Republic of the Stars; physicists say the same of the Little Republic of Molecules. Shall not the Middle Republic of Men be like unto them? The polite ethicist demurs; his ideal is funereal solemnity. His horizon is bounded by death; and his spy-glass is smeared with the idea of sin. The New Aeon proclaims Man as Immortal God, eternally active to do His Will. All’s Joy, all’s Beauty; this Will we celebrate. In this verse we see how the awakening leads to ordered and purposeful action. Joy and Beauty are the evidence that our functions are free and fit; when we take no pleasure, and find nothing to admire, in our work, we are doing it wrong. The Comment
Again, he speaks of an end to suffering or sin, making the formula of the dying god obsolete. And not for the sake of being an iconoclast, but because those old ideas are clearly inadequate in an age of science. Our communal rituals should be celebrations. Our ideas should be celebrated, not mourned. In other words, the Law should be joyful.
II:36 There are rituals of the elements and feasts of the times.
“Each element — fire, earth, air, water, and Spirit — possesses its own Nature, Will, and Magical Formula. Each one may then have its appropriate ritual. Many such in crude form are described in The Golden Bough of Dr. J.G. Frazer, the Glory of Trinity! In particular the entry of the Sun into the cardinal signs of the elements at the Equinoxes and Solstices are suitable for festivals. The difference between ‘rituals’ and ‘feasts’ is this: by the one a particular form of energy is generated, while there is a general discharge of one’s superfluous force in the other. Yet a feast implies periodical nourishment.” The New Comment
Elemental celebrations, and rituals for the stations of the sun upon the heavens are pretty obvious. But what we seem to miss often times is the distinction The Master makes between a feast and a ritual. Rituals are used specifically to raise force, while the feast is nourishment. It is the difference between business and pleasure, and one cannot exist without the other. This is important, and the reason that most communal celebratory rites should be followed by food and drink.
In closing, I believe that rituals and rites shared by members of a religious sect or cult to celebrate the roots of their philosophy and/or reaffirm their communal fellowship with The Divine are as important as personal rituals. These rituals are the glue the holds the group together. These rituals build up and strengthen the egregore.
That said, when it comes to personal rituals, if you use someone else’s formals they will work. Just don’t expect them to work on you the same way. I am not saying you shouldn’t do Crowley’s rituals. I am saying you should use them, analyze them. Tear them apart until you understand how to create your own. But for the love of all that is holy, at least know SOME Qabalah before you do.
If one wants a personal relationship with The Divine, as opposed to an imagined one, one must do the work of developing that relationship on their own. Bishops, Priests, Ministers, Yogis, Curanderos, Shamans, etc… they can only show the way, provide examples and maybe show you The Map through initiation.