220A2-6.ASC `De Inferno Palatio Sapientiae. `Now then thou seest that this Hell, or concea

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220A2-6.ASC `De Inferno Palatio Sapientiae.. `Now then thou seest that this Hell, or concealed Place within thee, is no more a Fear or Hindrance to Men of a Free Race, But the Treasure-House of the Assimilated Wisdom of the Ages, and the Knowledge of the True Way. Thus are we Just and Wise to discover this Secret in Ourselves, and to conform the conscious Mind therewith. For that Mind is compact solely (until it be illuminated) of Impressions and Judgments, so that its Will is but directed by the sum of the Shallow Reactions of a most limited Experience. But thy True Will is the Wisdom of the Ages of thy Generations, the Expression of that which hath fitted thee exactly to thine Environment. Thus thy conscious Mind is oftentimes foolish, as when thou admirest an Ideal, and wouldst attain it, but thy true Will letteth thee, so that there is Conflict, and the Humiliation of that Mind. Here will I call to Witness the common Event of `Good Resolutions' that defy the Lightning of Destiny, being puffed up by the Wind of an Indigestible Ideal putrefying within thee Thence cometh colic, and presently the Poison is expelled, or else thou diest. But Resolutions of True Will are mighty against Circumstance.' `De Vitiis Voluntatis Secretae. `Learn moreover concerning this Hell, or Hidden Wisdom, that is within thee, that it is modified, little by little, in respect of its Khu, through the Experience of the Conscious Mind, which feedeth it. For that Wisdom is the Expression, or rather Symbol and Hieroglyph, of the True Adjustment of thy Being to its Environment. Now then, that Environment being eroded by Time, this Wisdom is no more perfect, for it is not absolute, but standeth in Relation to the Universe. So then a Part thereof may become useless, and atrophy, as (I will instance) Man's Wit of Smell; and the bodily Organ corresponding degenerateth therewith. But this is an Effect of much Time, so that in thy Hell thou art like to find Elements vain, or foolish, or contrary to thy present Weal. Yet, o my Son, this Hidden Wisdom is not thy true Will, but only the Levers (I may say so) thereof. Notwithstanding, there lieth therein a Faculty of Balance, whereby it is able to judge whether any Element in itself is presently useful and benign, or idle and malignant. Here then is a Root of Conflict between the Conscious and the Unconscious, and a Debate concerning the right Order of Conduct, how the Will may be accomplished'. 61. This chapter now enters upon an entirely new phase. The revelation or `hiding' of Hadit had by now sunk into the soul of The Beast, so that He realized Himself. 62. `Uplifted in thine Heart': -- compare the Book of the Heart Girt with a Serpent. (See Equinox III,I.) 63. This verse conceals a certain Magical Formula of the loftiest initiations. It refers to a method of using the breath, in connexion with the appropriate series of ideas, which is perhaps not to be taught directly. But it may be learnt by those who have attained the necessary degree of magical technique, suggested automatically to them by Nature Herself, just as newly-hatched chickens pick up corn without instruction. 64. `The Kings' are evidently those men who are capable of understanding Themselves. This is a consecration of THe Beast to the task of putting forth the Law. `Thou art overcome'. The conscious resisted desperately, and died in the last ditch. 65. It is curious that this verse should be numbered 65, suggesting L.V.X. and Adonai, the Holy Guardian Angel. It seems then that He is Hadit. I have never liked the term `Higher Self'; True Self is more the idea. For each Star is the husk of Hadit, unique and conqueror, sublime in His own virtue, independent of Hierarchy. There is an external hierarchy, of course, but that is only a matter of convenience. 66. The first part of this text appears to be a digression in the nature of a prophecy. The word `Come!' is a summons to reenter the full Trance. Its essence is declared in the last six words. Notice that the transition from one to none in instantaneous. 67. The instructions in the text of this and the next verse were actual indications as to how to behave, so as to get the full effect of the Trance. This too is a general Magical Formula, convenient even in the Work of the physical image of the Godhead. It is of the utmost importance to resist the temptation to let oneself be carried away into trance. One should summon one's reserve forces to react against the tendency to lose normal consciousness. More and more of one's being is gradually drawn into the struggle, and one only yields at the last moment. (It needs practice and courage to get the best results.). I quote from the Holy Books: `Fall not into death, O my soul! Think that death is the bed into which you are falling!' (Liber VII,I,33.) `Thou hast brought me into great delight. Thou hast given me of Thy flesh to eat and of Thy blood for an offering of intoxication. Thou hast fastened the fangs of Eternity in my soul, and the Poison of the Infinite hath consumed me utterly. I am become like a luscious devil of Italy; a fair strong woman with worn cheeks, eaten out with Hunger for kisses. She hath played the harlot in diverse palaces; she hath given her body to the beasts. She hath slain her kinsfolk with strong venom of toads; she hath been scourged with many rods. She hath been broken in pieces upon the Wheel; the hands of the hangman have bound her unto it. The fountains of water have been loosed upon her; she hath struggled with exceeding torment. The hath burst in sunder with the weights of the waters; she hath sunk into the awful Sea. So am I, O Adonai, my lord, and such are the waters of Thine intolerable Essence. So am I, O Adonai, my beloved, and Thou hast burst me utterly in sunder. I am shed out like spilt blood upon the mountains; the Ravens of Dispersion have borne me utterly away. Therefore is the seal unloosed, that guarded the Eighth abyss; therefore is the vast sea as a veil; therefore is there a rending asunder of all things.' (Liber LXV,III, vv. 38-48.) `Intoxicate the inmost, O my lover, not the outermost!' (Liber LXV, I, v.64). 68. It is remarkable that this extraordinary Experience has practically no effect upon the normal consciousness of THe Beast. `Intoxicate the inmost, o my God' -- and it was His Magical Self, 666, that was by this Ecstasy initiated. It needed years for this Light to dissolve the husks of accident that shrouded his True Seed. 69. The phrase -- ` the word' -- is of a deeper significance than at first sight may appear. The question is not merely equivalent to: `Is the dictation at an end?' For the Word is Conceived as the act of possession. This is evident from the choice of the word `exhausted'. The inspiration has been like an electrical discharge. Language is in itself nothing; it is only the medium of transmitting experience to consciousness. Tahuti, Thoth, Hermes, or Mercury symbolize this relation; the character of this God is declared in very full terms in `The Paris Working', which should be studied eagerly by those who are fortunate enough to have access to the MS. 70. It is absurd to suppose that `to indulge the passions' is necessarily a reversion or degeneration. On the contrary, all human progress has depended on such indulgence. Every art and science is intended to gratify some fundamental need of nature. What is the ultimate use of the telephone and all the other inventions on which we pride ourselves? Only to sustain life, or to protect or reproduce it; or to subserve Knowledge and other forms of pleasure. On the other hand, the passions must be understood properly as what they are, nothing in themselves, but the diverse forms of expression employed by the Will. One must preserve discipline. A passion cannot be good or bad, too weak or too strong, etc. by an arbitrary standard. Its virtue consists solely in its conformity with the plan of the Commander-in- Chief. Its initiative and elan are limited by the requirements of his strategy. For instance, modesty may well cooperate with ambition; but also it may thwart it. This verse counsels us to train our passions to the highest degree of efficiency. Each is to acquire the utmost strength and intelligence; but all are equally to contribute their quota towards the success of the campaign. It is nonsense to bring a verdict of `Guilty' or `Not Guilty' against a prisoner without reference to the law under which he is living. The end justifies the means: if the Jesuits do not assert this, I do. There is obviously a limit, where `the means' in any case are such that their use blasphemes `the end': e.g. to murder one's rich aunt affirms the right of one's poor nephew to repeat the trick, and so to go against one's own Will-to-live, which lies deeper in one's being than the mere Will-to-inherit. The judge in each case is not ideal morality, but inherent logic. This then being understood, that we cannot call any given passion good or bad absolutely, any more than we can call Knight to King's Fifth a good or bad move in chess without study of the position, we may see more clearly what this verse implies. There is here a general instruction to refine Pleasure, not by excluding its gross elements, but by emphasizing all elements in equilibrated development. Thus one is to combind the joys of Messalina with those of Saint Theresa and Isolde in one single act. One's rapture is to include those of Blake, Petrarch, Shelley, and Catullus. Liber Aleph has detailed instruction on numerous points involved in these questions. Why `eight and ninety' rules of art? I am totally unable to suggest a reason satisfactory to myself; but 90 is Tzaddi, the `Emperor', and 8, Cheth, the `Charioteer' or Cup-Bearer; the phrase might them conceivably mean `with majesty'. Alternatively, 98=2 x 49: now Two is the number of the Will, and Seven of the passive senses. 98 might then mean the full expansion of the senses (7 x 7) balanced against each other, and controlled firmly by the Will. `Exceed by delicacy': this does not mean, by refraining from so-called animalism. One should make every act a sacrament, full of divinest ecstasy and nourishment. There is no act which true delicacy cannot consecrate. It is one thing to be like a sow, unconscious of the mire, and unable to discriminate between sweet food and sour; another to take the filth firmly and force oneself to discover the purity therein, initiating even the body to overcome its natural repulsion and partake with the soul at this Eucharist. We `believe in the Miracle of the Mass' not only because meat and drink are actually `transmuted in us daily into Spiritual Substance', but because we can make the `Body and Blood of God' from any materials soever by Virtue of our royal and Pontifical Art of Magick. Now when Brillat-Savarin (was it not?) served to the King's table a pair of old kid gloves, and pleased the princely palate, he certainly proved himself a Master-Cook. The feat is not one to be repeated constantly, but one should achieve it at least once -- that it may bear witness to oneself that the skill is there. One might even find it advisable to practice it occasionally, to retain one's confidence that one's `right hand hath not lost its cunning'. On this point hear further more our Holy Books: `Go thou unto the outermost places and subdue all things'. Subdue thy fear and thy disgust. Then -- yield!' (Liber LXV, I. 45.46). `Morover I beheld a vision of a river. There was a little boat thereon; and in it under purple sails was a golden woman, an image of Asi wrought in finest gold. also the river was of blood, and the boat of shining steel. Then I loved her; and, loosing my girdle, cast myself into the stream. I gathered myself into the little Boat, and for many days and nights did I love her, burning beautiful incense before her. Yea! I gave her of the flower of my youth. But she stirred not; only by my kisses I defiled her so that she turned to blackness before me. Yet I worshipped her, and gave her of the flower of my youth. also it came to pass that thereby she sickened, and corrupted before me. Almost I cast myself into the stream. Then at the end appointed her body was whiter that the milk of the stars, and her lips red and warm as the sunset, and her life of a white heat like the heat of the midmost sun. Then rose she up from the abyss of Ages of Sleep, and her body embraced me. Altogether I melted into her beauty and was glad. The river also became the river of Amrit, and the little boat was the chariot of the flesh, and the sales thereof the blood of the heart that beareth me, thereof the blood of the heart that beareth me, that beareth me.' We therefore train our adepts to make the Gold Philosophical from the dung of witches, and the Elixir of Life from Hippomanes; but we do not advocate ostentatious addiction to these operations. It is good to know that one is man enough to spend a month or so at a height of twenty thousand feet or more above the sea-level; but it would be unpardonably foolish to live there permanently. This illustrates on case of a general principle. We consider the Attainment of various Illuminations, incomparably glorious as that is, of chief value for its witness to our possession of the faculty which made success possible. To have climbed alone to the summit of Iztaccihuatl is great and grand; but the essence of one's joy is that one possesses the courage, knowledge, agility, endurance, and self-mastery necessary to have done it. The Goal is ineffably worth all our pains, as we say to ourselves at first; but in a little while are aware that even that Goal is less intoxicating then the Way itself. We find that it matters little whither we go; the Going itself is our gladness, I quote in this connection Liber LXV, II, 17-25, one of several similar passages in Our Holy Books. `Also the Holy One came upon me, and I beheld a white swan floating in the blue. Between its wings I sate, and the aeons fled away. Then the swan flew and dived and soared, yet no whither we went. A little crazy boy that rode with me spake unto the swan, and said: Who art thou that dost float and fly and dive and soar in the inane? Behold, these many aeons have passed; whence camest thou? Whither wilt thou go? And laughing I chide him, saying: No whence! No whither! The swan being silent, he answered: Then, if with no goal, why this eternal journey? And I laid my head against the Head of the Swan, and laughed saying: Is there not joy ineffable in this aimless winging? Is there not weariness and impatience for who would attain to some goal? And the swan was ever silent. Ah! but we floated in the infinite Abyss. Joy! Joy! White swan, bear thou ever me up between thy wings!' `Be strong!' We need healthy robust bodies as the mechanical instruments of our souls. Could Paganini have expressed himself on the `fiddle for eighteen pence' that some one once bought when he was `young and had no sense'? Each of us is Hadit, the core of our Khabs, our Star, one of the Company of Heaven; but this Khabs needs a Khu or Magical Image, in order to play its part in the Great Drama. This Khu, again, needs the proper costume, a suitable `body of flesh', and this costume must be worthy of the Play. We therefore employ various magical means to increase the vigour of our bodies and the energy of our minds, to fortify and sublime them. The result is that we of Thelema are capable of enormously more achievement than others, even in terrestrial matters, from sexual orgia to creative Art. Even if we had only this one earth-life to consider, we exceed our fellows some thirtyfold, some sixtyfold, some an hundredfold. One most important point, in conclusion. We must doubtless admit that each one of us is lacking in one capacity or another. There must always be some among the infinite possibilities of Nuith which possesses no correlative points of contact in any given Khu. For example, the Khu of a male body cannot fulfil itself in the quality of motherhood. Any such lacuna must be accepted as a necessary limit, without regret or vain yearnings for the impossible. But we should beware lest prejudice or other personal passion exclude any type of self-realization which is properly ours. In our initiation the tests must be thorough and exhaustive. The neglect to develop even a single power can only result in deformity. However slight this might seem, it might lead to fatal consequences; the ancient adepts taught that by the parable of the heel of Achilles. It is essential for the Aspirant to make a systematic study of every possible passion, icily aloof from all alike, and setting their armies in array beneath the banner of his Will after he has perfectly gauged the capacity of each unit, and assured himself of its loyalty, discipline, courage, and efficiency. But woe unto him who leaves a gap in his line, or one arm unprepared to do its whole duty in the position proper to its peculiar potentialities! 71. `The Road of Excess leads to the Palace of Wisdom'. Progress, as its very etymology declares, means A Step Ahead. It is the Genius, the Eccentric, the Man Who Goes One Better than his fellows, that is the Saviour of the Race. And while it is unwise possibly (in some senses) to exceed in certain respects, we may be sure that he who exceeds in no respect is a mediocrity. The key of Evolution is Right Variation. Excess is evidence at least of capacity in the quality at issue. The golf teacher growls tirelessly: `Putt for the back of the hole! Never up, never in!' The application is universal. Far from me be it to deny that excess is too often disastrous. The athlete who dies in his early prime is the skeleton at every Boat Supper. But in such cases the excess is almost always due to the desire to excel other men, instead of referring the matter to the only competent judge, the true Will of the body. I myself used to `go all out' on mountains; I hold more World's Records of various kinds than I can reckon -- for pace, skill, daring, and endurance. But I never worried about whether other people could beat me. For this reason my excesses, instead of causing damage to health and danger to life, turned me from a delicate boy, too frail for football, doomed by my doctors to die in my teens, into a robust ruffian who throve on every kind of hardship and exposure. On the contrary, every department of life in which, from distaste or laziness, I did not `exceed', is constantly crippling me in one way or another -- and I recognize with savage remorse that the weakness which I could have corrected so easily in my twenties is in my forties an incurably chronic complaint. 72. This striving is to be strenuous. We are not to set our lives at a pin's fee. `Unhand me, gentlemen! I'll make a ghost of him that lets me!' Death is the End that crowns the Work. Evolution works by variation. When an animal develops one part of itself beyond the others, it infringes the norm of its type. At first this effort is made at the expense of other efforts, and it seems as if, the general balance being upset, the Nature were in danger. (It must obviously appear so to the casual observer -- who probably reproaches and persecutes the experimenter). But when this variation is intended to meet some new, or even foreseen, change in environment, and is paid for by some surplus part, or some part now superfluous, although once useful to meet a quality of the environment which no longer menaces the individual, the adaptation is biologically profitable. Obviously, the whole idea of exercise, mental or bodily, is to develop the involved organs in manner physiologically and psychologically proper. It is deleterious to force any faculty to live by an alien law. When parents insist on a boy adopting a profession which he loathes, because they themselves fancy it; when Florence Nightingale fought to open hospital windows in India at night; then the Ideal mutilates and murders. Every organ has `no law beyond Do what thou wilt'. Its law is determined by the history of its development, and by its present relations with its fellow-citizens. We do not fortify our lungs and our limbs by identical methods, or aim at the same tokens of success in training the throat of the tenor and the fingers of the fiddler. But all laws are alike in this: they agree that power and tone come from persistently practising the proper exercise without overstraining. When a faculty is freely fulfilling its function, it will grow; the test is its willingness to `strive ever to more'; it justifies itself by being `ever joyous'. It follows that `death is the crown of all'. For a life which has fulfilled all its possibilities ceases to have a purpose; death is its diploma, so to speak; it is ready to apply itself to the new conditions of a larger life. Just so a schoolboy who has mastered his work, dies to school, reincarnates in cap & gown, triumphs in the trips, dies to the cloisters, and is reborn to the world. Note that the Atu `Death' in the Tarot refers to Scorpio. This sign is threefold: the Scorpion that kills itself with its own poison, when its environment (the ring of fire) becomes intolerable; the Serpent that renews itself by shedding its skin, that is crowned and hooded, that moves by undulations like Light, and gives man Wisdom at the price of Toil Suffering and Mortality; and the Eagle that soars, its lidless eyes bent boldly upon the Sun. `Death' is, to the initiate, as inn by the wayside; its marks a stage accomplished; it offers refreshment, repose, and advice as to his plans for the morrow. But in this verse the main point is that death is the `crown' of all. The crown is Kether, the Unity; `Love under will' having been applied to all Nuith-possibilities of all Khu- energies of any Hadit-central-Star, that Star has exhausted itself perfectly, completed one stage of its course. It is therefore crowned by death; and, being wholly itself, lives again by attracting its equal and opposite Counterpart, with whom `love under will' is the fulfilment of the Law, in a sublimer sphere. But there are no rules until on finds them: a man leaving Ireland for the Sahara does well to discard such `indispensable' and `proper' things as a waterproof and a blackthorn for a turban and a dagger. The `moral' man is living by the no-reason of Laws, and that is stupid and inadequate even when the Laws still hold good; for he is a mere mechanism, resourceless should any danger that is not already provided for in his original design chance to arise. Respect for routine is the mark of the second-rate man. The `immoral' man, defying convention by shouting aloud in church, may indeed be `brawling'; but equally he may be a sensitive who has felt the first tremor of an earthquake. We of Thelema encourage every possible variation; we welcome every new `sport'; its success or failure is our sole test of its value. We let the hen's queer hatching take to water, and laugh at her alarms; and we protect the `ugly duckling', knowing that Time will tell us whether it be a cygnet. Herbert Spencer, inexorably condemning the Unfit to the gallows, only echoed the High-Priest who protected Paul form the Pharisees. Sound biology and sound theology are for once at one!

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