Monday, March 31, 2008

Readings for March 30th

Reading 1: Liber Libræ (XXX) by Saint Aleister Crowley

0. Learn first - Oh thou who aspirest unto our ancient Order! - that Equilibrium is the basis of the Work. If thou thyself hast not a sure foundation, whereon wilt thou stand to direct the forces of Nature?
1. Know then, that as man is born into this world amidst the Darkness of Matter, and the strife of contending forces; so must his first endeavor be to seek the Light through their reconciliation.
2. Thou then who hast trials and troubles, rejoice because of them, for in them is Strength, and by their means is a pathway opened unto that Light.
3. How should it be otherwise, O man, whose life is but a day in Eternity, a drop in the Ocean of time; how, were thy trials not many, couldst thou purge thy soul from the dross of earth?
Is it but now that the Higher Life is beset with dangers and difficulties; hath it not ever been so with the Sages and Hierophants of the past? They have been persecuted and reviled, they have been tormented of men; yet through this also has their Glory increased.
4. Rejoice therefore, O Initiate, for the greater thy trial the greater thy Triumph. When men shall revile thee, and speak against thee falsely, hath not the Master said, "Blessed art thou!"?
5. Yet, oh aspirant, let thy victories bring thee not Vanity, for with increase of Knowledge should come increase of Wisdom. He who knoweth little, thinketh he knoweth much; but he who knoweth much has learned his own ignorance. Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? There is more hope of a fool, than of him.
6. Be not hasty to condemn others; how knowest thou that in their place, thou couldst have resisted the temptation? And even were it so, why shouldst thou despise one who is weaker than thyself?
7. Thou therefore who desirest Magical Gifts, be sure that thy soul is firm and steadfast; for it is by flattering thy weaknesses that the Weak Ones will gain power over thee. Humble thyself before thy Self, yet fear neither man nor spirit. Fear is failure, and the forerunner of failure: and courage is the beginning of virtue.
8. Therefore fear not the Spirits, but be firm and courteous with them; for thou hast no right to despise or revile them; and this too may lead thee astray. Command and banish them, curse them by the Great Names if need be; but neither mock or revile them, for so assuredly wilt thou be led to error.
9. A man is what he maketh himself within the limits fixed by his inherited destiny; he is a part of mankind; his actions affect not only what he called himself, but also the whole universe.
10. Worship, and neglect not, the physical body which is thy temporary connection with the outer and material world. Therefore let thy mental Equilibrium be above disturbance by material events; strengthen and control the animal passions, discipline the emotions and the reason, nourish the Higher Aspirations.
11. Do good to others for its own sake, not for reward, not for gratitude from them, not for sympathy. If thou art generous, thou wilt not long for thine ears to be tickled by expressions of gratitude.
12. Remember that unbalanced force is evil; that unbalanced severity is but cruelty and oppression; but that also unbalanced mercy is but weakness which would allow and abet Evil. Act passionately; think rationally; be Thyself.
13. True ritual is as much action as word; it is Will.
14. Remember that this earth is but an atom in the universe, and that thou thyself art but an atom thereon, and that even couldst thou become the God of this earth whereon thou crawlest and grovellest, that thou wouldst, even then, be but an atom, and one amongst many.
15. Nevertheless have the greatest self-respect, and to that end sin not against thyself. The sin which is unpardonable is knowingly and wilfully to reject truth, to fear knowledge lest that knowledge pander not to thy prejudices.
16. To obtain Magical Power, learn to control thought; admit only those ideas that are in harmony with the end desired, and not every stray and contradictory Idea that presents itself.
17. Fixed thought is a means to an end. Therefore pay attention to the power of silent thought and meditation. The material act is but the outward expression of thy thought, and therefore hath it been said that "the thought of foolishness is si n." Thought is the commencement of action, and if a chance thought can produce much effect, what cannot fixed thought do?
18. Therefore as hath already been said, Establish thyself firmly in the equilibrium of forces, in the centre of the Cross of the Elements, that Cross from whose centre the Creative Word issued in the birth of the dawning Universe.
19. Be thou therefore prompt and active as the Sylphs, but avoid frivolity and caprice; be energetic and strong like the Salamanders, but avoid irritability and ferocity; be flexible and attentive to images like the Undines, but avoid idleness and changeability; be laborious and patient like the Gnomes, but avoid grossness and avarice.
20. So shalt thou gradually develop the powers of thy soul, and fit thyself to command the Spirits of the elements. For wert thou to summon the Gnomes to pander thine avarice, thou wouldst no longer command them, but they would command thee. Wouldst thou abuse the pure beings of the woods and mountains to fill thy coffers and satisfy thy hunger of Gold? Wouldst thou debase the Spirits of Living Fire to serve thy wrath and hatred? Wouldst thou violate the purity of the Souls of the Waters to pander thy lust of debauchery? Wouldst thou force the Spirits of the Evening Breeze to minister thy folly and caprice? Know that with such desires thou canst but attract the Weak, not the Strong, and in that case the Weak will have power over thee.
21. In true religion there is no sect, therefore take heed that thou blaspheme not the name by which another knoweth his God; for if thou do this thing in Jupiter thou wilt blaspheme YHVH and in Osiris YChShVCh. Ask and ye shall have! Seek, and ye shall find! Knock, and it shall be opened unto you!

Reading 2: Laws of the Fraternity of the Rosy Cross (Themis Aurea), Chapter 1, by Saint Michael Maier

That all laws which bear the title of Themis, ought to respect their profit for whom they were made.

As laws do differ not only in their institutions, but their acceptance; so, if not tyrannically imposed, they Centre in the public good; for if by them humane society is maintained, Justice executed, virtue favoured, so that no man may fear the insolency and oppression of another, we may conclude that they profit and advance a Commonwealth: if every man duly receives whatever belongs to him, he hath no cause of commencing a suit with any, or to complain, much less to engage in a war; but on the contrary, all (as in the golden age) shall enjoy peace and prosperity, but the laws defend this justice by which only peace is established, contention ended, Themis worshipped, and lastly, all things in a flourishing state and condition. Whence the poets advisedly feigned Themis to be the daughter of heaven and earth, to be the sister of Saturn, and aunt to Jupiter, and have done her very much honour, and celebrated her fame, because she so constantly administered Justice: for equity and upright dealing were by her enjoyned, and all virtues which might render men either acceptable to the gods, or serviceable to each other, were to be embraced. She therefore taught them to live justly and contentedly, to shun violence, injuries and robbery; that they should ask nothing of the gods (as Festus observes) but what should favour of honesty and religion, or otherwise that their prayers would have no good issue. She furthermore said that the great God did look down upon the earth, and view the actions of men whether good or evil; and that he severely punished the wicked for their iniquity with eternal punishment; that he rewarded the good for their integrity with a life which shall neither end nor decay.

Others were of an opinion that this Themis was a prophetess amongst the Grecians, and did foretell what should happen, by which endowment she got great authority; so that they esteemed her an enthusiastess, and thought that she had familiarity with spirits, may even with the goddess themselves, from whom she sprung and had her original; to whom also after her decease she was supposed to have returned, where they have enlarged her Commission in relation to mankind. When she was accounted the goddess of justice, by her King's held their dominions; she instructed them in their duties to their subjects, and made the rude multitude pay due homage and subjection to their lawful Princes. She laid the foundations of magistracy and built an orderly structure of politics; for which cause she was in so high estimation amongst the heathens, that they supposed the world by her divinity to be upheld and supported. They erected temples to her, and instituted divine rites and ceremonies in honour of her. The first that was dedicated to her was in Boetia near to the river Cephissus, at which after the flood Ducalion and Pyrrha are said to have arrived; where they inquired of the oracle, how mankind which had perished in the deluge, might again be restored, as Ovid Liber primo.

O Themis, show what art it is that repairs,
Lost mankind, vouchsafed to help our sunk affairs.

This also was allegorically spoken concerning our Themis, that she being very prudent and more beautiful than all her contemporaries, was beloved of Jupiter; but after much sollicitation he was repulsed, and all intercourse broken off till at length she was surprised in Macedonia, and forced to be espoused to him, by whom she was with child, and brought forth three daughters; Equity, Justice, and Peace. She is reported to have had by the same Jupiter a son named Medius Fidius or the righteous, being faith's Guardian; wherefore an oath sworn by his name was sacred and unalterable: and this solemnity the Roman patriarchs challenged to themselves as their due, because it was held an execrable thing for an ingenious man to be fore-sworn.

Although we are confident that there was never upon the face of the earth any such Themis, who after consultation returned that oracle; much less that she was translated into heaven, as the heathens ignorantly imagined; yet we confess that the true idea of Justice, or an universal notion of virtue may herein (though occultly) be insinuated; for out of her springs good laws, and not as some think out of Vice, which is only a thing accidental.

This equity keeps kingdoms in safety, Commonwealths and cities in order, and lastly, improves small beginnings to a great height and degree of perfection.

This equity is that rule by which men ought to frame their words and actions. Polycletus a famous statuary made a book in which was proportionably expressed to the life each member in man's body, and he called this a pattern by which other artificers might examine and prove their pieces. Such rules indeed there are in all arts and sciences named axioms, which by deduction of things from their principles do rightly conclude.

This equity doth so poise all our manners and actions that they are not swayed to injustice and wickedness, whereby very many inconveniences are eschewed which happily might lead us away: for as luxury and riot are the causes of diseases, so injustice hath annexed to it as an inseparable companion loss and punishment: and on the contrary, as health renders men most happy, not only because of itself, but as it is big with other benefits: so by this equity, wholesome laws are enacted to the great comfort and advantage of mankind. But because this is so clear to every rational man, in vain are words spent to demonstrate it.
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