November 3, 2014

Crossing the Abyss

I offer thanks to my Goddess / HGA in Her various manifestations and to my Teacher, the Tantric Master.

I also acknowledge the sacredness of the A∴A∴ Order.

In this blog, I will try to share some of my impressions and experiences of the event described in Western hermetic culture as "Crossing the Abyss" mainly from a Tantric position, supported by notions from Thelema holy texts.

I will elaborate on the progress from Geborah to Binah and on to Chokmah, refraining from using complicated symbolism and Sanskrit terms as much as I can.

Needless to say, these are only my interpretations of most abstract and intimate experiences and may as well be irrelevant to you. Each of us must attain these states of awareness on our own.

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law


There are various opinions about the Abyss here in the West. Apart from the traditional and accepted one outlined in the V&V (which is pregnant with mystical and magical symbolism worthwhile exploring),
Alan Chapman and Duncan Barford have interesting insights to offer (their experiences of the crossing and beyond are shared in these books >>); I also like the insights of Ben Rowe. And IAO131 nails it, more or less, in this essay.

It is my observation that not every inner conflict or crisis amounts to crossing the Abyss; when I was (re)introduced to my Ishta Devi or HGA years ago, I fell into the bottomless pit of despair for about two months. The presence of the HGA cleared out a lot of mental identifications my life used to base upon. It was an excruciating experience - but it was not even near crossing the Abyss.

So, what one might be experiencing in the Great Work (or spiritual sadhana), even when it is ultra painful, may or may not be the actual crossing of the Abyss.

In fact, the notion that crossing the Abyss is (or ought to be) linked to suffering and pain is severely overrated, in my opinion.

Interestingly enough, in Tantric tradition, there is no explicit notion of anything like crossing the Abyss (or I am not aware of it). There is a "struggle" seen in the practice when one shifts the focus from Form to the Formless or from saguna to nirguna (Ramakrishna's case is a glaring example of that transition), but that's all.

There are a lot of instructions and Tantric practices, however, that aim strictly at what a Qabalist might describe as arriving and stabilizing at Chesed, Binah, and Chokmah. Especially, there are a lot of instructions very similar to what in the A∴A∴ Order is referred to as Liber Stella Rubeae and also Liber Cheth.

Liber 156

My point is that one can't really tell whether s/he is crossing the Abyss merely by experiencing the "dark night of the soul" in its various manifestations. Or maybe one can - it is all very subjective, I admit.

But while the initiation experiences are always entirely subjective, the Map of states of consciousnesses or the Initiation System itself, well, that is universal. 

So, one could (in theory) simply sit back and observe the changes in the resulting state of awareness and see what is going on.

While I formally claim no attainment (I can produce no official  A∴A papers), profound changes are manifesting in my perception. Changes are based on insights into the nature of human/divine awareness.

And I still can not find better and clearer text on the subject under discussion than Liber Cheth. Granted, given my previous involvement with the Tantric practices, I certainly feel an affinity towards this path, the path of Cheth (in Qabalah, linking Binah and Geburah).

Liber Cheth offers us 22 verses linked to the 22 Paths in Qabalah. Interesting connections there. The point is, if one is to attain Understanding, everything below the Abyss is to be dealt with.

With the intention that maybe some of the visitors of my Blog might find the sharing helpful, I offer the following: 

Liber Cheth vel Vallum Abigni sub figurâ CLVI
Publication in Class A.
(a note: only Liber Cheth is classified as a Class A publication, not my comments, of course)

  • 1. This is the secret of the Holy Graal, that is the sacred vessel of our Lady the Scarlet Woman, Babalon the Mother of Abominations, the bride of Chaos, that rideth upon our Lord the Beast.
Things are not as gloomy as they might appear to a reader with less than a solid background in Master Therion's empirical system of thought.

We can easily view the "...Lady the Scarlet Woman, Babalon the Mother of Abominations..." as the Divine Mother, so often revered in the Left Hand Tantra and other traditions from the East.

She has many forms; in our Tantric lore, she manifests as Kali, Tara, Tripura Sundari, Matangi Devi, Kamalatmika, etc. Some of the Mahavidyas are more "intimately oriented" than others.

Devi is all tolerant, all giving and embracing all, refusing or rejecting nothing whatsoever. 

But the innermost quality of the Divine Lady, at least from the intimacy angle, is that while She is entirely self-sufficient and can and does stand alone without Her "better half", She is most satisfied with the acts of complete surrender, especially in intimate settings. 

She is receiving the penetration of the Will.

But when She is "united" with Her male counterpart, there comes Bliss and Unity.

12th Aethyr shares on the subject:
This is the Mystery of Babylon, the Mother of Abominations, and this is the mystery of her adulteries, for she hath yielded up herself to everything that liveth, and hath become a partaker in its mystery. And because she hath made her self the servant of each, therefore is she become the mistress of all. Not as yet canst thou comprehend her glory.

Beautiful art thou, O Babylon, and desirable, for thou hast given thyself to everything that liveth, and thy weakness hath subdued their strength. For in that union thou didst understand. Therefore art thou called Understanding, O Babylon, Lady of the Night!

  • 2. Thou shalt drain out thy blood that is thy life into the golden cup of her fornication. 
Yes, "intimate settings" translate to the golden cup of Her fornication. It is the psychological-transpersonal energy current that is so very,  very strong, which is referred to here, in my opinion.  

It is the Life energy that is sustaining these bodies, and it is coming from within (apana vaju might ring a bell?) and is manifesting according to the level one is focused on.

To sum up, at the ground level, it manifests as existential needs; at the sacrum level, it manifests as needs for relationships, sex, etc...; at the solar plexus,  it manifests as a personal assertion, personal power, etc...; at the heart level it manifests as love, giving and receiving, etc...; at the throat level it manifests as creativity, mental clarity, articulate expression,  etc...; at the eye level it manifests as seeing the things as they really are, clairvoyance maybe, etc...; at the top, it may manifest as consciousness realizing itself, the I-I experience, the sabikalpa samadhi and beyond.

As stated in Liber ABA:
“...the Ego-idea must be ruthlessly rooted out before Understanding can be attained.”
(Liber ABA, page 78.)

This blood is sometimes referred to as the blood of the saints, a saint who sacrifices everything, even his life, in devotion to a deity or the principle of enlightenment.

“Blessed are the saints, that their blood is mingled in the cup, and can never be separate any more.”
- 12th Aethyr of Liber 418 (Equinox IV:2, page 151).

This is one of the most interesting, if not most essential, aspects of Understanding: a new master has all Understanding of other masters at his disposal.

  • 3. Thou shalt mingle thy life with the universal life. Thou shalt keep not back one drop. 

And ALL of the above, everything, one is invited to not only offer but to drain into Her. So "thy blood" may refer to not only the mind, emotions,  and physical body but everything else as well (intentions, hopes, fears, transpersonal and personal realizations, attachments, detachments, enjoyments, etc...).

Where shall one pour their lifeblood? Into Her golden cup of Her fornication. It is Her Yoni, the All-inviting quality of the Devi. 

As I have already said, the intimate settings and intimate exchanges are most pleasing to Her, as any Tantric worth his salt can affirm.

Ancient sages have put this like this:
"The brahmanas have copiously sacrificed to that Krshna. They have
worshiped him as Govinda. He is Gopi-jana-valabha, who has taken hold
of the planets. Taking shelter of swaha, he became the virile semen
that quickened the universe."

- Gopali Tapani Upanishad, I-15

To an experienced heart above text reveals a lot. :)

"Mingling with the universal life" means just that, opening up entirely and draining oneself utterly for Her sake, for her Name (see Lishma >>), for Her satisfaction, leaving behind everything, even those insignificant little single and innocent thoughts.

And not by employing the dry and "righteous" practice of the right-hand paths, but by utilizing the exquisite and very juicy loving affair of the Soul with the Lady the Scarlet Woman. It is the intense magickal sexual exchange that eradicates (read: transforms) everything.

I think the O.T.O. IX. degree points in a similar direction, as well as Liber Stella Rubeae. In our Tantric tradition, however, it is explained in even more detail, offered in the (in)famous Yoni Tantra text (check it in the kindle format >>). This practice can be performed with a lover in a body or, even more satisfying, with the Goddess Herself.

In Anuttarayoga Tantra (The Unsurpassed Yoga Tantra), this practice is done at three levels: with the so-called action mudra (with initiated and qualified female lover), with secret mudra (it is a secret :)  ) and Mahamudra. The Mahamudra practice is in itself the Means and the End at the same time.

"Leaving behind" in this context does not translate to renouncing or pushing away but implies embracing, transforming, and taking on board. Everything is to be included; everything needs to be transformed - that is the Tantric way, a path of denying nothing and embracing everything, wholeheartedly.

At this juncture, I want to point out that before one wants to really transform material/personal identity, one has to acquire it first, by building a powerful and flexible ego personality (attaining 7=4 first, maybe, as per hermetic orders such as the  A∴A∴). 

There is no point in renouncing something that one does not yet possess. That's why it is so important to live out ALL personal/material tendencies before attempting to cross the Abyss.

And that is one way, the Tantric way, of "getting rid" of everything by embracing everything that is still "tainted" with the personal (human) and not wholly transformed into transpersonal (divine). There are other paths, of course.

  • 4. Then shall thy brain be dumb, and thy heart beat no more, and all thy life shall go from thee; and thou shalt be cast out upon the midden, and the birds of the air shall feast upon thy flesh, and thy bones shall whiten in the sun. 

Again, this may or may not be as bad as it sounds, LOL.

The dumb brain, the stopped heart, etc... may translate to standing naked and stripped of everything.

Even the so much lovingly valued and cherished experiences which the HGA has been showering the adept with, and everything else - all is stripped away. One stands completely naked before the "Abyss" (at least that's my experience). 

Only the individual remains, alone. And s/he may or may not become aware of the equality with the Night Sky in the process; it may help, though.

Also, the text might refer to the formless samadhi, the Kevala Nirbikalpa Samadhi, where brain functions are reduced to a minimum and where the heart all but stops. It is the one experience entirely transcendental, even to the upper Briah realm experiences.

It is a great mystery, all of this. On the one hand, we have a perfectly functioning individual, who already knows and effortlessly executes his Will in everyday life, and on the other hand, we have the promise of an even greater reality.

  • 5. Then shall the winds gather themselves together, and bear thee up as it were a little heap of dust in a sheet that hath four corners, and they shall give it unto the guardians of the abyss. 

So why should this be happening? What on earth is instigating this "movement" onward?
Winds of mostly extinguished Prarabdha Karma, supported by the mercy and blessings of the One.

It is the momentum that is the crucial factor here. Eventually, every adept will face all of this, by choice, of course.

There is an interesting notion in the Tantric yore, which I haven't found yet in the Western mysticism terminology. It is called Sukriti, the positive trans-personally (not materially) accumulated merit or  "good points", as it were. And it is this accumulated amount of positive influences from who knows how many lives that is carrying adept forward, not only material Karma and intention.

  • 6. And because there is no life therein, the guardians of the abyss shall bid the angels of the winds pass by. And the angels shall lay thy dust in the City of the Pyramids, and the name thereof shall be no more. 

And because there is no life in the adept left, meaning that most of the Prarabdha Karma is burned out, the transition across the Abyss (which, at this point, is not even there), will be swift and easy.

If not, the process of "draining out" the lifeblood will take a while. Master Therion refers to that state of awareness as "the babe of the abyss". That was my case. It took a looooong time first time around. In the present life, however, the crossing was swift and painless.

One Star in Sight shares:
"The Order of the R.C. The Grade of the Babe of the Abyss is not a Grade in the proper sense, being rather a passage between the two Orders. Its characteristics are wholly negative, as it is attained by the resolve of the Adeptus Exemptus to surrender all that he has and is for ever. It is an annihilation of all the bonds that compose the self or constitute the Cosmos, a resolution of all complexities into their elements, and these thereby cease to manifest, since things are only knowable in respect of their relation to, and reaction on, other things."

If the adept is not willing to utterly drain the lifeblood, she surrenders not completely and retains some of her identifications. These adepts are referred to as the Black or Dark Brothers. I see no problem whatsoever with that; even the ego with all of its identifications is a divine manifestation, so... After all, the adept that failed to cross the Abyss IS a high initiate and way beyond usual human limitations.

City of the Pyramids, the Binah, is, of course, the level of existence of those who are completely surrendered to the One/None. Many adepts are on this plane, alone and focusing on whatever they are focused on, all far above human limitations and having no material form or name.

In Tantric tradition, I think Tapaloka is the level of existence referred to as the City of the Pyramids.

There is a text, the Sri Brhad Bhagavatamrta penned by Sanatana Gosvami, where levels of existence above the physical are very well portrayed, including the Satyaloka (the topmost level, even above Tapaloka) and beyond.

  • 7. Now therefore that thou mayest achieve this ritual of the Holy Graal, do thou divest thyself of all thy goods.
  • 8. Thou hast wealth; give it unto them that have need thereof, yet no desire toward it.
  • 9. Thou hast health; slay thyself in the fervour of thine abandonment unto Our Lady. Let thy flesh hang loose upon thy bones, and thine eyes glare with thy quenchless lust unto the Infinite, with thy passion for the Unknown, for Her that is beyond Knowledge the accursèd one.
  • 10. Thou hast love; tear thy mother from thine heart, and spit in the face of thy father. Let thy foot trample the belly of thy wife, and let the babe at her breast be the prey of dogs and vultures.

Not only is one invited to let go of the earthly wealth, health and love, and family, one is even invited to transform even the notions regarding both the Father and the Mother. 

Everything must go, even reverence for God the Father and Goddess the Mother. At this level, even reverence for God/Goddess is an obstacle.

 "Letting go" doesn't necessarily mean physical actions. The important thing here is that the inner psychological climate is altered, and the "I and Mine" notion is renounced or transformed. 

The "I and Mine" notion (ahamkara in Sanskrit) implies separateness and is the primary generator of Karma (ahamkara means "I am the doer/actor")

At this level, only the intention will change anything, not actions

No action is needed at this level, only increasing desire, an intense yearning and a forceful need only for the Light will change anything: "...and thine eyes glare with thy quenchless lust unto the Infinite, with thy passion for the Unknown...".

It is this need, this yearning and voiceless desire for the Infinite, that is the only thing needed here. 

Even Knowledge (Daath) will do nothing. 

It is the intention, not the action, meaning no ritual will help. Only intention, inner intent, or Will, if you will, is all that is needed there—inner orientation only for the Infinite, only for the Light.

Similar process is best used at a much lower level (5=6).

And again, Tantric Master Ramakrishna comes to mind here. He was weeping like a baby in front of the image of his Ishta Devi, Kali Ma, yearning to see Her, to unite with Her. He was dying inside; it was as if someone was manually squeezing his heart in his chest repeatedly, according to his own words. And when he decided to kill himself, only then Kali Ma revealed Herself to him and stayed with him forever (see Gospel of Ramakrishna for details).

  • 11. For if thou dost not this with thy will, then shall We do this despite thy will. So that thou attain to the Sacrament of the Graal in the Chapel of Abominations. 

And, of course, there is no need to worry. If one is not willingly undertaking the process discussed herein, it will be ensured that it happens anyway, ego notwithstanding.

So, fear not, LOL :)

The critical fact is that the crossing discussed herein has to be instigated by a conscious choice. But then again, She does everything, so... :)

The "...Sacrament of the Graal in the Chapel of Abominations." is happening at the level of awareness called Binah. It is complete Oneness with Her. Only Her remains. She is the Actor, always was, and in the text above, this is asserted.

  • 12. And behold! if by stealth thou keep unto thyself one thought of thine, then shalt thou be cast out into the abyss for ever; and thou shalt be the lonely one, the eater of dung, the afflicted in the Day of Be-with-Us.
  • 13. Yea! verily this is the Truth, this is the Truth, this is the Truth. Unto thee shall be granted joy and health and wealth and wisdom when thou art no longer thou. 

Since"...there is no dread hereafter..." (Liber AL: II-44), I see no rhyme or reason for the warning in the text above. So one does not surrender completely, so what. It is their life. Maybe s/he will do it better next time around.

The above warning strikes me more like a didactic tool than anything seriously dangerous.

"...when thou art no longer thou" (meaning, when you are no longer you) means that most of the personal Karma (the Prarabdha Karma) is gone; it has lost its grip over the Soul.

What remains is not the "you" from before and not even the self-realized and HGA-infused Soul from before. No, that "you" was left behind, willingly and lovingly, for Her sake, for Her name, for Her satisfaction.

And so now only Her remains:

"The Brothers of A∴A∴ are one with the Mother of the Child.
The Many is as adorable to the One as the One is to the Many. This is the Love of These; creation-parturition is the Bliss of the One; coition-dissolution is the Bliss of the Many.
The All, thus interwoven of These, is Bliss.
Naught is beyond Bliss.
The Man delights in uniting with the Woman; the Woman in parting from the Child.

The Brothers of A∴A∴ are Women: the Aspirants to A∴A∴ are Men.

Gimel is the High Priestess of the Tarot. This chapter gives the initiated feminine point of view; it is therefore called the Oyster, a symbol of the Yoni. In Equinox X, The Temple of Solomon the King, it is explained how Masters of the Temple, or Brothers of A∴A∴ have changed the formula of their progress. These two formulae, Solve et Coagula, are now explained, and the universe is exhibited as the interplay between these two.
This also explains the statement in Liber Legis I, 28-30."

 - Liber CCCXXXIII, Chapter III

  • 14. Then shall every gain be a new sacrament, and it shall not defile thee; thou shalt revel with the wanton in the market-place, and the virgins shall fling roses upon thee, and the merchants bend their knees and bring thee gold and spices. Also young boys shall pour wonderful wines for thee, and the singers and the dancers shall sing and dance for thee.
  • 15. Yet shalt thou not be therein, for thou shalt be forgotten, dust lost in dust. 

This is one of the changes I was referring to above: nothing is new, I mean, personality tendencies and personal stuff in the four words within - all of that are as before. The remarkable change is that there is nothing "personal" left to identify with; nothing touches anything anymore. Things are only happening without ego to instigate them.

For example, I used to run rather often to ease inner tension, stress, etc. After the 10 K run, I used to feel refreshed and alive. Well, now, nothing. No change whatsoever. It isn't even "me" that is running—only Her, as it were.

Yes, things are happening, positive/negative/neutral, yet there is nothing in the experiences to identify with. It is like I am someplace else, not here in this world. And what is left here upon this plane is only a reflection, a reflection composed of the remaining Prarabdha Karma.

If ALL of the Prarabdha Karma had been extinguished, no one would be left here to write these words. In fact, in some cases, that is precisely what happens (at a higher level, however). 

And yet, some remain here, for how else would we know these things?

For more info on this vital subject, see Vedanta Sutra, commentary by Baladeva (not Shankaracharya).

And so, as the Nahar forever flows, pouring its Life down below the Abyss, the reflection of the attainment must exist below the Supernals. In my case, that is Chesed, Mercy, Remembering, and the Bhakti therein as a means to real reflection below the Supernals: Tipharet.

"Then shall every gain be a new sacrament" - meaning that every event is freshly new, as there is no material association of the attained consciousnesses therein.
In Sanskrit, this is called rasa - ever fresh and new, always instigated by the Devi. And She is ever fresh, new, Absolute, and Dynamically Perfect in Her Stillness and Omnipresence—freedom from inner oppression and outer demands.

The same (and more) is shared in "The Temple of Solomon the King," EQUINOX I:10:

"…For the Ego has been totally destroyed, and he has nothing wherewith to bind together these things. He is not any of these things, for there is no He. Those things are.
And of the results of this, and of how it may bear upon the question of his advancement to the Grade of Magus, who can say?
It is not the Master of the Temple even who could answer such a question. For, in relation to his advancement, he is but that little pile of dust which is to burn up, and from which shall be prepared a white ash by Hermes the Invisible. And in relation to his true life, it is mixed with the blood of all his fellows in the Cup of BABALON.
And in relation to his body and mind he is but a vehicle of the forces that are beyond the Abyss. He will therefore speak, but as a man among men, of that which he has seen and heard. But he will claim no authority. He will not proclaim dogma. For all that in him from which such things proceed is no more. He will remain in the darkness of the City of Pyramids under the Night of Pan, sitting silent through 106 seasons, the name of every one of which is Death, ever seeking to make his understanding perfect, until the time comes for him to seek that yet more fearful ordeal which must evidently be involved in the attainment of the Grade of Magus…"

The Cup of Babalon is the sum total of awareness of all Magistri Templi at the level of existence called Binah, sharing their attainment with all Masters at this level.

  •  16. Nor shall the æon itself avail thee in this; for from the dust shall a white ash be prepared by Hermes the Invisible.
  • 17. And this is the wrath of God, that these things should be thus.
  • 18. And this is the grace of God, that these things should be thus. 

The text points in the direction of 9=2, in the direction of Father, the Wisdom. And only the Mother can really show one the true Father, for only She truly knows Him.

  • 19. Wherefore I charge you that ye come unto me in the Beginning; for if ye take but one step in this Path, ye must arrive inevitably at the end thereof.
  • 20. This Path is beyond Life and Death; it is also beyond Love; but that ye know not, for ye know not Love. 

Yes. As already said, eventually, everyone will come to the point discussed herein, with ego probably resisting.

Hmm. In Tantra, we have a saying: "If you really want to remain here and enjoy the material life, do not approach Krishna, for He will take everything from you and give Himself to you."

It seems to me that the state of awareness discussed herein is well beyond, well, anything one has experienced up to that point in the sadhana.

And as I have already said, only the Mother knows who the real Father is, right? So the right path to the Father is through the Mother. Only She can reveal Him.

Love here refers to attaining the Wisdom, 9=2, for "...the Magus is Love..." (Liber B vel Magi).

  • 21. And the end thereof is known not even unto Our Lady or to the Beast whereon She rideth; nor unto the Virgin her daughter nor unto Chaos her lawful Lord; but unto the Crowned Child is it known? It is not known if it be known.
  • 22. Therefore unto Hadit and unto Nuit be the glory in the End and the Beginning; yea, in the End and the Beginning.

Here it is hinted at much higher attainment, that of the Source itself, and at this stage, Understanding yields no answers to the above question.

Indeed, glory to the Hadit and Goddess Nuit.
Glory to the Goddess Nuit.
Glory to the Goddess Nuit.
Glory to the Goddess Nuit.
Glory to the Goddess Nuit.
Glory to the Goddess Nuit.

It is She that is doing everything. Before the crossing, I used to enter samadhi at will for years, in a sense that "I" was "taken" or  was "merged into" Her by will, by effort.

Now, all of this has changed. Now, this is the permanent reality: "The Khabs is in the Khu, not the Khu in the Khabs.", Liber AL, I:8.

Practices, rituals, and methods of "contacting" Divinity or Her simply do not work anymore. It is not that the methods are dysfunctional. No. The matter of fact is that there is no need to enter or contact anyone. She is here. She is. She. Not.

Only Her remains:

"…it is necessary to emphasize the very peculiar nature of the attainment of this grade. In all previous grades the nature of the Initiation has been light through darkness. In this it is darkness through light. The word of the Adept was L V X, Light. The word of the Master of the Temple is N O X, Night. This is the Night of Pan.
The visions are no more. Silence and stillness and darkness rule the grade. The Adept has throughout his progress been unifying himself. As it is written in Liber CCCXXXIII, Chapter III:
"the Brothers of A.'.A.'. are women; the Aspirants to A.'.A.'. are men."

The M. T. has given birth to a child, which child appears as an Adept among men. But that which was the Adept is but a little pile of dust. Samadhi has been attained once and for all. The process is complete and permanent. The Great Work is accomplished. The new Great Work is proclaimed. He has finished with Solve. He must begin Coagula…." 

- From "The Temple of Solomon the King," EQUINOX I:10

That is (a part of) the Understanding, as I can see now.

Nuit says in the Liber AL:
"Since I am Infinite Space, and the Infinite Stars thereof, do ye also thus." - Liber AL, I-22.

There is none else beside Her.

Love is the law, love under will.

    See the next blog post, After Abyss >>

    1 comment:

    1. Very interesting indeed, i recently was made to read the "revelation", which is alright I suppose, but I'm not one to easily start believing in something new. Anywho, would I understand it correct, that this specific blog entry is pretty much the opposite of what the revelation tells?


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