June 2-3, 2010 - Tao Te Ching - while Crowley's reworking of this may not be absolutely brilliant, I felt the Tao reaching out to me. If I had not been a Thelemite I would have become a Taoist (if I had heard of it independent of reading Crowley). Something inside me responds to everything I've read about the Tao. Or rather, as I read the Tao Te King, there is something I feel behind what I'm reading, something that feels like it's reaching out to me -- and then suddenly it all makes sense to me in a way that reaches far deeper than the reasoning facility of my surface brain. This is really quite incredible. I haven't felt this way for a very long time.
June 4 - Is there a need to say something else at this time? I promised myself I will claim nothing until I "attain" -- though the definition of "attain" can be a bit tricky ... attain what?
Well, Magi are rare. Ipsissimi even more so. And I daresay that a number of people who have taken the oath of a Magiser Templi have gone insane (see Frater Achad).
So, the idea then is to move ahead as far as I can get, to just keep on going. This brings an old adage of mine to mind: "Full Speed Ahead, Destination Unknown." Although perhaps it is known, or sensed, or intuited.
I'm also thinking of the folly of grades or degrees -- and I've sworn never to claim any grade. I use them for myself, to see what step is next; I am just me, and for now that is Wanderer and Exile. Onward forever!
June 4-6 - "The Voice of the Silence" / "The Two Paths" / "The Seven Portals" - Crowley comments on Blavatsky. From Crowley's end, if you've already read everything else he wrote on Yoga, there is nothing new. From Blavatsky's end. She was willing to make things up way too much.
Blavatsky was either doing automatic writing or she was on some sort of hyper-creative overdrive.
June 5 - "Qabalistic Dogma" - This is pretty basic stuff; probably one of Crowley's earliest efforts to put his Qabalistic studies into printed form. It's pretty basic, but okay. He would do better in later works.
June 7 - "The Book of Changes" - Crowley's versification of the "I Ching". I was much more impressed by his re-working of the Tao Te Ching. His reworking of the meanings muddies the interpretations.
My own throw was exceedingly bad news, but I didn't have my question firmly in my mind!
June 8 - "Sabbe Pi Dukkham" - now I don't read a lot of poetry. I get lost in the rhythm and the rhyme, and have to read it all over again, as though it were prose, just to get the meaning, but I have to say this was pretty lightweight. I didn't find any Great and Powerful Truth in this one. Maybe my sub-conscious absorbed something it can use.
June 8-13 - "Tannhauser" - This story is not original with Crowley but is a Christian re-working of an old piece of folklore. Personally I would find a journey to the land of Venus interesting, but I know there are some kinds of religious nuts who would be appalled by such a thing. I'm not. I also don't know why he equates Venus to Lilith. Maybe that was in the original.
June 14 - I want to repeat something I said on Friday, June 11. Everyone has issues; everyone has baggage. For everyone there's something that happened in their past that colors everything they do, and there is no getting over it. There are things that can't be completely overcome. We can only partially start to cope with these things.
June 13-15 - "The Sword of Song" - Again, I did not find great truths in here; just Crowley being obnoxious and trying to be clever.
It is a hodge-podge combination of all he has studied up to this point in his life. The conclusions he would draw from this comes later.
June 16 - "Ambrosii Magi Hortus Rosarum" - Though not on the original reading list, I thought this would be interesting. I was wrong. This is more of Crowley proving how clever he is. *SIGH!* I am looking for real lessons, or even knowledge ... we are not there yet.
"The Three Characteristics" - I had thought that maybe this would just be more of Crowley being clever, but he surprised me. it wasn't the plot, it was more of the same. It wasn't the casting of his friend and mentor, Allan Bennett, as an evil sorcerer, which was dorky. I think it was the subject matter. Such Eastern writings as the Tao te Ching and the concept of the Three Characteristics just seem to call out to me. I feel so much in sympathy with them it's almost indescribable.
June 17 - "Berashith" - This is probably one of Crowley's earliest attempts to describe the ways of Ceremonial Magick in scientific or mathematical ways. He may succeed, but he leaves me cold. The goal of Ceremonial Magick is so incredibly emotional and rapture-like that I think scientific explanation leaves it sterile-sounding.
It is a very strongly Emotional Experience!
June 18 - "Science and Buddhism" - I have been reading more than I have to by my interpretation of Crowley's student curriculum. I figured it was just as well; that I could learn something by delving into more of his writings. It's probably so.
This is a nice peace. Generally I am not impressed by his raising the flag of science over and over again, but this time the analogies worked. I feel the paths to transcendence can be analyzed and appreciated ... and transcribed and taught.
June 19 - "The Excluded Middle" - This is absolutely ridiculous. It is not parody, it is a waste of time.
June 20 - "Time" - [talk of Time, Perceptions, the Conscious and Sub-Conscious Minds; write out as fully as possible] I am not much concerned with perceptions of Time; such conceptions are convenient for the material work we deal with. Some sudden revelation about the conception of Time is not going to cause any store to open at a different hour. There are times in which we should challenge our perceptions, but I don't see anything other than a dead-end in challenging our perceptions of Time.
June 21 - Happy Summer Solstice, everyone.
There are some things I would like to add at this point. There are times when I will say "ego" and when I do so I mean the sense of individual self. When I speak of the "conscious mind" or the "surface personality" I mean that part of the mind (dare I say brain) that interacts with everyday life. It is capable of introspective thought, but it is nothing compared to the "unconscious mind" or "sub-conscious mind" which I feel is the greater part of the mind/brain. I feel that tapping into this is the key to enlightenment and transcendence. I feel it plays a far greater role in who and what we are than people imagine. I also feel that Ceremonial Magick speaks to the sub-conscious mind with a series of symbols that each of us is capable of understanding.
June 21-25 - "Orpheus" - So far (6/23) I am unimpressed by this. Crowley says it contains many invocations, but I feel little desire to invoke waterfalls. (6/25) Part Two consistently puts me to sleep. So far I don't think the invocations are very practical. (6/25 - later) I have finished this monster. The appearance of Nuit in Part Four was of some interest. But essentially this piece was a big disappointment.
June 27 - "Eleusis" - This was far better than I expected it to be. He addresses the topic of science far better than he does in his later works.
Transcendence is emotional to the extreme; and the fact that it may not be able to be measured by science is immaterial.