Newbie Questions

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Newbie Questions

Post  Terentius on Sat Feb 27, 2010 12:40 am

Greeting

My first post Surprised

I am new to this art and is currently starting with Crowley's Book 4.
Certain questions arise during my study.
May you offer some insights?

About system: I am trapped between the idea whether magick works due to psychological effect or existence of higher/lower beings.

Would the bias toward either one affect my work?
Or should I stay neutral and work empirically?

About Tarot: Is it a must? Since I am a chinese and due to the fact that Crowley had worked with I Ching and writings of Lao Tze. I am curious about the possibility of implementing my culture into my work, because this has been said in LIBER PORTA LVCIS:

but you will easily understand that the religions of the world are but symbols and veils of the Absolute Truth. So also are the philosophies. To the adept, seeing all these things from above, there seems nothing to choose between Buddha and Mohammed, between Atheism and Theism.

This is possible but I still hestitate because it seems Tarot is also a means to acquire basic knowledge on the western system which I am unfamiliar with. And the symbolism seems to be interlocking with the all the rest.

I think I should stick to it and I will only try to implement my way into it before I have grasp the theory, technique lying behind. It's like the student have to learn 1+1=2 first, in order to learn the abstract idea of summing 1+1=2, before they can move to x+y.

What's your opinion?

About Ceremony: Due to environmental limitations, ceremony is not an option for me. This is impossible to study magick without it. Certainly it's my responsibilty to get the right condition. But before I attain that, what can be done insofar, without ceremony, to get the most from Crowley's work?

About Sequence: I am unfamiliar with the western system and there are tons I have to learn, a list of reading in the Book 4 is given:
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
A Student must possess the following books:

1. The Equinox,
2. 777.
3. Konx Om Pax.
4. Collected Works of A. Crowley; Tannhauser, The Sword of Song, Time, Eleusis. 3 vols.
5. Raja Yoga, by Swami Vivekananda.
6. The Shiva Sanhita, or the Hathayoga Pradipika.
7. The Tao Teh King and the writings of Kwang Tze: S.B.E. xxxix, xl.
8. The Spiritual Guide, by Miguel de Molinos.
9. Rituel et Dogme de la Haute Magie, by Eliphas Levi, or its translation by A. E. Waite.
10. The Goetia of the Lemegeton of Solomon the King.

These are the principal instructions for practice which every probationer should follow out:

Libri E, A, O, III, XXX, CLXXV, CC, CCVI, CMXIII.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

What should I start reading first?? Or do you have any recommendations that can introduce me to the western system? With the background knowledge gained, I can be more efficient during the study.

Thank you for spending the time on reading my post and your advice would definitely be of great importance to me!

(Since language barrier is still a problem when I come across some strangely structured sentence which dictionary could not help, would you mind if I pm some of you to ask for the meaning? And is there else where I can raise questions like here? This is a fantastic place for a new learner!)

Peace Surprised Surprised Surprised Surprised Surprised
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Re: Newbie Questions

Post  emperorzombie on Sat Feb 27, 2010 9:29 am

My first post Surprised

I am new to this art and is currently starting with Crowley's Book 4.
Certain questions arise during my study.
May you offer some insights?

'About system: I am trapped between the idea whether magick works due to psychological effect or existence of higher/lower beings.'
- well, my opinion is that your results will conform to whatever model you use. You could either make a choice or let the magick surprise you. As you gain experience you can develop a meta-model for these systems. Most of all, become familiar with Scientific method- you can view ones-self as an ongoing experiment.

'Would the bias toward either one affect my work?
Or should I stay neutral and work empirically?'
- either or, just note the results. but as a beginner stick with one for a few years to generate a solid trend of results.



'This is possible but I still hestitate because it seems Tarot is also a means to acquire basic knowledge on the western system which I am unfamiliar with. And the symbolism seems to be interlocking with the all the rest.

I think I should stick to it and I will only try to implement my way into it before I have grasp the theory, technique lying behind. It's like the student have to learn 1+1=2 first, in order to learn the abstract idea of summing 1+1=2, before they can move to x+y.

What's your opinion?'
- the tarot is a system used to describe the universe. If you wanted to use Crowley's system definitely learn the tarot, but as you develop you can make your own. Research the works of Austin Osmond Spare, but dont implement his ideas until you have a solid understanding of the tarot. Basically, stick to one for a year or two, try not to bounce around between system. more progress will be make adhering to one system for a while instead of changing it around looking for the 'perfect' system.

'About Ceremony: Due to environmental limitations, ceremony is not an option for me. This is impossible to study magick without it. Certainly it's my responsibilty to get the right condition. But before I attain that, what can be done insofar, without ceremony, to get the most from Crowley's work?'
-Benjamin Rowe has an excellent article on how to create your own 'astral' temple. It takes effort and patience but the results are very worthwhile. Plus he writes in a very simple and direct manner. Crowley can quite long winded at times.

'About Sequence: I am unfamiliar with the western system and there are tons I have to learn, a list of reading in the Book 4 is given:
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
A Student must possess the following books:

1. The Equinox,
2. 777.
3. Konx Om Pax.
4. Collected Works of A. Crowley; Tannhauser, The Sword of Song, Time, Eleusis. 3 vols.
5. Raja Yoga, by Swami Vivekananda.
6. The Shiva Sanhita, or the Hathayoga Pradipika.
7. The Tao Teh King and the writings of Kwang Tze: S.B.E. xxxix, xl.
8. The Spiritual Guide, by Miguel de Molinos.
9. Rituel et Dogme de la Haute Magie, by Eliphas Levi, or its translation by A. E. Waite.
10. The Goetia of the Lemegeton of Solomon the King.

These are the principal instructions for practice which every probationer should follow out:

Libri E, A, O, III, XXX, CLXXV, CC, CCVI, CMXIII.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

What should I start reading first?? Or do you have any recommendations that can introduce me to the western system? With the background knowledge gained, I can be more efficient during the study.'
- someone who is a Thelemite could better answer that for you, the only advice i can give is start with the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram and practice it several times a day. Memorize it and learn about the components of the ritual, it is a tiny ritual but has vast meanings. This plus learning the tarot is enough for a beginner. Also Crowley's lectures on yoga have helped me a lot. I highly recomend them.

Best of luck,
EZ
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Re: Newbie Questions

Post  Khephra on Sat Feb 27, 2010 3:19 pm

About system: I am trapped between the idea whether magick works due to psychological effect or existence of higher/lower beings.

Common territory. Wink

Would the bias toward either one affect my work? Or should I stay neutral and work empirically?

If you work empirically, you'll find a bias that works for you - but you will experience results whichever bias you choose.

About Tarot: Is it a must?

That depends, but if you're working with the Western magickal current you'll probably want to integrate it within your practice in some way or another.

About Ceremony: Due to environmental limitations, ceremony is not an option for me.

Are you in some way confined? I've done ritual in an airport toilet stall...

About Sequence:

How about this: pick up a few and see which one resonates most strongly. Wink

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Re: Newbie Questions

Post  neutralrobotboy on Sat Feb 27, 2010 9:04 pm

Hi and welcome!

About system: I am trapped between the idea whether magick works due to psychological effect or existence of higher/lower beings.

My view: If the system depends on belief in the existence of higher/lower beings, then you would probably be wise to learn how to convince yourself at least temporarily of their existence. Afterward, you can try to puzzle out whether they're "really real" or not, you can re-interpret your experience and see how well the new interpretations fit with the data. You may find that it's not such an important question after all.

About Tarot: Is it a must? Since I am a chinese and due to the fact that Crowley had worked with I Ching and writings of Lao Tze. I am curious about the possibility of implementing my culture into my work,

I'm not Chinese and I greatly prefer the I Ching to Tarot for divination. Still, working with Crowley's system, you can't ignore Tarot entirely. If nothing else, it's an important part of 777 and required memorization. Also, there have been quite a few versions of that student reading list. One that includes Crowley's translation of the Tao Teh Ching is here: http://outercol.org/htmldoc/require.html

About Ceremony: Due to environmental limitations, ceremony is not an option for me. This is impossible to study magick without it.

I don't agree that it's impossible to study magick without it. There's plenty to study and plenty you can do with very little space -- even if you deem it unsuitable for ceremony as such. Personally, I would say don't worry about it for now. Just read. It takes a while to get through all that material. It doesn't matter where you start or in what order you read, just read and take it in as well as you can. When you're familiar with your options, you can pick the practices that best suit your situation.

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Thank you zombie, Khephra and robotboy

Post  Terentius on Sun Feb 28, 2010 8:38 am

Thank you zombie, Khephra and robotboy Smile

After reading your advice, now I will stay empirical on my work, continue to read more before I can do ceremonial magick (may be I'll do LBRP when I have more knowledge), and purchase a tarot when I come across the subject. And of course, stick to crowley's teaching.

By the way, do crowley's system consist of many systems? He used I Ching, he used Tarot, he used enochian, he used goetia.... you suggested that I do stick to one system and not bouncing, I am quite confused. If I do LBRP, which system does it belong to? The golden dawn?

I will seek for more by reading those sources, reference you gave when I have reached a higher level. The word "astral" is scaring me off, it seems to be another system and now I am already struggling to resolve the conflicts between the spiritual system, psychological system.

I've finished the first part of the Book 4 and will practice meditation/yoga (they seem the same to me) daily. And is half way through the part two.

I thought it is impossible to not do ceremony because the whole part two is about ceremony, everything is about the altar! And it is said the name of part two is being Elementary Theory.
I am quite frustrating on reading this part, because I dont feel solid.

Maybe I should skip reading book 4, but it seems it is highly recommended to read the part three, Magick in Theory and Practice. Confused.

Anyway,I just have to tolerate this phase where all things seems to be so scattered and await the bigger picture to emerge.

Peace Very Happy
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Re: Newbie Questions

Post  Khephra on Sun Feb 28, 2010 11:20 am

Sounds like you're just getting started. Keep reading and practicing - though not necessarily in that order. Wink

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Re: Newbie Questions

Post  amandachen on Sun Feb 28, 2010 12:27 pm

Maybe I should skip reading book 4, but it seems it is highly recommended to read the part three, Magick in Theory and Practice.
It will make more sense to you if you ignore the rest, and read Magick in Theory and Practice. There are some useful practices in the appendices, and even the formal rituals can be done seated and in silence if you visualize them. Here are some of the important practices in Magick in Theory and Practice:Liber HHH, Liber E vel Exercitiorum, LIBER O VEL MANVS ET SAGITTAE, Liber RV vel Spiritus, Liber III vel Jugorum.

Ignore any reading lists that Crowley gives, unless you are interested in joining the O.:T.:O.: All these books are long out-of-date.
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Re: Newbie Questions

Post  Terentius on Mon Mar 01, 2010 5:30 am

It's more clear now.Thanks!
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Re: Newbie Questions

Post  worlock93 on Sat Mar 06, 2010 12:48 am

Terentius wrote: About Tarot: Is it a must? Since I am a chinese and due to the fact that Crowley had worked with I Ching and writings of Lao Tze. I am curious about the possibility of implementing my culture into my work, because this has been said in LIBER PORTA LVCIS:

If you don't like Tarot, don't use tarot. I use it on occasion, but I prefer the I-Ching.

As far as that reading list goes, it's the basic reading list for a student entering the A.'.A.'. (minus a title or two based on date). A student would not be expected to master of all those works, just read them to gain a basic understanding of the different principles that make up the magical and mystical system that the A.'.A.'. is going to teach. While some are really quite useless, collected works of A.C. (unless you really like poetry), others can be useful, such as Raja Yoga. Other topics will vary by your own interests. I, for example, found the Spiritual Guide fascinating due to it's similarities to Yoga, I can't say I ever really got anything out of it though and it's an awfully boring read.

What should I start reading first?? Or do you have any recommendations that can introduce me to the western system? With the background knowledge gained, I can be more efficient during the study.


Book 4 is a good a starting place as anything, parts 1, 2 and 3, and several of the appendices. Part four's interest is selective at best. Try reading Magick in Theory and Practice see if there is one chapter or concept or even footnote that stands out as interesting to you? If so, follow up and that and continue thusly. If you need further assistance, let me know.
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From a Thelemite

Post  Benjamin Stein on Sat Jun 12, 2010 12:01 am

Terentius,
93
Good luck to you on your search. I am assuming that by “Book 4” you are referring to Magick, Liber ABA, Parts I-IV edited by Hymenaeus Beta. (Throughout the 1960-90’s the complete text of Liber IV. ABA was subdivided and published separately as Book 4, Magick and Theory and Practice, and The Equinox of the Gods.) I personally began my studies of Crowley and Thelema with Magick in Theory and Practice. While it is not the easiest of places to begin, it certainly isn’t the worst either. Liber IV is dense and not easily grasped on the first reading. The work also presupposes an understanding of Qabalah by the reader, and access to a number of books that are now over a hundred years old. This is not to deny the importance of the book, nor the rewards that can come as a result of careful study. As an aside I feel that the best book for the beginner to Crowley is Magic Without Tears, but let’s stick with what you have.

With regard to studying Liber IV, part 3 (Magick in Theory and Practice) there is an abbreviated version of Bill Heidrick’s (G.T.G., O.T.O., ret.) study guide to Part 3 online (http://www.skepticfiles.org/mys3/mtpstudy.htm) that you may find useful. Another tip for studying Part 3 is that the chapters correspond to the Tarot Atus, which can provide a useful cross reference to other Crowley works.

You ask:
“About system: I am trapped between the idea whether magick works due to psychological effect or existence of higher/lower beings. Would the bias toward either one affect my work?”

In Liber O (c.f. Magick…, app. 7) Crowley writes, “In this book it is spoken of the Sephiroth, and the Paths, of Spirits and Conjurations; of Gods, Spheres, Planes, and many other things which may or may not exist. It is immaterial whether they exist or not. By doing certain things certain results follow; students are most earnestly warned against attributing objective reality or philosophic validity to any of them.” (Liber O vel Manus et Sagittae, sub figura 6, sec. 2)

My advice would be to read Magick... and attempt the practices that appeal to you. As Crowley quotes at the end of cap. 0 “Solvitur ambulando” (Liber IV, Part 3). I say let “Success be your proof…” (AL III,xlii).

”Or should I stay neutral and work empirically?”

The watchwords of the A.’.A.’. (Crowley’s magickal order) are “The Aim of Religion, the Method of Science.” The empirical observation and recording of subjective magickal states is a necessity in Crowley’s system. This is adequately covered in Liber E, sect. 1, Liber Thisharb (c.f. Magick…, App. 7), and frequently elsewhere where Crowley refers to the "Magickal Record" or "Diary" (c.f. Magick Without Tears).

“About Tarot: Is it a must?... This is possible but I still hestitate because it seems Tarot is also a means to acquire basic knowledge on the western system which I am unfamiliar with. And the symbolism seems to be interlocking with the all the rest.”

If you read through Crowley’s diaries you will find that he uses the I Ching much more than the Tarot as a divinatory system. However the Tarot is an important part of the Western esoteric system and that is reflected in Crowley’s system of Magick. I wouldn’t let your hesitancy towards the Tarot to become a stumbling block for you. If you persist that understanding should grow naturally. Allow your reading of Magick… and the sources cited to guide you into the Western tradition. Crowley writes in One Star in Sight (c.f. Magick..., App. 2) that the Student should “… acquire a general intellectual knowledge of all systems of attainment…” and the Probationer’s “…principal business is to begin such practices as he may prefer, and to write a careful record of the same for one year.” As these are the introductory grades in Crowley’s A.’.A.’. I would recommend applying the same curriculum to yourself for a year and then make an informed decision about Crowley.

Regarding the books on the A.’.A.’. reading list, they are all almost one hundred plus years old and hard to find. I do not mean to imply that they are no longer useful (frankly I enjoy most of those books, and they stay in print for a reason), but there are contemporary books that are useful too. If I may, Isreal Regardie’s The One Year Manual dovetails nicely as a practical adjunct to a beginning study of Crowley.

Again, I welcome you into a complex topic and hopefully the above helps. Yesterday American General Stanley McChrystal said of the current Kandahar offensive, “I think it's more important that we get it right than we get it fast.” I believe the same may be said of your spiritual development. If I may be of any service feel free to contact me.
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Thanks Benjamin

Post  Terentius on Sat Jun 19, 2010 7:29 pm

Thanks Benjamin Smile Now the path seems much clearer and I am now progressing slowly and carefully.
I just finished a 10 day course on Vippasanna and is certainly going to have practice on Raja Yoga.
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