A Very Brief Glance At Mysticism
Slim the frequently possessed

This text has so far dealt with practical magick, proven methods for causing changes to occur in the material world which are to the benefit of the practitioner. This section is different from those that have come before. It attempts to give a brief view of the path of spiritual attainment. It will also include some information from my own life that relates to this issue.

What is the goal of mysticism? To achieve both firsthand knowledge of actuality, and union with that state of being. This has been called by many names, has parallels in every culture. This is inevitable, for the situation does not change in essence whether one hails from Greenland or New Mexico. What does change is the system of representation and classification that is used to define it. However, this is cause for considerable confusion, as those who fail to recognize the underlying similarity of these differing outlooks will inevitably come to the conclusion that either only one is “True”, or none at all are. It requires a syncretic perspective to examine the evidence and discern the salient features shared by all. Thus, what matters is the experience of illumination or revelation, as well as the impact it has on one’s life.
Traditionally, the act of magick is a union of the microcosm and the macrocosm. This means that the magician is a little universe, a complete representation of the totality of existence. During ritual, this little universe connects with the big universe and in a sense they become one. Thus, when the mage commands the winds to move and the world to shake beneath mighty storms, it is not so much that s/he is telling the universe what to do as it is the case that s/he is the universe, the movement of a storm being equivalent to the motion of a finger or toe. This implies that every successful magical procedure results in the same occurrence for which the mystic fasts and meditates. Of course, this is only true to a degree. The mystic desires an unconditional union with the macrocosm, while the mage is usually interested only in personal benefit. This is seen in the procedure of invocation, in which the mage summons a particular god, a power that is symbolically representative of a certain aspect of life. The mage does not usually try to invoke a representative of totality.

Crowley has set out the functional elements of one kind of mysticism in laudable simplicity at the start of “Book 4”. Put simply, it involves removing oneself from external influences (thus a socially isolated lifestyle is recommended), then by various yogic measures to regulate the body and mind until the point is reached at which all mental activity ceases. This is based on the theory that the ego cuts one off from fundamental reality, so by annihilating the ego, one may partake of true life. This is not an easy path to take. Yoga is worth the time it requires to gain skill therein, but although health benefits may be had from lesser effort, the work necessary to achieve the ultimate goal is such that few would be likely to succeed. Magick constitutes an alternative path to the top of the mountain. It is not, however, a shortcut. There are a number of methods available, ranging from the summoning of a spiritual guide (e.g. the “Holy Guardian Angel” of the Abramelin system) to the performance of a series of invocations designed to develop the soul of the mage to perfect balance. I cannot give firsthand information about these as I have yet to try them. The defining spiritual experience of my life took place on the Twentieth of January, 2002. This was the culmination of a period in which I performed repeated workings with the goal of achieving genuine insight into the nature of reality. As to whether I achieved that goal, you must judge for yourself. I can do little more than to provide a copy of the text I produced at that time.

From the field of potential (Chaos) sprang all things. The field is pure and absolute, and exists not in space or time.
Only one perfect thing arose from Chaos, one undifferentiated thing that existed for ever, since Chaos is entropic and draws back into itself all that is imperfect; this was the Monad, our universe. The Monad exists in eternity, space and time have meaning only as a means of reference within the Monad. Being perfect (whole, undifferentiated), the Monad could not know itself or its potential. The Monad thus split, first into binary opposition, then into all the varied forms of being. The purpose of the splitting was for the Monad to achieve an objective perspective of itself, thus attaining self-knowledge. From Chaos (the spontaneous generative principle), the Monad drew the potential for existence into being. Being emerged first as crude matter and wild energy, then the stabilising (self-replicating) properties of the Monad caused the development of systematic, self-organising processes (life). Life grew blindly, experiencing the blind processes of Chaos as entropy, but, being self-organising, life developed into more complex, stable forms. The final product of life was man, conscious matter. Thus the Monad achieved an internal organic sentience, enabling it to perceive itself with an objective perspective. Thus man is the sensory organ of the Monad (universal entity), whose purpose is to experience the nature of the Monad objectively, and communicate the information gained to the Monad at the death of the individual (re-association with the primal entity). Having gained objective knowledge, the Monad has become self-aware and is capable of spawning in eternity, via the field of potential.

I am given to understand that this is a somewhat enigmatic piece of writing, although it makes perfect sense to me. This was what I wrote immediately following a sort of epiphany in which I experienced the utter certainty that I understood reality. Unfortunately, this feeling of certainty has not remained, but the text itself has given me some useful keys to developing my magick beyond its previous limitations. I will try to give a concise and simple summary of the above. It is useful to bear in mind that the words used do not directly represent the things to which they refer, as those things lie outside human perception. Instead they are metaphors and cannot be expected to hold any kind of absolute value.

Prior to physical existence, there is conceptualized a non-state that can be thought of as possessing the qualities of infinite potential, spontaneous generation of energy and an entropic function that draws the energy produced back into non-existence. Since this does not take place in time, all of the actions of this “field of potential” happen simultaneously, in the same (non-) space and in a sense they never happen, although it may be said that they are ever happening.
Of the potentialities manifested, on has the property of being perfectly self-organizing. For this reason, it is not vulnerable to the entropic principle, and so lasts forever. Although there are infinite possible realities manifested constantly, they all take place in the same potential space, so in effect, there is only one perfect reality generated in this way. This is termed the Monad, from Liebniz’s term for an indivisible metaphysical unit.

The Monad is “perfect”, and thus it is “static”. By virtue of the fact that it contains (or represents) the properties of the “field of potential”, including the generative principle, the Monad is capable of making a spontaneous act, that of dividing itself in order to gain self-knowledge, and perhaps the chance to develop beyond its own limitations. This division first produces binary opposition, as this is the simplest form of differentiation (thus we have positive and negative matter, e.g. the Electron and Positron). These polarities interact to form all the various matter and energy in our universe. Every part of our universe is a microform of the original Monad, and thus shares in its qualities of self-organization. This causes matter to develop itself into higher levels of order, which results in life and the evolutionary process. The goal of evolution is to reach conscious, sentient, sub-forms of the Monad. These will provide it with organic systems to perform the function of information collection and organization. That would be us.

Humans gather information for the benefit of the Monad. When they die, they lose their temporal personality, but are re-integrated with the Monad. This can occur as despite having divided itself, that only occurred in the dimension of time, which only has meaning as a reference system within the Monad. Thus, the Monad remains “perfect” in eternity. Finally, the Monad requires this information for some reason, so it is safe to assume that it has the intention of acting upon it in some way.

I have found that the “death of the individual” refers to the ego or personal self-concept. During magick, one deliberately induces ego-loss in order to concentrate fully on a specific piece of information. This would then be transferred to the Monad. As I am to it what an optic nerve or brain cell is to me, it is logical to assume that it would act on the information it gains in this way, just as I would act if I felt hunger or stubbed my toe. Of course, this is an anthropomorphic fallacy, but it appears to work in practice. I have found that the magick I carry out when I operate under such assumptions works very well.

To conclude this examination of my own views, I will say that I do not think the Monad concept necessarily has value for anyone but myself. It is a product of my own work, and I imagine that this is the only way any vague glimpse of “true reality” could be interpreted by my mind. That said, it works in practice and thus I use it.

The path of mysticism and the use of magick to peel back the layers of illusion that occlude our perception of reality are timeworn but valuable pursuits. There is no way I could give you more than a taste of the theory, practice and fruits of this labor. The best thing I can do is to encourage you to carry out your own research and experiment with the tools available. Whatever path you tread, I wish you the best of luck.

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