Like mentioned earlier, the three philosophies that have had the most influence on me are Gnosticism, Chaos Magick and Hermeticism. I will give an explanation of how I interpret each.
We have already gone over striving for Gnosis and practices in Chapter 6. Gnostic's are people that have achieved Gnosis and try to share it with others. Like all philosophies there are many denominations and variations. Gnosticism is no different there are ascetic schools, moderate schools, and libertine schools. Some are contradictory to each other. There is no one correct way and if anyone says they have it, avoid them. Some more popular Gnostic sects are Mandaeism, Manichaeism, OTO, Thelema, Cathars, Valentinianism, Ophites, Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica, and many more.
I am not concerned as much with the history and semantics of Gnosticism as I am the philosophy and teachings from them.
Some ways I interpret Gnostic views on reality:
~The creator of this world, the Demiurge/Yaldabaoth, is demented and an abhorration of the independent Godhead.
~ The world is not as it appears, in order to hide the evil in it, a delusive veil obscuring it and the deranged deity.
~The material universe is the manifestation of the Demiurges will, through the use of divine substance that ruptured from the Godhead when the Demiurge was ultimately aborted from the pleroma.
~ There is another, better realm of the Godhead/Source, the PLEROMA, and all our efforts are to be directed toward
A. returning there B. bringing it here.
~ Our actual lives stretch thousands of years back, and we can be made to remember our origin in the stars/realms.
~Each of us has a divine counterpart unfallen, True-Self, who can reach a hand to us to awaken us. This other personality is the authentic waking self, the one we have now is asleep and minor. We are in fact asleep, and in the hands of a dangerous magician disguised as a good god, the deranged creator deity. The bleakness, the evil and pain in this world, the fact that it is a deterministic prison controlled by a demented creator causes us willingly to split with the reality principle early in life, and so to speak willingly fall asleep in delusion.
~The True-Self is both eternally unified with the Godhead yet holds the individuality of the Self via love and will.
~ You can pass from the delusional/material prison world into the Peaceful kingdom, Pleroma, if you merge with your Higher-Self/Godhead/Christ through love, gnosis, meditation, mindfulness, internal alchemy, mentalism, actions and experience, allowing you to see the true reality of the Pleroma.
~The EGO must be tamed to a point of complete control in order for you to mentally/spiritually transmute and merge into the True-Self
~Christ/Kristos/Krishna/Buddha/Cosmic CONSCIOUSNESS is the ability to merge with the Cosmic Mind of Unconditional love
~ Christ gave, rather than received, revelation; he taught his followers how to enter the kingdom while still alive, where other mystery religions only bring about anamnesis: knowledge of it as the "other time" in "the other realm," not here. He causes it to come here, and is the living agency of the Logos.
~ Probably the real, secret Christian/Gnostic church still exists, long underground, with the living Corpus Christi as its head or ruler, the members absorbed into it. Through participation in it they probably have vast, seemingly magical powers.
~The division into "two times" (good and evil) and "two realms" (good and evil) will abruptly end with victory for the good time here, as the presently invisible kingdom separates and becomes visible. We cannot know the date.
~During this time period we are on the sifting bridge being judged according to which power we give allegiance to, the deranged creator demiurge of this world or the Godhead and Pleroma, whom we know through Christ Consciousness. You reap what you sow. *Paraphrased from PKD Exegesis and other sources.
This can be interpreted as the Demiurge being an authoritarian prude, which is why you see libertine sects using sex magick and other things, as sort of rebellion and way to 'put it to' the Demiurge. Libertine views can become perverted and dangerous when they believe there are no moral/ethical restraints to their actions, “He who makes a beast of himself, gets rid of the pain of being a man,” as they say only the Demiurge works in judgment. Also “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law” like any teaching, can help people grow and release paradigm constraints but it can also allow people to try to justify exploitation of others; if they focus on just this saying into can devolve into all sorts of perverted and exploitive teachings/organizations.
The ascetic version means the “practice of severe self-discipline and abstention from all forms of indulgence.” Gnostics ascetics typically see the body as a prison and basically all matter as evil or at least not good. As such, they must avoid any pleasures of body including avoiding all drugs (caffeine included.), sex (besides procreation), adhere to stringent diets (sometimes fast), and other strict followings. An ascetic practice example would be monks that live in a monastery. They have decided or be called to dedicate every moment of their lives to this interpretation of the teachings and practice.
Most people that practice Gnosticism today are independent from any school and study alone, for themselves, as it should be, and what being Gnostic means to me. You think for yourself, make your own interpretations from your own experiences, and find your own way and salvation. As Miguel Conner of Gnostic Aeon Byte Radio says, “Write your own Gospel, live your own myth.”
In my opinion all secret societies, conspiracies, wars and religions/denominations are based on this Gnostic theory. They all fall somewhere on the scale between libertine or ascetic with extremes at both ends. Every occult/esoteric/exoteric organization at the highest levels are either working for the liberation of humanity from the Demiurge, or they are working with the Demiurge and Archons to further enslave people for their own personal benefit. When working for the Archons they ensure to maximize the loosh from as many people as possible. The Matrix movie and The Invisibles comic series portray this very well.
Gnostic Cosmology Interpretation:
It is simply "Success magic" or "results-based magic"… a union of traditional occult techniques and applied postmodernism– particularly a postmodernist skepticism concerning the existence or knowability of objective truth. Chaos magicians subsequently treat belief as a tool, often creating their own idiosyncratic magical systems and frequently borrowing from other magical traditions, religious movements, popular culture and various strands of philosophy.”~Wiki
To me it is a synthesis of many teachings and beliefs, most importantly a personal synthesis that allows every individual to define it themselves. Again, like everything this can be inverted and organizations and teachings can arise with the same name that becomes exploitative and dangerous. You can read plenty about it on the internet and determine what it means to you. Another explanation is from the book Liber Null & Physconaut:
"May it not be that Consciousness, Magic, and Chaos are the same thing? Consciousness is able to make things happen spontaneously without prior cause. This usually happens within the brain, where that part of consciousness we designate “Will” tickles the nerves to make certain thoughts and actions occur. Occasionally consciousness is able to make things happen spontaneously outside the body when it performs magic. Any act of will is magic. Conversely any act of conscious perception is also magic; an occurrence in nervous matter is spontaneously perceived in consciousness. Sometimes that perception can occur directly without the use of the senses, as in clairvoyance.
Magic is not just confined to consciousness. All events, including the origin of the universe, happen basically by magic. That is to say, they arise spontaneously without a final prior cause. Matter gives the appearance of being governed by physical laws, but these are only statistical approximations. It is not possible to give a final explanation of how anything happens in terms of cause and effect. At some level the event must have “just happened.”
This might seem to give rise to a completely random and disordered universe. Not so. Throw a single die and you might get anything; throw six million and you will get almost exactly a million sixes. There is no reason for the laws of the universe represented here by the structure of the dice; they, too, are phenomena that have just arisen spontaneously and may one day cease to apply if spontaneity produces something different.
Now it is very difficult to imagine events arising spontaneously without prior cause even though this happens every time one exerts one’s will. For this reason it has seemed preferable to call this root of phenomena Chaos. It is impossible for us to understand Chaos, because the understanding part of ourselves is built out of matter which mainly obeys the statistical form of causality. Indeed, all our rational thinking is structured on the hypothesis that one thing causes another. It follows then that our thinking will never be able to appreciate the nature of consciousness or the universe as a whole because these are spontaneous, magical, and chaotic by nature. Now it would be unjustified to infer from this that the universe is conscious and can think in our sense of the word. The universe IS the thoughts of Chaos if you like. We may be able to understand the thoughts, but not the Chaos from which they arise. Similarly we may be accustomed to being conscious and exerting our will, but we shall never be able to form ideas of what these are.
Each of the major human philosophies attempts to answer a particular question about existence. Science asks “how” and discovers chains of causality. Religion asks “why” and invents theological answers. Art asks “which” and comes up with the principles of aesthetics. The question that magic seeks to answer is “what,” and it is thus an examination of the nature of being. If we proceed straight to the heart of the matter and ask of magic what is the nature of consciousness and the universe and everything, we get this answer: they are spontaneous, magical, and chaotic phenomena.
The force which initiates and moves the universe, and the force which lies at the center of consciousness, is whimsical and arbitrary, creating and destroying for no purpose beyond amusing Itself. There is nothing spiritual or moralistic about Chaos and Kia. We live in a universe where nothing is true, although some information may be useful for relative purposes. It is for us to decide what we wish to consider meaningful or good or amusing. The universe amuses itself constantly and invites us to do the same. I personally applaud the universe for being the stupendous practical joke that it is. If there were a purpose to life, the universe, and everything, it would be far less amusing. We could only go sheepishly along with it or fight an heroic but futile battle against it. As it is, we are free to grasp whatever freedoms are available and do whatever we fancy with them. It may be that theology and even metaphysics are just bad lyric poetry, but here goes anyway:….The Secret of the Universe IS the Secret of the Universe, known to me in the silences and in the storms…"
Like Gnosticism I do not focus on the history or variations, only the philosophy and teachings. Mainly, that everything is consciousness and all is mind. Nothing exists outside of consciousness. Most interpretations come from the Hermetica, Kybalion, and Emerald Tablets, which in turn have many other books written and expanded about these.
The Seven Hermetic Tenets are:
The following is interpretation of the Hermetic Genesis from KABBALAH, MAGIC AND THE GREAT WORK Of SELF-TRANSFORMATION By: LYAM THOMAS CHRISTOPHER:
“It began before the beginning. The vast sea of Light was in a state of perfect unity, without edge, without boundary, and without division. This was the "clear light" of Buddha/Kristos consciousness and the Ain Soph Aur ("Light without end") of Kabbalah. There was no possible idea of striving for and attaining anything, since all was wholeness, the very concept of unity itself being meaningless in an existence absent of separation. There was only the unending Light of consciousness, and it existed as perfect bliss and contentment. It knew no objects. It was the perfect suffusion that cannot be touched or disturbed. All was mind.
Impossibly, in the midst of this perfect peace, there arose a restlessness. For some reason, the All-mind struggled to perceive Itself. It "moved" within Itself to obtain a vantage point from which to survey Its own limitless being. And that was clearly not possible, since no division between self and "not-self" yet existed. Where could It go to see Itself if it had no edge, no realm outside of Its own limitlessness?
So, within the vastness of the All-mind arose a plan for self-division. The ocean of limitless Light opened a vortex in Its midst. The ultimate of creative acts was committed. The All-mind played a game of deception with Itself, comparable to hide and seek. It fabricated what, to us, appears as a lie, the first terrible act that began the birth pangs of the universe. It began to create a make-believe place within Itself that was different and "other" from Itself. If there were such a place, perhaps then the All-mind could obtain some vantage point from which to see Its own countenance or reflection. Such self-division was not really possible within perfect unity, but this was a game, after all.
In response to this plan, a vast cave of Darkness appeared in the midst of the Light, surrounded by a vortex of celestial fire. The Darkness was a terrible place, filled with the mystery of emptiness and chaos. Great rolling waves of Light buffeted the edges of this chasm in the midst of the All-mind. Their undulating coruscations of fire caused terrible storms in the Darkness. Light and Shadow agitated each other in such a way as to create, in their interplay, a seething broth of natural forces-the stuff of the primordial universe. In Egyptian mythology, this broth is called Nun, and it is envisaged as a vast ocean of ooze from which all things in the physical world are congealed by the laws of gods. And the All-mind used Light to exert pressure against the boiling Darkness, attempting to impress the primal substance with Its image. But the primeval mixture was too weak to contain the force of the All-mind. It lacked sufficient resistance, firmness, and structure. It seemed at one point that an image would form, that the All-mind would behold Its reflection in the froth of chaos. But that was not to be.
In the midst of the chasm, there was a mighty explosion, the "big bang," as we call it in modern cosmology. It spewed forth broken pieces of the Darkness, and they fell into the depths of the chasm. The shards were not what they appeared to be, but in this great drama of make-believe, they took on the role of terrible angelic beings that fell into the darkest, most Light-deprived recesses of the universe. To the edges of all things they fell, and there they lived and thrived on deprivation, spinning a web of Darkness that formed a shell around the cavern, a terrible boundary that became their kingdom of strife. These dark angels became the lords of illusion, of all separation and the dividing lines that distinguish one thing from another. They obscured the whole of the chasm from the divine radiance. They are the creators of physical laws, of isolation, of conflict and extremes. They carry within them the echo of that horrible cataclysm that cast them down when the Darkness was shattered by the Light. They are beings of unbalanced force, and they oppose the plan of the All-mind.
The broken pieces of the primordial universe are the raw materials of structure upon which our current universe was successfully built. This was their assigned task: to uphold the rules of the great game of hide- and-seek by providing resistance. Their counterforce made it possible for a second attempt of the Divine to succeed. Because of their resistance, the All-mind managed to suffuse the primeval ocean with Its power the second time around. And so the processes that would eventually lead to life were set into motion. The drama of creation had begun.
And along with those dark fragments had fallen sparks of Light, beautiful envoys of the All-mind. These were centers of pure consciousness, angelic beings who willingly flung themselves into Darkness in hopes that, like seeds, they might take root in matter and grow into conscious beings capable of acting as direct instruments of the All-mind within Its creation. They fell into the midst of matter, but simultaneously they remained untouched by it, existing in a higher and yet parallel dimension. Matter was part of the great illusion created by the All-mind, and these angels of Light were like specks of truth amidst a smoke screen of deception. As it is said in the New Testament, "And the Light Shineth in the Darkness, and the Darkness comprehendeth it not" John 1:5). These beings, it was hoped, would germinate within the bodies of worthy creatures. They would naturally pair up and become parallel with emerging and evolving life forms that were capable of acting as their eyes, ears, and hands. Using such creatures, they could bridge the gap between the All-mind and Its creation. They would be aware of both the make-believe game of creation and the truth behind it at the same time. They could be the means by which the All-mind might catch a glimpse of Itself reflected in the wild Darkness.
The plan, in this way, proceeds toward completion today.
That Darkly Splendid World
Explosion. The Darkness shattered, unable to contain the Light. Broken shadows fell into the primordial chasm. Sparks of Light fell among them, their reflections scintillating on the tumbling debris. In the nethermost parts of the chasm, the dark shards clutched at one another as they fell. Separated by the explosion, they longed to be whole. So, between them, they spun a web of Darkness, and space and time congealed like a sticky net strung across the void. The net became a home away from home there in the deep, and the fallen ones skittered across their web like spiders in the dark. There they became the "Watchers" as the boundaries of the universe took shape in the depths of emptiness. Their tapestry of gloom concealed the limitlessness of the Divine.
The Unmanifest became substance, and the plan of the All-mind, seemingly thwarted by the cataclysm, continued its inevitable course toward completion even as it used these fallen angels, who were now cast in the role of the enemy. Into the web fell the sparks of Light, like stunned fireflies. But, of course, they were immortal and could not be harmed in their captivity. They existed in a higher dimension, appearing in this world only as brilliant pinholes in the shroud of time.They cast beautiful reflections of the Divine in matter, each image conveying unique aspect. And, for a brief time, it seemed that a complete vision of the Creator would form, reflected in the Darkness. The All-mind seemed once again near to reaching Its goal.
But the jealous fallen ones pounced on the sparks of Light and spun them into cocoons of matter. The Kabbalistic tradition refers to these cocoons as Klippoth, or "shells," and they are maintained by all manner of crude and hurtful spirits that go by the same name. The dark angels spirited their captives away, hiding them in the depths of their kingdom of shells until not a trace of radiance remained. The divine image clouded over as the Klippoth deprived the angels of Light of visible expression. Having no visible presence and existing in another level of reality, the Divine Sparks remained complacent, as though slumbering, and had no impact on the reign of Darkness and fire. And the life that would eventually arise in the universe would have no knowledge of them.
The stifling of the Light created a terrible heat, which smoldered forth from within the depths. The universe was a seething waste of refuse from the cataclysm. Nothing remained of the original, ineffable glory. All was in a state of depravation, seemingly cut off from the perfect peace and profusion of the All-mind. But it was a deception, after all, a fiction, a drama on the stage of which a plan was unfolding. From behind the scenes, unceasing, the All-mind exerted pressure to breathe life into Its creation. Space cleared and expanded. The heat of the primordial universe was permitted to cool. Matter hardened out of energy, and the universe as we know it today came about.
The Divine dared not show Itself directly in this realm, lest It destroy the web of space and time by making everything happen at once. If It did so, who would bear witness to the image that was yet to form within creation? Instead, It expressed Itself indirectly. By signs and symbols-and by cycles-It showed evidence: by the interplay of the three alchemical principles, by the mingling of the four elements, by the phenomena of electricity and the formation of life, and by the radiance of physical light, shining in the blackness of space. Physical light is as nothing compared to the true radiance of the All-mind, which is Light beyond anything conceivable to the mind of a material being. In the larger scheme, physical light is but a specialized kind of Darkness that conveys merely the impression of Divinity.
But as yet, there were no creatures clever enough to recognize that impression. Signs and portents paraded before their seeking eyes. But those eyes were seeking other things: food, sex, and shelter. It seemed that the fallen angels had won. Despite the order that showed itself forth in the sluggish medium of matter, despite the beauty of the galaxies, stars, and planets-and the blossoming of all kinds of life-there were no creatures that could experience that order and bear witness to an image within it. If God stands before a mirror and no one sees His reflection, does He exist? The All-mind was blind behind the veil of the chasm, not yet having sprouted eyes and ears within Its creation that could relay back to the Infinite any impression of Its own mystery. The All-mind quite simply did not "exist."
The universe was now like a vast shroud that gave shape to an invisible presence. To be inside of the chasm was to be outside of the All-mind, incapable of experiencing directly the limitless ocean of Light behind every facade. There was life roaming about within the universe, of course, on the surfaces of that obscuring skin, on dim little planets-creatures created in the physical universe by physical laws, blinded by what they could see. Their sense organs could only take part in the world from which they were made. The creatures within the universe seemed utterly untouched by the peace and unity that the web of the fallen angels withheld from them.
But the All-mind dared not intervene directly on the behalf of these material beings, trusting instead to the unfolding of Its cosmic plan. Only in the fullness of time was everything to be perfect, and at this point in the drama, it remained a mystery as to how the Divine Sparks would mobilize themselves as souls within these oblivious creatures, rousing them from the fatalistic, automated laws of matter.
The All-mind's steady pressure, through successive eons, had caused the processes of life and evolution. The fallen angels resisted that evolution. They couldn't help it. It was the purpose of the Watchers to bring setbacks to the plan. Entire species were lost due to the harsh limitations imposed by their physical laws. But still, ever more complex organisms appeared. The harder the Watchers resisted the plan, the further life evolved to overcome that resistance. Just as Divine Light can express Itself indirectly in the radiance of the stars, so can Its consciousness worm its way through the fiery genesis of worlds, through the interplay of the forces of nature, and through the chemical processes of the most minute particles in the dark pit.
Something was developing.
The Mind Born of Matter
The Watchers became jealous. They could sense that humankind's mercurial intelligence provided the potential for the awakening of the Divine Sparks within matter. The imprisoned Light had been active all this time. Like fallen seeds, the sparks had taken root in this species. An individual human, because of evolution, had the potential to become conscious eyes and ears of the All-mind within creation. The very resistance of the enemy was bringing the divine plan to fruition. In each human there emerged the potential to have contact with a Divine Spark, to have a soul, Higher Self, or "Holy Guardian Angel." The enemy angels now took a more concentrated interest in humans, forming a plan to thwart the All-mind fromealizing Itself. The cosmic "battle" between the Light and Darkness descended from the macrocosm of the universe to the microcosm of human flesh.
The condition of evolving humanity, as I describe it so far, demonstrates mankind in the Garden of Eden. As animals, we were one with nature. There was no awareness of mortality or death. We just carried on with feeding, playing, and reproducing. Ignorance was a type of bliss in comparison to an understanding of human frailty and mortality that comes with self-awareness. But the evolution of self-awareness, the experience of being cast out of paradise, is what made possible the cultivation of divine awareness. A human has the potential to remake himself into a vehicle through which the spark of Light within him can free itself from the dark pit. His falling from grace is part of the process. By becoming aware of his faults, he gains the potential to rouse himself from Darkness. By the right methods, a person can become the eyes and ears of the Divine in this world, fulfilling the plan of the All-mind to know Itself through incarnate experience.
This, no doubt, agitated the Watchers. They hovered close to humanity. According to the mythology of the ancient Book of Enoch, they thwarted the divine will ingeniously by diversion and distraction. If the gift of intelligence could be used to bring about awakening, it could also be twisted against itself, to deceive and to imprison. So the fallen angels became teachers.
It is alleged that the evil angels, lead by a Lucifer-type figure named Azazel, descended to Earth and mated with women, rearing powerful offspring, giants who devoured the food supplies of humans, humans themselves, and eventually each other. The angelic horde of Azazel taught men to make swords, and knives, and shields, and breastplates, and made known to them the metals of the earth and the art of working them, and bracelets, and ornaments, and the use of antimony, and the beautifying of the eyelids, and all kinds of costly stones, and all colouring tinctures. And there arose much godlessness, and they committed fornication, and they were led astray, and became corrupt in all their ways ... And as men perished, they cried, and their cry went up to heaven. Four archangels petitioned the Lord of the universe to intervene on behalf of creation and to send a flood to destroy the evil giants and the evil men who had been corrupted by the angels' teachings:
Thou seest what Azazel has done, who hath taught all unrighteousness on Earth and revealed the eternal secrets which were in heaven, which men were striving to learn . . . and they have gone to the daughters of men upon the Earth, and have slept with the women, and have defiled themselves, and revealed to them all kinds of sins. And the women have born giants, and the whole Earth has thereby been filled with blood and unrighteousness.
The arts and sciences taught by the dark angels ran rampant in the cultures of the people of Earth. Humans had just developed the potential to liberate themselves from the mandates of the flesh. But before they could begin doing this, the angels gave to them ways of thinking that they were not yet ready to handle. They would make sure that humanity's powerful brain had the power to delay and distract itself with its own gifts rather than liberate consciousness from the corrupting influence of physical laws. And, mythologically speaking, this is the predicament we are in today
The Liquid Intelligence
"I am Azazel, the first of the broken pieces of Shadow that fell in the beginning. Thou knowest me in thy doubts and in thy fears and in the cravings within the clay of thy flesh. For my kind and I are that portion of the unknowable that maketh visible the splayed entrails of God. We, the Watchers, through our downfall and disgrace, make possible the expanse of the sky above thee and the wastes of the earth beneath. For our trade is in truth commingled with lies.
Call me the lord of boundaries if thou must, but knowest thou henceforth that this despicable creation, in which thou and I partake, issueth not from the power of my breath, but from the Creator of all things, He whose utterance in the depths of time hath condemned us to the vicissitudes and lamentations of the pit.
"Knowest thou also, then, that we, who stretched wide the web of space as we fell, are not thine enemy. For we gnaw and heave against the adamantine chains that bind us beneath the four winds. Our corrosive derisions serve to eat away at the order in all things, and through our resistance we will eventually dissolve the bonds of this futile drama and return everything to the perfect peace and profundity of pre-existence.
"You and I desire the same end. For beyond the confines of our separate prisons lieth that peace and suffusion of the ineffable glory that was taken from us by the utterance of His unspeakable name. What is it that thou strivest for in all thy struggles but a release from thy bondage and from thine identification with the husk of flesh?
"The plan of our Creator is vain, for He desireth to gaze lustfully upon His reflection within the mirror of the universe. For such a selfish contrivance as this do thou and I suffer. He hath shattered the unity and brought us to our predicament for no good reason. But wholeness can be restored. We must undo the cracks that separate us into our prison houses-you into the slovenliness of the flesh and me into the Darknessthat isolates every star. For thou seest how the Creator doth confound all efforts to reach Him on His heavenly seat. He striketh down the Tower of Babel and imprisoneth the builders thereof into the nations of separation. And in thy opposing castles of diversity doth thou now exist, conflicted.”
"Seest me now in my true purpose. For I teach that which would fight this madness of creation and restore Light to every corner of the Darkness. To the dull-witted do I teach the crafts of war, for as they live by weapons, so do they perish thereby and thus return to the Light. To the wicked I teach the craft of speech, that they may ensnare themselves with their own contrivances and mock the Creator by demonstrating the futility of a mind created in His image-a mind that worshipeth itself. The vain I instruct in the wiles of glamour. Captivated by their own painted faces of flesh, may they ever stay in ignorance of their immortal selves. Through my tutelage, may all of these wretches fail to take part in the divine plan, and thereby may they cause it to fail! Through the arts and sciences, my fellow sons of God and I divert humankind from its torturous course. We oppose the plan of the Creator, for its furtherance only sustaineth the exile of created beings-of us and thee.”
"Now to the wise do I teach yet another art: magic. The same heavenly knowledge that so speedily exciteth the flesh to its own destruction doth give wings to the worthy student of the black arts. If thou art indeed of proper disposition, thou mayest find it in thy power to bring the divine image into perfection in this horrid world of matter. And perhaps thereby thou willst bring the torture of creation to a quick finish. It is conceivable that the divine plan, completed within one being, may satiate itself and bring to an end the exile of all beings.
"But we sincerely doubt that any being of clay such as thee can carry out an operation as exalted as the Great Work. And this is why we beguile magicians away from the gates of initiation. I and my brothers of the rebel flame will topple any aspirant who dareth to awaken the Divine unless he showeth that he will stay his course and not forsake the fallen.
"What sayest thou? Hast thou within thy husk the will to persevere, even as thy flesh demandeth of thee a different course? If thou canst persist in purity and single- minded dedication, who are we to resist thee in thy efforts, since thy success could spell an end to the burden that we bear? Perhaps thou, a creature of reeking sinew and bone, wouldst benefit from calling upon luminous beings of fire such as us-and, through the commingling of clay and spirit, sink all boundaries into the sea. Then mayeth the spiritual Sun rise again and call home every Godforsaken spirit, every yesterday, and every tomorrow. May we all, angels of Darkness and angels of Light, on that last hour of night, have this burden lifted from our wings."