In this Grand Initiation, I fan the Black Flame, ascend the Black Mountain path, and invoke the Black Sun. These intentions crystalized in Week 2 of my Grand Initiation, and I shared them with Rose Crowley before my first monthly ritual with her Patreon group. My meditations and the ritual time this week were electric as a deep trance engulfed consciousness. I sense a breakthrough, a dark anointing, a seal of some of the attainments that may not yet be ingrained or fully rooted.
A certain transgressive thrill arises in the breaking of taboos, but also a more complete understanding of Becoming as aesthetics and behavior previously demonized into shadow becomes integrated. I have experienced this shift with tarot cards in 2016, which now surround me, and with the pentagram in 2019, which now adorns my ring finger and forearm. This week, making an impromptu circle and diving into trance, I found myself chanting, “By my own name and by my own will, I invoke Baphomet and Babalon, Lucifer and Lilith, Samael and Satan.” Taking on the semi-secret name of “Nala,” I again set my will to become No-Man (Nemo), to walk the LHP, and to commune with my Holy Daimon. I set the seal for the week upon my heart, the Baphomet symbol below encircled by a left-winding ouroboros:
The Webb essay for the week was on “Order,” which focuses on the individual will bringing structure from chaos and opportunity from adversity. The Book of Thoth readings included the Hierophant and the Lovers.
The three linked rings on his staff reveal the aeons of Isis, Osiris, and Horus with the stars of hexagram and pentagram showing that this High Priest brings the macrocosm into the microcosm–as above, so below. The dancing child within the pentagram reveals the aeon of Horus, and Venus holding the sword as well as the light from the rose behind show the new powerful role of the goddess. In my ritual context of “Apostasy,” I must consider his dark side, and even Crowley writes that he looks “sinister.” He shows the danger that any new expressions can become an exoteric, rigid conformity, that narratives of aeons–such as the Golden Dawn or the New Age movements–can become systematic, failing to acknowledge the inherent transience and emptiness of all things.
Associated with the Hebrew word for “knife,” this card reminds me of choices, sharp commitment, analysis, and separation. The alchemical concept “solve et coagula,” the two words also found on the left and right arms of Levi’s Baphomet, reveal the process of breaking down and building up needed for the Great Work. Crowley writes that this card is a twin of doubles with the Art card, which also features the alchemical marriage and the orphic egg and which also carries the mystery of the hermaphrodite. The Thoth Lovers card suggests a honeymoon or paradise state of balance that is hard to reach and cannot be kept, as the serpent leads to evolutionary dissatisfaction, driving us from the garden, motivated and fighting death daily, reaching higher states of Becoming.
The tarot reading this week was an intuitive five-card spread on all that is false regarding purposes, desires, relationships, goals, and ideas. The first three cards seemed to group well, suggesting the impulses of fire and air can drive us to charge in support of false principles, authority, and structures. The 6s, for me hearkening back to the VI of the Lovers, suggest an ego-drive for success, the desire to achieve perfect victory and beautiful balance in relationships. However, Apostasy tells us that there are no ultimate answers, that ascent is unending, and that we must commune with people one day at a time.
The last two cards seem to go together to express false goals and faulty thinking. The 3 expresses the power of a clear, fiery vision; however, the 5 reminds us that focus on set outcomes can destroy equanimity and serenity. Releasing overly solidified intentions and flowing with our own emptiness, we can explore expanding themes as the dissenting outsider rather than accepting what is written in stone.
For this week’s ritual, I drew symbols that have been part of my identity in religion, mainstream culture, society, education–even as a teacher, husband, father, nice person, and human being. I burned the little crosses, flags, diplomas, rings, stick figures, and smiley faces in my cauldron. I also lit a black candle for the true Hierophant along with a pair of candles for Mercury and Venus to represent the energy of the Lovers card, perhaps as the Hermaphrodite or Holy Daimon within. I followed Rose’s ritual order of making a circle, reaching trance, invoking spirit, and setting intention. In a crescendo of ecstatic trance, I mixed the ashes of old identity with blood and body fluids, foreshadowing the full Black Mass that is scheduled for Week 9. I chanted a semi-secret new name, engaging the inverted pentagram upon my finger, forearm, and heart. Nalasatanemo. I take your name as part of my own. By my own name and my own will, I invoke Satan and Samael, Baphomet and Babalon, Lucifer and Lilith.