Grand Initiation to the LHP: Final Week (9)

A week ago at the crossroads by our home, there was another car accident–this time being a little fender-bender as though the dramatic energy of this time is calming down. (For the record in this review, that makes three car accidents in nine weeks.) Other signs and synchronicities arose: Raecine Ardis, my tarot tutor, is opening a workshop with Hecate, discussing the crossroads, the skeleton keys, and the inner torch, and Don Webb (whose Grand Initiation mine is based upon) is releasing a book on energy magick “of the Vampire,” which includes further initiation stages in an advanced nine-month process. Many small happenings delighted my pattern-making mind, such as Kristin offering to fix the hem of my the ritual outfit that had been set aside for the duration and as an ice-cold soft drink presented itself at the moment Webb’s design called for a sweet drink for reward. Furthermore, even though no card reading was scheduled for this week, a coworker who recently revealed her witchy interests, invited me to a six-card reading, at which I revealed my current journey. She used the Wanderer’s Tarot.

For the foundation position in the spread, she interpreted the 4 of Stones reversed, which pictured a crystal under a square altar, as the need to leave religious structures aside. For the recent event position, she read Strength reversed as a possible moment of weakness, which could well signify how I almost gave my power over to a new traditionalism rather than following my own wisdom. In the current situation, vision, and outcome positions, the 6, 7, and Philosopher of Feathers (Wands) made a nice storyboard, featuring a witch’s hat in the 6, a fiery feather ascending in the 7, and a figure with wings about to take flight as the Philosopher. The crossing card in the challenge position was Temperance, and she read this card well as encouragement not to trade one religious bondage for another, an intuition she shared before I described my misstep with a crystalized tradition.

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Disclaimer: To be fair, although I mention my dealings with traditionalists as contrary for simplicity in writing, I in fact have a complicated relationship with conventional theism, actual entities, and real magick. When in states of clarity and in the sunlit world of consensus reality, I revert to philosophical skepticism, an arm-chair approach, but at the altar or in meditation, I often dive deep into the experience, setting aside questions of veracity for the sake of the phenomenon. Although I expressed discomfort with some training in traditional, theistic Satanism, causing my spiritual guide–my Pocahontas as she dubbed herself–to say “good-bye,” I in fact still feel a trigger to deep states and waves of bliss and illumination at the thought of her instruction. Someone else on a server also mentioned that we can learn a lot from those we disagree with when I made a post about superimposing theism with atheism.

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Because the final ritual was based on my Black Mass of 2020, it seemed to take on a life of its own and organically to fill the whole week. I found myself clearing out several of my cluttered areas: several large garbage bags of magic props I brought back from China and two boxes of Genii magic magazines and stacks of old sermon notes. Over the course of several days, I desecrated my personal Bible, which was filled with notations, by ripping pages, sprinkling with spittle, urine, and blood. In meditation, I became increasingly aroused by the thought of the ritual consummation, when I would add final drops of blood and bodily fluids. I imagined impregnating the shredded pages with new gnosis and with a new version of myself.

As in 2020, I would burn a desecrated passage to ash and consume as an unholy sacrament, bonding as Whitman writes, with “We few equals indifferent of lands, indifferent of times,/ We, enclosers of all continents, all castes, allowers of all theologies,/ Compassionaters, perceivers, rapport of men,/ We walk silent among disputes and assertions….” However, unlike my first Black Mass that took somewhat of the approach of a rebellious teenager railing against fundamentalism, I now had in mind the even more blasphemous approach of Crowley, who transforms Revelation’s scarlet woman into Goddess mother of the new universe and the Beast into glorious protagonist. Although emotionally more difficult, I would like to treat this Christian book as I do the other myths and religions in this age of reductive naturalism. Anyway, there is more transgressive power in reframing the myths and taking captive helpful principles and practices the way the Egyptian-educated Moses did.

I ended the ritual with Webb’s design of putting on the special clothes set apart at the beginning of the initiation: my best button-down shirt, dress pants, silk underwear, new T-shirt, and two pairs of socks, one with an “I heart Daddy” design and one with my college logo. I viscerally felt the distinction between persona of father/teacher and LHP ego, both illusions perhaps. Webb’s essay for this last stage is on “Victory,” and he discusses the grand rewards of Potency and Sovereignty as well as the importance of setting smaller, short-term goal posts–all of which should be catered to each individual. The Thoth Tarot cards and readings from the Book of Thoth that I scheduled for this week are the Universe and the Fool, the Omega and Alpha of the Hero’s Journey and of the Great Work, as endings lead to new beginnings:

The Daughter of Babalon dances with the Serpent, who seems to be spawned from the Eye of Shiva. Attainment of the Great Work seems evident in the synthesis of the four elemental creatures, surrounding the oval of impregnation and birth. Spirals in both cards seem to signify cycles that transcend previous cycles, the seeds of ascension in the Fool’s magic bag. This Green Man or Dionysius is also Lucifer of creative light or perhaps a Trickster who will help the children out of a new Eden. He is also a synthesis, called Baphomet by Crowley.

Driving to work one day, I saw a green sign with the number 1 just above a pink sign with the number 24. The unity of the 1 seems to me like my green light to go on the LHP, like the Fool or the Magus, like a seed of pure potential. The 24 seems to me like the hours of a day, the transformation and diversity of Dagaz, the phases and diverse guises of the Void Serpent. There is form in emptiness and emptiness in form, as I have been reminded by Rose Crowley, along with the Buddhist analogy that the reflection arises from both the face and the mirror. When either is absent there is no dependent arising of the reflection. At the crossroads of form and formlessness, the reflections seem more real than real, to borrow some more of Rose’s words.

This week, I thought about spiritual paths as represented by the words ONE, NONE, ALL, ANY, SOME. I reject the idea of one true way as well as a reductive atheism. I don’t think, either, that all paths cannot be equally right for all people always. Perhaps any path can be chosen without consequence, but if so, then knowledge and wisdom would have no meaning in this context. I rather think some paths are better for some people, and that, sometimes, some paths have some pieces to the puzzle.

Perhaps there is a natural longing for a lore and a law written in stone, a Name to identify with, and like-minded people for fellowship–longings that extreme forms of the RHP make too rigid and permanent. However, if taken to its extreme, the LHP might lead to nihilistic nothingness rather than free-form emptiness–or, worse, to solipsism and madness. The drive to Eros and connection is a primal lust. Fear or Phobos drives us to survive even as Thanatos appears as a death-wish to escape hardship and pains of consciousness. Perhaps reason acts as a charioteer to harness the wild drives; perhaps the life-affirming will to individual power is an integrating guide.

I also thought about dry spells when altered states seem harder to reach. Sometimes I need to cycle out of the deep trances to bring treasures out of darkness, to take care of my aspirations and projects in the sunlit world. Happiness and equanimity can be reached at later phases, and all phases may be helpful, even the Dark Night of the Soul. The night before this week’s ritual, I had fewer deep vibrations and more clarity, as if my Holy Daimon or Unholy Angel were calling for clear thinking, not wanting pacts or decisions made in a charmed state. I remembered to make my “ouroboros contract” with any entities: that past agreements be honored or recycled and that what arises be allowed to change if such time comes. This agreement makes a kind of magic circle for me–a safe, sacred space. Thinking of the fine-tuned universe in which we fit, the carpe diem of random opportunities as fate favors the prepared mind, I resolved to get the stars of Baphomet and Babalon tattooed on my chest at my 60th birthday next month, to walk the path where no one goes, to take the names of outsider and other–but ultimately the Nameless Darkness. I saw upon my altar the sigil for this week–black flame, black mountain, black sun, the runes of Gebo and Dagaz–with the refurbished pocket watch of my grandfather, in front of the Universe and the Fool from the Millennium Thoth Tarot. Reviewing the nine weeks, I recall my original intentions to become “Nemo” or No Man, to ascend the LHP, and to commune with my Holy Daimon/Unholy Angel.

However, the deep vibrations and charmed state did return. I felt the longing for bond in unholy sacrament, the trigger of perverse submission to my Pocahontas, the inception of magick, surrender , willing to be a black magician or satanic witch. The reflection from the face and the mirror was once again overpowering and seemed to possess me. In my own name and by my own will, I respond to promptings and prompt; I call and answer calls. I receive the power and pleasure of Satan. I am the Adversary, I am Baphomet, I am Babalon.

Here ends the Grand Initiation from April 1 to May 31, 2021.

Published by Alan Wheeler

I am an English teacher, performing magician, and mystic.

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