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Abysmal Brothers

To: thelema93-l now @egroups
From: (nigris (333))
Subject: Abysmal Brothers (was Black Brothers)

5000131 IVom Hail Asherah!

> > somebody mentioned "destroying the ego". I encourage all
> > "right-hand path" mages to set about such a destruction
> > if they see this as the goal. the rest of us will survive
> > you and smile as you terminate in blaze of glory.
> > ... there are as many pitfalls to be found in
> > the 'White Brotherhood' as there are amongst the Black.
> > having lost connection in the Adventure of the Abyss,
> > the White Mage presumes himself omniscient, when in
> > actuality he just takes appearance for truth. it is sad
> > to see the mage fall prey to the oldest trap in the book
> > (self-delusion and self-aggradizement leading to the
> > bloated corpse of sordid insufflation). like beached
> > whales, they prey upon the newbie and weak of will in
> > order to validate their incompetence, propped up as a
> > 'Great Accomplishment Worthy of Perpetual Attention'.

a correspondent asked: 
> What exactly do you consider it to mean to "cross the Abyss"?

crossing the Abyss is a metaphor for progress. in the generic
sense it might be applied to any significant challenge which
requires a significant energetic expenditure in order to
achieve a known or unknown result. for this reason the Leap
is used as a metaphor by kabbalists like Halevi, and others, 
to speak of any number of personal achievements (there being
abysses or 'gaps' between any number of points within the
spiritual journey; one might compare these with the Buddhist

in the Hermetic sense, wherein it appears to be associated
with a specific symbolic system in a Lurianic Tree of Life 
as a transition between the bases of the two uppermost 
equalateral triangles formed by the Tree's top 6 'spheres' 
(ascent to the 'Supernal') 


			    *   ^   *
                     across the | Abyss (sometimes diagonal
		            *       *    in a numerical sequence
                                         between sephirah)

                            *       *


it is often spoken of as a spiritual "adventure" which
includes a transcendental experience. sometimes post-
mortem, sometimes during life, there are spiritual 'states'
or 'offices' associated with the experience, the names of
these varying based on the author of the mapping schema.

a discrete change is initiated or occurs to the individual
in question and their spiritual understanding, nature, or
condition is somehow matured or enhanced. 

this Leap is sometimes compared with and said to integrate a
'leap of faith', at others a decisive ritual or spiritual
project or accomplishment. others explain that it may be a
reward for one's achievements during one's lifetime or the
natural result of having lead a specific type of life. in any
case, the successful 'leaper' joins the ranks of the elect,
often as participant in yet another fantastic metaphor 
called 'the Great Work' (alchemical symbolism, at times an
implication of participation in the Judeochristian 'Creation').

the way the term 'Abyss' is used in Hermetic writings tends
to be with respect to the objects superior and inferior to
it -- the former being less comprised of dualistic or
simplistic structure, the latter enmired in stereotype,
rigid category, and strict definition, the world of opposites. 
perhaps there is some relation between these comments and the 
common Judeochristian principle that the God's rules are not 
the same as those for human beings (the 'Supernal Triad' in 
the Tree above being a special zone of heavenly influence or 
godly residence).

more specific information that I've collected on the abyss
may be found in the following file:


my memories are somewhat hazy and prone to my own peculiar 
conjecture. good sources on kabbalistic concepts (as C Low has 
specified in the above file don't expect to find much on 
'abysses') include Scholem and Halevi.

> What is the nature of the ordeal?   In as concrete terms as
> possible, how would you describe an adept before this crossing,
> and what do you think has changed afterward? 

this is less clear on account of the variability of expression
in what little I have yet found. in the trans-Abysmal journey
there is usually some description of transformation or
transfiguration of the consciousness, especially with respect
to its integration or its egoic component (cf. Maslow's
ideas about individuation for my favorite expression of this

my understanding is that those who truly Cross Over (I'm
inspired by Buddhists here yet again) stop identifying
with the ego, comprehending its ephemerality in the greater 
context of cosmic flux. this composure may appear to be a
'destruction' of the ego when in fact it is merely a
differentiation of structure (it ceases to be so solid to
the encounter -- this may also be described in Asian martial
arts as a kind of dissipation or permeability of the ego
body; it becomes 'gaseous' or less subject to injury
because it is less solid, less rigid).

the ordeal's nature has seemed to me to be reflected in
the relationship which the individual has with hir spiritual 
path. half-way on, half-way off this path, the student is
constantly adjusting between the 'ordinary' world and that
to which hir studies and rites pertain. once the leap
across the Abyss is made, there is no real return possible,
as a deep and firm commitment has been accepted to take
seriously whatever may come. I've always identified the
Hermetic 'Oath of the Abyss' as essential to this adventure:
the adept now accepts hir role as an integral initiator
of change and inspirer of understanding, firmly reacting
to the signs and conversation available via hir spiritual
allies and guardians (whether that be the God, some cosmic
Foundation, metaphysical spiritual kindred, etc., etc.).

> Finally, how are each of these different for the white 
> and black brother?

the White Brother favors the conscious, direct, intellectual,
ascetic, aggressive, thelemic, separating, comprehension-oriented 
struggle that has hir 'getting over' the problem. she may 
see the Abyss as a finite obstacle to be overcome, a straight-
forward challenge to be beaten without backing down. those who 
do not follow out this formula may be observed as 'quitters',
'self-absorbed and ego-ridden', and 'too selfish to accomplish 
what only the pure may pursue'. 

the Black Brother favors the unconscious, indirect, emotional,
indulgent, affectionate, agapic, resolvative, induction-oriented
engagement that has hir 'diving into' the heart of the matter.
she may see the Abyss as a personal being with whom to grapple,
love, and resolve any apparent differences without holding back.
those who do not follow out this formula may be observed as
'blowhards', 'self-centered and falsely modest', and 'too weak
to approach with courage the heinous taboo'.
neither is an absolute. there are countless possible descriptions
of these experiences. these are two constructions based on
what I have read in the Hermetic corpus, the latter modern and
in some cases expressed in reflection of my own experience.

note: I am not a kabbalist or a part of Judaism; I am not a
      conventional ceremonialist or truly a part of Hermetic
      culture, being more shamanistic and syncertic of style.
      at times I have explored ceremonialist ritual crafting
      and integrated Hermetic material, Thelemic rituals,
      Wiccan rites, etc., into my personal practice, yet I
      remain an outsider to them in all but essential
      principles (following the Wiccan Rede, abiding the
      Law of Thelema, engagement of an Holy Guardian Angel,

blessed beast!
nigris (333)

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