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The man who writes books on a Thelema that no beast shall divine. Founding member of Ordo Astri, Thelemic Magical Collegium. Member of Ordo Typhonis since 2000 e.v. More articles and essays are posted at https://ordoastri.org/ and https://tantrika.co.uk/

Monday, 27 August 2012

Magical Hypnosis

To imagine we can be a better person, or that we can enjoy a better life through hypnotising ourselves with ‘positive’ affirmations is to reinforce the self-obsession that is driving the neurosis.

Hypnotism Made Easy!
Hypnosis is the drink from the cup of forgetfulness, the waters of Lethe, oblivion. The antidote to the river of Lethe is the river of Mnemosyne and the cup of remembrance. Hypnotism, even self-hypnotism, requires submission from the subject of the experiment. Submission and hypnosis are twin sirens dwelling in the river of Lethe, the cup of oblivion.

It has become popular to posit hypnosis as Gnosis. For example, that hypnosis is the key to magick, the key to it all. It is said that the evocation of a spirit to visible appearance is only done effectively by gazing into a mirror and hypnotising oneself—or even worse, being hypnotised by someone else. To hypnotise oneself in order to apprehend something one believes to be impossible or improbable is plainly a method by which delusion is magnified. 

Dhyana, the natural result of sustained concentration, is technically a kind of trance state. On that ground, the rejection of hypnotism is sometimes dismissed as mere semantics. One calls it this, another calls it that—so what? If that is so, why choose a word that means ‘sleep’?

hypnos (Greek) Sleep
1. Hypnos is the spirit or god of sleep, whose abode is Erebus, eternal darkness. He is the brother of Thanatos, death, and the son of Nyx, the mother of night. He has no father. His attributes are opium, the poppy and the waters of Lethe (forgfetfulness). He carries an inverted torch, as does Thanatos.
2. The modern word ‘hypnosis’ is derived from the Greek hypnos. Note that pistis, ‘faith’ or ‘trust’, is required from the person (or animal) being subjected to an experiment in hypnosis. The hypnotist becomes as God to the subject or patient, since the procedure requires a level of acceptance and submission usually reserved for deity. It is the exact opposite to the redemption of the soul (Greek psyche) usually associated with faith.[1]
Receptivity is not the same as submission. In the hermetic tradition the mind is trained in the art of concentration before the intuitive faculty is brought to bear. Even then, images arising in the psyche are regarded with calm indifference. The Order of the Golden Dawn at one time insisted that Probationers sign the following pledge.
The Chiefs of the Order do not care to accept as Candidates any persons accustomed to submit themselves as Mediums to the Experiments of Hypnotism, Mesmerism, or Spiritualism; or who habitually allow themselves to fall into a completely Passive condition of Will; also they disapprove of the methods made use of as a rule in such experiments.
It appears that the Chiefs of the Order failed to honour the pledge themselves. The Order was brought into disrepute as a result, directly or indirectly, of its founder succumbing to the machinations of ‘Madame Horos’, a fake medium. That, and the increasing acceptance and use of hypnotism means that discernment over these matters has largely become a thing of the past. Yet what was true then is no less true today. The core teaching of the Golden Dawn does not require adjustment to afford credibility to mind-programmers, hypnotists and spiritual healers.


1. Entry for the number 800 from The Flaming Sword Sepher Sephiroth, Volume Two.

The image is the cover of a pamphlet from an anonymous author, Hynotism Made Easy! [1971].

© Oliver St. John 2012, 2019

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Monday, 6 August 2012

Isis and Daath: Thelemic Reflections

“The Egyptian name of Isis is usually transliterated as Asi (or Aset), so Isa is the reverse of this. It seems peculiarly appropriate to have a reversed name in Daath; the implication is of following Isis back to her formless source.”

Qabalah of Isis and Daath: Isis as drawn by Jeff Dahl
Isis has two references in the (Egyptian) Book of the Law, Liber AL vel Legis. The first is in Liber AL, I: 22,  where she is named according to her most cosmic aspect. Here she is identified with Nuit, “Infinite Space, and the Infinite Stars thereof”.

Now, therefore, I am known to ye by my name Nuit, and to him by a secret name which I will give him when at last he knoweth me. Since I am Infinite Space, and the Infinite Stars thereof, do ye also thus. Bind nothing! Let there be no difference made among you between any one thing and any other thing; for thereby there cometh hurt.

In the second place, Liber AL, I: 49, the manifestation of Isis is described in terms of the human soul.

Abrogate are all rituals, all ordeals, all words and signs. Ra-Hoor Khuit hath taken his seat in the East at the Equinox of the Gods; and let Asar be with Isa, who also are one. But they are not of me. Let Asar be the adorant, Isa the sufferer; Hoor in his secret name and splendour is the Lord initiating.

The body and ego is here named Asar or Osiris. The Egyptian name of Isis is usually transliterated as Asi (or Aset), so Isa is the reverse of this. It seems peculiarly appropriate to have a reversed name in Daath; the implication is of following Isis back to her formless source. In the ritual of a Neophyte, Isis is the guide of the soul. It is Isis that ‘speaks up’ for the candidate, to neutralise the terrible accusations that would otherwise come from Set or Omoo Szathan—who plays the role of Evil Genius, though he is unseen in the ritual.[1] It is notable that both verses from the Book of the Law here give hints of the ‘crossing of the Abyss’ or chasm that yawns between the rational mind and the infinite reaches beyond.

This essay is part of the collection, Babalon Unveiled! Thelemic Monographs [Ordo Astri].

Traditionally, Daath, ‘Knowledge’, is not a sephira as such. It is said to be the ‘child’ or conjunction of Chokmah and Binah. The most useful way to understand Daath is as the apex of a tetrahedronal pyramid, where the first three numbers, Kether, Chokmah and Binah, form the basal triad.[2] Daath can then be understood through its relation with Set-Hadit, the ‘Knower’, or consciousness itself. The supernal triad is as the reflection of the limitless light of Ain Soph Aur, projected through the magical mirror of Daath.

Isis and ISA

Isa is a special Egyptian name for Isis, and means ‘fragrance’. Isis is thus identified with the emanations of spirit, for she is the soul of the Tree of Life. According to the Sethian Gnosis, all manifestation depends from a triune source: Light, Darkness and Fragrance or Spirit.[3] Light and dark are not to be understood here as possessing moral qualities. Spirit permeates the light and darkness equally. The three principles create the matrix for form, the equivalent of Binah on the Hermetic Tree of Life.

Isis was always associated with the star Sirius by the ancient Egyptians. The reappearance of the star after its 70-day occultation heralded the Nile flood. In Greek, isa means ‘equilibrium’, suggestive of the way of the Tau or Middle Pillar, and by Hebrew Qabalah the name adds to 71, the ‘image of silence’, as according to Aleister Crowley.[4] Failure to keep silence when approaching the abysmal levels of Daath gives power to Choronzon or the demon of the Abyss. In simple terms, the human ego, when subjected to the strains and stresses of Daathian consciousness, fragments and breaks apart. Dissociation is the result, and some forms of so-called mental illness such as schizophrenia come about through the failure of the ego to assimilate an influx of spiritual consciousness. The training of the mind is therefore a prerequisite to any advanced occult or mystic practices. Daath is the gate of heaven and is therefore also the gate of hell—perhaps ‘hell’s mouth’ is an appropriate term to use here. 

There may be an etymological relation between Isa and the Anglo-Saxon and Nordic rune, ‘Is’, which means, ‘ice’ and is associated with the goddess of the North. The North is the polar region; the stars of the Dragon constellation, or Draco, form a pathway to immortality for kings or Initiates, as well as a fast road to hell for those who would seek to enter the portal of Daath to obtain personal power.

In Arabic, Isa is a name of Jesus. Some have thought that Asar (Osiris) and Isa are thereby declared to be as one principle in the Book of the Law. This, however, confuses Osiris with Christ (spirit), whereas the union of Asar and Isa is that of the body (Osiris) and soul (Isis). Crowley’s notion that Osiris is the formula of Christ as ‘the dying god’ is a flawed one. With the possible exception of Florence Farr, Crowley and other luminaries of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn did not look deeply into the Egyptian mysteries. Osiris dies and then becomes Lord of the Dead in the underworld. Christ goes through torments in the underworld (paralleled by the imprisonment and ordeals of John the Baptist), but then ascends to heaven. As is made clear by the Egyptian Pyramid Textsas well as the Qabalah, ‘heaven’ is not the same as Amentet; it is not located in the underworld. If anything, Christ has more in common with Hermes, and there is a good deal of evidence to suggest that his story owes to the wisdom tradition of Egypt.

Crowley, during his Paris working, Opus II, was deeply inspired and surprised by the realisation that Christ is synonymous with Hermes-Mercury. If Crowley had fully adopted this idea, though, he would have had to abandon the unwieldy notion of three Aeons, which by that time was deeply embedded in his writings on Thelema. The way of Osiris in ancient Egypt was the popular folk belief. The Ka of the deceased had to be kept alive in the underworld by the making of continuous offerings. The cult of the cosmic Ra was the ‘higher’ discipline, reserved for priests and pharaohs. It compares with so-called High Magick and is undoubtedly the wisdom veiled in the Book of the Law. In ancient Egypt, the two systems were worked side by side according to the understanding of the person or the degree of their initiation.

Isa is the means of spiritual survival or passing through the gate of Daath. As the void that is the portal for the outflowing of force into manifestation, Daath is the ultimate feminine. Magically, Isis is the power of speech or utterance, the power of the divine word or Logos. The return to Nuit or absolute consciousness means reversing the flow of consciousness—following the word back to its source. This is accomplished through the magical means of our Lady Babalon, the Shakti power of the universe. The necessary preliminary for apprehending the mysteries of Daath is the mode of analogous thought. This is quite different from ordinary thinking. Each symbol, instead of being objectified through the application of concrete meaning, is followed back to its source with the infinite.


2. See Frater Achad, The Equinox Vol. 1 No. 5, pp. 89, ‘The Temple of Solomon the King’.
3. See Thrice Greatest Hermes, collected and translated by G. R. S. Mead.
4. See 777 and other Qabalistic Writings, Aleister Crowley.

© Oliver St. John 2012, 2018
This essay is part of the collection, Babalon Unveiled! Thelemic Monographs [Ordo Astri]

Visit Ordo Astri: Thelemic Magical Collegium

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