There is the outre nature of the working even in these tolerant times, homosexual sex-magick still retains an air of scandal , there are the high-flown passages of esoteric revelation, the laughable attempts at material results which inevitably go wrong in all sorts of unforeseen ways, and, above all, the petty and amusing squabbles between Crowley and Neuberg. But beyond these elements of titillation, there are real and valuable things going on in the Paris working. The very depth and vividness of the visions apparently obtained should, if nothing else, convince us to take a second look. For one thing, most occult appropriations of classical antiquity involve a very late and atypical sort of Greco-Egyptian Alexandrian syncretism; the gods appear as pallid and austere shadows of some greater astrological or Neoplatonic scheme. The gods of the Paris Working, however, are Roman to the core; they are not shadowy archetypes, but beautiful and terrible beings with their own appetites and personaliies. They are invoked not primarily with zodiacal or planetary correspondences, but with pornographic verse.
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I thank E. It is for this reason that I have endeavored to ensure that the trade edition, handsomely bound in hardcover and released in both a standard and deluxe edition, will likewise please the reader in form. I cannot say with certainty, and so will not assert, whether the errors in his review indicate an accidental or a willful misunderstanding of my arguments.
I will, therefore, focus on the content of the review itself, checking its claims against the facts of each case rather than dwelling on the character of the author or his possible intentions.
These include the claims that:. In addition to these explicit claims, Polyphilus insinuates that there are still more issues at stake and criticisms to be made, but opts not to specify in the course of his review what those issues are beyond alluding to their magical and doctrinal nature. The essay genuinely rewards study. Contrary to settling the question of queer Gnostic Mass against its acceptance, the three purposes of the Mass proposed by Polyphilus provide us with fertile ground for defending the propriety of its public celebration.
While we cannot scrutinize his reasons for dismissing queer Gnostic Mass on magical, communal, and doctrinal grounds, since those reasons are not divulged in his review, we can make our own assessment of the merits of public queer Gnostic Mass as it might pertain to these matters with reference to the wealth of published and publicly available writings by Crowley on the Mass, the Eucharist, the O.
Polyphilus cites magical issues as under the purview of the E. In so stating, Polyphilus implies, without evidence or explanation, that public celebrations of queer Gnostic Mass could not fulfill the magical purpose of the Mass. Presumably, the problem of magical bankruptcy is evaded through private celebration. The Magical effect for the individual Is the one that Crowley explains in Magick in Theory and Practice : The communicant is gradually made divine, Being brought swallow by swallow Towards Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel And to the ultimate attainment that lies beyond.
And this effect is secret in the sense that it is utterly ineffable. For example, in defining the universal object of magical ritual, Crowley instructs the magician to use ritual to confront weaknesses in his understanding and offers sexual identity as one such area for exploration:. There is a single main definition of the object of all magical ritual. It is the uniting of the Microcosm with the Macrocosm.
All other magical rituals are particular cases of this general principle, and the only excuse for doing them is that it sometimes occurs that one particular portion of the Microcosm is so weak that its imperfection or impurity would vitiate the Macrocosm of which it is the image, eidolon, or reflection.
For example, God is above sex; and therefore neither man nor woman as such can be said fully to understand, much less to represent, God. It is therefore incumbent on the male Magician to cultivate those female virtues in which he is deficient, and this task he must of course accomplish without in any way impairing his virility.
The result will be a metaphysical and—by corollary—ethical limitation in the Religion which he founds. Ritual offers the magician one avenue for symbolically uniting diverse elements within his being, though it is by no means the only method for achieving such union:.
The doctrine here put forth is that the initiate cannot be polluted by any particular environment. He accepts and enjoys everything that is proper to his nature. Of course, this is only one partial projection; to govern, to fight, and so on, must fulfil other needs. We must not imagine that any form of activity is ipso facto incapable of supplying the elements of an Eucharist: suum cuique [Lat.
The actual or symbolic union of the self with another, or even of different aspects of the self within oneself, is characterized by Crowley as the key to preparing the Eucharist, which process may be carried out through methods proper to the nature of each individual. All holy things and all symbolic things shall be my sacraments. Semen itself is mercury, the river of life flowing throughout the generations.
That is fluid mercury. What is from the point of view of life waste, is knowledge. Hence the opposition between knowledge and life. One is homo- and the other heterosexuality. Those are reconciled in Mercury, who is wisdom. As with all opposing points of view, it is the work of the magician to reconcile these contradictions in a higher understanding. Crowley provides us with an unambiguous illustration of the transformative power of this type of Eucharist in his notes to the Cephaloedium Working, which sacrament was prepared initially by two men together:.
In a secret code the Adept affirms that he is of the same sex so to speak as his Angel. It is not a union of opposites to produce a tertium quid [Lat. The Adept exclaims with joy that he has aspired to unite himself with this Idea, and has attained. Thus concludes the description of the relations of the Adept and his Angel so far as the element of Earth, the concrete and manifest aspect of Nature, is concerned. The whole illusion has been destroyed; the bread has become the body of God.
Heterosexual union, whether actual or symbolic, is a commonly cited formula for effecting this transmutation. So therefore the Formula of the Rosy Cross availeth no more in the Highest. Shall I say Enchantment? Shall I say Incantation? It is Song. But Bewitchment is a Work opposite thereunto, whose Effect formulateth itself by direct Creation in the Sphere of its Purpose and Intent. Though it remains unclear why, from the standpoint of E. T Polyphilus. The Hermetic Library.
Crowley, Aleister. Keith Richmond. York Beach, ME: The Hermetic Library, n. Symonds, John and Kenneth Grant, eds. Montreal: 93 Publishing, The Holy Books of Thelema. York Beach: Samuel Weiser, York Beach, Samuel Weiser, These include the claims that: I am wrong about the purpose of E.
Of the magical purpose of the Gnostic Mass, Polyphilus writes: The Magical effect for the individual Is the one that Crowley explains in Magick in Theory and Practice : The communicant is gradually made divine, Being brought swallow by swallow Towards Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel And to the ultimate attainment that lies beyond.
For example, in defining the universal object of magical ritual, Crowley instructs the magician to use ritual to confront weaknesses in his understanding and offers sexual identity as one such area for exploration: There is a single main definition of the object of all magical ritual. Crowley provides us with an unambiguous illustration of the transformative power of this type of Eucharist in his notes to the Cephaloedium Working, which sacrament was prepared initially by two men together: […] 7 Make Iacchaion God, by Ether.
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