John St. John

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John St. John

Postby IChTUS 93 » Mon Jun 15, 2009 8:30 pm

93,

Hi, I am new to this group. I was just perusing your archives, and the content and information was of such a high quality that I couldn't resist signing up and getting involved.

As I see that Jim is on the list, I have a question that has bothered me for several years in relation to John St. John. Forgive me if I am wrong, but I believe that it was in "M&M of A:.A:." that it was put forward that the John St. John working was Crowley attaining to the Grade of 6=5. As Crowley was an 8=3 at the time (or more correctly part of the way through that three year initiation), I am wondering what I am missing. Is it being suggested that the lower Grades needed to be reworked at a higher level? Could this please be explained in greater detail?

Thanks very much.

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Re: John St. John

Postby Jim Eshelman » Tue Jun 16, 2009 7:52 am

IChTUS 93 wrote:As I see that Jim is on the list, I have a question that has bothered me for several years in relation to John St. John. Forgive me if I am wrong, but I believe that it was in "M&M of A:.A:." that it was put forward that the John St. John working was Crowley attaining to the Grade of 6=5. As Crowley was an 8=3 at the time (or more correctly part of the way through that three year initiation), I am wondering what I am missing. Is it being suggested that the lower Grades needed to be reworked at a higher level? Could this please be explained in greater detail?

He wasn't really an 8=3 until December 1909 during the Vision & Voice working. In 1906 when he thought he was passing into 8=3 it was more like "what the G.D. would have called 8=3," and (in retrospect) was clearly his (in the A.'.A.'. sense) 5=6 attainment.

In John St. John itself, Crowley stated what the difference was. Since I don't have a copy in front of me, I'm going from memory: I believe he said that he had previously attained 6=5 in nature (I think he said "in the natural world") but not in the spiritual world. Decoding this, he was saying that he had previously attained to Geburah in Yetzirah (which is the level of the G.D.'s 6=5 - and, for that matter, of the Temple of Thelema's Sixth Degree), but was now pursuing Geburah in Briah (which is the level of the A.'.A.'. 6=5, Briah having been opened in the initial passage to 5=6 Without).

So his alleged 8=3 in 1906 is best considered, at best, "What the G.D. would have called 8=3" - Binah in Yetzirah-verging-into-Briah (and probably opening Briah for him for the first time in a stable, sustained way). But, in October 1908, he knew fully well that he was really a 5=6 working to attain - in the way he now understood the grades - to 6=5 'for real.' He says so quite candidly in the diary. It's the actual goal of that magical retirement.
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Postby IChTUS 93 » Tue Jun 16, 2009 9:13 pm

93,

Thanks very much for explaining that more fully. Though I would have thought that Crowley was considered a 5=6 in the A:.A:. sense before 1906, as the reception of Liber AL in 1904 would surely have to be considered as at least K&C of HGA.

As far as I am aware Crowley always claimed to have crossed the Abyss whilst walking across China in 1906. It was near the start of that journey that Bennett taught him sammasati, which he would later write down as Liber 913. It was also at that time that he experienced the discontinuity of phenomenon and of the ego, which threw him into the Abyss, and which he would later write down as the instruction Liber 474. It was for this reason that I really liked your attribution of Liber 913 to the path of Cheth, and Liber 474 to the path of Zayin.

In Liber 474 it explains why he aspired yet again to the K&C of HGA, and performed the Abramelin operation at that time "with the simplicity of a child", being a Babe of the Abyss.

In Liber 418, in relation to a notariqon of TARO, it says "tres annos regimen oraculi", being Latin for "three years is the regimen of the oracle". In the footnote to this Crowley wrote, "Refers to time required to assimilate the Initiation of 8=3. For three years is 156 weeks; and 156 = BABALON".

I totally concur with you that he took up the mantle of the office of 8=3 on 3rd December 1909 (after his ceremony with Neuburg on Mt. HUFA). Exactly 156 weeks earlier would have been 7th December 1906, which is when Crowley received the first letter from D.D.S. in Samadhi-Dhatu. He then dined with him on the 10th, and wrote, "He thinks my attainment makes me a Master of the Temple. He goes further and says that I am the 'the' Master - the Logos - the next Buddha". The following day, on the 11th, he received the third letter from D.D.S. which contained the words: "How long have you been in the Great Order, and why did I not know? Is the invisibility of the A:.A:. to lower grades so complete?"

I don't have a copy of the Algerian Diary with me, for Crowley's record of the 3rd December 1909. So to totally paraphrase it, he says something like, I will now write to my superior in the Order, and take up that which has been lying so near to hand, meaning the mantle of the office of 8=3.

In John St. John he takes the Oath of the Abyss. I don't know where he states that it is the purpose of the operation to attain 6=5. He does say, (after having gone through four days that he related to the 5=6 grade), "Thence one might proceed to some symbolic passage through the 6=5 grade - though of course that grade is really symbolic of this soul-journey, not 'vice versa' - and through 7=4; so perhaps - if one could only dare to hope it! - to the 8=3 attainment." Where does he say that the purpose of the retirement is 6=5?

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Postby Jim Eshelman » Tue Jun 16, 2009 9:38 pm

IChTUS 93 wrote:Thanks very much for explaining that more fully. Though I would have thought that Crowley was considered a 5=6 in the A:.A:. sense before 1906, as the reception of Liber AL in 1904 would surely have to be considered as at least K&C of HGA.

Communications from the HGA shouldn't be confused with the experience called "the Knowledge & Conversation of the HGA." Reliable (often audible) guidance and communication from the Angel (though not at the level of Liber L.) in commonplace in the mature 1=10.

As far as I am aware Crowley always claimed to have crossed the Abyss whilst walking across China in 1906.

That was his claim at the time. It was the best framework he had at the time, a maturation of the G.D. system. These ideas evolved rapidly in the years that the A.'.A.'. system was actually being formulated (in particular, 1906-1909).

It was near the start of that journey that Bennett taught him sammasati, which he would later write down as Liber 913.

But, closely read, what he was going through in that phase - which, at the time, he attributed to Da'ath - was what later became the technical methods of the Dominus Liminis grade, as immediate preparation for his walk across China - which was his Abramelin operation, his real 5=6 undertaking.

It was also at that time that he experienced the discontinuity of phenomenon and of the ego, which threw him into the Abyss, and which he would later write down as the instruction Liber 474.

Again... when one is that far from the Abyss, it's easy to make that sort of mistake. That was all Dominus Liminis stuff: the transition from Yetzirah to Briah, not Briah to Atziluth.

I totally concur with you that he took up the mantle of the office of 8=3 on 3rd December 1909 (after his ceremony with Neuburg on Mt. HUFA). Exactly 156 weeks earlier would have been 7th December 1906, which is when Crowley received the first letter from D.D.S. in Samadhi-Dhatu.

You're supporting my point more than yur own 8) . He wasn't 8=3 at that date. I can see considering it as the start of a three-year cycle but, then, the entire course of 5=6 through 7=4 is a process of the Adept being prepared for admission as 8=3.

In John St. John he takes the Oath of the Abyss.

Yes, he did. Or, rather, the Oath of 8=3 (quite a different thing). It likely wasn't the first time he'd taken it, either.

I don't know where he states that it is the purpose of the operation to attain 6=5.

I don't have it at hand, and haven't time to look it up now... but it's plain on the reading.
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Postby IChTUS 93 » Tue Jun 16, 2009 10:32 pm

93,

Thanks very much for taking the time to explain that so thoroughly. I think I can see where you are coming from now. At the very least you have given me much food for meditation.

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Postby IChTUS 93 » Wed Jun 17, 2009 12:47 am

93,

Just to clarify, does that mean that you attribute Liber 474 to the work of the Dominus Liminis? And the experience of Shivadarshana to Tiphareth?

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Postby Jim Eshelman » Wed Jun 17, 2009 2:55 am

IChTUS 93 wrote:Just to clarify, does that mean that you attribute Liber 474 to the work of the Dominus Liminis? And the experience of Shivadarshana to Tiphareth?

No, that's not what I meant. I meant that the yoga training etc. that he was undergoing at that point - the whole of the work he was actually doing - was consistent with what was later codified as the Task of the Dom. Lim. His gathering ideas for what later became 474 was a side issue I wasn't talking about.
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Postby IChTUS 93 » Wed Jun 17, 2009 8:14 pm

93,

I believe that the yoga training that you are referring to, that corresponds to the tasks of a Dominus Liminis, took place about half a decade earlier. Whilst in Mexico in 1900 Crowley began doing the practice that would later be written down as the instruction of part 3 of Liber 3, where he stopped various thoughts arising depending on whether he was wearing his R.C. lamen or not. Then shortly after, around the beginning of 1901, was when Eckenstein taught him pratyahara and dharana. He then of course headed to Ceylon to meet Bennett, who taught him asana and pranayama. All of which resulted in his attainment of dhyana around October 1901.

The period I have been referring to is the end of 1905, and through 1906. He wasn't really doing any yoga practices at that point. He was performing Liber Samekh as he travelled across China. This had been preceded by the exercises described in Liber 474 through to verse 20. Then, as described in verse 21 of Liber 474, he recalled the simplicity of the task of the Adeptus Minor, and applied himself thereto with fresh energy in a more direct manner. This all culminated on 9th October 1906 when he performed Liber ThROA and attained Shivadarshana, which he saw as the completion of his Abramelin operation, as described in verse 23 of Liber 474.

So I guess I am currently having difficulty in understanding how the experience of Shivadarshana is not attributed to Tiphareth, if we take Crowley's 1906 Abramelin operation as his attaining to the Grade of 5=6.

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Postby Jim Eshelman » Wed Jun 17, 2009 9:45 pm

IChTUS 93 wrote:I believe that the yoga training that you are referring to, that corresponds to the tasks of a Dominus Liminis, took place about half a decade earlier. Whilst in Mexico in 1900...

That was early Dharana training, comparable to what a Probationer might start from Liber E. Yes, I was referring to the late 1905 period also (but I think it was Burma, not Ceylon). It would take me quite a while to dig through biographical references to find the actual discussion.

He wasn't really doing any yoga practices at that point. He was performing Liber Samekh as he travelled across China.

I'm speaking of the phase immediately before that, climaxing in the February 9, 1905 diary entry, "About this full moon consciousness began to break through Ruach into Neschamah;" and he then set out to plan his Abramelin operation for the China trip. (You know the pony story etc. - classic Dom. Lim. stuff.)

It's quite clear that AC, at that time, thought he was already a Greatly Honored Adeptus Exemptus, and was putting everything in perspective of that. (That's the basis of so much of this confusion.) But he wasn't, and he came to understand this later. The G.D. hadn't given a clue to the reality of what an Adeptus Minor is, and had accepted a markedly lesser standard (the whole of the A.'.A.'. system from at least 1=10 on is what the G.D. considered Second Order level).

This had been preceded by the exercises described in Liber 474 through to verse 20.

That was just one piece of what Allan had him working on (and, as a practice rather than a theory, it does have a definite relevance for Dom. Lim.).

This all culminated on 9th October 1906 when he performed Liber ThROA and attained Shivadarshana, which he saw as the completion of his Abramelin operation, as described in verse 23 of Liber 474.

That was the pre-scheduled completion (6 months beginning at Easter). But the real braekthrough came in July when he and Fra. D.D.S. reenacted the 5=6 ceremony. And stuff just kept building form there!

BTW, I found the reference I was making to the two levels of 6=5 attainment. In John St. John, on the Fourth Day, at 3:55 PM, Crowley wrote:

I add a few considerations on the grade of Adeptus Major 6=5.

(P.S. - Distinction is to be made between attainment of this grade in the natural and in the spiritual world. The former I long since possessed.)

And the latter - the attainment in Briah - he had not "long since possessed." It was the initiation he was working on for the retirement.

With this statement to key us, the whole document becomes quite clear. He is constantly talking about working the Paths of Mem and Lamed, invoking hte Geburan hierarchy, talking about the creation of a 6=5 ritual. One of the key tasks of the G.D. 5=6 (as a task for moving to 6=5) is to adapt the formula of the Neophyte initiation to (amolng other things) a ceremony of self-initiation (the "Shin of Shin Formula"). The A.'.A.'. having only finalized its Neophyte ceremony at the Autumn Equinox 1908 (as indicated by Crowley's typescript of the final version), he then set out a few days later to do this very thing - adapt it into his own personal self-initiation ceremony as he had been taught a 5=6 should do; and the form of this, all the way through the book, is (1) an intensification of the Work of the 5=6 and (2) a direct progress to 6=5.
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Postby IChTUS 93 » Thu Jun 18, 2009 1:09 am

That was early Dharana training, comparable to what a Probationer might start from Liber E. Yes, I was referring to the late 1905 period also (but I think it was Burma, not Ceylon).

Do many Probationers attain Dhyana?

From memory I think they met in Celyon and went to Burma, though the geography isn't important.

I'm speaking of the phase immediately before that, climaxing in the February 9, 1905 diary entry, "About this full moon consciousness began to break through Ruach into Neschamah;" and he then set out to plan his Abramelin operation for the China trip. (You know the pony story etc. - classic Dom. Lim. stuff.)

Yes, that was when he was doing sammasati, which I always thought was mainly a 7=4 activity. I don't believe he was doing any formal yoga at that time though.

In 'Confessions' he wrote, "From this date [19th November 1905] till the first week in February, I was intellectually insane. The actual ordeal is described with intense simplicity and passion in 'Aha!' I call it 'the Ordeal of the Veil, the Second Veil' and the 'Veil of the Abyss'. The complete destruction of reason left me without other means of apprehension than Neschamah."

It's quite clear that AC, at that time, thought he was already a Greatly Honored Adeptus Exemptus, and was putting everything in perspective of that. (That's the basis of so much of this confusion.) But he wasn't, and he came to understand this later.

Was the diagram at the beginning of "Magick", which shows the dates of his attainments (including 9=2), not done by him? I guess he may have written the dates for the earlier Grades, and possibly added the higher ones later, without altering the dates of the earlier Grades.

That was the pre-scheduled completion (6 months beginning at Easter). But the real braekthrough came in July when he and Fra. D.D.S. reenacted the 5=6 ceremony. And stuff just kept building form there!


That ceremony with D.D.S. was on the 27th July 1906. And whilst it was extraordinary, Crowley does not appear to have considered it as the completion of the Abramelin operation. The entry in his diary for the following day of the 28th reads: "Twenty-fifth week of A.'. [meaning the Augoeides operation] begins."

Then in 'Confessions' he writes in relation to the experience of Shivadarshana on 9th October 1906, "On the ninth, having prepared a full invocation and ritual, I performed it. I had no expectation, I think, of attaining any special success; but it came. I had performed the Operation of the Sacred Magick of Abra-Melin the Mage."

BTW, I found the reference I was making to the two levels of 6=5 attainment. In John St. John, on the Fourth Day, at 3:55 PM, Crowley wrote:


I add a few considerations on the grade of Adeptus Major 6=5.

(P.S. - Distinction is to be made between attainment of this grade in the natural and in the spiritual world. The former I long since possessed.)


And the latter - the attainment in Briah - he had not "long since possessed." It was the initiation he was working on for the retirement.


With this statement to key us, the whole document becomes quite clear.

In 'The Temple of Solomon the King' it says, "The ostensible object of this Retirement was to discover for certain whether by the use of the plain strightforward methods accessible to the normal man he could definitely attain Samadhi within a reasonable time. In other words, whether the methods themselves were valuable."
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Postby Jim Eshelman » Thu Jun 18, 2009 5:41 am

IChTUS 93 wrote:
That was early Dharana training, comparable to what a Probationer might start from Liber E. Yes, I was referring to the late 1905 period also (but I think it was Burma, not Ceylon).

Do many Probationers attain Dhyana?

No. And Crowley wasn't typical. - But yes, some do.

I'm speaking of the phase immediately before that, climaxing in the February 9, 1905 diary entry, "About this full moon consciousness began to break through Ruach into Neschamah;" and he then set out to plan his Abramelin operation for the China trip. (You know the pony story etc. - classic Dom. Lim. stuff.)

Yes, that was when he was doing sammasati, which I always thought was mainly a 7=4 activity.

The practice in question is first assigned in 1=10 (I suspect to help with the Path of Tav). - But also, we're talking about two different things (I just realized): You're focussed on what tasks he was doing, and I'm focussed on what stage of internal development he'd reached.

In 'Confessions' he wrote, "From this date [19th November 1905] till the first week in February, I was intellectually insane. The actual ordeal is described with intense simplicity and passion in 'Aha!' I call it 'the Ordeal of the Veil, the Second Veil' and the 'Veil of the Abyss'. The complete destruction of reason left me without other means of apprehension than Neschamah."

As indicated previously: Yes, I'm sure this is how he saw it at the time. It fit the GD-rooted framework he was using to categorize his progress. But when you look at it, this is just the Ruach's disentanglement as Yetzirah opens to Briah, i.e., the defining characteristic of what we now know as the Dominus Liminis stage.

It's quite clear that AC, at that time, thought he was already a Greatly Honored Adeptus Exemptus, and was putting everything in perspective of that. (That's the basis of so much of this confusion.) But he wasn't, and he came to understand this later.

Was the diagram at the beginning of "Magick", which shows the dates of his attainments (including 9=2), not done by him? I guess he may have written the dates for the earlier Grades, and possibly added the higher ones later, without altering the dates of the earlier Grades.

For most (all?) of his life, he tended to list the attainment of GD-level grades as "when he got the grade." And why not? He was self-promoting, and it looks better to the reader who would be impressed by such things, and it's technically correct.

That ceremony with D.D.S. was on the 27th July 1906. And whilst it was extraordinary, Crowley does not appear to have considered it as the completion of the Abramelin operation.

Of course he didn't. He had sworn to perform the operation for six months, so it wasn't finished until the six months was finished, regardless of what occurred along the way. (Similarly, during my 5=6 stage I committed to a 93-day operation and, although the desired result was clearly established in less than half that time, I continued all 93 days - which I'm glad I did, because the morning of the final day was a further result that blew away everything that came before it.)

Then in 'Confessions' he writes in relation to the experience of Shivadarshana on 9th October 1906, "On the ninth, having prepared a full invocation and ritual, I performed it. I had no expectation, I think, of attaining any special success; but it came. I had performed the Operation of the Sacred Magick of Abra-Melin the Mage."

Yes, I'd forgotten that. It matches my experience just mentioned above. In the last few days of the operation, I had no reason to believe there was anything more coming. Then the final day, upon doing the invocation, I got blown the {****} away.

In 'The Temple of Solomon the King' it says, "The ostensible object of this Retirement was to discover for certain whether by the use of the plain strightforward methods accessible to the normal man he could definitely attain Samadhi within a reasonable time. In other words, whether the methods themselves were valuable."

I'm not sure what your point was. You're basically saying what I was saying.
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