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Progress of Insight and the Formula of I.A.O.

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I never realized this until now, but the Progress of Insight follows the magical formula I.A.O., the formula of Osiris and the redemption of mankind.

I = Isis = nature
A = Apophis = destroyer = the ruiner of nature
O = Osiris = redeemer/restorer of the fallen nature

http://www.sacred-texts.com/oto/aba/chap5.htm

It's tempting to think of insight occurring according to the formula of Tetragrammaton, because we have four paths.

Heh final = 1st path
Vau = 2nd path
Heh = 3rd path
Yod = 4th path

But I think what's actually at work in "cycling" is that there's a progressive understanding of the tripartite formula, I.A.O. There's a tendency on the part of the yogi to try to turn one part of the formula into It. Those stuck below the A&P will tend to prioritize the "I" portion of the formula. These are your religious Buddhists or dharma tourists attempting to find some new naivety in the practice of "mindfulness". Those past the A&P (which itself signals a kind of birth) will prioritize A. They become "dark night yogis". Whereas those who achieve stream-entry will tend to identify initially with Osiris/redemption/salvation, but could end up re-identifying with any of the other moments at various points.

Cycling will continue again and again until the entirety of the formula is grasped. In other words, there will eventually be some insight which appears to have nothing at all to do with the cycles. At that point, the entire formula is contextualized in some new way. Some paradoxical relationship between being and becoming is then evident.

But the whole tripartite scheme will repeat itself ad nauseum until the mind finally recognizes that neither birth nor death nor resurrection is really "It".

Looked at from another perspective, the Sun neither rises nor sets but shines just the same all the time. (Getting off the ride is a bit like getting off the Earth to see how the Sun really is.) It's just the Earth that's spinning which gives that impression.

RE: Progress of Insight and the Formula of I.A.O.
Answer
5/17/15 11:12 PM as a reply to Fitter Stoke.
I spoke with some Thelemites about MCTB and they made the same connection. Fwiw, these were fairly experienced Thelemites, not quite your typical occult dabblers. They cited it as evidence that MCTB concerns events "below the abyss" in terms of Thelemic grades. In response I cited Crowley saying that nirodha samapatti was the opening to the grade of Ipsissimus.

edit:
Crowley does mention in blue brick Magick that the attainment of Thelemic grades in actual life isn't as idealised as his model

RE: Progress of Insight and the Formula of I.A.O.
Answer
5/18/15 12:45 AM as a reply to Dada Kind.
In the late 90's to early 2000's, I used to hang out with a guy named Honey Bunny, aka Robert Burns, who was the guy who gave me my first dharma website (www.interactivebuddha.com) and hosted it on his server for the first 10 years. He is also the ex-husband of my sister's husband's sister. He was a serious Thelemic practitioner who had access Nirodha Samapatti and plenty of other chops. He was also one of my only dharma friends with whom I could discuss serious practice for many years, this in the days before things like the DhO. My sephoric correspondences with the stages of insight come from my lenghy conversations with him about these things.

We also used to talk about how the IAO correlated with these stages along your same lines of thought, fun stuff to correlate. It will be interesting to see where these thoughts take you. Let us know,

Daniel

RE: Progress of Insight and the Formula of I.A.O.
Answer
5/18/15 8:19 AM as a reply to Dada Kind.
Well, I wouldn't necessarily reduce everything we understand about enlightenment to the formula I.A.O., but even if I did, it's not clear to me why that would indicated that what we're doing is below the Abyss. I would be interested in more information about that if you have it.

RE: Progress of Insight and the Formula of I.A.O.
Answer
5/18/15 8:26 AM as a reply to Fitter Stoke.
I think the Dark Night/Re-Observation to Abyss correlation is solid, personally.

RE: Progress of Insight and the Formula of I.A.O.
Answer
5/18/15 9:46 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
I don't think that's true, because it seems like crossing the abyss confers a non-dual understanding on the aspirant that just isn't present upon the attainment to 11th ñana/4th vipassana jhana or even stream-entry. On the other hand, once I reached 4th path, all that "unity of opposites" stuff that I had previously dismissed as obscurantism suddenly made a lot of sense to me. Since opposites are supposed to be united above the abyss, this is one point in favor of 4th path having something to do with crossing the abyss. Though I'm not exactly sure then how to make sense of Crowley's grades of Magus and Ipsissimus.

Also, there was a distinct sense of having been "kicked out" into a lower Sephiroth upon completion of 4th path. For about 2 or 3 weeks after attaining 4th path, I found myself able to directly invoke Mercury pretty much just by virtue of not being asleep. This would seem to indicate I had been kicked down into Hod. (My way of relating to "the infinite" as Crowley calls it is still very Mercurial in nature.) Being ejected into a lower sephiroth seems to happen at 8=3 Magister Templi, and yet I never noticed anything like it before 4th. This also seems to suggest that there is a connection between 4th path and crossing the abyss.

RE: Progress of Insight and the Formula of I.A.O.
Answer
5/18/15 12:14 PM as a reply to Fitter Stoke.
They considered IAO a basic formula.

Isn't the ToL considered infinitely extensible (in/extensible?) in a fractal sort of way? I.e., there's a whole Tree in every sephiroth all the way down. Considered this way multiple DNs makes sense... sorta.

And, Dan, have you considered that meditation puts you on the straight shot up the Middle Pillar? I remember reading in Dion Fortune's Qabalah book that straight up the Middle Pillar is the mystic's route. Dunno.

I dug up the quote about the attainment of grades. The whole article is worth reading on this topic. I think this is the one I was thinking of


But of these last three Grades see some further account in The Temple of Solomon the King, Equinox I to X and elsewhere. It should be stated that these Grades are not necessarily attained fully, and in strict consecution, or manifested wholly on all planes. The subject is very difficult, and entirely beyond the limits of this small treatise.

...

The outline given of the several successive steps is exact; the two crises -- the Angel and the Abyss --- are necessary features in every career. The other tasks are not always accomplished in the order given here; one man, for example, may acquire many of the qualities peculiar to the Adeptus Major, and yet lack some of those proper to the Practicus.
The natural talents of individual differ very widely. The late Sir Richard Jebb, one of the greatest classical scholars of modern times, was so inferior to the average mediocrity in mathematics, that despite repeated efforts he could not pass the "little go" at Cambridge --- which the dullest minds can usually do. He was so deeply esteemed for his classics that a special "Grace" was placeted so as to admit him to matriculation. Similarly a brilliant Exorcist might be an incompetent Diviner. In such a case the A∴A∴ would refuse to swerve from Its system; the Aspirant would be compelled to remain at the Barrier until he succeeded in breaking it down, though a new incarnation were necessary to permit him to do so. But no technical failure of any kind soever could necessarily prevent him from accomplishing the Two Critical Tasks, since the fact of his incarnation itself proves that he has taken the Oath which entitled him to attain to the Knowledge and Conversation of his Holy Guardian Angel, and the annihilation of this Ego. One might therefore be an Adeptus Minor or even a Magister Templi, in essence, though refused official recognition by the A∴A∴ as a Zelator owing to (say) a nervous defect which preventedhim from acquiring a Posture which was "steady and easy" as required bythe Task of that grade.
But the system here given shows the correct order of events, as they are arranged in Nature; and in no case is it safe for a man to neglect to master any single detail, however dreary and distasteful it may seem. It often does so, indeed; that only insists on the necessity of dealing with it. The dislike and contempt for it bear witness to a weakness and incompleteness in the nature which disowns it; that particular gap in one's defences may admit the enemy at the very turning-point of some battle. Worse, one were shamed for ever if one's inferior should happento ask for advice and aid on that subject and one were to fail in service to him! His failure --- one's own failure also! No step, however well won for oneself, till he is ready for his own advance!
Every Member of the A∴A∴ must be armed at all points, and expert with every weapon. The examinations in every Grade are strict and severe; no loose or vague answers are accepted. In intellectual questions, the candidate must display no less mastery of his subject than if he were entered in the "final" for Doctor of Science or Law at a first class

And here's the Ipsissimus description from the same article

4. The Grade of Ipsissimus is not to be described fully; but its opening is indicated in Liber I vel Magi.

There is also an account in a certain secret document to be published when propriety permits. Here it is only said this: The Ipsissimus is wholly free from all limitations soever, existing in the nature of all things without discriminations of quantity or quality between them. He has identified Being and not-Being and Becoming, action and non-action and tendency to action, with all other such triplicities, not distinguishing between them in respect of any conditions, or between anyone thing and any other thing as to whether it is with or without conditions.

He is sworn to accept this Grade in the presence of a witness, and to express its nature in word and deed, but to withdraw Himself at once within the veils of his natural manifestation as a man, and to keep silence during his human life as to the fact of his attainment, even to the other members of the Order.

The Ipsissimus is pre-eminently the Master of all modes of existence; that is, his being is entirely free from internal or external necessity. His work is to destroy all tendencies to construct or to cancel such necessities. He is the Master of the Law of Unsubstantiality (Anatta).

The Ipsissimus has no relation as such with any Being: He has no will in any direction, and no Consciousness of any kind involving duality, for in Him all is accomplished; as it is written "beyond the Word and the Fool, yea, beyond the Word and the Fool".

While we're drawing correlations, can anyone precisely account for the obsession with language in the occult and Tantras? I heard Lama Karma say at that BG conference, roughly, "In the Tantras it's believed that the subtle body is language". Every time that starts to make sense it falls apart in my head. Any ideas?

RE: Progress of Insight and the Formula of I.A.O.
Answer
5/18/15 1:19 PM as a reply to Dada Kind.
They considered IAO a basic formula.

Right. But I'm wondering what that means and what the justification for it would be.

For what it's worth, I think there is a considerable gap between the Progress of Insight and 4th path. Completing many insight "cycles" appears to make it more likely that one will achieve the non-dual understanding at 4th, but there seems no easily discernible connection between the two things. So I wouldn't consider it much of a scandal if it turned out the understanding supplied by doing insight cycles was somehow inferior to a more exalted understanding at some other level. I'm just uncertain what the justification is for saying the IAO formula is only appropriate "below the abyss".
Isn't the ToL considered infinitely extensible (in/extensible?) in a fractal sort of way? I.e., there's a whole Tree in every sephiroth all the way down. Considered this way multiple DNs makes sense... sorta.

I'm familiar with this kind of stuff. I don't personally find it useful, but I never found fractal models that applicable to my experience in the first place.

On the other hand, there have been times I've realized things by reflecting on the paths of the Tree of Life. These match up with the major arcana cards in any tarot deck based on Golden Dawn symbolism. I had a pretty significant breakthrough while thinking about the Moon card and the symbolism associated with it. Same with the Aeon card at one point. These supposedly are paths appropriate to the lower grades (4=7 and 3=8 respectively), but they're also perennial issues that face any yogi. In other words, when I've used the Tree of Life model at all, it's been in a non-linear fashion.

Interestingly, "dark night" does not mean exactly the same thing in Crowley's system that it means in ours. It's an ordeal the Philosophus or 4=7 faces, and it precedes Knowledge & Conversation, not Crossing the Abyss. This is something to watch when attempting to match up our path of initiation with theirs.

Crowley:
The Ipsissimus is wholly free from all limitations soever, existing in the nature of all things without discriminations of quantity or quality between them. He has identified Being and not-Being and Becoming, action and non-action and tendency to action, with all other such triplicities, not distinguishing between them in respect of any conditions, or between anyone thing and any other thing as to whether it is with or without conditions.

The Ipsissimus is pre-eminently the Master of all modes of existence; that is, his being is entirely free from internal or external necessity.

The Ipsissimus has no relation as such with any Being: He has no will in any direction, and no Consciousness of any kind involving duality, for in Him all is accomplished; as it is written "beyond the Word and the Fool, yea, beyond the Word and the Fool".
It's stuff like this that makes me hesitate to say that my insight meditation achievement correlates in some way with the attainments in the A.`.A.`. system. I've never encountered anything even like this - in myself or in any other human being. What would this even look like? How could you tell if you yourself had accomplished such a thing let alone if another person had? Is Crowley talking in an exaggerated way here, or did he really experience himself (in some sense) to have gone beyond all conditionality whatsoever?

RE: Progress of Insight and the Formula of I.A.O.
Answer
5/18/15 5:52 PM as a reply to Fitter Stoke.
I believe their goal was to belittle the MCTB path. I disagreed with them and honestly didn't retain their argument. Fwiw, I do now believe (as Shinzen says) that enlightenment is multi-faceted and I would guess Thelema addresses several facets.

I sometimes wonder if Crowley's histrionics are justified. I think it's totally possible he had deep experiences that warranted it. Many would point to his behavioral record in response, but I'm not sure that has much bearing on his contemplative depth, as MCTB hammers to death.

I remember watching an interview with Christopher Hyatt in which he said that Regardie felt-thought that most people who viewed Crowley (including his followers) couldn't understand how he was both an accomplished meditator/magickian/etc and a regular person with problems. He said that for this reason Regardie didn't publicly disclose much of what he witnessed when living with Crowley. Hyatt, having heard these stories, called Crowley pathetic. Regardie took a more respectful view.

I'm also curious to hear a technical description of an Ipsissimus. All I can think of is to ask some of the meditators who talk openly about this stuff... Dan, Kenneth, Shinzen, Reggie Ray, Yogani, etc. Especially the older ones. Being unqualified to judge I would defer to seniority and their spiritual resume.

RE: Progress of Insight and the Formula of I.A.O.
Answer
5/18/15 6:56 PM as a reply to Dada Kind.
A lot of Thelemites will give you the, "Crowley was a saint/my daddy, and therefore he could not have been horribly racist, misogynistic, or manipulative" thing. And then a lot of non-Thelemites who have heard of Crowley will give you the, "Crowley was horrible racist, etc., and therefore could not have been enlightened" thing. Both sides are so politically correct that they can't stomach reality anymore.

It reminds me of something a professor of mine in grad school said. He was teaching a course on Martin Heidegger's book, Being and Time. At the start of this class, the teacher said, "There are only two things you need to know about Martin Heidegger. The first is that he wrote one of the most important works in the history of philosophy. The second is that he was a Nazi."

I feel like saying, "There are three things you need to know about Aleister Crowley. The first is that he was an incredibly effective yogi and teacher, certainly one of the best of the 20th century. The second is that he was a racist, misogynistic shit. And the third is that it's pronounced CROW-ley, not CRAW-ley, Supernatural-be-damned!"

RE: Progress of Insight and the Formula of I.A.O.
Answer
5/18/15 7:47 PM as a reply to Fitter Stoke.
If you meet the former type of Thelemite ask them why Crowley was addicted to heroin. Witness thine doublethink, yea, witness thine doublethink.

Agreed. I'd take your class.

RE: Progress of Insight and the Formula of I.A.O.
Answer
5/21/15 7:52 AM as a reply to Dada Kind.
Those with more recent perusals of the standard texts will hopefully be able to show me where the image was:

I recall a picture of 4 Trees of Life stacked on on top of the other somewhere in all of that material I was reading about Thelema back in the day, and, when I came to it, I thought: "Ah! I like that", and seeing somewhere that each of the individual sephiroth had a little Tree of Life within them, in some fractal way.

In this, I still think there is something to thinking of each Dark Night of each path (assumg 4 here for numerical simplicity) as the Abysses you would find in that diagram.

That said, if you are simply putting 10 grades on one tree, then with 10 being Ipsissimus and thus most of the work being done in the lower 7 sephiroth makes fine enough sense. Still, what would you say about 2 & 3? How would you map the rest of it in that system?

RE: Progress of Insight and the Formula of I.A.O.
Answer
5/20/15 11:33 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
From Modern Magick by Kraig. He writes about the Trees within sephiroth too.

About your questions I have no idea.

Where do the Paths fit in? I'm under the impression that, among other things, they represent stages everyone goes through in their Initiation. If that's the case then even 'dry' meditators should experience them in some form.

RE: Progress of Insight and the Formula of I.A.O.
Answer
10/13/16 10:49 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
These deeply initiated articles might challange this view and you correlations between sephirot and nanas.

http://alkemiskaakademin.se/Initiation%20and%20death.pdf

http://alkemiskaakademin.se/Initiation%20alchemy%20and%20life.pdf

Notice that the Dark Night treated in the article is considered to be experienced -below- Tipharet. 

What do you guys think? emoticon

RE: Progress of Insight and the Formula of I.A.O.
Answer
10/16/16 4:18 AM as a reply to Fitter Stoke.
Thanks for these facinating posts. 

I dont have much familiarity with these perspectives. But I enjoyed the links and found the material on the correspondences with the dark night very interesting. I particularly found the notiion that the dark night can manifest as more objective situations; illness, loosing a job etc. Where I think I had always considered it more subjectively. 

One of the links Pal posted suggestsed a cycling takes place, with dark nights experienced in each cycle. But that these culminate in a cycle with a more substantial dark night. I wondered if this corresponded with a more severe dark night between 2nd and 3rd path (for example)?

Have others found engaging in magical practices have assited in moving them through paths and cycles?

Can anyone recommend any books that make a good starting point for this material?

Thanks 

B

RE: Progress of Insight and the Formula of I.A.O.
Answer
10/16/16 3:37 PM as a reply to Barry D.
Gaining insight through magic is a big part of what the western mystery tradition as well as tantric traditions is all about. When it comes to DhO users, Alan Chapman and Duncan Barford who used to write here detailed how magical practice furthered their progress of insight on their blogs, which are now deleted, sadly. 

One must keep in mind when studying the WMT that they have a quite different concept of the Dark Night than the practical dharma community. Objective manifestations of spiritual experiences seem to be quite commonplace for people working seriously with magic, though.

For an introduction to the core mechanics of magic, I'd recommend Alan Chapman's "Advanced Magick for Beginners". I'm quite new to the WMT myself, but for an introduction to it maybe "the Mystical Qabalah" by Dion Fortune could ve a good choise.

RE: Progress of Insight and the Formula of I.A.O.
Answer
10/16/16 4:57 PM as a reply to Pål R.
their blogs, which are now deleted, sadly. 

https://fountainheadteaching.wordpress.com/


This is the formula: start with open source spiritual software. "I'm just like you guys, a seeker, sharing my travels, experiences, insights."

Next hone the software to become more and more 'proprietary', e.g stop writing on the web for all and sundry to read, rather 'brand, focus and funnel'. What that means is you start getting paid! Either in 'status chips' - master kahuna in the woods- or paid Retreats, Skypes etc. Much like your online pyschic only subtly trickier.

Nothing wrong with this, this is a business, career model. Just worth noting.
Not having a jab at this guy (at all), just a humorous observation.
Apologies for the diversion. Carry on!

RE: Progress of Insight and the Formula of I.A.O.
Answer
10/18/16 5:10 AM as a reply to Pål R.
Thanks Pal...will follow those up.

You mention the WMT as having a different notion of a dark night, I notice above others have correlated it with crossing abyss. How would you say their understanding of the dark night is different?

i notice this connection of crossing it is connected with meeting the guardian angel. I am curious about how this might offer support to those trying to navigate a dark night. I notice that the movement in to equanimity does seem to have a quality of opening to something more spacious than the narrow self, perhaps this larger consciousness could be symbolically represented as a diety of some sort. 

B

RE: Progress of Insight and the Formula of I.A.O.
Answer
10/19/16 4:08 PM as a reply to Barry D.
I will try to answer you from my point of view sometime soon when I have the opportunity, but until then, I'd recommend you to forget every idea you had about "dark nights", reread the articles by Tommy Westlund above, then compare this to the dark night as described in for example MCTB. Also, the correlation between the Abyss and the DN (as the term is used in the WMT) is wrong in many good traditions. In those systems it occurs at the crossing of the veil of Paroketh –below Tipharet–, which makes Daniel kabbalistic correlations invalid. As far as I understand, from a modern Golden Dawn perspective, true initiation into Tipharet is FAR above the A&P, maybe even at the level of MCTB 4th path, but what do I know. The Angel is seen several times before this but the K&C is not complete until after the DN of the Soul.