Tag Archives: aspirant

The general method of attainment is explained by the word ABRAHADABRA. Its virtue may be thus described. The aspirant should discover for himself what elements are lacking to the perfection of his being are required to make him a complete expression of the Universe. He should then make it his business to infiltrate himself in all possible ways with this complementary idea so that there is ultimately no element of his being which is not completely satisfied by intimate union with each & every other idea conceivable.

Aleister Crowley, The Comment K, on The Book of the Law, Liber Legis, I.20

Hermetic quote Crowley The Comment K Liber Legis The Book of the Law attainment word abrahadabra virtue discover elements lacking perfection complete expression universe intimate union each every idea

Let the Aspirant live the Life Beautiful and Pleasant. For this freedom hath he won. But let each act, especially of love, be devoted wholly to his true mistress, Nuit.

Aleister Crowley, Liber NU sub figura XI

Hermetic quote Crowley Liber NU XI let aspirant live life beautiful pleasant freedom won each act especially love devoted wholly true mistress nuit

Ceremonial Magic, as a means to attainment, has in common with all other methods, Western or Eastern, one supreme object in view — identification with the Godhead; and it matters not if the Aspirant be Theist or Atheist, Pantheist or Autotheist, Christian or Jew, or whether he name the goal of his attainment God, Zeus, Christ, Matter, Nature, Spirit, Heaven, Reason, Nirvana, Asgard, No-Thing or No-God, so long as he has a goal in view, and a goal he is striving to attain. Without a goal, he is but a human ship without port or destination; and, without striving, work, WILL to attain, he is but a human derelict, rudderless and mastless, tossed hither and thither by the billows of lunacy, eventually to sink beneath the black waters of madness and death.

Aleister Crowley, The Sorcerer in The Temple of Solomon the King

Hermetic quote Crowley The Sorcerer The Temple of Solomon the King ceremonial magic attainment identification godhead goal striving attain without human ship derelict rudderless lunacy black waters madness death

In the Adeptus Minor ritual, the aspirant in effect becomes the Chief, and receives the hidden knowledge of the Tomb. The symbolic truth is revealed in the descriptions of Christian Rosenkreutz’s mythological life and teachings, where the initiate learns of the secrets of the sanctuary of the temple. Through a ritual passing into the Inner Temple, the aspirant enters the sanctuary and becomes aware of the hidden truth. By contrast, in the Gnostic Mass, the communicant goes forth to commune with the Priestess, who holds in her hands the fruit of the mating of Understanding and Wisdom, and offers it unquestioningly to the communicant in the form of the Cakes of Light and the sacramental wine. Both individuals take back the seed of gnosis within their bodies; one through the revelation of the tomb, the other through the ingestion of what could well be termed the symbolic fruit of the Tree of Knowledge.

Robert Furtkamp, Liber XV and the Adeptus Minor Initiation

Hermetic quote Furtkamp Liber XV and the Adeptus Minor Initiation gnostic mass individuals take seed gnosis back revelation tomb ingestion symbolic fruit tree knowledge

I sailed for Ceylon, chiefly because I had said I would go, certainly not in the hope of assistance from Allan. Perhaps because I had found my feet, he was, as will appear, allowed to guide them, in what seemed at first sight a new Path. I had got to learn that all roads lead to Rome. It is proper, more, it is prudent, more yet, it is educative, for the aspirant to pursue all possible Ways to Wisdom. Thus he broadens the base of his Pyramid, thus he diminishes the probability of missing the method which happens to suit him best, thus he insures against the obsession that the goat-track of his own success in the One Highway for all men, and thus he discounts the disappointment of discovering that he is not the Utter, the Unique, when it becomes plain that Magick, mysticism, and the mathematics are triplets, and that the Himalayan Brotherhood is to be found in Brixton.

Aleister Crowley, Confessions, Chapter 27

Hermetic quote Crowley Confessions proper prudent educative aspirant pursue all possible ways to wisdom broadens base pyramid insures against obsession

then it hit him, a sensation that would have been familiar to any aspirant ever graduated from the High University. The inherent magic of all undergraduates— the magic of the last minute. The power to embrace any solution, no matter how insane or desperate.

Scott Lynch, In the Stacks [Amazon]

Hermetic quote Lynch Stacks magic of the last minute embrace any solution insane desperate

The Last Barrier

Hermetic Library fellow T Polyphilus reviews The Last Barrier: A Journey into the Essence of Sufi Teachings by Reshad Feild:

Reshad Feild's The Last Barrier


This tale of an Englishman’s gradual induction into Sufism in Turkey provides an engaging, mystery-ridden narrative, and some convincing descriptions of mystical states. The angle is highly experiential, with little explanation of Sufi doctrine, and only a modicum regarding practices. The author-aspirant is eventually received into the Mevlevi Order, but it is unclear whether Hamid, his principal teacher throughout the account, is himself of the Mevleviye. Important social subtexts include the outsider status of Feild (not an orthodox Muslim) and the proscribed status of Sufism in Turkey. This latter item suggests that the story—which offers no specific dates—took place prior to the Turkish government’s lifting of its ban on the Mevlevi Order in the 1950’s.

It is a quick read, and I found myself pretty sympathetic to its ideals—despite its invocation of the “New Age” in the last chapter. The indicia note that “Portions of this book have appeared in New Age Journal.” The “last barrier” of the title doesn’t even occur until the epilogue, but it involves a pristine example of spiritual development by magical means.

Perhaps this book would be a good pick for those who savored the initiatory mechanics in Fight Club. It has that abusive (yet illuminating!) guru groove. [via]



The Hermetic Library Reading Room is an imaginary and speculative future reification of the library in the physical world, a place to experience a cabinet of curiosities offering a confabulation of curation, context and community that engages, archives and encourages a living Western Esoteric Tradition. If you would like to contribute to the Hermetic Library Reading Room, consider supporting the library or contact the librarian.

Superior Beings

Hermetic Library fellow T Polyphilus reviews Superior Beings. If They Exist, How Would We Know?: Game-Theoretic Implications of Omnipotence, Omniscience, Immortality, and Incomprehensibility by Steven J Brams:

Steven J Brams' Superior Beings


The plural “Beings” in the title of this book is a little misleading. The text is not a discussion of polytheistic deity, angels, praeterhuman extraterrestrials, or hidden adepts. It is instead an application of game theory mathematics to the issue of relationships between a hypothetical person (P) and a “superior being” (SB). Moreover, the “superior being” postulated is of the sovereign type common to Abrahamic monotheism. In creating his preference rankings for applying various 2×2 game matrices to relations between SB and P, Brams uses interpretations of biblical narratives as justifications. My own esoteric interests had me coming to this book with curiosity about its conclusions relative to mahatmas or secret chiefs, but I find that its models are far more relevant to relations between an aspirant and his personal genius, or Holy Guardian Angel.

“Superior being” seems to be a deliberate weakening of the “supreme being” used in Western theological parlance. Brams is interested in modeling relations with a being whose powers and horizons immeasurably exceed the human, but he is not concerned with the traditional and trivial paradoxes of rigorous omnipotence. By positing an SB that submits to the calculus of the games in this book, he suggests that the answer to the question “Could God create a rock so big that He couldn’t lift it?” is certainly yes. And he accurately points out the fact that some passages of the Bible indicate a God of vast but finite power.

Still, the dependence on biblical notions of divine behavior is awfully limiting for anyone with a genuine philosophical interest in “superior beings.” The author seems to admit as much when he refers to a game schematic “which seems to offer a generic representation of God’s retribution in the Bible — and maybe elsewhere” (139). (Even so, the notion of the Biblical God as the national genius of the Hebrews makes these game representations reasonable on a certain level.) Brams does provide some interesting challenges to Pascal’s Wager, and he concludes with a novel perspective on the Problem of Evil.

The book is also an engaging introduction to the mathematical techniques involved in game theory analyses. Brams presumes no prior experience in game theory on the reader’s part, and provides a rich context for examining these logical tools. [via]



The Hermetic Library Reading Room is an imaginary and speculative future reification of the library in the physical world, a place to experience a cabinet of curiosities offering a confabulation of curation, context and community that engages, archives and encourages a living Western Esoteric Tradition. If you would like to contribute to the Hermetic Library Reading Room, consider supporting the library or contact the librarian.