Religion, like nations and individuals, passes through the regular gradation, first of infancy, when religious ideas and thoughts are crude in the extreme; the age of Puritanism, when innocent women and children are burned at the stake for witchcraft, when with gloomy faces and in unsightly dress the poor fanatics sacrificed every pleasure on the altar of duty; the time when Sunday was a day of horror to children from its gloom, a day when every innocent amusement was forbidden. After religion’s infancy comes youth. At that stage, the absurd dress and gloomy faces were not considered essential adjuncts to religion, but free discussion was not allowed upon religious subjects. Everything must be taken for granted, without any investigation on the part of the people. After youth comes manhood, the time when reason has full sway, when superstition and credulities form no part of religious teaching and thought. People are able to think, to reason for themselves. After the age of manhood, comes old age and that is the stage of agnosticism. Questions are being asked, and ideas propounded which must not be overlooked nor treated with contempt. All questions asked in a fair spirit, must be answered in a fair manner. It is not sufficient to say, “it is so”, but good and tangible reasons must be given to prove the truth of an assertion. We are now in the stage of “old age.” Agnosticism and Infidelity are wide spread. After old age comes decay and the decline of the absolutely orthodox. From time immemorial, every religion has passed through the same gradation, of infancy, youth, old age and decay finally comes philosophy.
Suppose truth is not the aim of life. Imagine, all along great minds and intellects have been searching frantically for truth, looking in every nook and cranny of the world to uncover truth. It always seems to be slippery; when we finally grasp what we think is truth, it slips out of our hands and scurries off. Isn’t life all but a frantic search for truth?
Who may know his complete likeness, so much being hidden? The Astrals, Elementals, Mind, Soul? We realize something of the body’s mechanism and of the affectiveness of the whole; at its interrelations we may only guess. Every fact gleaned shows us merely greater ignorance of ourselves. Therefore, speak not of God, speak for yourself alone, for when you know yourself you will know your gods.
Austin Osman Spare, The Logomanchy of Zos
all who seek to discover through personal vision the secrets in human nature must follow the golden rule of true spiritual science. This golden rule is as follows: For every one step that you take in the pursuit of higher knowledge, take three steps in the perfection of your own character.
Some of these societies, being based upon a financial scheme for making money, pretending to be able to employ divine powers in their service and to have the will of God at their command for the purpose of procuring for their adherents physical health and worldly benefits, met with great success; for the multitudes will always rush to that camp, where they think that a mine of gold has been discovered and where they are expecting a share; and the holding out promises of making salvation easy has always been the fundamental power of every clerical institution.
Franz Hartmann, The Dangers of Occultism
We have pretended that there was no such thing as sex, no such thing as venereal disease, that our publicists were True Believers in Christianity, that our women were pure and our men brave; we have howled down every man who dared to hint the truth: we have sowed the wind of pious phrases, and we must reap the whirlwind of war. It has been the same in every drawer of our cupboard—and now the skeleton is out.
Aleister Crowley, The Vindication of Nietzsche
Every library both embraces and rejects. Every library is by definition the result of choice, and necessarily limited in its scope. And every choice excludes another, the choice not made. The act of reading parallels endlessly the act of censorship.
Your entire life, your very being, your physical body, indeed, every ongoing living process must be a talisman of the nature of your Angel.