Saturnian Gnosis

catastrophe.33

These astrophysical phenomena are seen as the outward manifestations of the "War in Heaven." The Luciferian Principle is understood as an expelled spark of the divine which has struggled through the darkness of matter, where this principle manifests itself as crystalline structure and as light. It struggled its way further through the kingdoms of plants and animals, and eventually emerged in humankind where the spark was liberated. Although generally ignorant of its true home and origin, this spark does carry in itself the memories of its primal state.34

It is a mainstay of Saturnian gnosis that the darkness contains the light. Therefore the darkness is necessary for light to exist. It follows then that in fact the darkness is superior to the light—ohne Finsternis leuchtet kein Licht! This light is activated within the matrix of darkness by the Logos—of the Demiurge Saturnus—that constantly speaks the words: "Let there be light!" The outermost station of this light is in the planetary sphere of Saturn, where the light melts into darkness.3

As the solar system stands now, there is a dynamic tension between the centrifugal force (the outer limits of which are defined by Saturn) and the centripetal force (the center of which is the Sun). The centrifugal force—outward moving power—is the force of creativity and manifestation wielded by the Demiurge Saturnus, which is an expression of that force. This is the "divine negative" as the Creative Principle.36 The centripetal force—the centralizing or concentrative power—is that of restriction and limitation ruled by the Solar Logos: the Chrestos Principle. Chrestos is Greek for "the good one." These two forces are in continuous balance and each force contains the seed-principle of its opposite. There is, therefore, a profound and incomprehensible darkness at the center of the Solar Logos. This is the object of the Saturnian Solar Cult. At the same time, those who serve Saturn are also conducting a spiritualized solar cult in that they are promoting the return of the lost son (Saturn),who was hurled out of the Sun to his paternal Solar sphere.37

According to FS teachings, the Earth is also a complex sphere. Parallel to the physical plane of existence on this planet are two other planes or dimensions: the astral underlying this physical plane and the mental overlying it. Magically these are respectively seen as the darkness and light the magician must master in his work. Interestingly, the secret doctrine has it that the astral dimension has historically been interpreted as "hell," while the mental zone has been seen as "heaven."38

Kabbalistically, the effects of the negative causal principle of Saturn, which corresponds to the third sephira, called Binah (Understanding), is reflected in the ninth sephira, called Yesod (Foundation), which corresponds to the Moon. Therefore, in the astrosoph-ical doctrines of the FS, the effects of Saturn (= 3) are transmitted through the Moon (= 9)—the power of Saturn squared (3 ).39

The state of dynamic tension in which the cosmos finds itself is, according to the laws of cosmic ice, eventually going to collapse. In fact, this collapse is already underway. Astronomically, this is a process of various planetary bodies being reabsorbed into the Sun. On the spiritual level this is tantamount to the principles, of which these planets are manifestations, being redeemed. Four planets have been redeemed as the FS doctrine has it. Two, Vulkan and Hermes, have already been consumed by the Sun, while Mercury and Venus have been drawn within its sphere of influence. At some point, Jupiter and Saturn will merge, combining the mildness of Jupiter with the severity of Saturn. This will give rise to a new Golden Age.40 Eventually all the planets of the solar system will be thus "redeemed," bringing to an end this cycle of existence. In this whole process Gregorius said that the "task of spiritual humanity is to participate consciously in the evolution of the Earth in order to redeem her."41

AEONIC COSMOSOPHY The Dark Side of the Aquarian Age

The strict doctrines concerning cosmic aeons (from Greek aion, age) have their origin in Gnostic teachings of the early centuries of our era. This concept, although it had a certain magical role in ancient times, became enormously important with the magical work of Aleister Crowley following 1904. The FS, inspired by Crowley and by the current astrological speculations concerning the dawn of a New Age of Aquarius, developed its own aeonic philosophy. It is essential to understand this philosophy if the whole work of the Brotherhood is to be grasped.

The ancient Gnostic sects of the Mediterranean and Near Eastern regions held that the aeons were the emanations of God. These emanations descended from the fullness (pleroma) of God's light into the darkness. Aeons are made up of an array of elements, the archons that rule them, the angels (Greek aggeloi, messengers) that provide for their dynamic interaction with the cosmos, the "reasons" (Greek logoi, or "words"), etc. In Gnostic practice these aeons were seen as barriers through which the initiate would have to pass after death until he gained the pleroma. In actual Gnostic teaching, then, an aeon is a phenomenon of time/ space.4 The Earth may pass though "ages" ruled over by archons ("rulers") of astrologically determined periods of time, but the individual soul of a man must also pass through the barriers of the aeon in order to return to the light. So much for the ancient doctrine.

In Cairo, Egypt, Aleister Crowley received the text of a book dictated to him by a praeternatural entity identified as Aiwass or Aiwaz. This happened in 1904, and from that time on Crowley began to preach the advent of a new aeon, the Aeon of Horus, which in turn superceded the Aeons of Isis and Osiris. It is clear that Crowley understood himself as an agent and an indespensable element of this new aeon, the Word of the Aeon made flesh. From that point he was to function as a Magus (although he was not to claim that grade until 1915), and as the Utterer of an Aeonic Word. Theoretically, it became his task and his curse to attempt to articulate this Word, which is QeXrifia (Thelema), the True Will. In this the Great Beast had synthesized the old Gnostic idea of a natural progression of the aeonic rulers on Earth and the idea of a godlike intervention from above, exemplified in the Gnostic Christology.

Crowley had conjured a new way of magical thinking with his aeonic formulation, and it was one that struck a few responsive cords. Gregor A. Grego-rius accepted the advent of the aeonic current of Thelema but did not accept Crowley's system (A.'.A.'. or O.T.O.), nor his authority in non-aeonic matters. In 1948 Crowley's own disciple, Charles Stansfield Jones (Frater Achad), claimed to have uttered a new Word superceding that of Thelema. Achad's Word was supposedly Ma-Ion or Ma'at—the Egyptian goddess of truth and justice. All this turned out rather badly, as Jones ended his days in obscurity and insanity.

Of course, many hold to orthodox notions of "aeonic questions" pronounced more or less clearly by Aleister Crowley, while others even attempt to work with Achad's formulation. The dynamic understanding of the Setian Xeper, as continually articulated by its Magus, provides a more individuated and clearly articulated aeonic pathway than any of the previous attempts to work with such "Aeonic Words." In any event, some perspective on these aeonic concepts cannot be ignored when one is trying to understand the history of magical thinking in twentieth-century Western tradition. In the FS the advent of the new aeon is seen first and foremost in astrological terms. It is the equivalent of the Age of Aquarius, ruled by the planetary archon Saturnus. The role of the Master Therion's Aeonic Word seems to be of secondary importance. What might be of widespread interest is the magico-astrological insight into the fact that the Aquarian Age will be one ultimately ruled by the dark Saturno-Uranian archon or demiurge.

The cosmosophy of the FS is dependent on the natural procession of the equinoxes into the sign of Aquarius, which as a sign of the zodiac is traditionally said to be ruled by the planet Saturn. With the discovery of trans-Saturnian planets, and after astrology had synthesized them into its system, the planet Uranus was also said to rule this sign. This physical event, as well as the other astrophysical phenomena taking place in the cosmos and more particularly within our solar system, are reflections of metaphysical events occurring simultaneously with the physical ones. The same can be said for the birth of the solar system, and its eventual entropic collapse.

Although it is stated that "every age or epoch contains within itself the power necessary to its own fulfillment,"43 humanity as a whole resists this realization. It is only open to and known by the truly elect within a society. Humanity is for the most part still dominated by an unyielding law of self-destruction that rules in all realms of being, organic as well as inorganic. Knowledge and experience of the archdai-monic principle embodied in Saturn can, however, free the initiate from the laws of cause and effect. In other terms, man can liberate himself from his own karma.44 Beyond the moral aspects of this, these ideas are also useful in formulating a notion of how Satur-nian magic works. It is the progression of the individual beyond the threshold—beyond the barrier—in order to become separate from the internal, objective cosmos. In theory, the Aquarian Age, the aeon of Saturn, should be manifest first and foremost within the magically elect.

The influence of the coming Aquarian Age is being guided by the Demiurge Saturnus, which is in turn being transformed through Uranian influence. The present, fading Piscean Age is (was) ruled by Jupiter, under the hidden influence of Neptune. The Neptunian influence is thought to be exercising tremendous force at the close of the Piscean Age in the area of politics; hence the upsurge in collectivistic and communistic ideals. This tide will, however, suddenly turn, and this influx will be destroyed by the surging Uranian power. According to Saturnian teachings, the confusion of today's world is mainly due to the con vergence of the two competing and conflicting aeonic streams, the incoming Aquarian and the outgoing Piscean. It will be up to the emerging Saturno-Uranian spirit and its elect to bring a new order out of this chaos. In this process the old nature of Saturn is undergoing a transformation as well. It is becoming more "spiritual," while at the same time it retains its basic quality of stability and solidity. The synthesis of these qualities leads to a powerful balance in which the powers of the spirit are directed and manifested in exacting, precise ways which are as yet unheard of.45 In the Saturnian view, there does seem, to be sure, a dark side of the Age of Aquarius. Based on some fairly objectively interpreted astrological teachings, it could be concluded that the Aquarian Age will only appear to be one of rational and humanitarian egalitarianism. The Saturno-Uranian reality looming behind this world of appearances will be one of an enlightened system of control by a ruling elite—the final reign of the Illuminati.

The Luciferian Principle

Although in later times the Luciferian aspect of the Fraternitas Saturni might have been toned down— especially in materials meant for public consumption— the ideology of Gregorius himself was permeated with this Luciferian Principle. The FS has its own mytho-magical understanding of what the nature of this entity is, how it relates to the order's astrosophy, and to the initiatory work of the order. Gregorius, although not as ingenious a poet or artist as Crowley, was nevertheless more straightforward in his approach to the role of darkness and the Luciferian light than was the Master Therion. Perhaps it is for this reason that Gregorius was less "perplexed" than Crowley.

In the FS, Lucifer is understood as the Light Bearer for mankind. As a result of being given this light by Lucifer, which continues to be reborn in every generation of humanity, mankind will be able to take a measure of egocentric power from the solar Logos. In this way Lucifer is the savior of humankind, at least for that part of humanity that has been able to comprehend his Principle. The essence of the Saturnian cult is the effort to understand this entity and to consciously make use of its power in the service of the solar Logos (Sorath).46

Gregorius was always anxious to point out that this Luciferian mythology was in fact older than the ignorant misunderstandings and willful distortions of the Judeo-Christian tradition. He claimed to have his knowledge from a pre-Christian and/or non-Christian sect of "Barbelo-Gnostics."47 In the FS Lucifer is the embodiment of enlightenment and reason; there are none of the destructive slanders against him as in the Christian tradition.

However he came by it, Gregorius does seem to have a correct interpretation of the relative roles of that entity referred to as the Light-Bearer (Greek Eos-phoros) and that referred to as "God." Perhaps the oldest version of the Lucifer myth is that of the Greek Prometheus ("he who has foreknowledge"). Traditions differ on many details of the Promethean mythology, but what is essential is that Prometheus, wishing to help and preserve mankind (some say he even created mankind), brought the divine fire—or higher con-sciousness—and bestowed it upon men. This was the first enlightenment of humanity. Zeus, however, was angered and punished Prometheus by hurling him into the depths of Erebus. There he was staked to a mountain—an image prefiguring the crucifixion by hundreds of years. The point is that the "creator god," here Zeus (in the Judeo-Christian tradition Jehova), wants to keep humanity in subjugation and slavery to the "natural laws" which he has set up—but a rebel figure, here Prometheus (elsewhere Lucifer) befriends man and brings him the means to become as one of the gods. This is the fundamental idea underlying the Luciferian stance of the FS and its connection to pre-and non-Christian attitudes toward the myth.

Because of the general domination of the Judeo-Christian mythic scheme in medieval and post-medieval European culture, the FS also, of course, deals with the Luciferian mythos from that standpoint, taking a decidedly Ophite (or Naassene) view. The myth is most readily available in the Judeo-Christian canon in Genesis 3. A close and objective reading of this myth cannot but prove the Saturnian point: that the Serpent (Hebrew: nechesh) is the friend and brother of Adam, while the Lord God (Hebrew: yahweh elohim) is only his keeper and shepherd. The rebel spirit Lucifer opened the way for man's rebellion and hence his salvation; Jahveh would have held man in the eternal bondage of ignorance. The Serpent gave Knowledge (Gk. gnosis)—and thus is the true friend of mankind and his true liberator. Any other interpretation of the text of Genesis 3 would seem wildly imaginative.

Following basically Gnostic thought, the doctrines of the FS contain a Christology that is consistent with this view of the Eden myth. They would hold that the Ophite/Naassene teaching that the Serpent (Heb. nechesh) in the Garden of Eden and the Anointed One (Heb. messiach)—the Christos—are one in the same. This could be backed up with the Kabbalistic interpretation of nechesh = N.Ch.Sh. = 50.8.300. = 358 and messiach = M.Sh.Y.Ch. = 40.300.10.8. = 358. That both, according to the esoteric laws of gematria, render the sum of 358 demonstrates their essential unity. The Christos is a messenger and son of the Serpent, therefore, and not of the Creator. This Christos preaches gnosis (knowledge) and not pistis (faith). The Serpent of Eden is further identified with the brazen serpent of Exodus and with the serpent-entwined staff of Hermes, the caduceus.48 According to FS teaching, the Serpent of Eden may also be iden tified with Satana, the feminine aspect of Satanas. This in turn corresponds to the kundalini—serpent power—of Indian tantric lore. The truly beneficent principle is, however, identified as the Chrestos, not Christos. The Chrestos, the Good-One, is the designation of the beneficial solar entity.

Lucifer would also appear to have a central role in the origin of humanity, and in the origin of death. It is thought that Lucifer brought about physical procreation through a primeval sexual act with Cheva (Eve). With procreation came death; but of course without death there is no change, no evolution. Thus the opening of the gate of death, the act of "sinking into matter," was a necessary step to link man to the current whereby Paradise can again be gained. But this time humanity will do it consciously and of its own will, and thus gain eternal life and wisdom. Then man will have truly become his own god—which is the path of Saturn.49

Also in accordance with its Gnostic heritage, the FS doctrines lay a strong emphasis on dualism. Not so much a good-versus-evil dualism, but rather a beyond-good-and-evil dualism summed up in the Saturn-Gnostic dictum: lux e tenebris—Light from the Darkness! In an article entitled "Saturn-Yoga," Gregorius stated: "Without Darkness there is no Light. The Light shines in the Darkness and the Darkness is more powerful than the Light!"50 This is an idea we have already met which simply states that the Light is held in a matrix of Darkness, that both are necessary to existence, and that it is the goal of the practitioner of Saturnian Gnosis to gain experience in, and mastery over, both the Light and the Darkness. The Saturnian view is one clearly shown in the familiar yin-yang symbol used by the Taoists:

Figure 2.1: The Yin-Yang

in which the seed of the opposite quality is shown to be embedded in the depths of its counterpart. Thus there is a heart of Darkness within the Sun, and the Saturnian Darkness shines with a profound Light.

The true god of Saturnian Gnosis is a Janus-faced entity—Baphomet: Temohpab—a god containing both a positive and a negative side. Both paths, that of the Right and that of the Left, lead to the Absolutum, which stands beyond good and evil. Again, true to Gnosticism, the Saturnian emphasizes that the initiate must enter a path—and work and experience.51

The Luciferian mythos is, of course, also accounted for in astrophysical terms within the teachings of the FS. The "Fall" of Lucifer from "Heaven" is equated with the physical event of the expulsion of the planetary masses from the solar sphere. Lucifer is identified with the "higher octave" of Saturn (in astrology this is also equated with the planet Uranus, the planet of rebellion). In this planetary position, Saturn-Lucifer has been able to rule all the planetary entities within its orbit, being especially forceful on the planet Earth. Again the Earth is the main field of contention between the Solar Logos and the Luciferian Principle.52 The initiate struggles toward a harmonious arrival at the Theonium of Saturn, and not toward the Sun, because the Sun would destroy and consume him. The Saturnian sphere offers enlightenment, control, and independence. This always returns to the essentially complex structure of that which is called Saturn. It must always be remembered, for example, that the Saturnian sphere contains the seed of the Chrestos-Principle.53

Gregorius poetically described some of the Luciferian Gnosis in a poem entitled Fallen Angel, which was first published in the Blätter (January 1955), p. 11:

For millions of years he stood before God's Throne as a guardian, watchman, and caretaker.

But when the son returned, his hand grasped only emptiness.

He stood before God and saw him not.

He called unto God in vain and his soul wept.

But in the distance glowed in the firmament a blue star, and a voice spoke unto him:

I seek Thee, come Thou to me, give me Thy hands. A pale visage shone in the distance, and a slender hand began to work. Aeons descended from him to sink into the sea of ages. The great angel standing there, was once his brother and commander, who now has left him. Now his voice again calls to him— and through the spheres his call resounds out to one, who created him: "Satanas Triumphator!"

The basis for the ambivalent stance of the FS toward the whole Luciferian aspect in the Saturnian Gnosis is clearly revealed in the doctrines concerning the actual esoteric structure of the entity Saturnus. Around the physical planet Saturn is arrayed a complex of entities constituting internal and external aspects, as well as higher and lower octaves of the planet. A composite of these might appear as shown in Figure 2.2 on the following page.

As has been intimated, the outer and ruling aspect of the planetary genius is that of Saturn with all its previously outlined characteristics. A part of this is the egregore of the FS itself—the GOTOS. Deep within there is, however, the creative solar spark called the Chrestos-Principle.54 These two aspects can work harmoniously and consciously together in the controlled sphere of Saturn. This enlightened state is facilitated especially when harmony with the higher

Demiurge Saturnus
Figure 2.2: The Saturn Figure

octave of the planet, Lucifer—the Light-Bearer—is concentrated on. The higher octave is also harmonized with the planetary spirit of Uranus, with which Saturn works for the current aeonic transformation. In the lower octave, Saturn is connected to the Satanic force. This is the power of rebellion, adversity, and death, all of which are absolutely necessary to man's path of attainment—to his Becoming. However, this purely "Satanic" aspect can be ultimately as dangerous and destructive to consciousness as is the self-obliterating power of the Sun. The Saturnian brother must remain concentrated on the higher octave in order to remain fully conscious and independent (consistent with the Luciferian Principle), and not fall into the lower to become a mere tool of the Demiurge.

In the working or ritual aspects of the FS curriculum the Luciferian Principle is also highly evident. Some of this will be far more fully explored in the practices and rituals of the Brotherhood in Chapter 4. However, at this time it is worth pointing out that the "Sacrament of Light" in the FS is understood primarily as a Luciferian Mass in which the initiate experiences the transcendent in the immanent. This experience leads to meranoi—transformations in the initiate. The ultimate end of these transformations, according to FS doctrine, is the cessation of the necessity of incarnation, as the individual light merges with the Light of the World.55

This transformation in the Luciferian Light is not completely manifested in the grade system of the FS until the 33°. The complete name of this degree makes the nature of this attainment clear: "Gradus Ordinis Templi Orientis Saturni im Orden des dunklen Lichts" (i.e., Grade of the Order of the Eastern Temple of Saturn in the Order of the Dark Light).56 Ultimately, this work does not end in the obliteration of the self in the ainsoph, but rather in the deification of that transformed self. This is perhaps most lyrically outlined by Gregorius, in a poem he wrote in 1943 but which was not published until March 1955, in Blätter:

Thou Art Thine Own God

1. Thou must affirm the God in Thee, for every doubt takes power from Thee. Every hour of Thy divine knowledge brings Thee a step higher in Thy journey

2. Thou canst unfold the spark, that God bestowed on Thee, to a pure flame that makes worlds fall and rise again, God is in Thee!—Thou art Thyself God!

3. Thus Thou canst have Gods enthroned in Thee build altars, ignite sacrificial flames, for every dream—and form of thought is Thy power, and every force of desire takes a form and shape.

4. Thus art Thou the shaper of transcendental worlds, imaginary creator of Thine own realm, Thou art priest, magus, royal lord— and prince in Thy soul's expanse.

5. Cyprus groves stand round Thy palaces of thought and blue waves lap at the marble steps and ships fare out upon the seas, for Thee, who wearest the purple.

6. The Earth is Thy sorrow that shaped the knowledge and bitter fruits of Thy Golgatha— And nevertheless the call rings out to Thee: Lo! I am here!

The Luciferian Principle is essential to the aeonic philosophy of the FS. In their astrosophy, the spiritual changes coming about in the world which are mirrored in astrophysical processes (i.e., here the procession of the equinox into the zodiacal sign of Aquarius ruled by Saturn/Uranus) are tantamount to the advent of an Age of Lucifer. This is what Gregorius must have recognized in Aleister Crowley's "Equinox of the Gods" concept, in which the Age of Osiris gives way to the Age of Horus.57 But it must be quickly pointed out that Gregorius had his own ideas of what all this meant and how the aeonic process worked. Generally speaking the ideas of Gregorius were more consistent, mainly because he did not shrink from the "dark aspects" and clear Luciferian connotations. The Lucifer of the FS system is understood first and foremost as a part of the Saturnian planetary sphere and is clearly identified with pre- or non-Christian Gnostic concepts. Therefore any attempt to characterize the FS as "Satanic" in the Christian sense of the term must fail.

THE YOGA OF THE DARK LIGHT FS Sexual Mysticism

It is probably in the area of the practice of sexual magic that the FS has become most notorious in esoteric circles. This notoriety has chiefly come about through

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The Chakra Checklist

The Chakra Checklist

The chakras are described as being aligned in an ascending column from the base of the back to the top of the head. New Age practices frequently associate each chakra with a particular color.

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