☉︎ in 6° Gemini : ☽︎ in 4° Leo : Anno Vvi
Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
To my Beloved Companion: Greeting and health.
In one of the most well-known, and oft quoted verses taken out of context, the Book of the Law states, “Success is your proof; courage is your armour; go on, go on, in my strength; & ye shall turn not back for any!” We have any number of people that love to prooftext “Success if your proof” and very few that go on to quote or even focus on the next segment of that verse says, “courage is your armour.”
Courage is your armour. What an amazing short piece of that verse, yes?
The Christian theologian, Paul Tillich, calls courage, “self-affirmation of being in spite of the fact of non-being.” Existentially, we grasp that life is meaningless. Coming from a Thelemic perspective, especially, the closer we get to an existential authenticity (a fancy phrase for the Knowledge & Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel, for those who prefer those “ooh, ahh” wordings), the more we realize how much “we” are not in control. Or, more to the point, we realize how much we are out of control from any essential purpose for which we exist.
Courage is that which drives us to continue not through making excuses but in spite of any excuses we might make, without any outside references or justifications. It is a persistence in spite of knowledge, in spite of meaninglessness, in spite of the existential anxiety that arises from our human situation. It is the refusal to look toward the “big concepts” like God or History or Progress or Truth to save one’s situation. It is the refusal to give in to guilt (or meaninglessness), to dismiss one’s life and movement through life even in the knowledge that it is not one’s own.
Courage demands reflection. It allows for no turning away from the void yet constantly affirms living life itself rather than giving up or giving in to the cynicism that is possible from such a perspective.
Courage is the opposite of death.
In our time of pandemic, while “success is your proof,” certainly, you are destined for failure if you are not properly suited for battle. You cannot wade out into any skirmish with your own thoughts and feelings, with the thoughts and feelings of those around you that may come against your Island, that which assails you constantly in the chaos all around, without that one simple aspect that amplifies the first part of that verse: “courage is your armour.”
Meditation Text: “Success is your proof; courage is your armour; go on, go on, in my strength; & ye shall turn not back for any!”
Repeat these three phrases to yourself as necessary, as a mantra of sorts, to remind yourself of each step of the path.
1. Desire. I desire the Soul of Courage.
Consider three things:
Where is spiritual courage present in my life?
Where is spiritual courage absent in my life?
What is contrary or opposed to this courage in my life?
When life all around you seems dark and hopeless, remember that courage is the self-affirmation in the face of despair. This isn’t the fluffy, meme-level, “I feel good” type of affirmation, but the affirmation, the certainty, that you exist as that which is bigger and stronger than that which comes against you. It is the certainty of the “thou” in “Do what thou wilt.”
2. Gird. I gird myself with the Armour of Courage.
Take hold of something today that reminds you of this courage to be. Some would call this a ‘totem’ but it can be any object of focus, if even for only the moment. It can be a book, a ring, a candle, anything that draws your attention to your strength and builds that courage around you.
3. Strength. I go on in the strength of my own Truth.
Meditate on the words of the text above. Choose to go on in courage, to go on in strength, and to not turn back for any that would try to convince you otherwise. Reject fear—remember we talked about giving up that fear as we started this journey: “fear not,” it is written—and reject the timidity that fear brings to one’s existence.
4. Stedfast. I go on in Courage and find success in my own Truth
Imagine, with me if you will, that you take this verse literally, that it is being spoken directly to you. Stand firm on this assurance, that success is your proof, that courage is your armour, that you can go on in strength. Reflect on that strength through courage today.
In the end, give thanks. You don’t have to give thanks to anything or anyone in particular. Just be thankful for the moment. In that moment, though, consider two things: first, if possible, how can I connect with someone who encouraged me in the past or continues to encourage me now; and, second, is there anyone that I could pass along this same exercise, someone who may urgently need to grasp an understanding of their own courage?
I look forward to continuing this journey with you, if you choose to continue, and see where it takes us.
Love is the law, love under will.