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27☉︎ in 15° Leo : ☽︎ in 19° Scorpio : Anno Vv

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

To my Unknown Friend: Greeting and health.

“Let the salt of Earth admonish the water to bear the virtue of the Great Sea. Mother, be thou adored.”

I find this line fascinating. The only thing Sabazius says about it is “Earth and Water are the ‘passive’ elements.” Cool. But what he doesn’t say is that there is this word stuck in the middle of that entire phrase that is jarring to the rational mind. 

Let me back up a bit and vaguebook like a good Thelemite does these days. 

I had the opportunity earlier in the week to spend some time disagreeing with a Brother—*gasp*—over the manner in which a particular set of circumstances was handled on—*double gasp*—the Internet. 

I admonished him over a behavior that I believed to be detrimental to the success of justice and truth. He admonished me in return that I was a sniveling D&D player and not a real magician. (No, not really. It just makes for better vaguebooking to spice up a boring word study.) We agreed that fraternity was about standing by our Siblings when they are right and when they are wrong, and loving them in spite of their flaws for the dramatic even if we could not in good faith subscribe to their individual perspective of truthfulness. 

But notice that word there? Admonish. (And, no, the vaguebook has zero to do with anything here. Promise. It was a diversion.) That word, admonish, is not addressed by Sabazius’ notes. People tell me all the time, “That just means ‘urges’.” Sure it does. Might want to look that up again, brah. 

To admonish is to warn or reprimand or, if you are going to use the term as ‘urges,’ it is used in the sense of urging someone in a somewhat forceful manner—as in “the fucking house is on fire, I urge you to get the fuck out!”[1]

Suddenly gives us pause on that line out of the O.T.O. Gnostic Mass, eh? (Though I have been told that I’m overthinking this line—but what else is new, right?)

It is claimed that Pythagoras said, “Salt arises from the purest sources, the sun and the sea”, that is, from the fire (sun) and water (ocean). Yet in the O.T.O. Gnostic Mass, we are told that it is the “salt of the Earth” that is used. While salt from the earth is still salt that has evaporated from a liquid source, it is different from that which Pythagoras mentions as coming from the sun and the sea. It is mineral in nature, mined from the earth, and brings with it the various trace minerals from around it. 

This is why rock salt, as its colloquially known, comes in such variety. Of those that are most common, there is the elegant pink salt from the Himalayan mountains and then the generic salt that you throw around your driveway in the winter or pack in your ice cream maker. Either way, the salt comes from the base elements of the earth, from the core of sweat and labor. 

Let’s get metaphysical with it though. Salt, in an alchemical sense, is that which is both the base and the result, the seed and aftermath of the process; it is both the prima and ultima materia. So here we have the seed of the process in the Earth—or Malkuth—admonishing the waters. Such a crazy thought. 

But there has to be more to this idea of the waters. Back to the Tree of Life, right? Waters. Mem. The 23rd Path. What do we find there?

The Hanged Man – Audere [To Dare] – Stable Intelligence – Aasar – Cup of Suffering (Lustration) – The Great Work – Creative World (Briah) – Neshamah – Spirit of the Mighty Waters

What a combination of things to examine! 

But several things do jump out at me and I hope they jumped out at you too. Specifically, Neshamah – The Great Work – The Hanged Man – Creative World (Briah) – Audere [To Dare].

This idea of water isn’t just some kind of flimsy idea here or merely the literal water in the font. It’s powerful. It carries meaning with it. But in this context, we’re looking at what this “water” means in relation to (a) something that must be admonished and (b) something that must “bear the virtue of the Great Sea” whatever that must be (and we’ll get to that in a moment). Taking the water as a thing, I think the best bet is to run with the Neshamah here; that is, the aspect of the soul from the realm of Briah (Beriya lit. “creation”; more specifically creation ex nihilo; in Kabbalistic terminology, the second of the four spiritual worlds, the realm of spiritual existence which represents the first beginnings of a consciousness of self). 

But let’s talk about the Neshamah here. The primary activity of the Neshamah is in the conceptual grasp of the intellect, as the verse states, “and the soul (nishmat) from the Almighty gives them understanding” (Job 32.8). The level of Neshamah contemplates the manifestation of Divine energy in the world of Briah. Just as in the world of Briah, the primary sephira is Binah, so too in the soul, the primary activity is understanding. [“Enlighten our understanding.”]

The world of Briah is nascent divine energy. It is the notion of coming into being from nothingness, rather than structured, quantified existence. Thus one of the primary meditations of the Neshamah is the concept of continuous creation (the coming-into-being) and sustenance of life and existence. [“Make open the path of creation and of intelligence between us and our minds.”]

One kabbalistic source puts it this way: “Neshamah analyzes underlying principles abstracted from the categories of thought imposed upon them by the human mind and human experience. It seeks to pierce through to the essential rather than the ephemeral. One of the signs that a person is on this level of consciousness is that when the mind is clearly focused on an appropriate Divine concept, all of the senses become temporarily nullified.” The senses become nullified, the mind is clearly focused. What does the Book of the Law say? “But thou hast all in the clear light …”

The source goes on: “Subsequently, due to the abundance of spiritual light” — there’s that concept of light again — “one experiences at this level, the emotions of love and awe are automatically aroused—and to a much greater extent than in the previous level, where effort was expended in arousing the emotions. This is referred to in Kabbala as “the rapture of the heart” (re’uta d’liba, see Zohar 2, 93b). Here the heart truly desires Godliness, and love is revealed in its fullness in the heart. [“Encourage our hearts.“] This is referred to in the verse as loving God “with all of your soul”. This may therefore be described as communion with God as the Creator of the worlds.” 

I like this: in short, we can see the Path of Mem as Spiritual Understanding but on a level of a self-consciousness itself. Someone suggested this might be the level of the HGA, though I would disagree (at least for this brief examination), it might be the avenue of communication of the HGA.

Before we start to put this all together, though, let’s pick up this final piece: “the virtue of the Great Sea.”

The Great Sea portion is no mystery at all for us. In fact, we’ve already touched on this above without realizing it. The Great Sea is Binah. It is the Great Mother, Babalon. 

But it is the virtue of the Great Sea that we’re after here, and that virtue is silence. Much as the receptive nature of Binah, the Mother, itself/herself is, that virtue is also receptive. There is little more receptive than silence that absorbs all, takes in all, receives all. But also, it is through the necessity (the virtue) of silence that one comes to hear, and it is through hearing that one comes to understanding (Binah). This is critical in life as it is in our spiritual condition. It is important that silence and hearing hold fast to one another. 

So now, let’s parse this all together: 

The salt of the Earth … the primal core of ourselves, something deep, crystalline-in-nature, seeded, both prima and ultima materia, that which is first and last—which was, and is, and is to come—something transformative/transformable. 

The water … the self-conscious soul, reaching through the Divine layers in the aspect of the receptive, spiritual understanding, the intellectual (abstractive) nature of understanding, the rapturous love song of the heart sung to the Great Mother. 

The virtue of the Great Sea … silence. The receptive, hearing nature of the Divine. 

Now, I know, you’re saying that this was long and winding and meaningless. And I didn’t make a point. 

Because I started out saying this was a word study about … admonished. 

And you’re right. 

Because you needed to be setup for why the word ‘admonished’ is in this sentence. (Or, well, why I have concluded it is in this sentence. Heh.)

“Let the salt of Earth admonish the water to bear the virtue of the Great Sea.”

Each of us has a core, the salt crystal of our center—“O secret of secrets that art hidden in the being of all that lives, not Thee do we adore, for that which adoreth is also Thou. Thou art That, and That am I.”—and it reaches out to admonish, to forcefully urge, to reprimand, to yell at [or, with the additional editorial footnote: advises] the intellectual, self-conscious soul, the part of the soul that understands and grasps the abstract nature of the Divine in some intuitive way, that it needs to SHUT THE FUCK UP AND LISTEN CAREFULLY, that it needs to bear the virtue of its higher octave.

Why? Why does the water, Neshamah, the self-conscious soul need to be quiet? So that it can hear the sound of the Holy Guardian Angel speaking through it. 

I know. I’m not ordained into the EGC yet. I haven’t even started my “program” properly yet. I’m sure I’ll be told this is some mystery. Or not. It could just be a throw away line. :shrug:

Or I could just be completely wrong about it all. Maybe. But it was fun to think about anyway. 

Love is the law, love under will.


[1] It has been pointed out that Crowley would have looked shit up in his edition of Skeat’s Etymology and that admonish is “to advise.” Fair enough. I don’t think this changes my analysis much, if at all.

[Originally published on Facebook, 08 August 2019.]