© fra Nagahel 2006
The reason for this article is in a very general level to describe the essence and importance of knowledge, thinking and understanding generally in occultism. Since we in the Star of Azazel are representing and are following a certain Gnostic, Manasic (or a Luciferian) impulse that emphasizes the pure intellect and knowledge, these things have for us an especially important meaning in our occult research and development. Because of this, with this short article we would like to clarify a little bit, what we mean with true Gnosis, that is with Occult knowledge, thinking, and understanding.
Knowledge and thinking have a very essential role in all Occultism. Philosophy in itself means the love and aspiration for truth, and what else is truth than clear observance based in knowledge and connected with holistic and perennial understanding of life? – In the light of this it is easy to understand, why knowledge has in many ways a meaning in itself for any one who aspires towards the truth.
Our current society is called an information society, because in these modern times mankind has a possibility for a rapid gathering, spreading and increasing of technological and material knowledge. This kind of knowledge has of course its own place and the advantages it brings with it in a material level, but it can also have maybe even more a separative effect, when it comes to the understanding of the laws of unity and oneness. It is clear, that when we aim to connect the different fields of human culture that are nowadays working far too separately – the world views of science, art and religion – into each other as strongly and durably as possible, knowledge of all of these has a great importance, so that a more spiritual civilization and a more comprehensive world view would be made possible. Yet, modern information and knowledge is largely externally learned and its nature is especially quantitative. A great part of this kind of secular information-knowledge is separate, vain and superficial from a spiritual perspective – this particular thing tells in its own way more about the lack of than the existence of true knowledge both in individuals and in modern collectives. Because of this, it is important to clearly see those factors that separate, distinguish and unify the Occult Gnosis from and into the mundane information-knowledge.
To mention shortly in passing, of course, for example, reading and all sorts of theoretical studies have their own meaning in the sharpening of the reasoning mind, especially in the beginning of the journey, and in the understanding of the basics of the Occult world view. Our work – that we feel to be necessary both subjectively and objectively (although less acknowledged in the collective scale) – would also certainly be quite questionable to say the least, if these kind of information channels would be completely meaningless. After a certain preliminary period though – when a sound foundation has been made – the theoretical and abstract knowledge and its acquirement should nevertheless be in a secondary position compared to an internal, silent knowledge and to the development of ones own understanding. All true esoteric schools have always pointed out, that external and theoretical study can also lead in many ways towards delusions and escapism. The occult student should therefore aspire to use a lot more time for the refinement of ones own thinking and understanding than for the external, in many ways passive form of gathering of information.
The so called “concrete”, material world can certainly also be the source of occult knowledge, since the objective and sensual world, despite its delusional character, apparent separativity and the multifaceted nature of its superficial forms, is still “the symbol of great metaphysical truths in the web of time”. By critically applying meta-historical methodology, a sound-minded occultist can see in the temporal world and in its cyclical nature eternal, spiritual meanings. It is nevertheless very understandable, why this isn’t often the most fruitful way for the accumulation of occult knowledge and understanding; despite of their external differences, for example the cycles of rise and fall of human masses, cultures and civilisations repeat themselves largely by very imminent and pre-determined courses, and after a foundational observation the issue is mostly understood and worked through.
“Knowledge is power” is one of the most acknowledged and important axioms, as it comes to the inter-connexion of knowledge and occultism. Power over what, one might ask? First of all, towards the inner essence of things we consciously acknowledge and understand, be the scale either large or small. The occult gnosis could said to be based upon a direct form of experience, and its nature is holistic vis-á-vis of separate and superficial information. What then, is this – without a question mystically experienced – knowledge, that every serious an occultist so devotionally praises? What are the means and methods that this kind of occult knowledge can be aquired? The “power-giving” knowledge is first and foremost qualitative, such that it is connected more into the internal, spiritual and eternal side of life, and isn’t dependent upon temporal, societal and historical conditions – although very greatly applicable to these also. If the eternal, basic foundation of the world and man is solemnly governed, it can always be used in any a temporal context by “switching the key in the lock”, so to speak.
In occultism, true knowledge could said to be meaning almost without an exception such that it has been recalled upon from ones own interior being with long (and often with painful) labour, instead of external abstract studying. In reality, true knowledge and understanding is such that in reality it exists inside of us already, it must only be able to be called upon and to remember – this is basically equivalent to the Platonic reminiscence. Shortly, when understood in the right way this isn’t in any way in contradiction with the Socratic principle that sees the acknowledgement of ones own ignorance as the beginning of wisdom, ignorance being a quality that should be seen most of all as an aspect of the external personality and not as a quality of “the Self”.
It has been quite correctly said, that knowledge increases suffering, and the more evolved and spiritual ones consciousness is, the more greater responsibility it automatically must carry both of its self and for its surroundings. Because of this, the knowledge made possible by the pure intellect should be connected to ones personal understanding (and reason) as holistically as possible, because the sheer gathering and accumulation of knowledge can make one very easily cynical and cold towards the external world in a wrong, tyrannical fashion. It has been said, that “mere intelligence leads to the exercise of black magic”, and although we can in modern times see through the apparently dualistic categorizations of the ancient schools of the Occult more deeply, in this context the above mentioned saying holds true very accurately.
In reality, “the fullness of Pleroma” that penetrates and holds the cosmos together in a single unity, can never be perfected by any kind of material evolution. “There is nothing new under the sun”, echoes in a certain esoteric context the truth that it is impossible to add or remove anything into a universe built upon oneness, and there is nothing that hasn’t always been in the Absolute, either in a latent or in an active form depending upon the cycles of the world and time. When we see and understand this clearly, it will also become clear to us why nothing truly new can never born into the world out of nothingness, but the incomprehensibly numerous variations of the world of forms in any level of existence are either the manifestation or the dissolution of forms, through adaptation and metamorphosis, made possible and governed by the laws of unity. With this knowledge in hand, by applying it to ourselves, it is also clear, why we emphasize and cultivate the kind of knowledge that is called upon from the inside, and is based upon a direct experience and understanding.
To visualize this thing in a general level with a few analogies, the acquirement of Gnosis could said to be a sort of “fishing”, the gathering and uprising of a perennial knowledge hidden deep inside the external shell of a human being, to be used actively by the living consciousness; on the other hand, it could said to be a form of a “mountain climbing”, raising into the highest peaks of a spiritual world with great difficulty. Depending upon the vastness of a particular thing, the depth or height of the process can vary from psychological, “human” knowledge all the way to the gathering of pure universal understanding. No matter if the knowledge is gathered about material, astral, psychological, mental, or spiritual levels, when combined to a vital understanding of the inner nature and the course of action of these things, we can use them for the good of all in numerous ways, both for ourselves and for the world around us.
If only we would have cultivated the demanding practical teachings of occultism long enough, and our spiritual abilities would be highly developed – through rigorous ascesis (ascesis means basically practical exercise) – we would in fact have the possibility to “read” anything straight from the universe around us; in the very same way that when by building self-honesty we will know and be able to read both ourselves and men around us in a clear and sound manner. The fact that modern science denies the possibility for the existence of this kind of a “spiritual knowledge-bank” a priori, has its basis mainly in the emotion-based prejudices of rotten materialistic empiricism and faith – or more clearly, for the lack of true faith (that is always based upon knowledge) of mans vast spiritual potential and divine origin.
Through the course of material evolution man has gone more and more towards the material pole of existence, and because of this his purely spiritual abilities have greatly atrophied, the physical and psychical abilities having been grown stronger and more binding in the descending course of spiritual involution; nevertheless, humanity has all the possibilities – and from our point of view a very concrete demand – to start the development of its most true, spiritual nature again with a long and demanding, “idealistic” work.
A call has echoed from the spiritual world, and only if we open towards it as holistically as possible without a concern for our own personal well-being more than is absolutely necessary, then truly, the spiritual forces all around and inside of us will hear this call, and will enlighten the human mind in the extent that one has made ones own self to be worthy for the receiving of this kind of knowledge. The ones who have seen the great truth in a more or less wide scale, almost without exception ones who have been ridiculed by their contemporaries, the ones who have found their true “inner genius” and the core of their true humanity; with the idealistic, untiring and un-prejudiced labour of this kind of men and women all great progressions of humanity have been made and will be made. What else are the greatest accomplishments of the scientific, artistic and religious fields in any time, than a direct verification of the concrete existence of the divine spirit Lucifer-Christos deep inside the human being itself?
Quite understandably these “powers” – or more accurately, forces of the principial reality – that the mundane world in its ignorance and incomprehension contempts, will remain “invisible” for a long time towards into the future, and they will manifest only through certain exceptional individuals and only later on in the collective scale, if men only become spiritual enough in the collective scale, by developing in themselves both intelligence and love, the strength of character as well as intuitive sensibility, that will then manifest in the same time both as a true individuality as well as a brotherly spirit of unity.
Once again the doctrine of unity hands out the solving key for the truth seeker, for the comprehension of different levels of being and action. Whether the particular thing researched is internal, apparently external, small or great, in all of these one can see reflected the same principal unity and its governing laws. The research work of the occultist is after all continuous from moment to moment; it does not matter that much, what exactly the particular object of research is, since the gowerning laws in all apparently differentiated forms reflect at the same time also the truth of the great whole, and so the essential knowledge and understanding that can be gathered from a differentiated thing is at the same time also holistic.
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As we investigate thinking and its meaning in the context of occultism, it is also in this thing essentially important to clarify, what is meant by thinking in an “esoteric” context. Thinking, in the form with which it manifests normally in the human mind is coincidental, arbitrary and extremely passive. In many ways it could be said, that a normal man does not in reality think, for “he is thought”; cosmic thinking in man manifests by bringing from the different layers of the mind arbitrary thought forms into the surface, and because of man’s fundamental ignorance, they are usually connected to a very superficial and mundane things – for the processing of petty sensations, emotions and the chimeras of thought.
In the esoteric traditions, with “the slaying of manas”, it has been referred to those means, with which one can trasfer from the superfcial thinking in to the deeper layers and directly contact the forces of reality and the knowledge they withhold. In this connexion it must be said, that what we are talking about, means first and foremost the external instruments of Manas, the symbolical killing of the five physical senses, what means basically ignoring of sensual messages, by transceding them. When the higher Manas (or mind) is separated with subtlety from the dregs of differentiated kâma (impulsive passions, personal motives, etc.), the magical potential of thought clarifies enormously – in both abstract, metaphysical level as also later on pragmatically. With different practical methods, the one who develops occult thinking in ones self, aims with the direction of the mind away from the surface to focus ones consciousness into the deeper layers of the mind, where the real and active thinking and invisible mental formation happens.
Practically, this means first and foremost that we won’t focus our attention into the so called “normal life” more than is enough, and therefore do not bind our mental and emotional energy for the vain contemplation of superficial things. It is extremely important for the one who aims to develop occult thinking in ones self, to be able to distance ones self from the “thinking that is not thinking”, from the petty and egoistically self-centred worrying of shallow things and emotions. “But doesn’t that lead to coldness, for the atrophy of all humanity?!”, asks and yells a modern man, the end product of modern humanistic culture par excellence, when he/she hears something like this. – On the contrary, we say. The objective value of man can in reality very little, if at all, be measured with the fact, with which one is able to be thrown around and swept away by impersonal and coincidental emotional impulses. In the name of honesty it must be said, that there of course remains also a possibility for this kind of hardening, especially if one has natural inclinations towards it, but just because of this we have emphasized the maturing importance of understanding, love and brotherly spirit, together with the development of knowledge and intelligence.
Occult thinking is all the more qualitatively, meaningfully, and in its depth very different from the passive following of thought forms, and from being the object of their contemplation. “Yoga means the suspension of thought substance for taking particular formations” and “what you think, there will your mind go”; these two sayings that sound all too simple ring true extremely well, and tell very much about the fact how the occult student should regard the actions of ones mind. The thinking of the occultist means in many ways the control of the different levels of ones mind, so that the hectic and continous flipping of our psycho-physiology is suspended, and the enormous energy potential they inhold can then consciously be directed vertically upwards.
It is clear, that this kind of thinking demands a first and foundational awakening – even a distant touch into the transcendental dimension – the change in the inner constitution of man that we have mentioned in many occasions, so that the higher immortal part has taken the possession of the temporal personality – if not wholly, then at least in times of operational ascesis. “The contemplation of the Self” can of course be consciously activated all the time, but then we would hardly be the kind of weak beings prone to mistakes that we are, at least in our current formation and appearance.
In conclusion and generally mentioning, all the above-mentioned things connected to thinking and knowledge have eminently vast and important connexions into those practical self development methods, with which the personality and deeper thinking is aimed to be liberated*. This particular practical fact would nevertheless require its own article, and in this context it will suffice to shortly mention, that things that can by the external observer superficially be easily regarded as the non-questioned adherence of social conventions and age-old moral dogmas, can in reality be completely pragmatically applied occult practice.
* in order to clarify, with the liberation of the personality we do not mean that the personality would become “free to do what it likes”, or anything shallow and un-philosophical like that, but instead we mean with it that the living consciousness becomes internally detached from the personality, or from the mask.