© fra Nefastos 2006, rewised 2007
This article discusses how the philosophy of the Star of Azazel sees the differences between the three esoteric schools. These schools, which represent different ideologies and different ethics, are in a clear manner presented in great Finnish occultist Pekka Ervast’s (1875 – 1934) text “Esoteeriset koulut ja okkultinen maailma” (“Esoteric schools and the occult world”) – although the same knowledge can, of course, be gathered from different sources as well.
When the most common thought is to take these schools as to be in constant strife and war against each other, we of the Star of Azazel think that it is impossible to believe in such controversy in the real, true world of basic ideas. When these basic ideas are presented in the world (mental, astral or physical) controversy can be seen, of course, but when it comes to real discipleship on real occultism, there can be just one path. Here we discuss how this one truth’s different aspects are reflected in theses different esoteric schools.
A word of warning, however. Although it has been an error of the past ages to press dualism and differencies, we must not go to the other extreme either. Even if there are several different right ways to think and act, there are still some ways in the world which should not be taken as options. It is not that God forbids, or Nature, or cosmic morals, but it is simply unwise to follow selfish or cruel inspiration. One can’t act in evil, criminal way and just think himself to be “of the different aspect.” There is much that is simply not understood of the dark side of human or occult nature, but it is utter foolishness to rush into that darkness without a clear mind, sound ethics and a heart that can both make a devotion and feel natural sympathy. Without these, human machine is broken, and must be mended before true occult aspiration can claim its rightful place.
1. Concerning the Black School
According to Ervast, the Black School (or, the Black Lodge) places the absolute individual freedom, independent personal will or desire above everything else. Knowledge and power – which are very strongly connected in occultism – do rise to an absolute value, because when harnessed by man’s personal desire, they give him great possibilities to nourish himself almost endlessly by the expanse of others.
Ervast does not speak at all of the devotional side of this ideology of dark, but considers only its practical, outer expression. This is understandable, for the lure of so strong an ideal would have been too much to reconsider for great many people who are drawn to occultism, if the emphasis would not been laid to the fact that this great ideal’s practical side is simply and certainly evil. Ervast condemns it strongly, calls black esoterism “Left Hand Path” and unnatural, and says that “black magic is wrong for all people who want to advance spiritually even a little.”
This, of course, is because spirituality means unity, feeling of oneness – which is the natural manner of manifestation of the higher levels of nature – and to strive away from this oneness to one’s own development is contrary to spirituality.
2. Concerning the Gray School
The Gray School (or, the Gray Lodge) is organized and rational while the Black School pressed individuality and will. The Gray School feels its responsibility as mankind’s developer, but seeks this development through the slow, physical and lower rational channel – namely, much through the education of consciousness that follows suffering and world problems. According to Ervast the Gray School tries to control world from above by harnessing it with the desire for pleasure and the suffering and slavery hereby following, and the mechanisms of slowly developing, egoistic rational mind.
3. Concerning the White School
The White School (or, the White Lodge) idealism is purely spiritual and strives for the good of all, and therefore away from controlling matter- and egocentredness. This school views the Black Lodge’s view erroneus or dangerously limited because it demands it freedom with the cost of other being’s freedom, and the Gray Lodge’s inspiration problematic, because it brings so much suffering and despair to the weaker beings which it seeks to control. Although such suffering is metaphysically nothing, it still is meaningful and indeed true suffering to those living beings who consider it real.
Now, all readers can easily see that every one of these occult schools is eventually idealistic. Every school belongs under one or other aspect of unity and does make it work in the world – finally in the “unselfish” way, even the black powers. Everything happens, if we might so express it, “of the will of God”, or more aptly put, in the same context of One Being. Thus are divisions to “good” and “evil” always problematic, although their core must still be worked out and understood.
It has been so far common to think the Black School centered to matter and the White School to spirit, and the Gray School to present their point of equilibrium, that is, the present state of being in the psychologial world of men. This is true, but must not be seen as an adamantine law, for it has problems, too. Matter, for example, is quite a different thing than we commonly think. Much problems and many wrong tendencies have grown from the statement that matter equals evil and spirit good.
There is another way of expression possible, and when we keep it in mind with the above mentioned and understand both of these forms of division, we might get a little closer to reality. This other way is to think the philosophies which control these schools as the expressions of the primal trinity: Will, Love and Intelligence. Will aspect is the most dominant in the Black School, and when overtly pressed, it creates the problem of evil. Love aspect is the most dominant in the White School, and because it is a soothing principle, it can’t be dominant to a degree where it could lead to actual evil. The Intelligence aspect dominates the Gray School, and because its channeling might lead to the extremes, it may and does become a power of “evil” in the world, although not so drastically as the Black School’s over-powered Will aspect. What I try to say is that none of these schools is bad in itself, but one (namely, the Black Lodge) MAY become truly evil if not understood right; and the other (namely, the Gray Lodge) MAY become partly evil if not understood right. The third of these schools (namely, the White Lodge) can not become evil, but merely loses its power if its force is channeled poorly. And thus we see how it is and is not true to think the black channeling as evil, gray as possibly evil and possibly good, and white as ultimately good. It is quite a good approximation, although philosophically all of these schools are initially true and sound.
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In the Theosophical language we can unite Will aspect to Atma, Love aspect to Buddhi, Intelligence aspect to Manas; and their lower reflections to physical, emotional and mental body. These bodies and aspects of a human being are inspired by different energies that flow through the different esoteric schools. Like this:
|Steps of Humanity||Inspiring||State of Mind||Principle|
|1. Physical||Black||Animan man||Linga sharira|
|2. Emotional||White||Everyday man||Kama rupa|
|3. Rational||Gray||Rational man||Kama manas|
Lines at the both sides of the borderline aspect are given in order to press the difference of working out the impulses of the schools in the lower or higher world of trinity. Lower is our psychological, emotional and physical profane world, higher is the world of truth. The grade of an aspirant or the candidate for Mysteries is the point of turning, after which the polarities turn and all inspirations gradually become spiritual and benevolent.
Because of this, because all workings of different schools are fundamentally based on the need of absolute development, and all war and strife between different schools is – if we could only see it from above, instead of being its pawns and prizes – only lîla, that is, a play of cosmic illusion, and in truth all is ONE, without war and strife, all merging into Will, Love, Intellect – which are, in fact, not separate energies but ONE. Greater initiates know this in practice and by heart, yet aspirants must strive and be in a constant war with themselves. Steps of the stairs can not be jumped over.
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Our brotherhood, the Star of Azazel – although it is not esoteric in the word’s strict sense – is an attempt to make possible the unity between these three forms of thought, and with this foundation, cultivate all powers of the primal trinity and to join it with others with the most perfect and most comprehensive possible way. Therefore our philosophy do receive inspiration from all of these schools, but “separating subtle from the gross”, and seriously trying to channel only each school’s spiritual, ethical and true part.
1. The Black Impulse
PRO: The Black School is above seen to be joined to both of the extremes of manifestation. That which can be ultimate evil if understood wrong can become ultimate consummation when understood right. The black impulse, which the huge majority of men take in a devastatingly wrong manner – if they can grasp it at all, that is – is founded on true foundation, indeed. Nature, God, cosmos, however we name that unity which parts we are; has no right to demand back our freedom of choice, our SELF, our own truth, our power. All moral that is based on the false idea that man should submit – to anything at all – are wrong. The Gospel of freedom, will, power that the Black School Impulse shines forth is indeed valid.
CONTRA: The problem is that one can greatly diminish his own being if he grasps a freedom he is not ready of. When we start to oppress our surroundings and make other beings suffer because we want something or just to express our freedom, this obviously leads to great difficulties. Unconcerning one’s own philosophy, it is an absolute fact (not to mention a cliche) that the cosmos is one, and besides our own consciousness, our own ego, that unity encompasses other beings which we consider to be something other than “I”. If one makes war against other beings, which are fundamentally aspects of the same unity that he himself is, there is no way with which his ultimate doom could be avoided. Cosmos is stronger than man, the whole is greater than little divided mind of man, however ingenious or grand being he would be. If one chooses to hurt others, he will be hurt; if he chooses to kill, he will be killed; if he chooses to cleave himself away from the heart of God (or Nature), it is impossible for him to persist in himself very long. He will reap that which he has sown – suffering – and eventually will be disintegrated from the cosmos he has tried to disintegrate from himself. These are facts that a true occultist knows, and even a lay man can often grasp with intuition). The one who chooses true evil chooses to perish, and he chooses it absurdly and violently. We have freedom to choose thus, but even if we do not fear such a destiny concerning ourselves, we should fear that amount of suffering that it creates to the whole world. Of the Will aspect, such an absurd will to hurst and perish is a fanatical and ultra-emphasized act, and as all forced, aspectual devotions, whatever be their ethical basis, we renounce it.
2. The Gray Impulse
PRO: The Gray School is right in its plan of disposing the world in order where intellect would rule, still without mutilating the animal tendencies away from man’s slowly growing psyche. We neither do not approve the tendency of violence towards hued values of life, but instead urge to understand every particle of human soul, and with stable effort cultivate it rather than simply strike dead everything that we would see unnecessary at the present stage – an often seen problem in both Black and White schools. When the core of beings is seen, the outer form is transmuted and eventually transcended naturally, and we avoid the serious problem of occult petrification.
CONTRA: On the other hand, harming or deceiving others is not for us an acceptable way of action, even if our motive would be noble. Although the prophane world can be lead in a leash, although the masses do not think, although our world is dark indeed, we will not accept such a position wherein the self-selected few would lead the herd and help to secure the mankind’s blindfold even tighter. To assume such a “responsibility” is a flower of hubris whose roots rest in the soil of separation. Only when this ideology’s gospel of those that lead and of those that are being led is united with the other schools’ thoughts of superior altruism and egoism the whole picture is seen. Once we grasp this idea, we can see that it is by no means impossible for a man to work simultaneously a) for his own best result (as the Black Impulse proposes), b) for the society’s best result (which is the agenda of the Gray Impulse), and c) for his fellow men’s and every single individual’s best result (which is how the White Impulse works). These all can and should work in unison, none trampling over others.
3. The White Impulse
PRO: The message of the White Impulse is valid in itself. Awakening of candidate’s love and wisdom are not harmful in the least.
CONTRA: Many of the problems of the White Impulse’s followers are in their tendencies to misunderstand the formal side. Because they follow the ideal which has very little to do with the outer form, the outcome can be that they can not grasp the meanings of form and its diversity. Although wise, they are not necessarily intelligent. Although seeing the great plan and fundamental laws of cosmos, they sometimes do not understand the beauty in matter. We can understand these drawbacks better if we cast a glance towards the present New Age literature, which is mostly founded on the White Impulse (mostly very poorly channeled form, but still trying to draw from that ultimate source). It often presents teachings which are not false, but are given in so outrageously foolish form that no man with a sound mind can accept them. To say it with a word, the followers of the White Impulse are often naïve. If they fail to understand the dilemmas of the Black and Gray Impulses, they can not grow to the true adulthood of humanity.
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In summary, the brotherhood of the Star of Azazel aims at unification of every occult school’s best (that is, innermost and true) aspects. Although every man naturally follows some path or other as his own archetypal ideal, we affirm that these paths could work in rewarding unison when aptly purified and rightly understood. The best possible outcome would be if – symbolically speaking – aspirant brother would be White by his heart, Gray by his head, and Black by his form aspect.
THE CHANNELING OF THE BLACK IMPULSE.
1) Members of the Star of Azazel should try to develop themSELVES, to make bounds and guidelines to themSELVES, strive without expecting any help from outside themselves, and to be ready to fight by themselves for all the powers they are trying to get hold of. All ideas about some outer saviour or social dependency are forbidden – it is a man himself who must fight his way to freedom and wisdom. Every man is the positive center of his own world, and although it is wise indeed to make this individual center harmonious with the objective world of the macrocosm, the exact way of doing this is left to the individual to consider.
2) Member of the Star of Azazel must not give himself to so strong a possession of his personal individuality that it would crush beneath it the aspects of intellect and unity-vision (viz. love). Member of the brotherhood must direct himself out of the emotions or ideas which would make him able to harm other beings. Instead he should try to awake in himself a comprehensive understanding that will open his eyes to see consciousness and true existence in beings outside himself – which will definitely bring respect towards these others and the difference of others. When followed duely this will not bring wrong tolerance towards poor characteristics and no decadence of individuality, but instead versatile and strong personality with the ability to make a raising effect to the whole.
THE CHANNELING OF THE GRAY IMPULSE.
1) Member of the Star of Azazel must try to understand the essence of the world and of himself intellectually and all-inclusively. All kinds of vivisection of the living forces in man are forbidden; to strangle animal or any kind of energy within will lead to problems and is a result of such problems. Both material and spiritual tendencies must be understood as true aspects of modern man, and neither of these should be violently dismissed – both sanctimonious and regressive way of life are equally harmful. Everything must be intelligently dealt with. We must learn of our psychological and material needs and accept them as natural, although in a constant need of refinement and spiritualization.
2) Member of the Star of Azazel must not develop such cold and tyrannical intelligence that justifies its lack of empathy with allegedly rational arguments. Even if some of us would feel to be able to experience suffering for the greater good, we must not demand others to be ready for that kind of known, much less unknown sacrifice. Ends do not justify the means.
THE CHANNELING OF THE WHITE IMPULSE.
1) Member of the Star of Azazel must build in himself the feeling of responsibility and love, he must act in forgetfulness of personality, and strive to be dynamic idealistically not only for his own good but that of the whole.
2) Member of the Star of Azazel must not condemn ideologies or feelings only because they seem not to fit to his expectations or to some traditional doctrines. He must learn to use the aspects of intellect and will, and he must not hide behind hypocritical or authoritical veils in order to guard his unphilosophical views. He must dare to analyse shadowed and difficult sides of himself and of nature, not only those which seem nice and harmless. He must become sober of all sweet dreams of self-deception.
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Thus our brotherhood strives to unity the paths of the two hands and create a new, more strong and comprehensive occult world view amidst the world of men. All those who seek this kind of true and balanced work where no school of thought is neglected, but the true essence is drawn from all of them, we call to assist with our work.
Note: This article is partly re-written in translation.