The A∴A∴ is a mystical order that was created in 1907 by Aleister Crowley and George Cecil Jones after they left the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. The order is a Thelemic Mystical fraternity, the goals of which are the pursuit of light and knowledge. Its motto is: "The method of science, the aim of religion." The holy book of the order is Liber AL vel Legis (in English, The Book of the Law). In 1909 the O.T.O. considered the A∴A∴ to be a close ally. 
- 1 History
- 2 Name
- 3 Membership
- 4 Initiatory structure
- 4.1 Student
- 4.2 The Order of the G∴D∴ (Golden Dawn)
- 4.3 The Order of the R∴C∴ (Rosy Cross)
- 4.4 The Order of the S∴S∴
- 5 See also
- 6 Notes
- 7 References
- 8 External links
After Crowley's death his student Karl Germer took over running the Order, but since Germer's death the situation has been less clear. Various lineages of the A∴A∴ survive today that claim to be descended from Crowley.
One such lineage descends from Crowley's student, actress Jane Wolfe (known as Soror Estai). Soror Estai's one student, Phyllis Seckler (Soror Meral), founded College of Thelema in 1973 and (with James A. Eshelman and Anna-Kria King) founded Temple of Thelema in 1987. She designated Eshelman as her successor in the Jane Wolfe branch of A∴A∴ and as chancellor of College of Thelema. Later, she also affirmed David Shoemaker's authority to "admit, supervise, and train" A∴A∴ initiates.
Several lineages run through pupils of Marcelo Ramos Motta, such as Ray Eales, David Berson and Daniel J. Gunther Motta was a student of Germer. Another lineage links itself to Crowley through Israel Regardie and his pupil Gerald Suster, claiming that Regardie joined the A∴A∴ when he became Crowley’s secretary in 1928, but distanced himself from the organization when the two men parted company four years later in 1932. Other lineages run through Grady McMurtry, Charles Stansfeld Jones, and there is a lineage descended from Frank Bennett and Rosaleen Norton operating in Australia. There are also 'independent' A∴A∴ lineages that either don't descend from the pupils of Crowley or that choose to declare their link. There presently exists no single undisputed central authority of the A∴A∴ such as existed under Crowley and Germer; nor has any surviving mechanism for the transference of such temporal authority been preserved down to the present day.
|Latin||Argentium Astrum||silver star Note: This name has frequently been asserted as the true name of the Order, however according to James Eshelman, this Latin translation of the phrase "silver star" is not the correct name of the Order.|
|Greek||Άστρον Αργυρόν (transliteration: Astron Argiron)||silver star James Eshelman gives the true name of the Order as (transliteration: Astron Argon.) By gematria this name enumerates to 451, the value of the Greek words Konx Om Pax, an important mystical phrase interpreted in the old Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn as meaning "Light in Extension". Eshelman also points out that 451 also corresponds to the Hebrew phrase Eth ha-Adam, "The Essence of Humanity". A variant on this Greek rendering of the words "Silver Star" is Aster Argos - also a correct Greek rendering of the word "Silver Star". Eshelman states that due to Crowley's use of the phrase "Astron Argon" (once in a note and once in an official document in Crowley's handwriting) that the latter is to be taken as the true Greek name. The gematria of Aster Argos is 489, also the value of Sothis, the Greek name for the star Sirius. Eshelman states that "Sirius commonly is held to be the physical expression of that "Silver Star" after which the Order is named." |
|Latin||Arcanum Arcanorum||secret of secrets. James Eshelman states "Were we not otherwise informed, we might suspect that these initials refer to the Arcanum Arcanorum ('Secret of Secrets'), which is to be found within the Sanctum Sanctorum ('Holy of Holies'). In fact, the initials have a different meaning."|
|Aramaic||אריך אנפין, (transliteration: Arikh Anpin)||vast countenance (meaning Kether)|
|English||Angel and Abyss||Angel and Abyss Eshelman explains this as an 'affectionate' meaning for the Order's name. It refers to the work of the initiate in working with the Holy Guardian Angel and with the work of aspiring to cross the Abyss of the Qabalistic Tree of Life|
|This section needs additional citations for verification. (January 2014)|
A∴A∴ is unique in that members officially only know those directly above and below in the chain of instruction.There are no regular group rituals (measures are taken to hide the identity of the Officers during the few Temple initiation rituals), and members are expected to work alone, consulting as needed with their superior in the Order. In this way the founders of the system hoped to avoid the many political problems that allegedly brought about the downfall of the predecessor organization, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. The A∴A∴ is a spiritual organization focused on enlightenment of the individual, with a strong emphasis on maintaining the chain of initiation from teacher to student, and devoting all of one's attainments to those individuals who follow.
All members of the A∴A∴ at some point, are expected to perform several major tasks including
- The attainment of a mystical state known as "the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel.
- The experience of the Abyss.
The name A∴A∴ can refer specifically to the Third Order. Members of the Third Order can generate their own variations of the First and Second Order teachings as reflections of their own Understanding.
A student's business is to acquire a general intellectual knowledge of all system of attainment, as declared in the prescribed books. At the end of a fixed period, the Student takes a written examination to test his reading, after which he passes through a small ritual involving the reading of the History Lection (Liber LXI), and passes to the grade of Probationer.
The Order of the G∴D∴ (Golden Dawn)
(0°=0□): The Probationer's principal business is to begin such practices as he or she may prefer, and to write a careful record of the same for one year.
(1°=10□): Has to acquire perfect control of the Astral Plane.
(2°=9□): The Zelator's main work is to achieve complete success in Asana and Pranayama. The Zelator also begins to study the formula of the Rosy Cross.
(3°=8□): Is expected to complete the intellectual training, and in particular to study Qabalah.
(4°=7□): Is expected to complete the moral training. Is tested in Devotion to the Order.
(The Link): Is expected to show mastery of Pratyahara and Dharana.
The Order of the R∴C∴ (Rosy Cross)
Adeptus Minor (Without)
(5°=6□): Lesser Adept (Without). Is expected to perform the Great Work and to attain the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel.
Adeptus Minor (Within)
(5°=6□): Lesser Adept (Within). Is admitted to the practice of the formula of the Rosy Cross on entering the College of the Holy Ghost.
(6°=5□): Greater Adept. Obtains a general mastery of practical Magick, though without comprehension.
(7°=4□): Exempt Adept. Completes in perfection all these matters. He then either (a) becomes a Brother of the Left Hand Path or, (b) is stripped of all his attainments and of himself as well, even of his Holy Guardian Angel, and becomes a Babe of the Abyss, who, having transcended the Reason, does nothing but grow in the womb of its mother. It then finds itself a Magister Templi.
The Order of the S∴S∴
or Master of the Temple (8°=3□): The principal business of this grade is to obtain a perfect understanding of the Universe. The essential Attainment is the perfect annihilation of that personality which limits and oppresses his true self. The Magister Templi is pre-eminently the Master of Mysticism, that is, his Understanding is entirely free from internal contradiction or external obscurity; his Word is to comprehend the existing Universe in accordance with his own Mind. This grade corresponds to Binah on the Tree of Life, and to the Secret Chiefs in the old Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. Crowley also linked it with the experience he called "Shivadarshana" and with the Four Formless States of Buddhism, although he cautions against treating these criteria as sufficient for the grade.
(9°=2□): The Magus seeks to attain Wisdom, declares his law, and is a Master of all Magick in its greatest and highest sense. His will is entirely free from internal diversion or external opposition; His work is to create a new Universe in accordance with his Will. This grade corresponds to Chokmah on the Tree of Life. It also bears some resemblance to Nietzsche's "new philosopher" who creates values, although with more focus on self-transcendence according to Crowley biographer Lawrence Sutin.
(10°=1□): Beyond the comprehension of the lower degrees. An Ipsissimus is free from limitations and necessity and lives in perfect balance with the manifest universe. Essentially, the highest mode of attainment. This grade corresponds to Kether on the Tree of Life. Ipsissimus is quite hard to translate directly from Latin to English, but it is essentially the superlative of "self", translating rather approximately to "His most Selfness," or "self-est." (c.f. generalissimo for the same superlative form in use for a grade from same Latin root.)
Crowley named as a condition of this grade the trance Nirodha-samapatti, which reduces heartbeat and other life functions to the bare minimum.[original research?] Theravada Buddhist monks traditionally attain nirodha-samapatti by producing the aforementioned Formless States one after the other, and perceiving in each what they call the Three Characteristics of all existence: sorrow or tendency towards sorrow, change or unreliability, and insubstantiality or lack of self. Crowley and the A∴A∴ however seek to replace this threefold view with the quest for balance as both a motive for discipline and the means of achieving their end goal. In Liber B vel Magi they urge the Magus seeking further progress to identify the Buddhist Three Characteristics with the opposite states. "Wherein Sorrow is Joy, and Change is Stability, and Selflessness is Self." Crowley's version of nirodha includes "seeing first the truth and then the falsity of the Three Characteristics" according to his published theory
The Ipsissimus should keep the achievement of this final grade secret even from the rest of the Order and continue with the work of the Magus, while expressing the nature of an Ipsissimus in word and deed.
- Colin Wilson, Nature of the Beast; page 88
- James Wasserman, Practice of the Magical Diary; page 19
- Equinox Vol III No. I Pg. 198
- "In a June 1947 letter to the most loyal of his disciples, Crowley specified that Germer should succeed him in the leadership of the O.T.O." Sutin, Do what thou wilt: A life of Aleister Crowley, 2002 edition, p. 419. Online copy of a 1941 letter gives him authority in the O.T.O. and A∴A∴
- Order's website, web version of article from In the Continuum, Vol. V, No. 10 (Autumnal Equinox, 1996 E.V.)
- James A. Eshelman, The Mystical and Magical System of the A∴A∴: The Spiritual System of Aleister Crowley and George Cecil Jones Step-by-Step. Los Angeles: The College of Thelema, Dec 1993 (1st hardcover edition 2000), Book Jacket.
- "Our heritage - To Mega Therion - Frater Saturnus - Frater Ever - Frater 939∴" http://www.hoor.org,
- Gunther. Initiation in the Aeon of the Child. p. 15.
- Regardie (3rd ed. 1998) p. xv-xvii
- Richmond pp. 5-6, 15
- James A. Eshelman, The Mystical and Magical System of the A∴A∴: The Spiritual System of Aleister Crowley and George Cecile Jones Step-by-Step. Los Angeles: The College of Thelema, Dec 1993 (1st hardcover edition 2000), p. 23
- James A. Eshelman, The Mystical and Magical System of the A∴A∴: The Spiritual System of Aleister Crowley and George Cecil Jones Step-by-Step. Los Angeles: The College of Thelema, Dec 1993 (1st hardcover edition 2000), p. 24
- Regardie 777, Sepher Sephiroth entry for the number 2
- James Eshelman, The Mystical and Magical System of the A∴A∴; page 24
- L. Sprague de Camp, The Ragged Edge of Science, p. 124.
- James A. Eshelman, The Mystical and Magical System of the A∴A∴. Los Angeles: College of Thelema, Dec 1993 (1st hardcover edition 2000), Chapters 8-9. Liber Collegii Sancti sub figura CLXXXV. The Task of the Adeptus Minor. Crowley, Aleister, One Star in Sight.
- James A. Eshelman, The Mystical and Magical System of the A∴A∴. Los Angeles: College of Thelema, Dec 1993 (1st hardcover edition 2000), Chapter 11. Crowley, Aleister, One Star in Sight.
- "One Star in Sight"
- "The Psychology of Hashish", XVI-XVIII, in The Equinox I no. 2.
- Magick Without Tears, Chapter XII.
- Sutin, Do what thou wilt, p. 126.
- Liber B vel Magi, published in The Equinox I no. 7.
- The Structure and Dynamics of the Attainment of Cessation in Theravada Meditation, by Winston L. King. Journal of the American Academy of Religion 1977 XLV(2):226.
- "The whole point is to make (attainment) perfect in balance. Then it radiates light in every direction, while the Ipsissimus is utterly indifferent to it." Diary quoted as explanation in Sutin, p. 277.
- "Psychology of Hashish" XIX.
- Magick second revised edition 1998, Appendix II "One star in sight", p. 491. Online version last retrieved July 5, 2010.
- Crowley, Aleister (1990). "An Account of A∴A∴" in The Equinox (Vol. I, No. 1). York Beach, Maine: Samuel Weiser.
- Crowley, Aleister (1997). "One Star in Sight" in Magick: Book Four. York Beach, Maine: Samuel Weiser.
- Crowley, Aleister (1982). "The System of O.T.O." in Magick Without Tears. Phoenix, Arizona: Falcon Press.
- Free Encyclopedia of Thelema (2005). A∴A∴. Retrieved March 27, 2005.
- Richmond, Keith (2000). "The Occult Visions of Rosaleen Norton." Sydney, Australia: Oceania Lodge of Ordo Templi Orientis and The Kings Cross Arts Guild.
- Sutin, Lawrence (2002). Do what thou wilt: A life of Aleister Crowley. New York, NY: Saint Martin's Griffin.
- Wasserman, James (2004). "Introduction" in Aleister Crowley and the Practice of the Magical Diary. York Beach, Maine: Redwheel/Weiser.
- Eshelman, James (2000). "The Mystical and Magical System of the A∴A∴." Los Angeles, CA: The College of Thelema.
- Gunther, James Daniel (2009). Initiation in the Aeon of the Child: The Inward Journey Lake Worth, Florida: Ibis Press.