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"And the stars are projectors, yeah, projecting our lives down to this planet Earth." - Modest Mouse


1.25.2004

Aleph Lamed (Mystic's Corner) 

I do a lot of mountain biking and when I hit the really grueling hills I tend to trance out. Usually I start making house music in my head to push me further, like instead of painfully trying to pedal against sand and roots and the relentless trudge of gravity, the sweat pouring down my face is driven by the oon-tse-oon-tse-oon-tse of the club sound system pounding out beats at 135rpm. But other times silence overcome's me and my mind opens up to visions from wherever such things come from. And it was in this condition that I had a vision of AL.

The dyad AL occurs often in Crowley's writings, most notably in the title of the principle holy book of Thelema - Liber Al vel Legis, The Book of the Law. In my own work I've been drawn to it on many occasions, pondering the relationship between The Fool and the harlequin of Adjustment in the Thoth major arcana. So as I was climbing up this hill, just burning from pain, pushing on and on and trying to find the strength to power it out, I had this vision of a corpulent slave driver sitting above me and cracking a whip on my back to get me to keep going, pulling his litter along with me. I was his beast of burden, a bull, bound to his chariot by the collar around my neck: aleph & lamed; the ox and the ox goad. It was my sole task in this incarnation to keep pulling, to perservere against any obstacle. In this moment the strength of the universe was with me and I saw how I was the ox, the goad, and the master. My ego identity pulled back out of my skull and it was like seeing multiple levels of my self progressively more and more abstracted out from my physical being, each instance coming closer to the Absolute.

Aleph, the ox, is the energy of Love, typified best by the sephiroth Chesed, Glory, and its antecedent, Chokmah. It is the force of creation, the first spark, the inertia of existence that boldy moves ever forward, like the Fool towards the cliff. The ox goad, Lamed, is the restriction or adjustment imposed by Form, as manifest in Geburah and Binah. It is the dance of the harlequin immersed in duality, the feminine complement of the Fool, the form imposed upon force as the seminal spark catalyzes the womb to construct the mammalian organism. In my vision the charioteer, the slave driver, was Will. Thus, Love is the Law, Love under Will. From The Book of Thoth:
She is the ultimate illusion which is manifestation; she is the dance, many-coloured, many-wiled, of Life itself...She represents Manifestation, which may always be cancelled out by equilibrium of opposites.

The bullish Fool and the dancing Harlequin, Life and Karma, played out infintely in every single act of change, ruled only by Time. In life, equilibrium equals death. Thus the force of creation must always strive against the form of the material world, and balance found between the two. A dynamic interplay, not stasis. In this respect the formula of AL can be visualized as the symbol of yin & yan, ever flowing between the two poles, each always containing the seed of its opposite. In order to become whole, unite opposites, set the goad to the ox, and the infinite circumference of Nu (8) will find it's center in the singularity of Had (0).

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