Liber Resh for everyone!
Grand Master Shiva X°
In Part One I pointed out that there were a few variations to the performance of Liber Resh. For example, Crowley annotated his own manuscript and published copies of it with alternative Egyptian solar deities, and he wrote in Magick Without Tears that “there is another version of these Adorations, somewhat fuller.” I mentioned that the rite itself indicates that aspirants to the A∴A∴ are given private teachings about the adorations that no one else would be privy to, while Crowley also taught how to adapt Liber Resh for use in OTO. The fact there were even instructions for its performance if you had no grade at all, suggests that Liber Resh is for all aspirants and a way the newcomer might experience and be drawn into the solar-magical current of Thelema.
Another variation occurs with certain Signs used in the ritual. Liber Resh says “and after each of these invocations thou shalt give the sign of silence.” The aspirant gives the Sign and then goes on to perform the adoration. The Sign of Silence is one of the most important signs in the system of the A∴A∴. It is used in core practices ranging from the vibration of divine names, to magical protection and astral projection. It is also referred to as the Sign of Harpocrates, and is attributed to the Probationer grade in that Order. You can study up on the Signs of the Grades and other technical information of the A∴A∴ in Book Four. (I recommend the official edition, edited by Hymenaeus Beta, the Frater Superior of OTO.)
In the Probationer grade of the A∴A∴, the Sign of Silence is paired with another Sign known as the Enterer or Sign of Horus. In magical practice, these two signs are often used in tandem, commencing with the Enterer and ending in Silence. They represent the polarities of extroversion and introversion respectively in the A∴A∴ system, such as Speech and Silence, attack and defence, magick and mysticism, etc. Their combination in balanced application is centroversion – a state of synthesis including and transcending the conditions of manifest duality and being. Put simply for Liber Resh, we turn towards the centre within – the spiritual sun – as we turn to face the physical Sun without. The latter enables the former. We achieve their synthesis (meditation) with stated intention (invocation) and elevated emotion (adoration), ie. with love under will. Remember the quote I used in Part One where Crowley said (for advanced students), Liber Resh was “to make actual magical contact with the spiritual energy of the Sun and thus to draw actual force from him”? This is the beginning of that process, to get into “conscious personal relations with the centre of our system.” It is entirely harmonious and complementary to OTO work. To quote from the OTO Gnostic Catholic Mass, “Thee I invoke, abiding one, Thee, centre and secret of the Sun.”
Despite the pairing of these Signs in many practices of Thelema, the Sign of the Enterer is not referred to in the official copy and publications of Liber Resh. However, in Crowley’s letter to Grady McMurtry on the OTO version of the ritual, he states “Use at start signs of grades, 0° – III° OTO, and Sign of Enterer, followed by Sign of Silence…”. So, it seems there is plenty of evidence to suggest there were variants to how Liber Resh could be practiced. What they have in common however is that they are all aligned to the rite’s objectives, as defined by Crowley, that I outlined in Part One.
That variations are natural is confirmed by practical experience. The ‘OTO’ practice of Liber Resh, for example, complements perfectly the OTO ‘Living in the Sunlight’ meditation. And for those into hatha yoga, many yoga practitioners have paired their Liber Resh practice with their Surya Namaskar (Sun salutation). There must be other variations as well, given the universality and catholicity of solar adoration and its benefits. In Taoist alchemy (medical qigong) for example, there are numerous practices that allow the aspirant to draw from the energies of the sun which could complement the Resh routine.
One thing you’ll notice in Liber Resh is that you always greet the heavenly sun (eg. “who travellest over the Heavens in Thy bark at the Uprising of the Sun”) from some place (“Abodes”) on earth that is temporally behind (eg. Hail unto Thee from the Abodes of Night). The Sun always appears to be in a future state from where you observe it temporally, from where you are at. That ‘future state’ is what you ‘enter’ and centrovert or synthesise to – a union of heaven and earth, of spirit and matter, or, as Crowley wrote in The Equinox of the Gods (and what we display prominently on the Australian OTO website) “The new Aeon is the worship of the spiritual made one with the material, of Horus, of the Child, of the Future” (my italics). I’ll comment more on this ‘future present’ and ‘present future’ in Part III when I speak about meditation (mysticism).
Understanding this process is critical to making “magical contact” with the Sun and being able to “draw actual force.” Consider also the paradoxia of equilibrium and counterchange: The sun in the ‘Heavens’ is the material sun, while the ‘spiritual’ sun lies within the dweller in the Abodes on earth. It’s not as simple as that, but such mind-bending and contradicting juxtapositions are only really resolved through direct personal experience of the wholeness of meditation: that “holy meditation” prescribed in Liber Resh.
Liber Resh further declares: “Also it is better if in these adorations thou assume the God-form of Whom thou adorest, as if thou didst unite with Him in the adoration of That which is beyond Him.” The assumption of God-forms is a technical skill taught by the A∴A∴ in their textbooks (this is where Book Four is a must have). As for the rest of this instruction, with The Equinox of the Gods quote firmly in mind, the spiritual made one with the material is a Key to understanding Thelema’s formulae of initiation and spiritual practices. One way to look at it applied to Liber Resh is that the material sun without is made one with the spiritual sun within and this synthesis or beyondness or centroverted condition is “Horus, of the Child, of the Future.” That Future – the future present and present future I alluded to above – is ‘That which is beyond Him.’ In the first aethyr of the thelemic apocalypse The Vision and the Voice, Horus, the Lord of the New Aeon declares:
I am light, and I am night, and I am that which is beyond them.
I am speech, and I am silence, and I am that which is beyond them.
I am life, and I am death, and I am that which is beyond them.
I am war, and I am peace, and I am that which is beyond them.
I am weakness, and I am strength, and I am that which is beyond them.
Yet by none of these can man reach up to me. Yet by each of them must man reach up to me.
So, hopefully you can see how something so seemingly simple as Liber Resh can have everlasting benefits that grow in Thelema with you as you figure out and develop your invocation, adoration and meditation practice. It leads to a numinous Life of Light, Love and Liberty, or as the rite itself declares, the attainment of “True Wisdom and Perfect Happiness.”
This process of awakening and transformation is entirely in accord with the course of training undertaken in the initiated journey of OTO, referred to as the Path in Eternity, and our celebration and worship in the OTO Gnostic Catholic Mass:
“Thou that art One, our Lord in the Universe, the Sun, our Lord in ourselves whose name is Mystery of Mystery, uttermost being whose radiance, enlightening the worlds, is also the breath that maketh every God even and Death to tremble before Thee— By the Sign of Light ☩ appear Thou glorious upon the throne of the Sun.
Make open the path of creation and of intelligence between us and our minds. Enlighten our understanding. Encourage our hearts. Let thy light crystallize itself in our blood, fulfilling us of Resurrection.”