On Emptiness

First of all, it is of paramount importance to understand the concept of Emptiness and why it is valuable in Magick. This understanding must be not intellectual, though, but empirical.

The influence of Taoist, Buddhist and Hindu ideas in Spare’s system is evident, even if (sometimes) in an antithetical manner. His criticism is more specifically towards unnecessary morality and dogma, like “Quietism, Buddhism, and other religions, everything which denies the flesh—is the great inferiority to God in ourselves, an escapism seeking sanctuary through fear of life and inability to accept ‘this reality’. They were hurt? Or was the odalisque unsatisfactory or too expensive? They expected too much for too little, or were too mean to pay—therefore: ‘All is illusion’…” but on the other hand his concept of Kia is variously comparable to Tao, Brahman (the unchanging reality amidst and beyond the world), Jiva and Atman. Spare describes Kia as “the absolute freedom which being free is mighty enough to be ‘reality’ and free at any time: therefore is not potential or manifest (except as it’s instant possibility) by ideas of freedom or ‘means’, but by the Ego being free to receive it, by being free of ideas about it and by not believing. The less said of it the less obscure is it. Remember evolution teaches by terrible punishments-that conception is ultimate reality but not ultimate freedom from evolution” (The Book of Pleasure).

Isn’t that the Pure Awareness of Dzogchen?

In the classical Liber Null, Peter Carroll further explains that “Will and perception are not separate but only appear so to the mind. The unity which appears to the mind to exert the twin functions of will and perception is called Kia by magicians. Sometimes it is called the spirit, or soul, or life force, instead”. And he continues: “Kia cannot be experienced directly because it is the basis of consciousness (or experience), and it has no fixed qualities which the mind can latch on to. Kia is the consciousness, it is the elusive ‘I’ which confers self-awareness but does not seem to consist of anything itself”

Another of Spare’s concepts, Neither-Neither (does not matter-need not be), the state in which the mind has gone beyond conception, total vacuity, resembles a lot the Neti Neti (not-this not-this) of the Upanishads. “Purge thyself of belief: live like a tree walking! Take no thought of good or evil. Become self-active causality by Unity of thine, I and Self. Reality exists but not in consciousness of such: this phenomenal ‘I’ is noumenal and neither-neither. Now thus is concentration explained: ‘The will, the desire, the belief; lived as inseparable, become realization’”.

Needless to say, but Crowley too has been highly influenced by Eastern ideas of consciousness. Hadit, for instance, identifies himself as the point in the center of the circle, and declares “I am alone: there is no god where I am”. Hadit is the flame that burns in every heart of man, and in the core of every star, which is essentially identical with the Rigpa of Dzogchen – said to lie at the heart of all things. Interesting enough, Atiyoga is synthesized in three principles:

1. Direct introduction to one’s own nature;
2. Not remaining in doubt concerning this unique state;
3. Continuing to remain in this state.

And isn’t it the Great Work of western Magick resumed in three?

1. Attainment of the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel;
2. The Great Work of the Probationer Grade of the A.:A.: is considered to be the pursuit of self-knowledge to obtain the knowledge of the nature and powers of his own being. (The Confessions of Aleister Crowley);
3. The Great Work should also be something that is integrated into the daily life of all.

Crowley says “The Great Work is the uniting of opposites. It may mean the uniting of the soul with God, of the microcosm with the macrocosm, of the female with the male, of the ego with the non-ego” – Magick Without Tears. And he concludes in his Little Essays Toward Truth: “The Quest of the Holy Grail, the Search for the Stone of the Philosophers—by whatever name we choose to call the Great Work—is therefore endless”.

Here we can have a glimpse of the interconnectedness of Eastern and Western schools which aim the same Gnosis. There is also the eastern concept of Siddhis (magickal powers arising from the Gnostic Sadhana), but this is a subject for another post…

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4 Responses to “On Emptiness”

  1. lolita says:

    Being able to connect to KIA in everyday life seem to me essential. I learn meditation early on and in many cases I would not exaggerate to say it kept me alive. Inner silence soothes nerves and helps to restore energy. I can not imagine life without it. Truly, I am not sure how people can cope without it. The only comparable mind state I can think of is one I reach after smoking couple of pipes of weed. As much as I love it, it can be very inconvenient in many situations. State of empty mind doesn’t interfere with things the way weed can do.

    Discovering your own nature/true will becomes much easier once you can quiet your mind. I am almost certain that practices to achieve this exists in cultures around the globe and out in space. To me personally, the Great Work means creating my own environment/reality tunnel to reflect my true will as much as possible. To make your life be in tune with this takes time and I assume there will always be improvements and changes. This true nature/will or how I interpret it in my life constantly changes. In the past I was confusing the concept with destiny. I used to think that one day I will wake up and feel I figured out what I’m going to do with my life. Of course it didn’t occur to me at the time that this will happen every second of my life! Once doing things is no longer about identity the choice becomes much easier and fluid. When our ego stop pulling the strings, True Will becomes transparent and in result we become better people. Great Work means having integrity on a deepest level.

    I look forward you writing about Siddhis!

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  2. Found this video by Ashin Ottama- same person who made the talk about UFO’s posted by V in December last year. He discusses the idea of an empty/clear mind so I thought it is quite relevant.

    As regards Buddhist “rejection of the flesh”- I am not sure they actually reject the flesh. They certainly see it as burden but that in itself doesn’t surprise me. I have had a personal experience during the LSD trip when i perceived my body as a trap for the free flow of consciousness and I felt the desire to abandon it. In the end this is what i am going to do one day (we don’t have much choice anyway…). Thanks to that experience I am no longer afraid of dying, even quite curious of it although at this point I would still be sad to leave behind my close family and friends. I am not sure if ascetic lifestyle really makes it easier to detach from the physical world but it certainly helps to avoid its endless distractions. I have lots of respect for the monks of all kinds even though iI don’t support organised forms of religion.


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  3. Leo Holmes says:

    Thank you very much for sharing this video, @hippi !!

    We are indeed living 97% of the life in conceps and thoughts and verbalizations of actuality, like Venerable Ashin Ottama points out. I digged the web a little and found his website, Bodhipala, with lots of material available for download in English.


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  4. Ooo, another interesting discussion happening on KIA right now. I hope to have time to write the comment I want to soon. In the mean time I thought I’d also point out the coincidence that @lolita and I recently made the very related film ‘Emptiness is Form’ for our alchemical.tv project.

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