The Abyss is where the causal and the acausal meet; a nexus of temporal and spatial dimensions. Because of the nature of our consciousness, the Abyss lies latent within all of us – that is, our consciousness consists of both causal and acausal aspects. In this sense, we are all ‘Gates’/to the acausal dimensions, although this Gate – and the pathways leading to/from it – often lies undiscovered. Magickal training is essentially the discovery, exploration and use of these pathways.
Symbolized causally, the Abyss lies between the spheres of the Sun and Mars in the Septenary Tree of Wyrd, and the ‘Entering the Abyss’ is that stage of magickal development which distinguishes the Master/Mistress from the Adept. The experience of the Abyss – which the Grade Ritual ‘Entering the Abyss’ begins – is fundamentally a destruction of the self-image which the Grade Ritual of Internal Adept created and which was glimpsed during the External Adept rite. It is also the destruction of all personal illusions regarding opposites: the final ‘withdrawing of projections’. In essence, the Internal Adept has learnt (mainly through the Grade Ritual) to withdraw the projections of the ‘ego’ from other individuals – that is, there is an understanding of individuals as those individuals are in essence: without the distortion of one’s own passions/ideas/prejudices and without the distortions of other people’s ideas/judgements and so on. The experience of the Abyss takes this a stage further – there is a withdrawal of all personal projections made by every individual upon others/ the ‘cosmos’ and so on: both personal and impersonal. Thus, the essence is apprehended behind the appearance which the causal produces because it is the causal. Put very simply, the Abyss is the beginning of acausal perception.
This perception implies a complete understanding of oneself, one’s wyrd, as well as an understanding of others, of aeonic influences, and of the ‘cosmos’ itself – the beginnings of wisdom…Yet this does not mean a negation of individuality. Rather, it is an enhancement of consciousness. This is so because the Abyss is also the Tree of Wyrd itself – all the spheres and the pathways in both their individual and aeonic forms: the ‘individual forms’ being Jungian-type archetypes (and the experiences/understanding appropriate to these) on a personal level, and the ‘aeonic forms’ being aeonic/cultural myths and images on a suprs-personal level, in both ‘sinister’ and ‘light’ aspects. Further, the Abyss is also a direct opening or ‘Gate’ to the acausal dimensions.
The ritual of the Abyss implies an acceptance of acausal energies as those energies are – that is, without any ‘abstract’, personal or judgemental views. It is a letting ‘in’ of those Null, Chaotic energies without any hindrance. This of course can be dangerous, but the preparation reduces this danger as well as making possible an understanding of those energies and the ‘forms’ that may or may not assume in both the causal and acausal worlds. This latter point is quite important, because there have been many who, unprepared, having experienced some acausal energies via entering the Abyss too soon. Quite often, the result of this premature magickal experience is madness or extreme personal disorientation resulting in a ‘possessed’ personal life and/or loss of vitality; another and frequent result is personal delusion about one’s own abilities and understanding, both personal and magickal.
This understanding of the acausal, vital to a ‘successful’ crossing of the Abyss, derives from the preparation implicit in
(a) having undertaken the Grade Ritual of Internal Adept [that is, in essence, having spent at least three months alone without any external influences and without any personal contact] and
(b) having fulfilled the tasks revealed by that Grade Ritual. This fulfilling of personal tasks (the accomplishment of part of the wyrd of the individual) is necessary (and it takes from one to many years after the Grade Ritual of Internal Adept) because it dissipates the energy of the ‘self-image’ that the Grade Ritual produces, preparing thus a voidness within the Adept.
The Adept generally knows when this inner void is reached (in simple terms, the personal, driving energy is gone through achievement of personal goals: the reality, of course, is more complicated and here the advice of a Master/Mistress/Magus is often sought).
The ritual of the Abyss is simple. The physical part (the walk in the unspecified time without assistance) is essential preparation for the ‘magickal’ part because it prepares the consciousness in a very specific way as well as draining the physical resources of the body. To complete the walk given the conditions stated requires determination – and this determination is released/abandonment occuring quite naturally because the physical goal has been achieved. Thus, there is a ‘hidden’ wisdom in the construction of the rite (as there is in all the Grade Rituals).
The physical part also creates – because of the isolation – a feeling within the individual of being only a part of something more vast, and it for this reason that the walk is undertaken as far from human habitation as possible. This isolation, the concentration required to walk at a pace enabling the goal to be reached within the set time, the rhythym of walking, the anticipation of the magickal part, all combine to produce the conditions necessary within the consciousness of the individual conducive to success.
As mentioned above, the Abyss is also an opening into the acausal. The ‘passing of the Abyss’ is the opening of that ‘Gate’ within us. All magick is a glimpse of the acausal, and the stageswhen the acausal energies are developed and understood in a progressively more emphatic manner – that is, they may be seen as ‘pushing that Gate wider and wider’ – in the passing of the Abyss there is no longer a Gate, but rather a union or fusion. In another sense, the Seven-Fold Way may be said to be the creation, within the consciousness of the individual, of connections or pathways to the acausal – each stage develops more and more pathways until they form a conduit through which acausal energy ‘flows’. Beyond the Abyss, the individual is part of the acausal ‘flow’ and has achieved the goal of sentinent life. This is really the great secret of alchemy, of magick and of the Left Hand or Sinister Path itself – that is, we can create for ourselves another existence in another ‘universe’ and an existence which continues after our causal self dies. This means to this existence is simply – the Seven-Fold Way.
According to tradition, the Abyss is also presenced physically in our causal universe. That is, terrestrial and ‘Space’ or ‘Star’ Gates exist where the two universes are joined. In reality, the terrestrial Gates may be used to be points where the causal and acausal come close in contact: where there is ‘seepage’ of acausal energy to alter the causal (and thus the individuals in the world). [See the Order MSS relating to Aeons, ‘Lovecraft and the Dark Gods, etc.]
-Order of the Nine Angles-