8 Feb. 1950
Re your problem of getting the necessary information. You now have the Tarot correspondences, the diagrams of the Tree of Life, and the principle correspondences from 777. The intelligent use of these will show you the correspondences of a large number of ideas – in fact – if you use them right, of all ideas.
Take an idea (phenomena) which you want to examine. You can immediately place it in the class of Fire, Air, Earth, or Water and the sub class, Fire of Earth, Water of Air, etc. (Shortly I will send to you the Yi King – Chinese system of classification and Divination) again it can be classified as the Sephiroth. Further it can be classified in the Tarot which includes all these classes. Now you have all the essential open knowledge. A divination will give you secret knowledge, and you can develop this to any extent you wish on the astral. Once you develop the astral technique, you can get information on a subject that is completely unknown to you, then check it in reverse.
On the astral you can question persons living and dead, gods and spirits, read books and records; view scenes past and present, in accordance with your initiation. But regardless of your method, you will never go further than your grade allows at the time. That is why it is so necessary patiently to check and compare every source of information, eliminating all possible errors and being sure that you are not fooled or fooling yourself. It is in the application of ingenious scientific method to transcendental ends that success lies, but this is the way of any great artist. The science, or the art, or both may be unconscious, but are always there.
By now a picture of Magick must be shaping in you. The temple is your universe, the altar your body, the weapons (instruments) your powers, the Tarot your handbook and the astral the medium on which you operate. All phenomena, regardless of the arbitrary classification of objective and non-objective, propounds two questions, What does it mean to you and how you should use it.
Everything is magical, every act is a magical act, done under will: the small world of objective consciousness floats in the big world of Magick, separate only because of the will to separateness. We are surrounded by and immersed in miracles, the only availing miracle is to open the eyes to a miraculous world. The redemption or initiation of others consists simply in having been there yourself and being able, in some degree, to communicate your experiences. It cannot be done by any other means – all other Messianic activities are futile attempts to convert yourself (in others) to do something you don’t believe and don’t know. That is why your own attainment is always the first matter.
Attainment is simply a matter of consciously seeing what you have known unconsciously all along. Actually, the whole thing is almost silly. You bawl and weep to give up the ego, the greasy penny that you have been greedily clutching in your dirty little paw, and, behold, when you do it, it buys you a ticket to the greatest show on earth, with ice cream and cake free for ever. Naturally the temporal return is painful – you come back to tell the kids outside what damn fools they are, and what they are missing, and if you have forgotten their language you usually get kicked for your pains. It is just that – a circus – a carnival in the grand manner, as Finney [?] says and almost transmitted in Dr. Lao – as the inestimable St. Rabelais saw in his cups when he bawled out – Vive Joyeuse!
That is why in carnivals and masquerades you always seem to be on the verge of something so much bigger – you are! – you are on the verge of knowing that the whole thing is a carnival and a masquerade. You are seeing, however tawdrily, an image du monde. After that, Weltschmertz, but only because you cannot sustain the wisdom – because you must have your silly penny back. This is life as it should be lived, in acknowledgement, commensurably. The rituals – the dances – sacred and profane, solemn and wild, alternating with festivals. We live a symbol of what we know it is, and, finally transcending the symbols, become one with it. This is the wisdom of the cave men, that we have lost. It was their sanity – the lack of it is our madness. We no longer know how to act, and having lost the symbol, we have lost the reality.
Not by logic, not by intellect, nor by reason can we regain it – but by wild dances, solemn rites and chants in unknown tongues – only in the irrational and unknown direction can we come to it again. We must in fact affront and overthrow the reason, and relegate it again to the place of servant that it should occupy. It is by a great act of unreasonableness – in the courage and high-heartedness that Christ – the real Christ – called debonaire (cf. French bible and Greek source). Childish – certainly – but we are all children – only now we are children in a reform school – in an orphanage – in the dry, dull, foolish, frightened, restricted world that fools call grown up – in the evil enchantment of the F[uries?] – of Klingsor, where two and two must always make four, instead of twenty-two, or zero, as they just as well can. And since Zero itself may be a number indeterminate but finite, that is, any number – why the whole proof collapses at its most fundamental point (and 22 is the number of the trumps, clever, what?)
Yes we are like children, but we must be free children, free as the Greeks were free, and more than that – free as the Gods are free in the show that is forever.
Only seek yourself, my dear, and forget the rest. I know you have taken a terrible path through an evil wood, but after all, it is only a bogey, and the witch isn’t half bad once you get on good terms with her.
P.S. I might mention my notion of the façade as I outlined it to David – not that you need it – but it might help some of your friends.
A façade (pose, attitude) can be useful as a superstructure under which the reconstruction of the ego can go on. Its terrible danger lies in its use as a retreat, a defense behind which a mutilated ego burrows deeper and deeper into darkness.
The real need is always for more contact – more understanding both with ourselves and others – the problem is always one of communication and the façade presents just that.
To explain ourselves ably and sincerely – to understand – to communicate – is the greatest art – the greatest pleasure. The true showman, again, needs no façade, he is sure of himself. His effect – his staging, is actually his greatest truths, the reality is in the nuance. But this is not a façade, it is art, and façade is never art – only prop.
P.P.S. The mailing of the MSS and my last letters was held up, so you will probably receive this a little ahead.