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Text of lecture delivered 4/10/04
at the Thelemic Conference held at Conway Hall, London.

By NEMA


The Evolution of Maat Magick: from Cornfields to Cyberspace
 

Maat is the principle, or neter, of truth, justice, balance and honesty, personified as a young woman wearing a feather tucked into her head-band. She is sometimes depicted as a feather occupying a balance-pan of the scale in the judgement hall of Osiris, a scale used for the weighing of the heart of deceased. She is the daughter of Ra, and the wife of Tehuti.

Maat Magick is a Thelemic system of self-initiation, founded on the principles of Aleister Crowley's writings.  There are differences in the details of the systems, though, adaptations to the technological breakthroughs, political changes, scientific discoveries and further visionary experiences of the past century.

One major difference lies in the concept of Aeons. The godforms for whom Aeons are named reflect, in their natures, the general imagery, or formulae, of the prevalent society of their times. Crowley saw the Aeons in sequence; I see them in parallel. The Aeon of Maat is not a replacement for the Aeon of Horus, but operates in concurrence with it. Likewise, the Aeons of Isis and Osiris are still in practice and in belief in various locations around the world.

I use the Aeon of Bes as the Nameless/ancestral Aeon, extending backward in the timestream. The Aeon of Harpocrat is the Wordless/descendants' Aeon, extending forward into the future. You can order Aeons in the number and formation that best suit your needs, to the extent of your understanding of them. I began by thinking that Horus and Maat comprised "the double current", but accumulating experiences showed me that Maat Magick is a Panaeonic Magick.

Thus a concept evolved within an evolving system.

Maat Magick was created from the empty spaces around the works of Aleister Crowley on the shelves of an "occult" shop called "The Dawn of Light". In the early 1970s, there were a few books by Israel Regardie, Dion Fortune, Frater Achad and Kenneth Grant, but none of the range of works that I'd expected to find.

Crowley had written, I thought, that Magickians were supposed to discover their own systems of Magick, not to depend on his writings alone for their Initiations. The discovery of one's own Magick, and the successful practice of it, seemed to me to warrant publication of it, if for no other reason than to share information with one's colleagues. Where were the books?

Imagine a world without the Internet and its foremost search engine prophet, Google. Except for the small band of like-minded seekers to be encountered at the occult shop, I could only presume that there were seekers in other places around the world. At the time, all I could do as a beginner in the High Art was to open myself to the service of whatever idea or entity that was searching for a means of expression.

After a series of events and improbabilities, I had a vision, complete with voice-overs, that was written as Liber Pennae Praenumbra, the Book of the Foreshadowing of the Feather. Since incoming information is framed in the vocabulary of the receiver, and since I was immersed in Crowley's writings at the time, Liber PP's language resembles his in style-which I call King James biblical. I've since updated it as a longish poem named "Feathersong". Liber PP appears in each of two books: Maat Magick: a Guide to Self-Initiation, and The Way of Mystery: Magick, Mysticism & Self-Transcendence. Feathersong is only in The Way of Mystery.

Another factor in the early development of Maat Magick was an entity called N'Aton. N'Aton appears as an androgynous human, with golden skin, hair and eyes and his right side is always in shadow. The shadow contains different things on different occasions: a crowd of human faces, a star-filled night sky, symbols, aliens, and so on.

Who or what is N'Aton? Before I attempt a definition, I ask you to suspend disbelief in the relative realities this definition requires.

* N'Aton is the shadowy uninvited participant that manifested during a group time-travel Working. Only three of about thirty ritualists saw or felt the presence of this guest, as far as I know. We (Louis Martinie',Herb Zigler, and I) decided to keep silent about it in order to avoid influencing others. No one else from the group has come forward so far with any such report.

* N'Aton is the tour guide who showed me the multiverse and its probability-worlds, where our Mainstream Reality traces a glowing trail of manifestation that we call "history" among linked choice nodes. I met interesting life-forms in environments deadly to humans, and saw the paths leading to various futures for our species and our planet.

* N'Aton is the persona of the emerging Homo veritas, which differs from Homo sapiens in that people have a double consciousness: that of their individuality and that of the whole species. It can be viewed as Jung's "Racial Unconscious" becoming "Racial Consciousness". Through a field effect of empathy and telepathy, I can literally feel your pain, you can feel mine, and we both can link with large numbers of others who know how to teach us effective pain management. We filter the input of this 'telempathic' sense in much the same way our familiar physical senses edit the teeming world for our consideration. Total immersion in the species consciousness is relatively rare, but the global network of human consciousness is available at all times.

* N'Aton sleeps in most of us, but is waking up, stretching and yawning, in some of us. N'Aton is us, and our children, and our new incarnations, and also those ancestors of ours who lived in wisdom, and helped our species survive and change. I was informed, in the course of cosmic tours, that a simple majority of humans, when awakened to our species-consciousness, will pull the rest along with us.

* N'Aton isn't a godform in the classical sense of the word, although he/she/we might be regarded as such by mages in the devotional stage of Initiation. N'Aton is a metaperson, and is our genus' representative among other living beings.

  In 1976, Louis Martinie' and his small group named Bate Cabal published the first issue of Cincinnati Journal of Ceremonial Magick which contained Liber Pennae Praenumbra.  Subsequent issues carried more writings on Maat Magick, which generated a number of letters to the magazine. The most memorable letter was from a group of young Thelemic Magickians and fellow members of the Typhonian Order from New York City, the Grove of the Star and the Snake. They wrote to say that the material they'd read was useful in their own practices, and that they wanted to visit me for a weekend.

They drove out to the Maat-Pangrove Abbey of Thelema, a farmhouse and barn on ten acres of land in Brown County, Ohio, where I lived with my children, my brother and his lady, and a floating roster of visitors. Two days and a night of intense rituals saw the birth of the Horus-Maat Lodge, whose charter we signed November 25, 1978. The first day of ritual was dedicated to Horus, a sunny day in the cornfields; the second day was misty and cloudy, and we invoked Maat in the woods at the back of the property. The night was rainy for a rite of rebirth. Four of the founding members remain active in the HML: Fra. Aion, Fra. Shade, Fra. Nemus, and I.

The HML continued to grow through private correspondence, a newsletter called "The Hermetic Expedient", and periodicals like Mandragore, Aeon, and the CJCM. The generous support of Kenneth Grant, particularly in his books Nightside of Eden and Outside the Circles of Time, introduced the idea of Maat Magick to his global readership. More importantly to me, Mr. Grant's interest and generosity encouraged me to persevere in Magick despite rough patches in the course of Initiations.

In 1980, 1981 and 1982, the Abbey hosted the Warrior Lord Workings, gatherings of about 30-40 Magickians, to read the three chapters of Liber AL in a ritual setting, hold lectures and workshops, display artworks, and engage in long, esoteric discussions.

In 1983, while riding home from work, I heard a silent but sonorous voice telling me "The thrones must be filled". This statement was repeated several times. Some channeled materials arrive with sound and sights, some arrive as unlearned knowledge. Following the voice came the understanding that filling the thrones meant filling the catena of Initiation, which in turn meant there should manifest at least one person for every Sephira. These Throne-holders should work toward, and attain, the understanding and wisdom of their particular Sephira; each should then emanate the essence of his or her Sephira/Throne to the world. This would hasten human spiritual/psychic evolution in preparation for the double consciousness to come.

Da'ath was to be included. There was given a group rite to send out a call for Throne-holders. The project is called the Elevenstar Working. The ritual was first performed at Winterstar in 1984. The Winterstar Symposium is held every February by the Association for Consciousness Exploration, or ACE, based in Cleveland Ohio.

The Elevenstar rite was also performed in Seattle, Washington, as part of a celebration of the Harmonic Convergence in 1985. Maat Magick was published in 1985, and I received a number of letters commenting on its usefulness to the practice of various types and traditions of Magick.

During this time, I was corresponding with a number of people living in Great Britain and on the Continent, who came to form the European Maat Network. In 1990, my husband Mike and I had the pleasure of flying to England to meet with various colleagues, to visit Stonehenge, Avebury, Oxford (where I'd been invited to lecture), Brighton and other locations, and to hold a mighty ritual at Silbury Hill on Lammas, the first of August.

The following decade was filled with lecture-workshops at the ACE Winterstar Symposia in spring and at Starwood gatherings in summer. Book signings were usually accompanied by lecture-workshops, and these were held in Columbus and Cincinnati Ohio, Seattle WA, Portland OR, New Orleans, LA, New Paltz NY, and in other cities in the US. During this time I was working on The Way of Mystery, and on art for the Maat Tarot (still in slow progress).

In July of 1999, Fra. Aion put the early documents of the Lodge online; the response was such that we currently have 116 members worldwide. We communicate on an email list, which has but one rule: no flaming.

We've adapted the Elevenstar rite for internet use as follows:

Every new moon, participants meet astrally at Moonbase Temple, situated in the center of the visible face of our satellite, while acting in our individual temples physically. We discuss and agree upon a word of power, an image and a sigil a few days in advance, then employ these in rites of individual devising. We send our Magical Records of the ritual to the HML list during the following few days.

During the first five years the Elevenstar Working served as a means of self-initiation for the membership. This year, we're making astral contact with successive age groups of the human race. Thus far we've covered the pre-born to age 1, 1 to 7 years, 7 to 14, and our next new moon, that of April 2004, will focus on the 14 to 21 year group.

If you're interested in viewing the Horus Maat Lodge website, go to http://www.horusmaat.com.

The latest venture, brought to manifestation by Frater Aion, is the Silver Star online magazine. Its URL is http://www.horusmaat.com/silverstar.

In the time remaining to me in this presentation, I would like to read for you an updated version of Liber Pennae Praenumbra. It's in contemporary English; I've named it Feathersong.


FEATHERSONG


1. These words rise from eternity:

2. Lady of air, upon which sails the sun god's boat, the same mouth speaks and drinks. Lady of spiritual balance, the same mouth creates and devours.

3. All means of our linking with the world through perception, nourishment, and love, can be symbolized in and by the mouth. Your cosmos is so beautiful!

4. All lovers lost in each other salute you, light beyond human sight, whose nature can change the inner self. As the sense of self diminishes, the flow of cosmic energy through one increases. Tell us, the children of the future, what you desire. Tell us of your love.

5. Speaks the balance of motion:

6. I fly to you, you who do your will. Blessed are you who love under will and who give all of yourself to the universe. As Isis gathered the pieces of Osiris' body, so you pursue your history. By understanding the past, you conceive the vision of what mankind should be. You work to bring this vision to actuality.

 7. The future you seek to manifest will sustain and pleasure you, when men and women war no more. Working to transcend your present state brings joy; those working together to transcend will be more successful than many working individually.

 8. The institutions of control belong to the past; the twentieth century has seen the rise of individual freedom and responsibility. The future belongs to the innocent and the open-minded, to those who live gladly in the flow of things.

 9. The scribe, as self-appointed critic and representative for humanity, speaks:

 10. What are these words? An Aeon is supposed to last two thousand years. The era of spiritual and political submission just ended in this century with its birth of the spirit of individual sovereignty. This spirit has just begun its work.

 11. The Lady is amused, but kind.

 12. The spirit of the new age, like a hunting hawk, still flies in the sun, enlightening and encouraging those who watch and love him. But--how does this hawk fly? By the air (and I am Lady of the air) and by the feathers of his wings (and the feather is my special symbol).

 13. Time is as stable as it ever was, and history within it, implacable as Saturn/Set, the Lord of time and necessity. The hero-hawk will fly for as long as his work remains the death of restriction and servility.

 14. Again, the scribe:

 15. Am I mistaken, then to think your Aeon is to follow his? Are you not Maat?

 16. Again, the Lady is amused.

 17. At times you see me as truth personified; at other times I can be seen as maiden, mother, and crone, or as the veils of nothing, limitlessness and limitless light. Do not confuse yourself in my varied appearances; truth rules.

 18. I cannot be caged. Who can bar my way or stop my advent when time and space are my own servants?

 19. In fact, scribe, you need me to speak. The same mouth that breathes my air gives voice to doubts. Know me in silence--I come to further enlighten the doers of will.

     The Word of Flight

 20. Your balance is maintained by forward motion; never tell yourself that you've arrived.
 21. When you abandoned old ways of control, their institutions were already dying. In your questings for the truth you've found a resonance in symbols of the birds.

 22. Crowned in silence on a starry sea,
    serenely glides the Swan, forever free.

   Balanced on one foot where sea meets shore,
    the Heron ponders wisdom evermore.

    The great eyes of the Owl can understand
    the ways of hunting in a night-dark land.

    The Raven's call for mercy must be heard
    in honor of the ebon battle-bird.

    With strength of trumpets in his greeting cry,
    the Cockerel hails light in eastern sky.

    Soaring in the sunrise, beauty-bright,
    the Hawk enraptures all who see his flight.

    In victory the Peacock spreads his fan,
    a thousand eyes of love he shows to man.

    Swift as thought and splendid as a flower,
    the Hummingbird's a flying jewel of power.

    The dreamers heed the haunting call of Loon,
    founded in the dusk of mist and moon.

    Beneath her wings the Eagle's kingdom flows,
    as to her mystic lover Lion she goes.
    Alchemic union changes her to Swan--
    with realm and crown conjoined she travels on.

    The Ibis on the verge of starless deeps
    unveils the secret knowledge that he keeps.

23. From them you learned to fly, my noble souls, as you fly now within the sea of stars. Beware of danger, though, from traitors and from those who envy you, who would abort your flight.
 24. Contemplate your heart and judge yourself. If you are honest, your heart weighs no more than does my feather-form. It will not pull you down the starless deeps. Alchemic gold is light, but inert lead of unjust deeds will bind you to the ground. Search deeply for your inner nature.
 25. If anything would hinder you, it is your doing; let action do itself. See this teaching now within the Temple.
 26. So saying, the balance of motion assumed the appearance of the great Black Flame, the light beyond sight, growing from the feather-shaft and billowing out into the Void. The doers of will watched silently, and listened to her words form in their hearts.
 27. Look well! This lens of stars, this galaxy, is the one named Andromeda. Through it, I, the balance of motion, the Magickal Current, flow to the Sirius system, then to your Sun, then to your individual selves.
 28. The work of transformation lasts a lifetime. In cosmic love and innate will do everything. Through compassion understand your primal self. From the center of your self embrace the universe.
 29. Do this, then go farther. Lose all that is not you, that separates your essence from the ineffable. If anything or anyone would capture you, leave the part they grasp, like empty clothing, and go, a naked soul.
 30. Now you gather in our sacred space, as guides of the spiritually hungry, as doers of will, as defenders of truth, as changers of manifestations. The flow of things, the Tao, the truth, is found in transformations.
 31. The Ibis-headed Thoth, cosmic scribe and Lord of science, gives the basic keys of world and spirit. Chthonos underlies matter-energy; learn its essence, control its power. Ychronos is true eternity, in which lies time and the dimensions beyond it.

 32. These two keys are one, the essence of the physical world. They are the keys of transmutation and of the power of the elements.

 33. The assembly received the keys, taking them to heart. The Black Flame danced and dwindled, becoming a quill-pen. There being nothing on which to write, one of the assembly laid his body's skin upon the altar as a living parchment. (In visions are great wonders, as in dreams.)

 34. The Lady wrote on it a word, but did not show it to them. In patience the gathering did wait, knowing that in time they'd have the word.

 35. Again the quill-pen grew, taking on the form of the Yonilingam. From this sign of male and female unity arose the image of Baphomet, who spoke:

 36. You know the secrets of sexual Alchemy. You've lived and loved as universe and self, as Nature's lord and Lady of willed love. You also know my nature, the androgyne, hermaphroditic archetype.

 37. Two main genders has the human race; the man and woman generate the child. I am the older of the children, containing beast and human, male and female. My younger brother, human Horus, charismatic warrior, enlightens now the world.

 38. True Alchemy, in changing substances through love, changes also the Alchemists. If you would work this way, learn from my sister-opposite.

    The Showing of the Image

 39. From the Yonilingam rose a cloud of sparkling violet, from which came a soft vibration.

 40. Striped in amber and burnt umber,
         eyes of jewels, rainbow wings,
         as you hover, so we wonder,
         loving honey, fearing stings.

 41. The Lady's voice rings from the violet cloud:

 42. This is a symbol of your future's Work. Take note of how the Bee suggests a way of living suited to large human numbers.

 43. In what ways does the Bee's nature teach us?

 44. The worker bee is neither male nor female, even though it's female in its form. For all its life its joy is in the hive; it labors for the benefit of all.
 45. Flower to flower does it fly, nectar drinker, pollen captor, then to hive. Within its body, it changes nectar's nature.

 46. The nectar is now honey, circulating to and from each mouth. In the taste of message molecules, each bee knows the state and health of all. By the same mouth that gathered up the nectar, is the honey spent. In process and in circulation then, does food become an information chain.

 47. The hive's alive, a being in itself, immortal as a bee sees it, and home. Queen and larva, nurse and guard, honey-bringer, builder of the comb, old one fanning wings in doorway wait the fatal bridal flight of drone. In the will of the hive is the will of the bee fulfilled. The task of each age is where the bee finds joy.

 48. The image fades. The black flame-feather dances, growing wings, becoming the dark vulture.

 49. But be aware, you who do your will, a man is not a bee. Humans can profit from Nature's examples, but never take a metaphor too far. Watch me for another image.

 50. A vision rose--the Tower of Silence where the Parsees lay their dead. The fire and the earth, too sacred for a corpse, bade them offer such to air and bird.

 51. The vulture lit upon the Tower and ate the flesh from corpses, to the bone. The wind howled, desolate, fluttering the corpse-cloth about the ivory bones.

 52. Into the eyes of each of the assembly the blood-stained vulture stared. They each returned her gaze in peaceful silence. None of them feared death; each had embraced it. The vulture spread her wings, took to the wind, and soared up from the Tower.

    The Giving of the Word

 53. Eternal, infinite, a veil enclosed them.

 54. Time began again as the veil parted;
      infinity became a woman's form.
      More beautiful she was than mortal woman;
      her light of amethyst and pearl shone warm.
      Her gown was made of fine Egyptian linen,
     about her waist were wings of silver-gold.
      Her headdress, midnight blue with stars of diamond,
      a circlet and her single plume did hold.
      In one hand was the Ankh, the crux ansata,
      the sandal-strap of gods who live to Go.
      The other held a wand of woven serpents,
      the healing-rod of Thoth from long ago.
 55. She moved among the gathered seekers, embraced and kissed each one. She sat with them and spoke as though with equals.

 56. Listen to me, mages; hear me, sages. Nothing will be hidden from your sight. All patterns of rites and words of power will be yours. Heed the counsel of your elders on the path.

 57. You've done well in your learning. You understand the Tree of Life and its Qaballah; you comprehend the Tetragrammaton. You know willed love and how to use its power. You have become the secret Self, and Cosmos, and Horus, warrior of will. As Harpocrat, you kept yourself in silence. You've loved Pan and you've been Pan; you've loved and been the Lady Babalon.

 58. You've raised and used the darker powers of Set-Shaitan-Saturn-Shiva, to link with Horus in the work of will. You've seen yourself as separate from the cosmos so in your union with it you find joy. Experiments in mind and body point the way for creativity.

 59. There's more to learn, my noble souls, even as you know, and will, and dare, and keep in silence.

 60. In death is life, as Nature's cycles show us. Deliberated death of self's illusion takes you out of time; continue this. The self of ego, this illusion of identity, must die each time it forms. Be vigilant, since this illusion generates itself.

 61. Keep a constant watch--the Abyss is crossed by minutes, every day.

 62. If you would dance the Mask, then mask the Dance. Your art must excel in making selves to fit your audience, be it human, Other, or you, yourself. Your natural self's unreal, the Masks are even less. Maintain a dancing balance in their making, lest they convince you they contain your essence. A tool, devised by will, makes a bad master.

 63. In Alchemy are partners equal, the lunar Eagle and the solar Lion. By the same mouth roaring on the mountain is this equity acknowledged.

 64. When you choose, invoke the Bee to join its golden sacrament of hive to Lion's red of male and Eagle's white of female. Nectar is the seed, the temple-hive's the womb, the nectar is the Lion's and the Eagle acts as Bee.

 65. Within her heart and self this gathered nectar fountains up and pools. Then Lion rises, summoning new bliss. And from the third and inmost temple-chamber flows the charged nectar, golden mead, to join the Eagle's tears and Lion's blood.

 66. Dissolve in the selflessness of psychic death and then reform as will and work requires, in rebirth more than resurrection. This is the sacrament by which the Cosmos dissolves and reforms by will. And know, upon the plane of earth, that three or more is zero, as well as other truths.

 67. The assembled ones then stirred, and from their ranks a nameless one stepped forward.

 68. We know you, Lady, unspoken though your name has been thus far. But say now--what was written on the manskin? What is this word you give?

 69. She smiled, and drew from her robe a parchment scroll shaped as a star (for every man and every woman is a star). Unrolling it, she turned it roundabout, so all might see.

 70.                      IPSOS

 71. What is the word, O Lady--how may it be used?

 72. In silent wisdom, noble soul. Let the deed shine forth and let the word be hidden; the deed is lamp enough to veil the face.

 73. It's the word of the twenty-third path that leads beyond the Tree. Its number is given as fifty-six, the day of dread beauty to come when everything changes. It is the unspoken abode, where I whisper its dance of the Mask. Tehuti keeps watch with his Ape, recording without opinion. I am the vulture also, sharing the prey of the hawk.

 74. It is the Chalice of Air and Wand of Water, the Sword of Earth and Pantacle of fire. In it are contradictions reconciled. It is the hourglass and the tail-biting serpent, Oroboros, mighty in time and in eternity. It is the Ganges becoming ocean, the Way of the Eternal Child, which is the Tao of Lao Tze.

 75. It names my source--and yours. It is the origin of this sending, which flows through Andromeda and Sirius. What race of gods speak to mankind, my willed ones? The word of them is both the Name and Fact.

 76. It is for your mantram and incantation. To speak it is to bring certain change. Take care in using it. If its truth be widely known at this time, it could drive the sleepers to madness and despair.

 77. Only the awakened can understand it fully and use it wisely. This is all I speak for now. The Book of the Preshadowing of the Feather is complete. Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. Love is the law, love under will.

Given through All.
Written by Nema.
Sun in Capricorn, 1974 ce Cincinnati