The Maat Continuum

                                  by Sor.'.Nema
             published in "Cincinnati Journal of Ceremonial Magick"
                            Volume I, Number 5, 1983
                                 with permission
    Nema Splendor Maat Continuum
    The Dance of the Mask is a system for the crafting of artificial egos, and the animation of them with the correct "flavor" of energy. The value of the system lies in the facility of directing Will through the Masks, as a type of fine-tuned focus. It's an economy of energy and time, and increases the effective manifestations of the Double Current. The most common application of the Dance, as one might suppose, is in the realm of human communication. Since the Priest(ess) of Maat is concerned with the evolution of consciousness, all of our dealings with sentient life should be shaped to that end. In every human encounter, then, each Sphere of the Priest(ess) of Maat should reflect the correct energies with the corresponding Spheres of the "other". There are receptive and active Masks for each Sephorah, and modes of Dancing them according to the Paths involved. In essence, the process is that of destroying illusion by means of illusion. The following schema is applicable to workings other than in the Kingdom. The Masks have their own wisdom, and instruct the Dancer in the processes of working with them. In order to present the Dance of the Mask in a form familiar to most Western adepts, we follow the Kabalistic Tree of Life, simply to give examples of the nature of Masks and Dances. The individual application of them is by no means restricted to the instances listed here; once the basic idea is grasped, the only limit is ones own ingenuity and assessment of circumstances in which the Dance of the Mask can and should be applied. CXCV (Upper Tree) 0 Egg of HPK (Da'ath) 1 Dance of the Swan 2 Crane-Had 3 Owl-Nu 4 Ravens of Odin 5 Cockerel of Mithras 6 Hawk-Heru 7 Peacock of Ishtar 8 Ibis Tahuti 9 Vulture 10 Eagle-Gaia 11 Mime 12 Tightrope Walker 13 Thai Terrple-Dancers 14 Pavanne 15 Water-Ballet 16 Religious Procession 17 Pas de Deux 18 Cossack Horsemen 19 Salome's Dance 20 Shaman's Medicine Dance 21 Whirling Dervishes 22 Hindu Story-Dancers 23 Indian Pole-Divers 24 Cobra-Kiss Dance 25 Greek Drama 26 Punch & Judy 27 Shiva's Drum-Dance 28 Royal Procession 29 Coven Circle-Dance 30 Maypole-Dance 31 Group Games (Red Rover, London Bridge) 32 Street Carnival Note: The Dances from 11 to 32 apply to Col. CXCVI as well as to Col. CXCVII. CXCVI (Lower Tree) 0 Dance of the Teacher 1 Eagle 2 Master 3 Mirror 4 Judge 5 Brand 6 Warrior 7 Cup of BABALON 8 Excalibur 9 Shiva-Kali 10 Mask CXCVII (Maat Titles) 0 ... 1 She Who Moves 2 Ongoing Balance 3 Mother of the Sun 4 The Mask-Dancer 5 Air, the Unconfined 6 Black Flame 7 The Bee-Gynander 8 The Quill-Plume 9 Maut 10 Black Pearl within the Crystal Lotus The Spheres referred to constitute a double Tree, the Malkuth of the upper one being the Kether of the lower. The Paths are the same for both Trees, and should be considered in the illumination of the appropriate Tarot Trump. The Dance of the Swan is pure and unmodified awareness. The Swan is the Hindu glyph of AUM, the initial breathing-forth of Prakriti-Prana-Maya. In this Mask, one is simply aware, without being aware of any thing, or even of oneself. The Dance of the Eagle of Gaia is the Malkuth of the Upper Tree and the Kether of the Lower Tree, thus forming the link between realization and manifestation. Gaia, or Ge, is the ancient Earth-goddess, and is included here in reverence of the mother planet. The eagle has aerial supremacy over vast ranges of the earth. Also, as the Alchemical Eagle, she conceals within herself her mate, the Lion; this indicates an effective method for bringing realization into manifestation through the generation and use of the Elixir of Life. The Path of Aleph, the Fool, is danced as the Mime, such as in the art of Marcel Marceau, or of Charlie Chaplin. In this, the link between pure awareness and wisdom is expressed in the silence of Harpocrat by the whole-body movements of the Mime; it is the perfect blend of the opposites of comedy and tragedy, and represents human consciousness at its most sublime. The Dance of the Crane, Hadit (Upper Tree) presents the appearance of the contradiction of Wisdom. Here, the onrushing Father-Force appears in the almost-stationary guise of the sole = gray crane, poised on one foot on the shoreline. He stands at the juncture of the four worlds of the elements, under the sun (fire), in the path of the wind (air), on the sands of the beach (earth), while he darts his head under the waves (water) to fish. His stillness represents the fact that Primal Force, with nothing else but itself to reckon direction and velocity by is, relatively, standing still. The Dance of the Master (Lower Tree) is the Mask by which Wisdom manifests when the audience isn't ready to accept Wisdom in the Mask of the Mime (Fool). Here, the true type is the Zen Master, or the Yaqui Man of Knowledge, Don Juan. The main task of the Master is to rid the seeker of all prejudice in the way of looking at things, by whatever method is the most effective - from a total ignoring of the baffled chela, to knocking him down with an unexpected blow. The Path of Beth, the Magus, is Danced as the Circus Tightrope-Walker, juggling the weapons of his Art, The link between pure awareness and Understanding enables the performer to accomplish many miraculous-seeming feats. The Tightrope Walker acts, not for mere entertainment of the crowd, nor for the ego-gratification of applause, but as a living example of the capabilities of the human spirit when it acts from "above the Abyss". The Dance of the Owl of Nuit (Upper Tree), represents First Form, the dark Ocean Mother, as the bird of night. The hunting owl is a silent, moving form, dropping through the night-woods to grasp its prey. It is perceived as undifferentiated form, a vague, feathery mass of moving life; its cry suggests the question that leads to Understanding. The Dance of the Mirror, (Lower Tree) is the Mask by which one may more swiftly open the gate of Understanding for another, by reflecting him to himself. This isn't done by anything as crude as mimicry; rather, one contacts the subject's Angel, through one's own Angel, and shows him the view of himself "from the outside". This is still dealing in the language of separation, however. Closer to reality, through Tao (which is the universal continuum, the soul-stuff of every individual), one allows the subject to see himself through another's eyes, which brings an expanded viewpoint of one's true place in the scheme of things. The Path of Daleth, the Empress, is Danced as the Pavanne, the stately dance of the Spanish court of old. Force is united with Form in the most controlled and dignified dance possible, with measured movement tracing out stylized patterns; the narrow aperature, through restriction, increases the power of a flow of force by concentrating it through a small opening. The False Sephora, Da'ath, is represented in the upper Tree by a non Dance, yogic asana, and in the lower T ree by a non Mask, the Teacher. It' s also represented by a "non-bird", the Egg of Harpocrat. The particular asana here would be Austin Spare's "Death Posture". A Teacher can only lead the student to self-discovery, and Harpocrat's Egg is the Phoenix - in potentiality. The Path of Vau, the Hierophant, is Danced as a Religious Procession. The Initiates wend their way through the community, away from the town, and to the Sacred Grove where the worthy candidates are to be inducted into the Mysteries. This Dance expresses the need, within the human psyche, of cerernonythat portrays the importance and solemnity with which one approaches the path of Initiation. The Dance of the Ravens of Odin emphasizes the twin faculties of Chesed: creative act and critical judgement. In the Dance of the upper Tree, these faculties are turned inward. One pauses here to examine the Work accomplished thus far, whether it be in conformity with Will, whether it represents one's best efforts, whether changing circumstances call for a change of style or method. Full development of this Dance establishes an overview of the realm of practicality and art, and insures a selfgovernance whereby all action and creation is directed toward the doing of Will. The Dance of the Judge (lower Tree) turns the faculties outward. Within this Mask, one acts to create an environment in which "others" may discover and do their Will. The critical faculty prevents vampirism and wasting of time and energy, however, by enabling the Judge to know, with certainty, when another is acting contrary to Will. The Path of Teth, Lust, is represented somewhat darkly here by the Biblically famous Veil-Dance of Salome. It illustrates the power inherent in human passion, which, when controlled and manipulated by an Adept, can result in so decisive an event as the death of a prophet. The Path of Cheth, the Chariot, assumes the form of the Cossack horseman. It presents the essence of Going in conditions of danger. The dare devil stunts of the Cossacks, aboard a galloping horse, illustrate the possibility of negotiating the dangers of the Abyss via the linkage of strength and understanding (both of the self and of the situation.) The Dance of the Cockerel of Mithras reveals the ideal combination of the fierce bravery of the fighting gamecock with the seasoned endurance of the Centurian. Mithras, Lord of the Morning, is the soldiers' god, and lends His protection in battle. The Dance of the Firebrand (lower Tree), is the first of the Magickal Weapons to be represented. It is the Wand as Dorje, or flashing thunderbolt, that manifests the declaration and implementation of Will. The Path of Zain, the Lovers, is Danced as the pas de deux (as in Swan Lake), to demonstrate the link between beauty and understanding. The congruent movements of paired dancers in the formal mode of ballet can be considered as a subtle and spiritualized form of love-making. On the path of He, the Tao of Magick is succinctly illustrated by the Trump, the Star. But with the usual employment of opposites, the Dance of this path is Water Ballet, wherein the Dancers immerse themselves in the medium, rather than flowing the medium of water (or blood) through themselves. This gives a strange, but valid approach to the link between Wisdom and Beauty. The Path of Yod, the Hermit, is represented by the Medicine Dance of the Shaman. The Shaman masks his own identity within that of the god or totem-spirit, and Dances the god-energy down for healing, or success in the hunt, or favorable weather for crops, etc. He dances alone, anonymously, for the benefit of the community. His is the linking of Mercy and Beauty. The Path of Gimel, the Priestess, is manifested by the Thai Temple-Dancers. They dance for the people in the Temple courtyard, then turn to face the Temple and dance for the gods, linking man and god, Tiphereth and Kether. The Path of Lamed, Adjustment, is shown by the Hindu Story-Dancers. They enact religious tales, usually from the Mahabarata and the Ramayana, much as medieval troupes enacted the Mystery-Plays from the Bible. Their movements are smooth and balanced; particularly in the Krishna-dances is the link between strength and beauty demonstrated. The Path of Mem, the Hanged Man, is personified in the pole-diving of certain primitive tribesmen. A carefully-measured length of flexible liana is tied to the top of a tall pole, and the other end is affixed to the ankle of the diver. He climbs to the top of the pole, gracefully launches into space, and is saved from dashing out his brains on the ground by the vine. He usually clears the earth at the bottom of the dive by about six inches to a foot. He hangs upside down until his fellows arrive to undo him. The nicety of calculation of the length and elasticity of the vine, coupled with the needed bravery for the stunt, epitomized the link between intellect and strength. The Hawk-Dance of Heru (upper tree) invokes the beauty, harmony, and balance of the Lord of the Aeon. Horus Ra is the Sun, poised in the Upper Air, radiating life to all below. This Dance yields more to contemplation than to explanation. The Dance of the Warrior, (lower Tree) manifests the attributes of Horus in the human plane. The Warrior is attuned to his environment, all of his elements are in harmony and balance. His being radiates beauty and strength; he is the Golden One. The Path of Kaph, Fortune, is Danced as a Dervish, spinning about one's own axis to the attainment of ecstacy, Between Mercy and Victory spins this wheel, whether it be the Dancer, Fortuna, the Zodiac, or Karma. The Path of Nun, Death, is Danced by the Naga worshippers, who bring milk and meat to their holy cobras, and dance with them, risking death by kissing the snakes on the head. This links Beauty and Victory in a very Scorpionic way. The Path of Ayin, the Devil, is represented by the ageless Punch and Judy show. Punch himself is a diminutive and domesticated Pan, but in his small triumphs, the Horned One peeps through and reveals himself briefly. This Dance links Harmony and the Splendor of Mind through small flashes of chaos and madness. The Ibis-Dance of Tehuti (Thoth) is self-evident, and needs no explanation. The Dance of Excalibur (lower Tree), is the second Dance of the Magickal weapons, here represented by one of the most famous Swords in legend/history. The analytical power of the Mind is manifested by the symbol of the Arthurian right to the throne (which is a small note of caution against abusing Hod.) Samech, Art, is represented by Greek Drama. This originated as part of the Temple Mysteries, but eventually expanded to the masses via the Olyrmpic Games. In the art of Sophocles and other dramatists of his age, the Archtypes were fully manifested for the benefit of those who were moved by them unconsciously. When viewed upon a stage, the forces of Oedipus, Antigone, Creon, etc., could be comprehended and dealt with consciously. This Dance links the Unconscious of Yesod to the Consciousness of Tiphereth. The Dance of the Peacock of Ishtar (upper Tree) links the nature of the Goddess of Love with the hidden symbology of the Peacock, which is that of Shaitan. This Mask encompasses all possible human relationships, not just that of the love of Man and Woman. The Dance of the Cup of BABALON (lower Tree) again instructs the Dancer in the matter of manifestation. On the Outer, one should be ever ready to receive, in utter detachment, the Blood of the Saints as it may be freely offered to one. On the Inner, the reverse is true, wherein one keeps not one drop for oneself, but returns all that is given, together with all that one has of one's own, back to Nuit. The Path of Tzaddi, the Emperor, is Danced as the Royalor Military Procession. It is the moving, living, display of armed might, the enforcing arm of Empire. The annual May Day parade in Russia fulfills this type of ritual function. It is a strong, dark link of the Unconscious of Yesod with Victory. The Path of Resh, the Sun, is Danced as the Maypole-dance, a timeless tradition for the welcoming of the Spring and new life. It is a natural Dance of the Crowned and Conquering Child. The Dance of the Vulture is the Mask of Maut, the dark aspect of Maat. This carrion-bird is mateless, according to Egyptian legend, and produces offspring by being fertilized by the Southwest Wind. This eater-of-the-dead reflects the horror of putrefaction and decay, yet represents the transformation of the remains into the stuff of new life. For the Path of Qoph, the Coven Circle-Dance portrays the power of the Lunar forces. The nature of this Dance is of the spell-weaving and glamor-casting properties of the Moon and of the Art of Hecate. Properly Danced, this Mask provides a certain degree of public invisibility. The Dance of Shiva/Kali represents the dark, and destructive aspect of Yesod (and this links with the Elder Gods). Space destroys and Time devours all that has arisen from them. The destruction is not malicious, but impersonal and forming part of the cycle of changes that also encompasses creation, growth, decline and the transmutation of putrefaction. The Path of Pe, the Tower, is also related to destruction as Shiva's Drum Dance, that grim celebration of the slaying of the Elephant Demon, and Shiva's skinning off the hide and wearing it while he Dances. Shiva is known as Lord of the Dance and this particular destructive aspect links Mind with human relationships. The Path of Shin, the Aeon, is Danced in children's group games - London Bridge, Ring-around-the Rosie, Red Rover, etc. - as another type of the wise innocence of the Child. The wearing of this Mask imparts the vision of the Play of Maya. The Path of Tau, the Universe, is sheer Street Carnival. It is the celebration of life by the living, and is typified by the Mardi Gras celebrations, the Woodstocks. It's a wild and free foretaste of the essence of the Race-Consciousness to come. The Malkuth of the lower Tree is the myriad and varied Dances of the everyday Mask of Ego. This Mask is crafted under the auspices of Heru-Ra-Ha and the Black Flame, and is the primary Mask in which the Priest(ess) of Maat Dances in the Outer. It must therefore be strong and stable, yet flexible enough to change into one or more of the more specialized Masks instantly. The system of the Dance of the Mask operates in three stages. The first is meditative contemplative. With the use of the Tarot (Thoth Deck), one considers the nature of each Dance and Mask, and their interrelationships. When the essence of each Dance and Mask is understood, and the dynamic pattern of the Double Tree is grasped as a whole, then one begins a series of Temple rituals. These are the actual Dancing of the Masks, either in total spontaneous dance, or in the concentrated form of gesture/visualization (mudra). The third phase consists of Dancing the Mask in daily living, crafting and animating the Mask most appropriate to any situation. Here, again, it is vital to maintain the viewpoint of the Observer, Hadit. As one improves craftsmanship and facility with practice, the Masks grow more and more convincing. For one with true acting talent, the Masks may come to take on a form of life of their own, drawing the self-belief of their creator to inform them with a human soul, and thus requiring a repetition of the Ego death. A Mask will remain a Mask to the Priest(ess) of Maat for as long as it's remembered that indeed there is no Dancer.

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