The subject of my talk is the Typhonian tradition, and I present it speaking as an initiate of the Typhonian O.T.O.. The choice of my material has arisen directly as a result of repeated requests from different individuals for a definitive statement on the phrase, 'Typhonian'. And so the acting head of our Order, Michael Staley, and myself, have compiled this address as a response to these requests. It should become apparent as the talk progresses, that the word 'Typhonian' can have several applications, all of which represent different facets of a single current. My hope is that this address will succeed in bringing clarity to the subject as well acting as a taster to those who may be contemplating taking the initiatory path. I shall firstly attempt to explain 'Typhonian', in its original historical context, followed by its later suppression and reemergence, and finally, and most importantly, its power and relevance for us today.
It is thought likely that at these early stages of civilisation the role of the male in procreation was not understood. Conception, pregnancy and birth would have been seen as a mysterious process with the woman appearing to divide while giving birth. We find then at this stage, that the goddess Typhon and her son Set are referred to almost as a common entity.
As civilisation evolved there was a gradual change in perception, and worship moved from a lunar matriarchal phase (the goddess) to a solar patriarchal male-god stage. By this time the role of the male in procreation was fully understood and the result of this change in consciousness meant a quite dramatic swing in the pendulum with regards to gender veneration, so that the male principle was given greater emphasis than the female. The deities did not escape this tide of revisionism, and the wor ship of a male God became the new orthodoxy. Those who persisted with the worship of the goddess were viewed at first as old-fashioned, then as bizarre and perverse, and finally as a threat. The solar view became consolidated into politics as a patriarchal structure of society, and this led to the different emphasis between the solar and lunar flavours of adoration, concretizing into political conflict. The adherents of the old worship, the Typhonians, suffered as a result.
The Typhonians therefore, began to be viewed as the Opposers; those who swam against the current of contemporary mores. Throughout much of the dynastical period of ancient Egypt, Set, Set-Typhon or just Typhon was depicted mythologically as the Opposer, locked in a perpetual battle with Horus. One has to remember that as times changed so did the mythologies of the times they represented, and just like the people these were never static. At this stage, for example, the term 'Typhon' is syno nymous with Set as the tormentor of Horus, rather than the primordial goddess of earlier times. In the Judaeo-Christian world, whose traditions were hugely influenced by the Egyptian civilisation, the opposer was identified as Satan, Lucifer, the Devil. The term Satan derives from a conjoining of the god 'Set' with the Egyptian Moon goddess 'An'. In these traditions the woman is portrayed as the temptress, with sex, sensuality and bodily urges being considered evil and unclean. In orthodox Judaism, for example, which takes its authority from the stoic patriarchy of the old testament, a woman is segregated during menstruation as she is considered of impure nature (Deuteronomy). It is a sad irony to consider that men turned against Mother nature herself, considering her impure, when nothing could be further from the truth. In more modern times the horrific extremes of misogyny, which is rooted in patriarchal religion, saw tens of thousands of women tortured and burnt at the stake as witches and heretics, simply because of their gender and its associations. This fear of the feminine that was generated in man was of course totally irrational, and has fortunately diminished somewhat since the middle ages, although the ignorance still exists to some extent as the women's rights movements of the 60s and 70s, which initially received much scorn and vituperation, proved.
The Typhonian Tradition should also be seen therefore, in the light of redressing the balance between the sexes, by encouraging the feminine principle in a new age of enlightenment. This does not mean a restoration of primal goddess worship, but rather a balance of male and female principles.
Another derivation of the term Typhon is its affinity with the word 'Typhoon'. The typhoon is a powerful, swirling destructive force. It is force and fire, characterized by the description of the aeon of Horus, which has wreaked catastrophe and havoc on the world since its advent in 1904. The Typhoon enters a previously calm area and creates destructive mayhem. In a similar way magick is transformative. It is often necessary to lay waste to the old order so that the new may emerge. That is why it can be very dangerous for those who are not prepared for the rapid changes its practice will trigger. Its impact on our consciousness will affect internal and external change which can create a dominoes effect. In the short term this may present us with enormous difficulties, and we must be prepared for the challenge.
The Typhonian perspective though, is wider than just the human. Human consciousness is a limited waveband of cosmic consciousness. As magicians we endeavour to widen this waveband, and to expand awareness beyond what we have previously taken as human.
There are then several meanings then of the term Typhonian. The implication however is for expansion of awareness beyond the normal. In terms of the Opposer, it represents our opposing the acceptance of a limited view of ourselves, of the status quo and of complacency. The power of the Typhoon can destroy these false ideals so that we may perceive a higher way.
The God Set which is symbolically represented by the planet Saturn and is the 'planet behind the planet' of Venus, is similarly represented by the star Sirius as the 'Sun behind the Sun'. Effectively this symbolises Set as the initiator, the true creative source of the vibrant influence creating consciousness expansion. As is so common in initiated tradition, it is the 'good' guy who is painted as the 'bad' guy. When stripped of unwanted moral accretions, mythologies such as Cain and Abel and the Wild Beast and Scarlet Woman of Revelation shed they're true light. Psychologically this has the effect of providing the initiate with a test of intent, while at the same time keeping the profane at bay. The power of the typhoon-like change, which initiation brings, corresponds to that eternal battle in nature between order and chaos. Initiation is bound to cause chaos because it challenges our conditioned modes of thinking and perception. It is therefore a threat to the status-quo and potentially anyone who has a vested interest in things staying as they are.
The Typhonian Tradition is quite clearly then a tradition of initiation and initiations are realizations. History shows that there have always been some who have glimpsed the bigger picture and that tradition of understanding survives to this day. On the Tree of Life glyph the planet Saturn and the god Set equate with Binah, the Sephira called Understanding. This tradition of initiation, has masked itself in numerous forms through the ages but its visionary spirit has remained intact. &nbs p;Although this lineage may in some cases be presented historically it is important to recognize it primarily as magickal, a term known as Parampara. That is to say there have been external, extraterrestrial looping occurrences, which have enlightened the consciousness of man at different stages of our evolution. These reverberations, when effectively channelled, act as a creative fountainhead of vibration, which then occultly sets the religious and scientific agendas for mankind. It is sm all wonder then that many of our greatest scientists, men such as Leonardo De Vinci and Sir Isaac Newton were occultists, and that J.G Frazer author of the Golden Bough, describes science as successful magick.
With the advent of the New Aeon Aleister Crowley became instrumental in reviving the earlier Egyptian tradition of those that worshipped Set Typhon as opposed to the Osirian trinity. The essential difference between the two is the emphasis placing of the gender principle. Set Typhon represented the virgin mother and her son, whereas the Osirian cult represented individualised fatherhood.
In this context of revival it should be noted, that The Book of the Law was a powerful Typhonian transmission in a new age of veneration to, and due recognition of, the female principle. She is referred to as Nuit, the infinite circle. However, unlike the golden age of Typhonian-Egypt, the masculine principle will have its place recognized too. He is the omnipresent point known as Hadit. This will bear no similarity to the horrendous dark age of the dying gods, whose unbalanced patriarchy caused so much unnecessary suffering, but rather as a Maatian balance of fiery creative energy, combining harmoniously with the feminine qualities of delicately tuned intuition and receptivity. Set is the God of initiation and Saturn is the planet of Karma. Initiation occurs by destroying unwanted blockages to progress. The chaos caused by concertinaing our karma, is an essential part of the process of our true will being realized in a state of unfettered motion. The opaque veils are torn so that the true light of understanding shines.
Crowley struggled to put his discoveries and initiated understandings into a modern framework. This created much chaos because it frightened people out of their sleepy existences as they lay cocooned in the superstitions of the old Aeon. Crowley was demonized all his life, and labelled the wickedest man in the world, in the same way that the Osirians and Christians demonized the creative force as the evil Set or Satan. Crowley spoke for the true individual by adopting the Typhonian stance and it is interesting to note that his Holy Guardian Angel was Shaitan Aiwass, a form of Set the initiator.
Fortunately attitudes are changing, and yet all his personal faults and difficulties, Crowley endured to lay the vital spiritual foundations of our brave new world. By invoking Set-Horus he affected the notion that we are gods and triggered the realization of unlimited creative potential.
The wave of the current continues to rise and Crowley's two magickal sons were to set the pace of change after his death. Firstly there was Frater Achad, who discovered the key of Liber Al, and who heralded in the paralell aeon of Maat in the spring of 1948, forty four years after the onset of the aeon of Horus. Achad's qabalistic studies have shed a lot of light on our growing understanding of the concept of space and time, and laid the basis for other initiates to gain insight into the scientific relevance of the Typhonian tradition. He was also to discover the true meaning of the Thelemic 93 trinity. Secondly there was Kenneth Grant, who took control of the O.T.O. in 1955, setting up Nu-Isis lodge which channelled vibrations from the outer reaches of our solar system. The fruits of these workings have been recorded in the series known as the Typhonian Trilogies, which developed the work of Crowley and others in the light of new research. This has formed the spearhead of our Typhonia during the last twenty five years and acted as an attracting beacon of light to many, myself included, to the path of initiation.
It is interesting to note that Grant was also an accomplice of the surrealist painter and occultist Austin Osman Spare. Spare claims to have been initiated by a witch mentor called Yelg Paterson and was for a brief time a member the A.A. under Crowley. Spare then went on to develop his own magickal system known as Zos Kia Cultus which combined with a sigilized system he named the Alphabet of Desire. Although different from the A.A.'s system of initiation, the essential principles reveal the same magickal source: the Typhonian' 93 current. The current is all embracing and it is therefore not surprising that many occult groups, of quite different exterior tradition, are amalgamating. This is because of our growing understanding that we share the same heritage; it is a magickal heritage. It is the Typhonian Tradition of whirlwind effect, a key vibration on all planes in the evolution of humanity.
The Typhonian tradition, as we have mentioned, represents force and fire, and its response is an answering flame of aspiration and devotion in the heart of each initiate. This is the flame of Hadit which burns in the heart of all, which is individual to each initiate, and which is yet a common flame. In the same way, the shakti which is Kundali-shakti powers the individual, and the shakti which underpins the manifestation which we know as existence, are not two but one and the same. Nevertheless for most people there is an appearance of individuality, and one which, as initiates, we have to learn to take at face value, for as our initiation progresses, so will our sense of individuality dissolve. This is because everything in the universe is connected to everything else.
But obviously we must start somewhere, for although consciousness is a continuum, we have a sense of self which we need to purify. The initiation, understanding and purification that this process entails, will vary with each person. It is a fallacy to think there is a simple prescription for enlightenment, in the same way as there is no absolute formula for happiness. But what we can do is apply magickal principles to our dharma, or pattern of being. Each person will develop differently on the path to discovering the true self, or essence, which will help the initiate to become more in touch with the universe. An example of this variance between individuals, might be the type of approach the aspirant takes to a spiritual text like the Book of the Law. This transmission has in the past received a whole host of illustrious commentaries, but its most precious value is what it means to us personally i.e. the direct spiritual experience we gain, by allowing its fire to illumine the innermost recesses of our being. In this way we transcend speculative and philosophical considerations and find the spirit. To do this we may choose to weave our own rituals and meditations around particular passages that are special to us, but the important point to understand is its 'our' thing.
Initiation means the path within, although paradoxically this leads outwards. The idea is not to hear a description of what it is like to drink water, but to actually drink for ourselves. It is a journey to the source of the Nile, to the fountainhead within. When we discover this, we have also found the real guru, which should be of prime concern, for until such time all else is a projection.
Consciousness is a continuum. The phrases subconscious, unconscious, super consciousness and cosmic consciousness are merely conceptual classifications that give definition to certain aspects of this continuum. We may talk of 'our' consciousness but really this is an illusion. We do not possess consciousness, but rather it possesses, or operates through, us. Furthermore our consciousness is fluid and not fixed, for awareness shifts from one instant to the next. Initiation should be considered, as the process of dissolving the veils which obscure consciousness.
It can sometimes take a while for us to appreciate, that everything that exists is consciousness in transient; shifting aggregations which may appear to us as stable form. Mystical practice in various traditions, and through the ages, has enabled the initiate to tune into this reality. And the phrase 'tune in' is particularly appropriate as it suggests wavebands. This may give us some understanding as to why as humans, we do not perceive the whole range of consciousness. Quite simply our band of awareness is narrow, and has evolved so that it can deal with the job of survival, and all that that entails. The potential of human consciousness is vast however, and magickal and mystical practice can widen this band, making us aware of wider and deeper ranges which lie beyond our everyday perceptions. Regular meditation or breathing exercises (pranayama) can have dramatic effects, although these will tend to wear off, or become distant and dreamlike after a while. However, the momentum of regular, sustained, disciplined practice, makes the effect permanent, and brings on a full initiation which is irreversible. This means our bandwidth of awareness has been widened permanently. (Its like learning to drive a car, once mastered you never really forget.) When this happens we become increasingly aware of our true identity, and less concerned with the mask of our human incarnation. This is a glorious aspiration, and everything we should strive for as magicians, sorcerers, shamans and witches.
For we are in our everyday human existence asleep: dreaming. Initiation is a process of waking up. Its as simple as that. Different traditions have different terminology, but essentially they amount to the same thing. One may choose the process of awakening the Kundalini, shifting the assemblage point, or enjoying the knowledge and conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel. Although these may be different types of experience, they share a common destiny: transcending human, earth-bound limitations of awareness; expanding our perceptual waveband.
We spoke earlier of the heart of the Typhonian Tradition being that of force and fire. This is symbolised in mythology as the Serpent or the Dragon of the Deep, a powerful entity which emerges from the depths of consciousness, suddenly and silently, while dealing devastation. What is devastated is the restriction of human consciousness. 'I come to bring not peace but the sword.' This is intrusion into human consciousness by something outside, something which lies beyond. This same idea appears in The Lovecraft Gnosis as Cthulhu, the god that rises out of the sea after having been asleep for ages.
The Holy Guardian Angel is an entity we will no doubt encounter if we pursue our path of initiation effectively. The H.G.A. is not a static, objective entity but a glimpse of eternity. Awareness is elastic, it shifts and is fluid, it expands and contracts. As the wave band of our awareness is refined and expanded, by virtue of magickal and mystical experience, cosmic consciousness will increasingly break through, just as clouds momentarily part to let the sun shine. These moments will usually have a fleeting quality about them, because however desirous we may be, our time bound mind cannot grasp the infinite and eternal from its transient perspective, but our consciousness can be transported outside the circles of time for an instant, to experience the infinities of the divine, objectified as the Angel. The inertia of the ocean of consciousness is towards the assimilation of smaller eddies by the larger. Thus it is that the Angel moves towards the aspirant when the time is right; the aspirant senses when this time is approaching, and readies him or herself for the conjoining.
As mentioned before, the real guru is inner, and in Thelemic terms this represents the True Will, which is but a facet of the Universal Will, or cosmic consciousness. Once we have discovered our true will, alignment with it should follow automatically, and although it may not be easy, we have the momentum of the universe behind us. Until we reach that state it should be remembered that all gurus and Angels are exteriorisations of the Guru within-the True Will, which is itself cosmic.
To some of you listening in the audience, this may sound abstract or confusing, but it really is simple. There is a direction and momentum to our initiation, a gravitational pull which beckons us. By constant practice and discipline our awareness is refined and expanded. It is the wilful action towards this progress that accelerates our evolutionary rate, and may well save us a few painful incarnations on the way to Nirvana. Dedication, persistence and discipline are absolutely essential if we are to permanently expand our consciousness and reap the mind blowing rewards of spiritual transcendence.
Some of you may have heard of the term praeter-human entity, and in the context of this discussion this phrase should be recognized as that which is beyond the human. In occult tradition it is accepted that there are spiritual beings in existence out of the general reaches of human manifestation, and therefore not subject to the same laws of space and time which operate on our dimension. History is replete with accounts of contact between such beings and humans. Examples which spring to mind are, Moses receiving the Ten commandments, the conversion of Saul on the road to Damascus, the seances of Dr John Dee and Sir Edward Kelly and Aleister Crowley's contact with Aiwass, Amalantrah and Abuldiz. Contact with such higher forces is usually considered to be beneficial, resulting in the communication of new knowledge and understanding . Some have speculated that the large number of U.F.O. sightings reported since the first atomic bomb was dropped in 1947 represents examples of such contact, but this is speculation and beyond the limits of this discussion.
Although there are instances of such beings appearing unbidden, in most cases the magician or aspirant has to prepare him or herself by intense magical work beforehand, perhaps for many years. The purpose and benefit of this is twofold, firstly to prepare the human system for the impact of praeter-human force, and secondly to refine perception and sensitivity so that contact can be made, and more to the point registered. There is also the very important matter of developing discrimination, for the fact remains that we are surrounded by a host of occult entities which lie outside our normal band of human perception. It is important not to 'confuse the planes' because there are plenty of tricksters out there on the astral plane who might try and convince us we're Jesus! An analogy might again be the radio: while we are trying to tune it in there'll probably be a lot of hiss and babble that needs to be filtered out. We must not forget that consciousness is a continuum, encompassing all sorts of intelligence, within which there is a multitude of transient aggregates, many of whom maybe competing for our attention.
There is one particular praeter-human intelligence of note, which has come to be associated with the Typhonian Tradition in recent years, and that is the entity known as Lam. A portrait of Lam was drawn by Aleister Crowley around 1917 in New York, and first appeared in the Blue Equinox in 1919. This almost certainly arose from what came to be known as the 'Amalantrah Working', of the same period. The drawing was given to Kenneth Grant in 1945, and its hypnotic image bears an uncannily strong resemblance to the E.T. alien representation we see in modern films, although it was painted years before this archetype was stylised. It could be said that the U.F.O cults of today have in a way mythologized in mundane terms, extraterrestrial external incursion, which might further be regarded as a manifestation of a seeded sub conscious effect.
When referring to Lam, or praeter-human intelligence in general, a common question asked is, 'Is it an entity or an energy'. Once again the problem arises of trying to view something non-human, from a human perspective, and so categorisations tend to collapse on examination. Nuclear physicists face a similar dilemma on the sub-atomic level, being unsure of whether quantum material should be defined as a particle or an energy wave.
Lam should be considered perhaps as a mask, veiling areas of consciousness which exist beyond our basic awareness. By trafficking with Lam we can experience that which lies beyond and enjoy deeper perceptual awareness. This is the essence of alien contact, so forget little green men in funny suits, which is a very human way of looking at things, and think instead of experiencing a vast ocean of consciousness that once tasted, will put our human shortcomings and difficulties into a more balanced perspective. This is the seeding of the human by the praeter-human. As a matter of passing interest we have now established a successful Lam Cell within the O.T.O., and the results of our workings will soon be published, with the possibility in the future of external participation for those interested.
The Typhonian Tradition should be seen then as the transforming effect of contact, with those forces that lie beyond human awareness. The purpose of this is to transform human consciousness by widening, deepening and enriching it. There is a great inner space, spanning a very wide band of frequency, of which we form but a fractional part. To extend this we must yearn for the external contact, the outer gateways, and prepare ourselves for the whirlwind effect on our consciousness this will generate. The rate of our consciousness adaptation is the key to our survival, and its success will be, as it always has been, the pivotal factor in our continued evolution as human beings.
By embracing the Typhonian current we embrace our destiny with a creative, fiery energy that will carry us into new worlds of wonderment. Joy and harmonious balance will form the essential part of our chosen dream when we rise to drink heartily from the chalice and toast the success - of our true will aligned - our starriness possessed.
Simon Hinton and Michael Staley 1997 e.v.