Monday, April 26, 2010

The Knowledge and Conversation model of Adeptship

Just a few minutes ago, I replied to a status update (on Facebook) by Stephanie Connolly Reisner, who mentioned an ongoing talk that led to the question, "What is an Adept?"

And someone replied with the oldy, but goody, that an Adept was someone who had Knowledge and Conversation of their Higher Guardian Angel.

To which I replied:

"I have never been comfortable with the whole Knowledge and Conversation standard; who is to decide who has and has not [experienced this]? If it is just oneself, how do you keep your ego out of it? If others, how do you keep the egos of others out of it?"

My answer is firmly rooted in the fact that I am positive that I have seen egos all around whenever this standard is used. Plus the K&C model of Adeptship is not even officially Golden Dawn/RR et is actually something that came out of Thelema. While gauging Adeptship on magical results and knowledge may be elitist, and subject to the standards of the group that one finds themselves in, at least (in principle) the Thirteen Inch Rule is applied equally to all group members, and not just those who can stroke the ego of the leadership.


Peregrin said...

Hi Morgan,

good points. I think the word 'Adept' gives it away. It refers to a magician adept at certain pre-defined activities and skills. An apprentice is still learning these and a Master has completely mastered them to the point they are inegrated into her being.

I do not see this as eltist at all but rather a useful description. A high school piano student is an apprentice. A piano teacher may be adept but few folk are masters like Vladimir Ashkenazy.

Elitism only rears its vile head when we make the ghastly mistake of assoicating magical skill with spiritual 'advancement' (whatever that is and the inherent worth of a person.

Thanks :)

Sincerus Renatus... said...

One has to remember that in the word "Adept" is contained a vide range of level of spiritual attainment. I personally do agree that a good criteria for the full attainment of the level of Adeptus Minor means "Knowledge and Konversation with the HGA". But we also have to remember that we have several levels even of this grade, ranging from Neophyte Adeptus Minor to Adept Adeptus Minor.

Thus even a N.A.M. is an Adept. So one cannot use the critera of KoC with the HGA for being a Adet per se. A minimal requirement is mastering the Outer Order level of theory and practice, and a basic level of Elemental equilibrium in the Sphere of Sensation. My own personal contribution to this is that an Adept also is someone who has gone through and successfully come out of a Darkn Night of the Soul.

BTW, I believe there are evidence that substantiate that MacGregor Mathers & Co. did believe in a consciousness or union with a Guardian Angel as being part of spiritual attainment. The specific term "Knowledge and Konversation..." may be coined by Crowley, but he got the philosphy behind it from his teachers in the G.D.

In Licht, Leben und Liebe

Peregrin said...

Care G.H. Fr S.R. and Morgan,

There is a difficulty, which Morgan points out, with associating any interior state with an outwardly conferred grade. How do we know if someone has "gone through and successfully come out of a Dark Night of the Soul" ?

I doubt there is a single historical Order that has not had at least a few people who were supposedly 'spiritually advanced' suddenly prove otherwise. Even the principle of ‘by invitation of the Adepti only’ fails every so often in practice.

The conferral of an Order grade or Office simply has to be based on observable qualities and skills. Unfortunately, spiritual unfoldment is not discernable in the same way as skill in evocation or invocation.

I think the GD would be better off divorcing the concept of spiritual advancement from the grades entirely. Yes, we are engaged in a spiritual tradition but the changes are internal and personal, reflected outwardly once integrated into our beings.

I am also mindful of a tantric oath from my other tradition of Vajrayana. In every gathering we are required to see ourselves as the least evolved and enlightened person present. This is not an idle fancy; we must work mentally at formulating that state. Doing so is very rewarding and opens me to learning from people more and other blessings.

The western traditions remind us that at each grade we are still a neophyte, and that is a similar approach. The tantric version however has more direct application and effects. Maybe, if the GD incorporated such an approach it would help with the ego issues outlined by Morgan?

Thanks :)

Sincerus Renatus... said...

Care Fra. Peregrin,

In my experience it is quite easy to detect if one is in a dark night of the soul, and thus also if one has come out of it and spiritually matured in the process.

The "Dark Night of the Soul syndrome" is the easiest dectectable and one of the earliest encountered in the initiatory process. It is not the equivalent of "illumination" or "knowledge and conversation..", but it surely is a prerequisite to it.

Of course there have to be some kind of basic relationship between the tutor and student (initiator and initiate) to be able to spot it. There also has to be some sort of structure in a Temple where "spiritual (or initiatory) counselling" is provided with. Just getting together in Temple meetings won't be enough.

In my Temple I have regular meetings with my students to keep track of their initiatory progress. In this I use my understanding of and experience of counselling and psychotherapy.

I don't agree with that there isn't any relationship between spiritual advancement and grade advancment. There is a huge difference between the initiatory process in the Outer Order and that in the Inner, from a sprititual perspective. The themes are completely different.

In Licht, Leben und Liebe

Frater YShY said...

I think there is a relationship with grades and spiritual advancement, I just think it is unwise to try and gauge this relationship if one isn't the individual aspirant in question!

Things always seem to begin to degrade in groups when spiritual status is equated with hierarchy. Dropping that connection and treating grades as spiritual stimulants and not spiritual destinations is the solution.

This means that many of the abuses that seem to be so prevalent (that I would consider them to be inherent) in religious and spiritual orders are avoided when hierarchy, grades and attainment are divided and divorced from each other by the membership.

We all agree that the Officers and grades are representatives of the candidates psyche, this is a healthier way to deal with the issue of projection and transference.

An experienced Initiator knows how to wield the projection for the ritual, and then with the right amount of humility, hand it back to the care of the Initiate.

Frater GOIGrI said...

So how do YOU decide if someone is or isn't an adept, Frater Morgan?