Six years after the critically acclaimed LeMULgeton: Goetia and the Stellar Tradition, Leo Holmes is back with a new and exciting book: The Abyss. The Abyss offers a wide approach, based on both personal experience and a multidisciplinary study, to the second of the two main crises of a magician’s career, the first being the attainment of the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel. The book is predominantly inspired by Thelemic Literature, but not limited to it, drawing parallels to ancient Myths of Descent and intellectual, emotional, and behavioural patterns, as much as to archetypal concepts. It is a painful yet insightful journey that depends equally on the pilgrim and on the Stars that guide him.
The author also employs a couple of famous Gothic poems, artistic concepts, and Gnostic and Eastern teachings and ascetic practices in an attempt to cover the various facets of the awful and enlightening experience that is the Ordeal of the Abyss. Restriction: that is the word of Sin, that is the word of The Abyss. But where is the threshold? Where and when one thing becomes another? When Restriction becomes Liberation and vice versa? How can we be so sure that the Other is not just another part of the I? We are walking metamorphoses, not much different from Alchemical Processes, and we contain all the elements of the Universe.
Knowing this, Leo Holmes makes use of spiritual and psychological concepts present in the symbology of the tradition of Western Alchemy, corresponded by Astrological Signs and by the twelve steps common to many famous Epic journeys, some of which were essential for the Mystery Cults of the past. He also introduces the unprecedented concept of the Shadow Animal: the cluster of atavistic, normally unconscious patterns of behaviour that operates more or less like the Power Animal of Shamanism, but in a reversed manner. For him, this Shadow Animal is just one of the many masks of Choronzon, or the Shadow God, manifest in the heart of man.
Examining the ephemerality of what we call reality, and the triviality of our social values, the pervasiveness of Suffering, and the compulsiveness of self-sacrifice and rectification, “The Abyss” aims to function – like the poet Virgil and the Sybil Deiphobe – as a small beam of light amid darkness and as a solidary bony hand for those who are facing the terrifying Night of Pan. The dissolution of the Ego is neither pleasant nor simple; for that, the mystic or magician has to become aware of his Shadow, that which hinders him and is occult within his skull. The true Occultist is not the one who memorizes complicated rituals or dabbles in the supernatural, but the one who teaches oneself to identify the patterns that reveal what is occult.
On the other side of the crossing, Babalon beckons to her Babes, calling them to surrender completely and sacrifice themselves in order to become No-man, or maybe more accurately, the Primordial Man. He is but a Force of Nature. When the Truth in the formula of NOX is not only intellectually understood, but also directly experienced, the magician successfully pours out his blood into the Cup of our Lady and then becomes free to move forward, towards Saturn (Binah) and the Stars (Chokmah). There is no need to instruct a Babe thus born, for in the Abyss he was purged of every poison of personality, and his ascent to the highest is assured in its season.
The Abyss has been fantastically illustrated by the author himself, containing several full-page illustrations, as well as many smaller ones.