The instructor in Our Order takes on a teaching or advisory role; giving the student the benefit of his or her own experience. And in the A.’.A.’., the instructor only needs to be one Grade ahead of the student. In a certain sense, you might say that we each pull each other up by pulling ourselves up by our own bootstraps. The chain of succession then proceeds in the same manner; with each lineage responsible for making its own contact with the Secret Chiefs. And the only proof of having made such contact is in the production of new Gnosis, as without it, there is no evolution and no proof of contact with the Secret Chiefs.
One may ask why we should in each lineage bear such a responsibility? Well, the master has withdrawn himself from the current. In other words, though Crowley generated a marvelous collection of new Gnosis; including even the design of the A.’.A.’. system, his laurels are of no benefit to his heirs. If we would be mere psychophants for a ‘dearly departed’ master, then we are nothing but a fan club keeping the ‘purity’ of his teachings, which themselves, really only belong to the time he lived in. Time has evolved since then and so should we.
And certainly, imitation is a form of learning…for the beginner. This is alright as long as one is aware that ultimately, they must find their own voice…one must sing one’s own song…not Crowley’s or Motta’s or Grant’s. But what has made these other voices great is that they did not become psychophantic worshippers of the dead master; they continued to develop the Thelemic Philosophical system by appending their own Gnosis; so that the A.’.A.’. evolves organically. And seemingly unfortunate for them, they then have found their own collection of impotent psychophants.
Each generation in human history is a demarcation of the unfolding of human evolution and each generation requires a development of human wisdom (Gnosis). An important part of the Great Work is that it is incumbent on each of us to continue to develop the Gnosis as a response to the development of human knowledge in the sciences and the arts (specifically, human letters). Crowley lived in the Victorian Age and has since withdrawn himself from the current. Motta and the Mother lived in the Cold War period and have since withdrawn themselves from the current. Kenneth Grant has lived into the present Internet Age, but has now withdrawn himself.
One may notice that I did not include the likes of Phyllis Seckler or Jane Wolf; neither have I made mention of Theodore Reuss. Why?…no new Gnosis; no tome of the Major Adept; even. And the same can be said for a host of lineages today. After all, ye shall know them by their fruits. And what fruits have other, more contemporary lineages grown? Nada! The major exponent of the Seckler Wolf lineage has done nothing more than to honor his two forbears. The major exponents of the Motta lineage have done nothing but force their adherents to give all obeisances unto this dead master.
On the other hand, we have seen brilliant work by Runar Karlsen (DOzmt Index) and Slobodan Skrbc (Citatiza-Tet Tarot). And at the risk of sounding a bit pompous, I dare include myself in their company (The First Leaf). And for that matter, there are a host of people outside the Thelemic paradigm that are also channeling new Gnosis; some of more quality experience than others. The school of Supramental Yoga comes readily to mind.
In this Internet era, claiming a superior Grade in the A.'.A.'. has become as easy as putting up a website and making the claim. But be wary of such claim if one is claiming to be a Major Adept (6=5) or a Magus (9=2). For the former, he or she must publish a major tome that gives account of the methodology of one's attainment. And publishing some recapitulation of the A.'.A.'. program does not quality, as that is mere regurgitation that anyone can do. But the tome must be as unique as what can be found in the difference between Aleister Crowley's Magick in Theory & Practice and Eliphas Levi's Transcendental Magick. And certainly, we have found this in the Mother's thirteen volume set, Mother's Agenda.
With both Crowley and the Mother, we see clearly that they've founded their own philosophical school. This is THE proof of attaining the Grade of Magus (9=2) and none other have come along in contemporary times with the possible exception of Helena Petrovna Blavatsky with the Theosophical School. Our only issue with the latter is that she has not produced the tome of the Major Adept; unless we consider the Theosophical Zohar.
On the issue of the guru, a read of Mother’s tome provides an insight into the work of the guru. We start w/ordinary people: the ‘sleepers.’
Ultimately, it's simply a question of consciousness: people (ordinary people) have a consciousness that reaches up to a certain point (a point not very far away generally), and what's beyond it, to them, is the "unconscious" (although it's full of consciousness!), but it's unconscious to them because they can't make contact. It's the same as when at night you wake up in another state of being, become conscious and have a "dream" (what people call a dream, meaning an experience), then you return to your ordinary consciousness, and as there is no contact between the two consciousnesses, you don't even remember your dream. But you can, through methodical development, extend your consciousness and make a connection between the two; and the minute the connection is made, it takes very little to remember everything. But what's difficult is to extend your consciousness.
Castaneda wrote a lot on his experience w/don Juan slapping his back and sending him into an altered state that for a long time, he never even remembered and later, would come to remember as he developed. And there are many monologues by the Mother where she describes all sorts of dreaming experiences. This is all akin to astral work in the A.’.A.’.; where one comes to focus on the ‘dream body’ and moves into a controlled dreaming state with a certain focus on various parts of the psyche as in the practices of Liber 231.
Of course, one may also keep a dream diary and begin to search the automatic function of dreams as then one can find things about oneself and one’s body (health), as well as the daily issues that present themselves to us in our lives.
Basically, the guru's real power is to fill up the gaps! To bring you into contact: when you are in the higher planes, to bring you into contact with the Highest. Or to bring you into contact with your soul, your psychic being within, or to bring you into contact with the Supreme – but that not many can do.
The guru in the Eastern sense can “fill up the gaps” as the chela is then an adorant of the guru. With such preeminence in the mind of the chela, it is easy for the guru to have such power—requiring no real action on the guru’s part, but to advise and maintain the adoration. The guru becomes a focal point for the chela; not unlike the way one might adore a new lover. The only difference is that the guru occupies a place in the heart that deals with spiritual aspiration. The conscious teachings (the ‘tonal’ experience of Castaneda) of the guru feed the intellectual need as the emotional connection then feeds deeper into the unconscious (the ‘nagual’ experience of Castaneda) or subconscious (even super-conscious) development.
That's what I saw when I spoke to you the other day about what I called a "bath of the Lord." The atmosphere was full, really chockfull of a Presence (you can't even call it a "vibration," it's much more than a vibration: it's a Presence), but when people enter it, they don't feel anything! Or if they do, they don't even understand, it doesn't correspond to anything in their consciousness. But if I concentrate a particular vibration on their consciousness, I bring them into contact with it. And all of a sudden they feel something, with the impression that it's a new thing – it's nothing new! What's new is their capacity to perceive the thing.
Here the guru deliberately begins to work the line of affection to (hopefully) assist the chela in his or her astral work, which as the Mother says, is the connection between the two minds. However, this is really anathema in Thelema; in much the same way as the instructors in the A.’.A.’. are not gurus and don’t require such adoration. We don’t want to interfere with the Will of our students and we don’t pretend to know what the will of our students are. As a matter of fact, it’s one of the reasons I broke with one of my instructors. He started telling me things like: “My angel spoke with your angel and you have to do [such and such]." This is a manipulation by a distortion of the human faculty that is called by us, the Knowledge & Conversation of Thine Holy Guardian Angel. We know that having such power over another person can only lead to corruption.
In a general way, that's how it works: the Lord is everywhere, His vibration is everywhere, but what's new is the capacity to feel Him or be conscious of Him. From all eternity He has been there, for all eternity He shall be there.
Obviously if one really has made contact with the undifferentiated consciousness (Paratman) one sees that all things are not different (as NUIT tells us in AL to make no difference), but are truly an expression of the divine. But it is only in such a state that one can maintain any incorruptibility. Short of that, even in one’s own highest expression of the self (Atman or Augoeides) difference is apparent…I know that I am I and not you. In making this distinction, we make ‘difference,’ which NUIT tells us will bring “hurt.” Of course, that hurt is but one of the joys of Hadit, which is an entirely different subject.
For the A.’.A.’., the program of instruction is a tried and true program that eliminates any need for a guru. And the program is not in any way secret (or for sale!), but can be followed on one’s own. An instructor serves to guide one through the program and as a consultant. And as well, to link the student to Our Order that we might begin to function in the world as a collection of empowered individuals; doing our Will amongst the living.