A little back story: I had started looking at Zen Koans, when I felt I had to dive into Buddhist thought, and Chinese Philosophy to get a better appreciation of the wit and poetry contained within the writings of “Zen Masters”. (My “Vajra Meditation” post was in part a result of this, though I am pleased with the information contained in it, I won’t be finishing that series as I’ve found the fire burning again to convey Thelema proper).
After immersing myself in so much Chinese, I had a little moment of inspiration, and I created the following image, and wish to explain what is encapsulated within it:
The first three lines of Aleister Crowley’s The Book of the Law written in 1904 reads:
1. Had! The manifestation of Nuit.
2. The unveiling of the company of heaven.
3. Every man and every woman is a star.
Had is a short form for “Hadit” which is Kether of Qabalah (which is just to say the conscious being). Every man and every woman is a star (which is to say one such individual consciousness), and the Book of the Law establishes the Law of the Thelema which put in most simplistic terms is “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law, love is the law, love under will.”
So let’s break down my graphic above to explain what you’re looking at!
In Zen and Taoism there’s an expression 無为 “Wu Wei” which for the Chinese means “non-doing”, or “non-action”. It is not literally non-doing, but it means to do what comes effortlessly and in alignment with the Tao, or the flow of life. (Which is the concept of “Pure Will”, or simply Will in Thelema). For this reason, Wu Wei is in the top left corner of the screen behind the text reading “every man and every woman is a star”.
“Thou must (1) Find out what is thy Will. (2) Do that Will with a) one-pointedness, (b) detachment, (c) peace.Then, and then only, art thou in harmony with the Movement of Things, thy will part of, and therefore equal to, the Will of God. And since the will is but the dynamic aspect of the self, and since two different selves could not possess identical wills; then, if thy will be God’s will, Thou art That.” – from The Message of the Master Therion.
Speaking of Wu and stars, the word “xing” in Chinese means star. So my first point is “Every man and every woman is a wuxing”, and beside it there is a pentagram with the five elements, as “五
The next layer down is 無形 wúxíng, which translates to “incorporeal / virtual / formless / invisible / intangible”. For this representation I put an upside down pentagram to represent spirit descending into matter. This of course represents the Ruach of Qabalah:
Similar to the appearance of the colors on the first pentagram, I merely flipped the top one upside down and placed the colors to match aesthetically. In the above diagram of the Ruach, the Number 5 for example is representing Geburah (which in Qabalah is Mars, the Fire Star), the Number 4 is Chesed (which is Jupiter), etc. whereas in my image based more on aesthetic design, the right side of the upside down pentagram has the red on the top right, and blue on the bottom right – again only highlighting that this is aesthetic choice.
Ruach is a Hebrew word which means “Spirit”, or “Breath”, and it is “incorporeal”, or invisible which is why next to the upside down pentagram I put the alchemical symbol for spirit.
Lastly at the bottom of the image is the Star Tarot Card from the Thoth Deck which Aleister Crowley designed to encapsulate the Thelemic Qabalah. The Star connects Wisdom (Chokmah) into Tipharet (the heart). The card is titled ‘The Daughter of the Firmament. The Dweller between the Waters‘, the Book of Thoth describes the imagery used in the card, but I’ll only point out here that “This water is the water of the great Sea of Binah.” (Click here to see an Interactive Thelemic Qabalah tree and read the cards description).
With the last rung of the image, I had used 悟性 wùxìng which translates to “perception / wits / power of understanding / comprehension”. Binah in Qabalah is Understanding, which is why I intended to use almost a “flashlight”-like effect and placed the top of the Tree of Life at the bottom portion of the image, drawing the viewer’s eye to the sphere of Understanding. Of course Binah is in the Supernal Triangle which is in Unity (non-dual mind) and is above the Abyss, beneath the Abyss is the world of Duality and contradiction.
Binah is Cosmic Space and Nuit, and Wu means “Emptiness” and “Sunyata” and is key for enlightenment in Buddhism/Zen where emptiness is also associated with cosmic space or the space element, so the Wu theme and all of this fit perfectly together.