Within the Liber Nigri Solis, there is a chapter on the 9 Mysteries of the Aeonic ethos. The first of these is the Mystery of the Sangreal.
Knowledge of the mystery of the Sangreal opens the way into the further mysteries of the Aeonic Ethos. It is the river which nourishes all carnal manifestations of its reality made flesh. To drink fully from this fountain is to imbibe the gnosis of all mysteries at once in a singular moment of baptism into the wisdom of the Aeonic Ethos – yet each river of blood must also be traversed and each portion of the mystery consumed distinctly and completely as a portion of the banquet.Liber Nigri Solis., pp 54
There’s a lot going on in the above quote. It’s important to take a it apart and try and see what’s being said on an individual basis. What follow is what I understand it to mean, which may not be right for anyone else. This, here is my personal gnosis or understanding of what I think is being mentioned:
To start, I asked this question to myself, “How are all the mysteries revealed if this is only related to the carnal world?” It says that drinking from the fountain is to drink from all gnosis of all mysteries at once. Yet it also says this is the river that nourishes all carnal manifestations.
They key to that dilemma of mine is in the identification of the river vs. the manifestations. Carnal manifestations sounds like the world around us. The “Myriad of Forms,” a Buddhist might say in reference to the grand illusion of life. But the fountain being referenced here is the river, and the river is not the carnal manifestation. It is the life force that gives birth to the carnal manifestation.
The river then is a source to manifestation. To know this source, is to know the mystery. It’s not in the chasing after the myriad of forms manifestation can become, rather it is in the flow of the river that feeds it. The river is blood, giving life to experience. This is the mystery. What is that source, that blood that flows to nourish manifestations of flesh?
Crowley’s Liber LXV
This description of the mystery reminds me of Aleister Crowley’s Liber LXV. As I read and re-read this mystery of the Sangreal I was reminded of a passage I once committed to memory:
Moreover I beheld a vision of a river. There was a little boat thereon; and in it under purple sails was a golden woman, an image of Asi wrought in finest gold. Also the river was of blood, and the boat of shining steel. Then I loved her; and, loosing my girdle, cast myself into the stream.
I gathered myself into the little boat, and for many days and nights did I love her, burning beautiful incense before her.
Yea! I gave her of the flower of my youth.
But she stirred not; only by my kisses I defiled her so that she turned to blackness before me.
Yet I worshipped her, and gave her of the flower of my youth.
Also it came to pass, that thereby she sickened, and corrupted before me. Almost I cast myself into the stream.Liber LXV Chapter II, Verses 7-10
Perhaps this gives new meaning to Crowley’s inspired words above. When I committed that to member (so many years ago), I thought Crowley was talking about his use of cutting himself for the gain of self control.1 Crowley made use of a razor to cut his arm each time he failed in a task of the day, such as not speaking a certain word, or avoiding a thought. To me, his depiction of the boat made of shining steel was the razor… the blood the result of the work.
But now I ponder it differently. While Liber Nigri Solis is untested by me and it has no authorship, I give it the benefit of the doubt. It reads well and does inspire something within me. So now, if I analyze the words of Nigri Solis, the river of blood spoken of here is the life of all physical manifestation. Traveling it, like in Crowley’s river of blood, leads to the mystery. So too, in Crowley’s work he travels the river of blood. Could this reference a similar feeling? A nourishing force to life?
Traversing & Consuming
Liber Nigri Solis states that each river of blood must be traversed and each mystery within it consumed. This mystery of the blood is called the Luciferian Grail.2 I’m not certain what that means. The Luciferian Grail is not defined here and I’m not sure in what context it is used. A cup certainly.
The meal of the Grail is referenced now in the next portion of the script, “For each communicant, the flavor of the blood and the holy meal of the Grail may be subtly different, yet ultimately the blood is of one essence and all are drinking from the same fountain and eating at the same table.”3
This, to me, sounds like he is speaking of Individual Gnosis. That each Initiate to the Left-Hand path is seeking through their own tapestry of belief. For one they may follow Set, another Lucifer, still another Kali, Odin or Satan. For the name is not as important as the force behind it all. This darkness is our source of Individuality, and it may render our path differently to each supplicant.
The nature of the reward (the meal, described here) is based on the merit and effort of the individual in their achievement.
The Grail here is the infinite variation to the Initiate’s path. It is also connected to the Blood.
The River / Fountain of Blood here is the nourishing force of the manifested reality we appear to see. This is outside of manifestation, but interacts with it.
While the Grail does not change, the flavor of the proverbial blood it holds (from the river/fountain) is a unique taste to each aspirant. Meaning each of us see the world in our own unique way. This cultural identity, social/economic aspect, subjective universe (to use a Setian term) is unique to each individual. Deeper still, I assume this goes beyond the vulgar manifestations and references that each person’s personal gnosis is unique to themselves.
After all this, what is the mystery? The mystery is what the blood is, what is in the blood and where it comes from. Having a phenomenological approach, we may understand the river, the blood and the Grail on a unique basis.
Each meal, or consumption of a mystery, of this river of blood will bring us the merit of our work. This is the Great Work of the Left Hand Path. The establishment of Self and Individuality through the nature of our own hands.
What is the real working here? Obviously this work is not intended as a typical Grimoire, there’s no set of instructions. One must find the meaning and path themselves. So what is the path of the Initiate, as described in the First Mystery of Liber Nigri Solis?
Utilizing whatever means are available: Meditation, Awareness, Magic; one is then tasked with using our tool belt of experience to dig deeper into the nature of reality. Into seeing what is feeding our world view. Drinking the source of flesh nourishment, or perhaps the source of the spark of individuality. Then in the consuming of the mysteries. These are the wonders that are pondered, and then answers within. Each Initiate has these states. This is where their personal cosmology forms, or their ideas on their goals are fleshed out. A question comes up in meditation… “how can I ascend beyond the pull of psychology that holds me back?” In time, an answer appears. We let go, we sacrifice more of our nature, or needs… and in that process of shaping our selves, we are finding and overcoming mysteries. We are answering the call of the path.