After the debacle talking to IAO131, who insisted the Asana forms were not godforms, I got to googling and ended up finding Sabazius Xº’s guides in PDF form from 1998 or so. Which was my first complaint to the order: “Hey, I’ve got kids, papers lifespan is measured in hours! Can I have a digital copy?” “Nope, we’re worried those would end up on the internet!”
Sigh. As usual, piracy is caused by want of convenience. They’re online, complete with his signature and cross-nest-thing and seal of the order, because someone else probably had the same problem and posted them.
In short – they’re godforms. They’re just not the godforms Crowley uses later. However they do the exact same thing. Imagine, if you would, you’re in the valley of the kings. The godforms from the Asana as Crowley proscribes it are things we would observe as we approach the cities holy places. It’s sort of like astral tourism. Why does the Minerval do them? Because assuming the Minerval is at least even passingly familiar with Egypt, this was clearly designed to see if the Minerval would have any psychic tread in the OTO at all. If the Minerval just reported that the heel-up-the-butt posture was particularly effective, it would be easy to see that the Minerval really was either a blank slate or had no real psychic connections to the forms. On the other hand if the Minerval says “The King posture seems to open up my middle channel” (and it does), then we can reasonably assume that the Minerval has some sort of psychic ability. Maybe the Minerval doesn’t use those exact words but we all get the point. The Middle Pillar, incidentally, it’s proscribed until the 7th degree, which is where the PDFs end.
That being said, I checked the reading for the grades, I’ve done all the major cited books (although not memorized the stuff) through grade III. How? I’m curious about magic and all the books the OTO wants someone to read are also the books people should be reading. It’s pretty obvious. The fifth degree is where both magic starts being practiced in ernest (using Golden Dawn forms, of course) and then is “the natural stopping point of advancement” because most people don’t want to start OTO chapters.
What does this all mean?
If someone is practicing ceremonial magic and getting decent results using Golden Dawn forms (I am), they’re probably operating beyond what the OTO is outfitted to provide. This doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be rewarding personally, nor would it be prudent to say “oh you’re supposed to take a bath and do the LBRP”. That short changes the ideas here. On the other hand, this also means that by reading and doing the Golden Dawn material, you are doing OTO and Crowleys magic. The true aspirant to the great work however realizes that the magic is incidental to the philosophy. Should you join the OTO? Sure, if they’re doing more than the gnostic mass. If the only thing the order is doing is the Gnostic Mass, start reading up on the Golden Dawn rituals instead.
Now I have a particularly ridiculous problem – should I continue in the local OTO chapter in hopes of reforming it, full well knowing all the surprises, or just jettison the entire thing and work through the material on my own? My entire objection in the first place was that there was no material being taught which wasn’t already part of the Llewlyns weekend special. I suppose I’ll ride out my subscription this year and just walk. I don’t think anyone is going to fault me for giving it a spin.