Frater Achad - QBL Or The Brides Reception (copyrighted book, review only)
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Q.B.L. is a unique work in both Qabalah and Thelemic circles. In the world of the Qabalah, Frater Achad revealed revolutionary new principles that caused students of the Qabalah to reexamine and thus deepen their knowledge of the Tree of Life. In Thelemic circles, Aleister Crowley named Frater Achad his magical heir and Achad was fully expected to lead the cause of Thelemic Magick after Crowley's death--until publication of this book caused a rift between the two and Crowley began to distance himself from Achad. This is a ra... More >>>
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Q.B.L. is a unique work in both Qabalah and Thelemic circles. In the world of the Qabalah, Frater Achad revealed revolutionary new principles that caused students of the Qabalah to reexamine and thus deepen their knowledge of the Tree of Life. In Thelemic circles, Aleister Crowley named Frater Achad his magical heir and Achad was fully expected to lead the cause of Thelemic Magick after Crowley's death--until publication of this book caused a rift between the two and Crowley began to distance himself from Achad. This is a rare and valuable book, both for its insight and circumstances. True understanding of the Qabalah and its benefit in magical practice is clearly described, and the information contained is both practical and revelatory. The circumstances surrounding it--Frater Achad's falling out with Crowley and eventual descent into apparent insanity--prove a valuable lesson and warning for individual seekers and those associated with established mystery schools.
Frater Achad remains one of the most interesting and important magical figures of the 20th century. His initial Qabalistic discoveries continue to yield new and provocative ideas concerning The Book of the Law and other Holy Books of Thelema.
Q. B. L. or The Bride's Reception is a masterpiece of Qabalah and controversy. Its importance to the world of modern occult literature can be measured not only by its value as a remarkably understandable textbook of the fundamental principles of Qabalah, but also because it offers us a rare glimpse into the heart and mind of a brilliant and sincere seeker of wisdom and truth.
Charles Stansfeld Jones (1886 - 1950), a.k.a. Frater Achad, was an occultist and ceremonial magician. An early aspirant to A.?.A.?. (the 20th to be admitted as a Probationer, in December 1909) who "claimed" the grade of Magister Templi as a Neophyte. He also became an O.T.O. initiate, serving as the principal organizer for that order in British Columbia. He worked under a variety of mottos and mantonyms, including V.I.O. (Unus in Omnibus, "One in All," as an A.?.A.?. Probationer), O.I.V.V.I.O., V.I.O.O.I.V., Parzival (as an Adeptus Minor and O.T.O. Ninth Degree), and Tantalus Leucocephalus (as Tenth Degree O.T.O.), but he is best known under his Neophyte motto Achad (Hebrew "unity"), which he used as a byline in his various published writings.
Achad's Thelemic career began promisingly enough. After a few years working in the exterior sanctuary of Aleister Crowley's mystico-magical Order, he experienced a profound epiphany that originated with the Supernal Union of Beast and Babalon via their terrestrial avatars of the time -- namely Crowley and Jeanne Robert Foster, aka Soror Hilarion, the third woman to hold the Holy Office of Scarlet Woman. This epiphany led him to the discovery of Aleph-Lamed as the Key of the Law of Thelema -- vide Liber 31, in which he expounds on this and more. His presentation of his case in Liber 31 compelled Crowley to accept Achad's epiphany as genuine, and to admit him to the Grade of Magister Templi -- an unthinkable accomplishment for a mere Neophyte.
Later, of course, Crowley and Jones separated. The source of the problem originated with a misplaced suspicion on Crowley's part. He mistakenly accused Jones of stealing a storage of books that did finally turn up many years later; Jones was innocent. But Crowley also disapproved of Achad's reformation of the Qabalistic Tree of Life, and was highly critical of the works he came to write. Yet such disapproval is as unwarranted as his suspicion was, as any meticulous initiated analysis of Jones' Qabalistic revision should make clear. We can only conclude that the Prophet was personally biased in his rash dismissal of Achad's inversion of the paths of the Qabalistic Tree.
One of the differences between Thelemic religion and archaic religions is that it doesn't deem its prophets to be infallible. Crowley was only human, and the only logical thing is to accept that, and not take his pronouncements as absolute Truth, but rather as a generally reliable yet flawed guide -- particularly in light of Liber Legis, ch.1 v.56 (addressing the Prophet): "thou hast all in the clear light, and some, though not all, in the dark."
Following his break with Crowley, Jones rebelled against his former teacher and denounced Aiwass. He is mocked in some circles for having gone on to proclaim a new Age of Maat years later; but in a letter dated 1948 E.V., he wrote: "I may well have been over optimistic in thinking that the Aeon of Truth and Justice is very near at hand." Those who discredit him on the assumption that he was out of his right mind simply fail to grasp the whole picture.
What may be even more interesting is a quote of his from the very same letter:
"The Scientific Illuminism of the A:.A:. must continue. The System of Initiation came to an end with the Aeon of Horus, but must be revised and continue according to New Aeon lines."
This is exactly the kind of observation that Leah Hirsig made in her 1924 diaries (see A Tribute to Leah Hirsig, in the Library section of the sidebar of this blog). Such a reformation of the Hierophantic system -- streamlining the mystico-magical system propounded by Crowley in The Equinox and Book 4 - is now being worked out by the Ministers of the HTC.