“Part of the tragedy is that man does not usually see his own state, for it is precisely the realization of one’s own state that breaks the dominance of a mental habit. Realizing is an act of being awake in spirit, for the human self is consciousness, cognition of one’s inner essence. The truth will be found in oneself, within – not in any specific part of the labyrinth of one’s psychology, but in it as a whole, for that is the source out of which the world of mind has been begotten. In every part of that construction there dwells the focal point, its deepest core, upon which rests the whole manifold mind, whose different aspects the personality manifests one by one. This is the fundamental thesis of the gnostic philosophy: that the truth does exist, that it is attainable by man, and that attaining that truth is the real destination of humanity, thus also the gateway to the higher power and reality. Everyone who seeks wisdom from the inner world is already an aspirant and is knocking on the door of the chamber of initiation.”
– Argarizim, II: Limbus
“Death’s disintegrating effect can only destroy that which was already lifeless; without inner integrity and realized understanding. The parts in us that did not have soul, unity, will be lost, because they never were anything real. The apparent needs become ghosts, shells, and phantasmal echoes, left in the wake of the individual going onward through his more meaningful journey. The one who was a human being becomes several different beings, each one going back to its natural sphere. Beheld by the eye of an adept, it becomes clear that they actually never left those spheres. The animal in us, the hungry ghost in us, and yes, the divine being within, were always on their own planes of existence, surrounded by similar entities. What took them all together, made a reincarnated human being out of this menagerie of forces and different psyches? The red thread of karma: for this egoic idea of being connected by our attractions and repulsions becomes what we are when entwined with past deeds, thoughts – and the Work we are to do. The red thread of accumulating existence will thus always find its way through the labyrinth of mind, and thus help to make sense of its half-beast puzzle. This way, our post mortem experiences can be taken equally well in a linear and in an entropic fashion. The actual soul survives, yet its powers divide where inner consistency was not found.”
– Integration through Death & Dream, II (Unseen Fire #3)
In the above quotes, I have underlined the most important part for the second grade of Salome working: the grade of ASTERION, also called the Minotaur.
The Minotaur, or the bull of Minos, was a labyrinth-dwelling monster born from a union of human and animal. The meaning of this “labyrinth” should be clear from the above quotes: it is our very mind, including both the conscious and (especially) the subconscious twists and turns, corridors, and curious dead ends of the human psyche. But this psychological matrix is so much more than the profane world can guess, for it holds in it the true gateways both to infernal and celestial realms. The hells are reached most easily by following those selfish and turbulent energies which always seek their easiest, most “natural” (as we often hear the base-minded and simple people claim) forms of realization – the easy, wide path. Only the portals to actual ascension are reached with the utmost difficulty, slowly, only with the greatest diligence and sublimity.
This latter way is the occult way for the Star of Azazel aspirant to reach. They brave the inner labyrinth carefully, devoted, focused, with daily attention to the Work; the lantern of manas in hand, the staff of âtma in the other, vivified along the way by the living water of buddhi. In this way, the animals in the corridors are gradually tamed, the demons on the archways reconciled, and finally, the upwards-spiralling staircases of initiation can be found.
For Dante, Asterion the Minotaur had the head of a human being and the body of a bull. This is also our lodge Salome’s depiction in our second grade. After the first grade of dance on the temple’s checkerboard tiles, the second grade is not only dance but Work — work that calls for the vitality and endurance of the animal side in us. It is the cosmic bull in us, well known from so many different myths and legends: the very core of steady and unnerved vitality, enduring virility in aspiration and striving. The female taurus is Vâc, the Cow of the Magical Voice, an animal most sacred to Lucifer-Venus.
The great lesson for the Asterion grade is to gather all the elements of our half-beast energies under the guidance of one human head, one devotion, one perpetual act of spiritualization — making life meaningful both for ourselves and for the others. Such a vaccan mindset is absolutely needed to reach the occult rose of magical initiations.