Copyright © 2001, James A. Eshelman, All Rights Reserved
Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
Bhakti Yoga, in its higher forms, is a continuous recollection of Deity-as-Love, and a continuing participation in that Love. It is, at root, identical with the d’vequth (“adherence, intense devotion”) of the Chassidim.
Both bhakti and d’vequth have outer and inner aspects of worship. Ritualistic forms serve initially to establish the conscious awareness of this relationship with the root of all love and, later, to serve as a stimulus to its continuing recollection; but the essence of the higher practice is simply the continuing awareness of, and abiding within, the interminable Love itself. As it is written in Liber Legis: “A feast every day in your hearts in the joy of my rapture! A feast every night unto Nu, and the pleasure of uttermost delight!”
The davaqah regards this intimate relationship as being with “God.” The bhakti regards it as being with Ishvara. We say it is with the Holy Guardian Angel. All of this is the same, but for the words; and we are counseled best to remember those words with which the feet of the Probationer of A.'.A.'. are first set firmly upon the Straight Path: “Should therefore the candidate hear the name of any God, let him not rashly assume that it refers to any known God, save only the God known to himself.”
One of the most successful approaches to this state of bhakti is the Jewish tradition of daily reading in the Sepher ha-Torah, regarding the whole of the Chamsha (lit., “group of five”) as a wheel, or cycle, that one completes in the course of each year. For many years, I contemplated an adaptation of this concept; for we, in Thelema, have our own Sepher ha-Torah, or “Book of the Law;” and our tradition has, as well, long recognized the Torah as a Rota (“wheel”) — whence our word Taro. I established a personal foundation for this some years ago in identifying sacred readings and meditations for each of the 22 days of the Thelemic High Holy Season (March 20-April 10 of each year), originally shared only with Second Order members of Temple of Thelema, and later (Anno XCIV) published in Black Pearl.
On these 12th and 13th days of October, Anno XCIV (1998 E.V.), my mind has returned more pointedly to the deeper concept, and I have found myself receiving a more complete model, and then working out its details. Of great interest to me is that these two days coincide, this year, with Simchas Torah, the annual festival of the Torah that inaugurates the Jewish annual cycle of readings. Though the Thelemic cycle commences nearly six months from now, at the Vernal Equinox, I have decided to follow these promptings and let the teaching have its birth on its own schedule.
Until a better term comes along, the traditional term tephilah is recommended to describe this cycle of daily practices, in its particular sense of a psalm, or song upraised in adoration. [See below for download links and further explanation.]
Love is the law, love under will.
— Yaakov Dov bar-Aeshel
13 October, 1998 E.V. (Anno XCIV)
THE CYCLE of READINGS
For the 22 days of the Holy Season ech year (March 20-April 10), a correspondence is noted to the 22 Hebrew letters and their associated Tarot Trumps. These are the basis of such personal meditations as one may wish to undertake. The readings for each day are selected primarily (but not exclusively) from the Thelemic Canon (A.'.A.'. Class A Documents), so as to correspond to the symbolism of the Letter and Trump.
The rest of the year is divided into three primary periods, with two interregna. These three periods are linked to readings (a few verses per day) from three Class A Documents: Liber LXV (Liber Cordis Cincti Serpente, “The Book of the Heart Girt with a Serpent”); Liber VII (Liber Liberi vel Lapis Lazuli, “The Book of the God Liber [Bacchus], or, The Book of the Blue Stone [Lapis Lazuli]”); and Liber CCXX (Liber L. vel Legis, “The Book of the Law”).
These Books were chosen, and in this sequence, for three reasons. First, they are the three greatest of the Thelemic canon. Second, they are the three assigned specifically (for memory work) to the three Foundation grades of A.'.A.'.: 0=0, 1=10, and 2=9. Third, they reflect, in this sequence, the natural path of spiritual progress, because they correspond, respectively, to the five Elements, then to the seven Planets, then to the triad of root alchemical principles (that is, to the Supernal Triad).
The overall plan is as follows:
THE HIGH HOLY DAYS (March 20-April 10).
These 22 days have distinctive readings as outlined previously.
THE ELEMENTS (Liber LXV) (April 11-September 10)
One chapter per month for five months. One day (the 10th of each month) intervenes between the prior section and this section, and between each chapter.
THE PLANETS (Liber VII) (September 11-October 29)
One chapter per week for seven weeks. (NOTE: This cycle has a relationship to the 49-petaled rose.)
INTERREGNUM (11 days) (October 30-November 9)
A pause, corresponding to the Abyss.
THE SUPERNALS or TRINITY (Liber CCXX) (November 10-February 9
One chapter per month for three months. One day (the 10th of each month) intervenes between the prior section and this section, and between each chapter.
February 11 through March 19 constitutes 37 days (or 38 in a leap year; the next one of which will be 2004, the Centennial of Liber Legis). These days may be used as a time of silence and asceticism following the annual cycle, as the earth lies dormant and the Dark Cycle’s energies build and accumulate for their rushing-forth in spring; or they may be equated to the 37 letters of the phrase Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. (If the latter approach is used, in a leap year, the final day, March 19, should be the day to which nothing is assigned.) The eve before the Vernal Equinox is dedicated to a reading of “The Prologue of the Unborn.”
DOWNLOAD A FORMATTED “WORKING KIT” FOR THIS CYCLE:
I have packaged this entire system in a Microsoft Word 2000 document here. It is formatted to produce a set of cards, one for each day of the year, including the exact quotes with which one will be working. Specifically, it is formatted for Avery No. 8387 cards. These are 5.5" x 4.25" cards, four per sheet. You will need just under 400 cards (100 sheets). Alternately, you can print this on ordinary paper and use it as is, or cut the pages into quarters.
If you want the Excel spreadsheet containing the data from which this was built using Word’s mailmerge function, you can download it here.