Across the Abyss - on dangerous names and conventions
Nature doesn't come with names, it comes with beings and places. And both of them change over time, like any piece of land does, like any being grows old and evolves over time. Sometimes a name can be a key that unlocks the true nature of a being. However, that is rare and much more often names are man-made placeholders that need filling through actual experience. In these cases names easily turn into doors that lock away contact to the actually thing designated by them - because we trick ourselves and think by knowing their names we would already know their nature.
Strip away all man-made labels and the world turns raw and beautiful and untouched again. Without names everything needs to be seen, tasted, breathed and sensed again for the first time. Once the mental glass screen of names is shattered, we are free to engage with real life again. Life turns into an adventure of exploring this other 'you’. — Names are a dangerous invention. They hold the power to estrange us from direct encounters - and replace sensing with recalling, or even worse: imagining... See how this works? Well, let's imagine all the people around you had lost their names. Imagine they simply were who they are without any mental markers. How would you describe them now? How would you recall them now? How would you think about them differently? Just by taking away their names, we would be forced to pay attention to the beings behind their placeholders.
Now think of the Abyss as an actual place. And think of it as a place that doesn't hold a name. What would you still know about it? What about it would you know from your own sensing, your own experience rather than imagining? Do you know how this place tastes or smells or even looks like? Do its colours change when dusk falls and dawn breaks? Is there even such thing as dusk and dawn in this place? — It is comfortable to build a tradition on names. Especially when you deal with such things as spiritual worlds, their living beings and places. What a convenient thing to navigate the map, rather than the territory. One doesn't even need to leave their study.
As human beings we hold incredible power. Just as we can decide to remember names, we can decide to let go of them. Through a simple decision we can change the world - and decide to life in a reality that is unbound by names. We can turn our own senses into the most powerful tools on earth again: they allow us to be engaged in constant discovery; real discoveries rather than imagined ones. We can decide to map out the entire world anew again, one day at a time, just by letting go of categories and labels that long have outlived the reality behind their doors... When we embark on a magical path such attitude is critical to develop any genuine credibility or craft.
See, general theories about the nature of the being Choronzon are completely meaningless. By following them you are just led further away from what needs exploring. All they do is to put another label on top of an existing one - and thus seal away the actual experience even further. — I’d like to hope that for Crowley Choronzon wasn’t a label - but a living seal that expressed and summarised his personal experiences in the Abyss. It was the ‘you’ that he encountered on his journey into this darkest of places. If we really have to, then I’d encourage all of us to find our own Choronzon, our own ‘you’s as we explore the magical realm. In doing so we might begin with discovering places and only then create our own keys to them. At the end of the day this might make all the difference in the world: wether we begin with actual experience or with names of experiences we are meant to make.
The recent article on Crossing the Abyss I wrote with such attitude in mind. I wrote it as an attempt of using my own senses to describe this nameless place or entity - and how we might experience it from within, rather than how to label it from the outside. What I tried to convey is what it is like to be in the Abyss, to cross it and return from it - at least for me - rather than speculating about what the Abyss itself might be. I hope this article can help to put some more genuine life into a term that has become quite bloodless over recent centuries. A scary and painful life that is; a life that will tear at us and bring us close to death. A life that requires us to pass through it, should we choose to, and discover our own secret name for it.