Someone wanna tell me about the Abyss?
Hickory: Hmm… the Abyss?
Dickory: The concept of the “Abyss” posits that there is a fundamental separation between the human and the divine. What magicians refer to as the Abyss is usually visualized as a membrane separating the “supernal” or perfect spheres of the Tree of Life from the “mundane” or flawed spheres.
Dock: I see it as an extension of Judeo-Christian “we’re not worthy” claptrap.
What does Abyss look like? Who else is there?
Hickory: I do not know.
Dickory: Seems I’ve heard it spoken of in this way: from below it looks like an impenetrable chasm; from above, it no longer exists. This suggests the idea that it is a one-way blockage — IOW that divine energy can “come down” from Kether, but that impurities from Malkuth are blocked from getting past. Many mages describe it as a feeling of utter solitude, and say that it will never be mistaken once you get there.
Dock: It’s a mirror, man; you pass through, and then you meet a mad hatter and a rabbit who’s running late…
Why does a person want to cross the Abyss?
Hickory: To get to the other side, of course. But that’s just speculation. I really don’t know.
Dickory: Because it is part of the “Great Work” of magick (as conceived in modern terms) to reconcile the human and the divine. This is the way of the Boddhisattva, who seeks the perfection of all that is not perfect. To cross, the magician must be willing to have his or her imbalanced “ego” completely destroyed. All that will be left inside the magician, supposedly, is the divine.
Dock: ‘Cuz, man, it’s all the rage.
What do you risk to cross it?
Hickory: Not sure about that either.
Dickory: Tradition says this is really risky. The magician risks insanity or death should the working be failed. Modern magicians speak of the enlightenment that follows as a sort of continual work in progress — not a state that stays at the same level once attained, but something which must be actively maintained. BTW, life experiences can also manifest themselves as an Abyss, for example, a major crisis that forces the magician to take life head on and become more than him or herself.
Dock: Hey, come on in, the water’s fine…
How do you get there? Can you get there in dreams?
Hickory: I do not know.
Dickory: There are many paths to the Abyss, and a dream manifestation of a magician who is “ready” to encounter it would not be out of the question. Generally the magician is encouraged first to acquire a good, conversant knowledge of qabalah, tarot, and other basic disciplines. Then the magician should seek the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel. Once this is achieved, and the magician has completed the necessary work with the HGA, is the magician “traditionally” ready to face the Abyss.
Dock: Hey, I think there’s a scene in “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” where they come to this big chasm, and there’s this guy, who asks them three questions. Now, this is really funny. Listen to this…