There is a great deal of mischief arising from the ignorance and the misunderstanding of the spiritual principles that lies at the heart of the Order that hath No Name among Men. This is the first of several articles where I will attempt to bring clarity to the history, structure and function of what has come to be known as the A∴A∴.
The Order that hath No Name among Men
The Order that hath No Name among Men is a reference to that fellowshop of initiates that Councillor Karl von Echarthausen wrote about in his book The Cloud Upon the Sanctuary, parts of which Crowley later adapted into an official publication of the A∴A∴
In the Gnostic Mass it is that fellowship that we claim communion by dint of the passing of Gnosis from generation to generation to us their heirs, under the name the True Church of old time.
The Communion of Saints
While Crowley in one of his more lucid moments declared to Norman Mudd that Communion of Saints is the equivalent of copulation with ones partner and brushed the list of saints off as rhetorical flourish to W. B. Crow, it is clear given what I have referenced above that it has wider implications than that.
In An Account of the A∴A∴ he declares that this
“interior community of light is the reunion of all those capable of receiving light, and it is known as the Communion of Saints, the primitive receptacle for all strength and truth, confided to it from all time.”
In other words everyone who has heard the call of the Siren, “He who will shall attain,” and answered affirmatively that he Will, is an aspirant to that Great Order. He aspires to be admitted to that Communion and achieve reunion with its fellowship of initiates. In other words it is you alone that can admit yourself to become an aspirant and it is by dint of your work that you are worthy to be admitted into communion.
The Order is in other words a spiritual Order. It is not confined to any worldly authority. This means also that no one but yourself can admit or expel yourself from such a fellowship. This is done through the betrayal of its principles or by actively severing the link back to the messiah, V.V.V.V.V.
The Inner and Outer College
All aspirants to the A∴A∴ are pledged to serve humanity. Some adepts however might find themselves called to serve humanity by codifying (to the extent that this can be codified) the pilgrim’s path and serve other aspirants by guiding them along this path.
Does this mean that this is the only way that one can aspire or attain? No, but it does enable these adepts to create an outer college where the aspirant may be prepared and assisted along the path to Communion.
As witnessed in The History Lection of the A∴A∴, all these adepts can do is build the temple and await opening shop until they receive authority to found an Inner College that oversees the work of an Outer College. This authority can be granted only by the Head of the A∴A∴, V.V.V.V.V., and according to The Book of Lies he grants this authority to only one individual, who from them on works under his guidance. This continues until death or if V.V.V.V.V., in accordance with the principles set forth in An Account of the A∴A∴ withdraws from this communion.
It is by this authority alone that the Inner College can govern the Outer College. We witness a testimony of this spiritual principle in an appointment by Aleister Crowley to succeed him as head of Inner College of the A∴A∴. In this document he declares that his successor must make contact with the Secret Chiefs before proceeding and continue the work under their guidance.
Formal Recognition of Attainment
In One Star in Sight Crowley is crystal clear that one might very well be spiritually of a higher grade than the one has formally been recognized as. The reason for this disparity is that the Inner College formally recognize someone that they trust to be able to guide their juniors.
You can attain the Grade of Magister Templi without ever travelling on the astral plane. In fact Crowley claims in his Confessions that the Universe is busy with creating such beings all the time who have never heard about the A∴A∴ or attained by its methods. But such an individual is not fitted to guide Neophytes to attain the Grade of Zelator as mastery of such is part of their task.
Consequently it is not a question of refusing to recognize someone as an aspirant or even a member of the A∴A∴ if they do not have formal recognition as such. It is a question of whether or not someone is fit to teach, test and serve in that particular way that is described in the oaths and tasks of the Outer College.
If they want to teach, then they have to make contact and submit evidence and be prepared to be tested to ascertain that they have attained by those very methods. It is only in this sense that formal grades becomes important. To the Outer World we are all but Aspirants, no matter where we are along the path.