I wanted to share this short story here, which was written by Frater T Omphalos, O.T.O Norway. I originally saw it as a post in a Thelema group on Facebook. Not only did it clarify some things I had personally been confused about, I think it says a lot not only about the Law and Great Work, but the best mindset to approach things in if being an artist happens to be your part in the Great Work (though art is not specifically mentioned here.) And nuances in the idea that “success is your proof”. Anyway, I’ve talked enough. Here it is:
The Master and his Promulgators (a short story)
The Master sent out four students into the world to promulgate the Law having accepted the Curse of his Grade, but knowing full well that most would reject his Law. His four students went unto the four corners of the world.
The first one declared the Law unto a Stranger. It was a grand and wondrous Law. One that did not mention any mythomaniacal tall tales about Secret Chiefs, dubious miracles or even the subtle realms that the Law speaks of. Instead he told the stranger about how he had been born with certain aptitudes and natural inclinations and that it was not only his right, but his duty, to express these freely and in harmony with his surroundings. Only that way, or so he claimed, could he become truly happy.
The second one declared the Law unto another stranger. This too was a grand and wondrous Law, but he mentioned fabulous and inspiring tales about how certain beings were in control of the events in the World, called Secret Chiefs, that there existed subtle realms that we gain a glimpse into as adherents to that Law, that miraculous events had transpired that had led to the beginning of a new Aeon where Man was made God. He made no mention however of the origins of this new Aeon as they would likely be taken negatively.
The third one declared the Law unto a third stranger and this man was informed that the Law of Thelema necessitated discipline and lots of it. He told him of all the fabulous and inspiring tales and taught him how to become God. He made however no mention of the system that made this possible, as that would only lead to more questions and a refusal to take up the work.
All three converted many to their ranks and after some time they returned to the Master to present their success, the fourth was however nowhere to be seen, having recruited few and in the eyes of the other three failed to form a unified movement of similar minds and works.
The first disciple went to his Master and declared. Look Master, my work is mighty, I gained over 10 thousand adherents to your work. I have taught them how to live in accordance with your instructions, to recognize and express their true natures in harmony with the World. Annoyed the Master stopped him before he could continue to bask in the glory of his success with a wave with his hand, but before he could speak, the second spoke out of turn.
My Master, he said pleased that the other disciple had displeased his Master, I know why you are so angered. I only gained five thousand to your cause, but they all know about the Secret Chiefs, the miracles and the dawning of the New Aeon and that Man has been made God. The Master, was angry that his second disciple had spoken out of turn, but before he could continue the third disciple, misunderstanding the anger of his Master, spoke.
None but I have understood you Master, you do not want converts, you want Adepts. So I have succesfully trained only 1000 Adepts to your cause, but these Adepts have attained all the preliminary stages in our Great Order.
Now, red with fury, the Master could take no more. You call this success, he snarled, I only see copies of yourselves in these ranks of yours that you have supposedly rallied to my cause. You have obviously never understood my cause at all. No, only my fourth student understood my cause, the Master sighed disapointed.
But Master, he only has 100 people rallied to your cause cried the first? The second and third nodded furiously. Moreover, said the second one, his disciples are Legion, not unified and of a single mind and cause and he has still not returned since his work is not finished. The third appreciating the full weight of these indictments declared, you told us that success shall be our proof. How can this be deemed success?
The Master then roared. My cause was never to remake the world in your particular image, but rather let each individual a chance to express his own starry nature, that is to express the universal image of the Law. You have deformed them with forcing them to live up to your own procrustean ideals. All four of you were concerned with success as proof of your work, but only my fourth student measured success, not in terms of conversion to the ranks of of the Law, but its successfull application in their lives. Each of you have robbed your ranks of any chance to true individuality, to approach the Law in accordance with his own as opposed to your nature.
Each of you had but a particular expression of the Law, true unto yourselves, but not universal to everyone, that you wanted to promulgate. This is an expression of a serious defect in your understanding of the Law, which is universal in scope, not particular.
Only my fourth student understood that my Law would be rejected by the masses, and so he never tried to use “whiter words” in order to lure people unwittingly into my ranks. Fearlessly he declared the Law and directed them to the Book of the Law and the commentary of the Beast 666 himself, leaving them to accept or reject it on the strength of the Law itself. True, his ranks never grew to be as large as yours, but that is not how I measure success and where you see division I see people approaching the Law in accordance with their own starry natures. Where you see fear of failure and a refusal to return because his work is not finished, I see someone who has understood the true nature of the Great Work: It never ends.