|Dagger, Knife & Sword.
In general about Blades.
The weapon of Yesod is the knife or sword. The dagger belongs to the three; dagger, scourge and the chain. A dagger is sharp on both edges and can therefore be used differently, to be thrust to the essence, while the knife divides.
The difference of a knife and a sword is clear. The size of course, is
evident and there is usually a professional swordsman behind the sword,
while the knife is a common tool, of which there is no prestige tied in
with its use. The sword accentuates the freedom fight, while the knife
does its work without heroism. There is a time and place for both in both
Geburah and Yesod. In fact it seems that both Yesod and Geburah have their
The knife represents the analytic faculty – reason, logic and truth. Truth in our basic and simple world refers to the measuring of parallels between language and our physical or emotional world or any other reality. The work of the Knife is the equilibration of truth, the cultivation of coherence, the study of logic and cause and effect. The sword is the same, but in its forceful phase , and its usefulness in destruction is obvious. It can cut down a jungle and it can bring the adversary to peace.
Peculiar to the nature of the work at the stage of the Zelator’s development, the mind must be broken down in order to isolate its basic elements so that they may each individually, be examined. This results in a seeming appearance of insanity to inexperienced observer. And as such, the mind will despair with each incoherent image that is destroyed. All conscious willed action is impeded; the march of events is now nothing but inertia. And the Candidate’s zeal for his or her Aspiration is all that remains.
Love must be the motive of such ruthless analysis. Therefore it is our own complexity that must be destroyed as it is an hindrance to devotion, which is the zeal that is the integral quality of character that should manifest in the Aspirant at this stage in his or her Initiation. Hence, one must have ideas, but they should be critically scrutinized so that no single idea is given the capacity to mislead the Aspirant from the course of his or her Initiation. The acquired ego-structure obtained by way of the Neophyte’s construction of the Pantacle must be the guiding arbiter.
In Yesod the work on emotions is to cultivate and educate them into passions. And this is done by burning incense, (the counterpart of the Wand), which brings forth the Aspiration, the Shakti, the ‘Bud-Will’ itself, and the work of the knife is to cut the smoke of the incense, the impurity of emotion, to be able to see the greater aim. In this education of emotional force, the Zelator’s zeal is perfected, because his/hers true emotions are discovered as healthy and willing to serve. These can now be sacrificed to the principle they love uttermost and truly. And they will love to serve in this way, as they couldnt possibly get a better better destiny than doing what they wilt.
In dealing with the ‘tendencies’ or ‘demons’, the point of the sword or knife is kept downwards. Otherwise, it’s effectiveness is negated as by pointing upwards, it would then be pointing to the ‘Crown’, which can not be divided. Yet, when the work is accomplished, it may be clasped erect and pointing upwards by both hands, symbolizing that thought has become one with the single Aspiration of the now full Adept.
Therefore the Dagger exists to ‘Rend the Veil’ that occults the mysteries of College of the Rosy Cross in that Tiphareth is the death, so-called, of the Saint. The work of the Knife is to root-out all those elements in the Aspirant’s life that do not harmonize with the nature of his or her Initiation. As the second Magickal Weapon to be acquired by the Aspirant, the Knife is the analytical faculty, which cuts away the complexity of all the impressions made upon the mind.
While the Zelator keeps on with worship in Yesod, he is naturally drawn to the focus of Air, language and symbols, as these affect him quite distinctly in this period. Yesod is a fantastic period for studies; it is so easy to take personal relation to everything that appears. When Yesod is finished, emotions are naturally quenched in the disillusioning process of the ‘Lesser Abyss,’ the Veil of Qesheth. They will reappear in Netzach in accordance with the process undergone. It is interesting to note that Qesheth equals 800, which of course, reduces to 8, Hod, the next step in the Zelator’s career.
The Knife is employed in the purification of emotions by transmuting them into perceptions as impressions upon the mind. Such perceptions are meaningless in and of themselves; but the emotions are worse for they delude their victim into supposing them significant and true. Every emotion is an obsession and the Zelator must make him or herself absolutely free from their yoke. Success at this, accompanied by the force of the love or zealous quality of the Grade, brings about an apotheosis within which Samadhi is then able to manifest.
In forging the Knife, let the Zelator endeavor to see facts as facts; as simply as he or she would seem if they were historical in nature. Let him or her avoid the imaginative interpretation of any facts. Only the absolute calm of the laboratory, where the observer is perfectly indifferent to what may happen, only concerned to observe exactly what that happening is, to measure and weigh it by means of instruments incapable of emotion, can one even begin to hope for a truthful record of events.
There is no emotion, which does not leave a mark on the mind, and all marks are bad marks. As opposed to the passions, which are functions of the Will, the emotions are impressed from without and as such are an invasion of the circle. Let then, the Aspirant practice observation of those things which normally would cause an emotional response; and let him or her, having written a careful description of what he sees, check it by the aid of some person familiar with such sights; specifically, his or her Practicus.
As the Sun pours into the Moon, so the Neophyte period is a stage where the Ego becomes inflated. The Zelator Initiation heightens this as the Aspirant’s consciousness is firmly established in Yesod. Indeed, proof of this is shown by the zeal expected of the Zelator. But here we come up against the Veil of Qesheth yet to be pierced. It is the Lesser Abyss that the force of one’s newfound zeal will drive one through and so a certain purpose is served. The Dweller on the Threshold offers great knowledge that becomes magnetically attractive and lures the Aspirant to its precipice and into a certain blindness. This is the Ordeal of Choronzon that the Zelator is said to undergo. And it must be so or there can be no advancement.
For if thou dost not this with thy will, then shall We do this despite thy will. So that thou attain to the Sacrament of the Graal in the Chapel of Abominations. CLVI.11
Then shall the true power of Silence be discovered and a new nature is brought forth. The Zelator will have found control of the Foundations of his or her being as now those foundations are realized from ‘above’ and it becomes the Ruach that drives the Nephesch. What started out as a martial zeal and why Crowley originally termed the weapon, the Dagger, has now become a quiet zeal…Silence. And we can differentiate between the Dagger that belongs to the set of three…Dagger, Scourge and Chain from the Knife that belongs to the set of four Elemental Weapons.
The defamation of the ego-inflation in Yesod is also natural. First;
if the work of logic isn’t good enough, the big ego is dishonest,
blinded by its own light, and fails in expressing its splendour in adequate
language, and in truthful terms, and it is dismissed as the madness it
has become. Second, as the inflated ego is approaching its own collapse,
there will be a scent of coming disaster (Dis-Aster). But eventually,
a healthy ego is a great sight. Cf. A Zelator’s Aphorisms.
Crowley writes that the Dagger resides at the heart of the Ruach (Tiphareth), which is the second and upper Astral plane on the Tree-of-Life. It may be argued that weapon at heart of Ruach in Tiphareth is more accurately, the Ankh. The Ankh is the essence of the Knife, in that it formulates the space of life. The Zelator’s consciousness should now have a preliminary experience of this plane by virtue of the successful completion of the Neophyte Task.
The Ankh is the Sword’s mystic essence, the power of truth and coherence in stating our Lady Nuit’s identity as ‘Not’, as well as with Hadit. This is the general word of Life, combining the paradoxical Nothing, with cause and effect; that results in becoming and life. And the cause and effect is the seed of the reasoner. The Ankh is a blunt weapon, and not a piercing one. But it has got the beginning of the piercing qualities in that it states the word and space of life, as that must happen to a stratum of Inertia or even to the completely unformed nox; the unknown.
When AC says: “The centre of Ruach being the heart, it is seen that this Sword of the Ruach must be thrust by the Magician into his own heart.” - He refers to the prinsciple of the Ankh.
Some Clues on the Work of Geburah and the Dagger
The path from Tiphareth to Geburah is the opposite of any Abyss, whether Greater or Lesser. It is the return to the world after the secret and holy chamber of Tiphareth. The work is to manifest the Lamp in the Macrocosmos. When the Dagger continues this lineage from the Ankh, we see that its piercing qualities are needed. For the work of the Dagger happens in the world and in no secret and holy chamber. Verily needed, for the world that doesn’t listen to the word of life, their Christian mercy will inevitably come as death by the daggers (of their own brethren), as their ethics have corrupted their environment, and laid it bare for conspiracies.
In Geburah, the awareness is also opened for the tumultuous war of all wills existing in our society. In this war; lovers and friends are all challenged, and wanted as recruits for the division of Hate. Everybody fights and allies often become traitors. A simple piece of advice is warranted; the Brothers of the Great White Brotherhood love and care for each other, while the Brothers of Black Lodge don’t.
For the Thelemite, the work of the Dagger is the painful inquisition of false Love, Hope gone astray and Faith fooled around with. Have no mercy in this work or you will marry the bitch-queen of ‘maybe’. The Abomination of Desolation is a true blessing in comparison to her company. So the work of blades in Geburah is a continuation of the work in Yesod, and the similarities abound, but on different planes, demanding a different hardship.