The Abyss has nothing to do with hell, and yet you can find hell in it.
I was asked what the HGA is and what the Abyss is.
I will start with an overview, which doesn’t say much for me, but the description of the Abyss and one’s travel through it, may reflect better back on this poor description.
The HGA by Golden Dawn, Crowley or Abramelin standards can mean different things to those who go to the point of experiencing it. It is at a point where one gives up there ego, there spiritual ego, and embrace the framework that is one’s highest self, where one can receive gnosis from the universe or the divine. Whether self is one’s Self as their own soul’s POV, or the soul that they have vis-a-vis a deity. Your experiences and YMMV, depending on your prep work, tradition, capacity and more prepwork, and what honest relationship you have with whatever you for your focus of the all is. That is it.
What does it mean, for a Thelemite (a.k.a. via Crowley) it is the manifestation of conversation with that aspect of yourself and exercising your will, regardless of the nature of that relationship described above. Others it is to bathe in the Gnosis of their preferred deity, for good, bad, ill or indifferent. And in the end, one can only make sense of it in the living life based on all of the experiences, disciplines, faculties and exposure to every concept, symbol and framework you have the capacity to work with at any given moment. The living experience makes that difficult, the energy tends to burn out the mind and body. Others of us learn to work with spirit bodies/bodies of light, astral, essence or tulpas, thought forms or created own egregores or god forms. Those who practice the shamanic, Bon or other multi-aspecting sets of self to do that, can do it all the time. The body, emotion and mind is just an imperfect interface. While living it is a useful tool, to frame sets of experience into the spirit world also.
The Abyss is a spiritual dynamic, but the wording is every bit important to understand the full import of its meaning.
The first veil to pass is Paroketh. This is getting over your primary ego. The physical mental and emotional state that one is comfortable in saying to their physical self, “this is I”. The I is just a matter of saying this is where I consciously know my best self and as it functions. This is wholly dependent on having a steady metabolism or metabolic pattern, with a stable pattern of emotions, that the person can access there memory, and process it and their experiences. When one does a system check this all works, that is I. This is what one passes through to get to Tipareth or starts the pass to the center of the tree of life.
Once past Paroketh, the body, mind and emotions are just tools to frame all sorts of experiences, First all the varied emotional, metabolic changes, that can be identified in a 1000 different spiritual practices. The key spiritual practices is being quiet, meditate and see all the passings of these variations of self, and make sure they are coherent, connected, and identify the energetic realities to the core spiritual self of spirit and soul. Once this frame work is built, it is all again, just a tool. Those who form a spiritual ego, takes one or several of these patterns, even crafted of their own, saying this is it and this is I, is bound to the ego yet at a higher form. Most spiritual seekers get stuck there. So many spiritual entities are altogether comfortable in influencing a person to get to be one or the other patterns that ultimately support the ego and power of those beings. Be it gods, demons, angels, or other divine beings, beings on other planes, with or without, overworlds or underworlds. The support of a structure of a set of egos become an egregore. It gets powerful and work to prevent people to get through the Abyss. The AByss is everywhere and nowhere. Just like any other spiritual dynamic of the planets of planes, of the aethers, they are all their own dynamics.
Some of these dynamics supposedly are designed to help step people through a frame work of experiences so they can develop a direct gnosis or understanding of either self, god or the universe. One has to let go of all of that programming to experience the world or the universe as it is. Too often beings often at higher levels give people gnosis to sway their dynamic in the universe. And the patterns, all of them that one has experienced, is the only tools our spirit or soul has to work out what happened to themselves. The first part of dealing with other ego’s and knowing them for what they are is knowing ones own thoroughly at whatever level. And like any sets of relationships, you have to work out who is true, telling the truth, and what are lying if not directly, but giving details in such a way for you to draw and act on the wrong conclusions , just like any evil sociopath.
The spirit vehicle and ones own personal soul, if you are lucky enough to have built one, will carry the spiritual dynamic one has built with an honest relationships they have had in the world/universe consistently. Otherwise you become fodder for the beings in the top of the food chain.
The choice to develop one’s self to evolve and grow versus accepting patterns that seem all gee whiz wonderful, which doesn’t teach how to create or develop them, nor the experiences to take you the next steps, is a serious choice. The acceptance of the knowledge of wisdom of solomon of god, is an affect that one can take on like a mantle or coat. How to make the coat of many colors and to do many other things, one has to choose develop themselves and evolve. The gift is a curse of relying on the gift, and not learning how to create the power all by yourself.
The Abyss is thousands times more terrifying than letting go of the Ego, which for most people totally horrifying. You are letting go of all that you are, or all the connections that you are so you can experience all that is not you as best you can and as honestly as you can. This is a lot of work. It is the great work.
In Zen you only understand something perfectly if you can forget it completely. By doing so you are totally in the being of self. Or, whatever object you are focused on in forgetting.
It isn’t so much forgetting, but letting go of who you are to fully experience what you are not. But it is that state of being all of who you are and forgetting about yourself, can you experience the gnosis of whatever you are trying to contact (intent) This dynamic for the lack of a better way to describe it is the Knowledge and conversation with your HGA.
Hell is your attachments to a dynamic. Whether it is an ancestor realm that is a mix of overworld and underworld with a back drop of the physical world. Or your dynamic to an underworld of a divine being and its pattern in the overworld and underworld. This is a very specific thing architected by a divine being, its minions and the people who follow it. Even with that belief peoples spirits work through their attachments. Christianity, grace is supposed to help a person separate attachments to the underworld off. For most people they just hang out in a plane until these aspects separate all on their own.
A person with integrity with their spirit and soul and have exercised relationships with spirit, and the other planes build in the intelligence to traverse these realms according to their will. Others it is all depends on the nature of the attachments they have and their egos.
The literature about being lost in the Abyss, people get stuck with their spiritual egos, and they remain stuck in the Abyss that is everywhere keeping them in the pattern they themselves have doomed themselves too. Whether it is egos, attaching themselves to lies or untruths that they have accepted, all of which prevents one from going further. Traversing the Abyss isn’t a one time thing. But the first time is the hardest. Failing that, the destruction of their core spirit and soul becomes accelerated. Ideally they loose enough of that destructive ego, to start over again, something other than what you were before.