This time, I saw the door into the Aethyr as being of the same gray stone, but the letters were inscribed with “ZAA” in brilliant blue light, which then became white light as I pushed through. After a moment of disorientation, I found myself on a plane of endless light. There was nothing but my body and light. And so there was nowhere to go because every “place” was indivisible from every other place. It was a world of homogeneity.
My “body” was the only dark thing, a hollow shell that also contained the same light of ZAA. And I got the impression that my physical shell (which had blackened as if it were burned) was a kind of falsehood, that it, too, was made out of light but in a way that allowed me to believe I was distinct and separate. And I understood that this was true and false at the same time, depending on my point of view.
As soon as I had this thought, I saw another blackened shell (much like an empty corpse) of an old man hovering before me. It’s eyes and mouth were full of the same light. A voice came through the open mouth without the features moving. It said, “These are fields of light. There is nothing but light. The light shines on itself and the darkness is illuminated.”
I had the insight that the darkness is illuminated meant that it was (can be seen as) another form of the same light, just as I had sensed this relative to my own distinctness. I then saw a vision of a ray of light coming through a window and impossibly bending back so that it formed a kind of endless loop into itself. The entire Aethyr seemed, for a brief moment, like a giant crystal prism reflecting itself to itself.
At that point, I felt there was nothing left for me to learn in the session. So I returned. Back in my physical body, I was sweating. I could feel heat waves coming off of me as if I’d been sitting out in direct sunlight.
Discussing ZAA, Schueler offers a quote from Blavatsky’s Secret Doctrine: “Maya or illusion is an element which enters into all finite things, for everything that exists has only a relative, not an absolute, reality, since the appearance which the hidden noumenon assumes for any observer depends upon his power of cognition.” This is interesting in the sense that I experienced the homogeneity of light in ZAA as a kind of universal noumenon.
However, I again experienced the Aethyrs in my own way. Instead of experiencing loneliness and separation, I saw how separation can veil a deeper oneness. Maya is often referred to as a “veil” that obscures the deeper connected nature of things. So I did experience my individuality, but I also had an insight into its falseness as well. On one level, I am separate. On another, I am not.
Interestingly, I did have a dream last night about the Egyptian Neter, Nekhbet, who represents both Isis and Nepthys (among other protective goddesses). Of this, Schueler writes,
[Y]ou may see Isis and her sister Nephthys in ZAA. Isis is warm, loving, and motherly while Nephthys is cold, stern, and impersonal. The forms that these two lunar qualities (i.e., the waxing and the waning Moon) take for you may vary, but you are certain to encounter the qualities themselves in some form or another.
The fact that I had this dream on the night before I intended to scry the relevant Aethyr may be an interesting form of retro-causality.
This is further interesting because Nekhbet is, in a very direct sense, the unification of those two deities as the protective Neter of the pharaoh and of Ra as he travels across the heavens. This has personal significance for me but it also suggests the unification of opposites—unity underlying apparent diversity.
Schueler goes on to suggest that “Your main lesson to learn in ZAA is to accept individuality, but not loneliness. The terrible sense of loneliness in ZAA is a result of distorted thinking. The truth is that you are never alone. The entire universe is always a part of yourself. Realizing this is an initiatory preparation for the higher Aethyrs.”
Crowley, in ZAA, has a vision of the lunar goddess, Hekate. But I saw neither moons nor goddesses (unless we count Nekhbet the night before). Nevertheless, Schueler calls this “the Aethyr of Solitude” and I did experience a sense of being alone—that feeling of being ultimately inseparable from everything else and therefore alone because there is nothing and no one else. This did not make me afraid. It was more like an “illumination” of a legitimate perspective on reality.