What is the value of a received or channeled text? It goes without saying that whether or not it’s presented as holy writ, one shouldn’t take it entirely at face value. It seems that the real use for such a text is both ascriptive and relational.
It is ascriptive in the sense that the text is a mirror—you ascribe or attach certain closely held values to it. You use it as a tool to express certain stories about yourself and what you believe. For example, one might be a Thelemite or a Christian or a Muslim or a Buddhist and a particular “received” text might express one’s core beliefs in those areas. Such a document is a space to interpret the values held in common with a community of believers.
But it’s also relational in the sense that without its mythology, assumptions about the world, and particular poetry, it could not be set apart from everyday texts like grocery lists or new stories. A channeled document must be regarded as inherently special in order to impart a feeling of holiness or otherworldliness. This is what helps maintain its unique status. In other words, part of what makes a channeled text useful is its weirdness, its inborn magic.
Keeping these attributes in mind gets us beyond fundamentalist obstacles like wondering whether the story is “true” or arguing about the extent to which it may have been embellished or outright fabricated by the scribe who wrote it down.
A smart reading of Liber AL vel Legis, for instance, will be far less interested in whether Nuit, Hadit, and Ra-Hoor-Khuit really have an objective existence and a lot more interested in “reader response”: what the text means to a given reader in the space and time it is read.
It seems the way to use these texts is to approach them as if they were a palette of vivid paints. What picture will we paint with it? What image takes shape in the mind’s eye? What emerges might be the only possible authentic text—the only one the reader can truly know.