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An Interview with Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki

An Interview with Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki

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An Interview withDolores Ashcroft-Nowicki
This interview was conducted in Lansdale, Pennsylvania, on June 10 1996, prior to Mrs. Ashcroft-Nowicki's Philadelphia lecture, by Mark Stavish of The Philosophers of Nature. SOL would like to thankboth Mark and PON for permission to publish the transcript of the interview on our website. Mark Stavishis the Director of Research for the Philosophers of Nature ORA Project (Occult Research & Application).Mark also serves the PON as a Regional Director for the Northeastern United States.
Copyright 1997, Mark Stavish. All rights reserved. Published by The Philosophers of Nature.
Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki has illumined tens of thousands of students in the methods of the Western MysteryTraditions in her various roles of teacher, lecturer, and author. In addition to writing ten books, she is the founderand Director of Studies of Servants of the Light (SOL), one of the world's leading esoteric schools. Co-founded byW. E. Butler, a student of the late Dion Fortune, SOL teaches practical methods of magic, Kabbalah, andoccultism, through a course of personal study lasting four years.
M.S.: What is magic?DAN: That is a widely asked question. Magic as far as I'm concerned is a combination of art and science.It's an art because of the traditional parts of things, the graceful gestures, the sonorous invocations, theuse of color, sight, sound, all of these things make it very much an art form. Yet it is also a science aswell because we expect something to come of what we do. Although I have no scientific training as such,I'm coming around very, very rapidly, to a logical connection with physics. So if I have to define magic,we can go back to Dion Fortune saying it's the art of altering one's consciousness at will. That in a sensestill holds. It is a diverse science that holds within itself both constructive, positive elements of a scientificnature and these beautiful artistic imaginings. Using and creating these almost dreamlike innerlandscapes in which we can live, move, and have our being.
 
M.S.: How then, does magic differ from the psychotherapeutic techniques of creative imagination orvisualisation, such as you would do in Psychosynthesis or a similar school?DAN: You know there's not a lot of difference. There is a very thin, thin line. I continue to say that I wishwe had another word other than magic. It's too hackneyed. It no longer means what we are doing or weare attempting to do. We have to find another terminology, this NLP stuff is beginning to sort of offer newways of explaining things, offering new terms, but so is quantum physics. Magic is first and foremost away of belief. In magic, I say, I believe I can control certain elements of my environment, I believe I cancontrol certain aspects of my endocrine system, through imagination, visualisation, breathing techniques,which in a sense come into the scientific aspects. So magic is a combination, it's a soup, a delightfulcombination of art, imagination, visualisation, fantasy, with a healthy dose of solid basis, because it is ascience. The thing is, we've lost the keys.M.S.: What are the keys?DAN: The keys are, or were, the training methods used by the ancient mystery schools. I mean when youthink about it, at seven, in the ancient Egyptian world, everybody presented their child to the priest atthe temple. They were tested over three days, those who showed any form of talent in the occult sense,were taken into the temple for training. Now this was a great for the parents in the sense they no longerhad to clothe, feed, or hopefully educate those children. It was great for the children in that they got achance that was not given to a lot of others. It was great for the temples, they had an ongoing inflow of talent. But how did they train them? We've got hints and tips, we've got little bits on the papyri, we'vegot little bits of ideas that came down to us through folklore, through myth, and any and every waypossible. But we don't have, in our hands, a complete curriculum of the ways in which they trained theseyoungsters. The way in which they induced altered states of consciousness and the projection of themind.M.S.: You have said your friends see you as compulsive about writing things down. I've seen in myexperience with most magicians that they are notoriously poor at transmitting their science.DAN: They never used to be. I had it pounded into my head, that if you were doing meditations, youwrote down what came. It didn't matter if it was sloppy, fragmentary, or if it seemed to have very littlegoing for it. You wrote it down because three or four days later, you might just get the key. I'm in themiddle of an unfoldment within myself -- mentally, spiritually, and even sort of in my basic understandingof something's. It's been going on now for about eighteen months. Every now and then, somebody willsay something to me, and I'll think, "Oh! That fits in!" and I hurriedly make a little note. I'm with a fewpeople, whom I've sort of taken into this little paradigm I'm working on. People say, "Have you read suchand such a things?" There is a sentence in there, or a paragraph, or this person is talking aboutsomething. And it all fits in. Or there is a dream, a lucid dream. And I'm finding that I'm not the only oneworking on this. It's like the "Hundredth Monkey". I'll have people writing into me saying, "I've had avery interesting realisation. It's this," and I say "join the club," and write back saying "here, have this."M.S.: It is like you're all baking a cake, but have different pieces of the recipe.DAN: Yes, yes. You see here we are going into another thing I'm compulsive about. What I don't like isthe way lots of people sit on what they have and will not put it out. Now I'm aware that there are somethings that you cannot put out until you have most of the puzzle. Otherwise your New Agers, with twopounds of incense, a new robe and three books of Aleister Crowley's thinking they're an Ipsissimus, cansend themselves three different ways to Hell. So you have to have a responsible attitude toward this.Once it's there, once you've got it you can say to people, "Hey try this." I think the way people hang on,"We can't give you that. That belongs to our Third Degree." And I think, "This is what they said toCrowley."
 
M.S.: Recently, several new organisations have been started, in particular the Philosophers of Naturebecause they found that many alchemists were starting from the beginning, reinventing the wheel,because the transmission of the knowledge was not happening. So much of in magic, Kabbalah, and thehermetic tradition has become secrecy bound. In SOL's Website, you recommend Regardie, and make nomention of Crowley.DAN: No, but when people say to me 'What do you think of Crowley?' I have an answer. I have greatrespect for the man. I have a great sympathy for the terrible upbringing that he had, I also think he washis own worst enemy. His cynicism was his downfall. But I notice that the people who are his greatestdenigrators go into a lodge and work his kind of magic. It's not that we don't acknowledge him. It's that Iregard his self as dangerous for newcomers. But, when you reach a point, where I think, you're going tomake a good supervisor, or possibly head a working lodge. Then I will say to them go a head and readCrowley, and know where he is deviating, because of his own weird sense of humour. The guy did have alot of problems, but he also did get quite a bit right.M.S.: You've said that the Western Traditions were in danger. Are they also like Crowley, their own worstenemy?DAN: Oh yes.M.S.: What are they in danger of or from?DAN: It is in danger of falling down under the weight of its own crassness. Nobody really wants to workanymore. Nobody has the dedication to say, "It's going to take me ten years to get through this thing."M.S.: That is related to what I am so often reminded of, that we have no Masters in the Westerntraditions, as opposed to the Eastern Traditions, or at least purported to be, and many have commentedto me, that their is no discipline in the Western Traditions, compared to the Eastern traditions. How do webring discipline to the Western Mystery Traditions? And, where are its Masters?DAN: Discipline. You see, I was trained in the Society of the Inner Light. Now that requires that youspend a certain amount of time in meditation, it also requires that you spend this time in early morning,because they say you're closer to the sleep state at that point. You're more likely at that point to almost,but not quite drop off, which brings about a lucid interlude. You're required to write this down within tenlines. Not five pages for every entry. If you have to use ten pages, you're not listening to what is beingtold to you in your meditation. Also, they like you to be able to condense what you've realised intosomething short, sharp, and explanatory. They expect you to have at your fingertips, a comprehensiveknowledge of two traditions or pantheons, whichever you like to call them. You're expected to study, toread, and they give you a book list. Now we follow something similar to this in the SOL. We are a little bitmore forgiving, we allow you fourteen lines, instead of ten. And I say to people, more than fourteen linesand it's going to get crossed through. So if your best realisation part is there, it's not going to be read.We know that there are people who work split shifts, so we don't say that you've got to do it at this time,but we do say we want a minimum of fifteen minutes. In the sense that if you're not going to getanything after fifteen minutes, you're not really going to get it after twelve more minutes, or sort of anhour. I don't believe in hours and hours of meditation. The mind is tired and starts to fold in on itself. Wedo have a reading list, it is fairly comprehensive, it includes fictional works as well on non-fictional. Wesay to people, if you're going to be a magician, you're going to have to have geology, paleontology,archeology, art, history, as many languages as you think you can cope with, music, a sense of color,mathematics. There are maybe twenty-three-ologies, that you can use, because magic so comprehensivea subject. I think that the Western Masters, however, are mostly withdrawn. They tend to work throughwhat we term the mind touch, overshadowing, or more rarely, the Indweller.M.S.: You have to be a Renaissance person.

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