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Israel Regardie

FOUNDATIONS
OF PRACTICAL

MAGIC
An Introduction to Qabalistic, Magical
and Meditative Techniques

FOUNDATIONS OF
PRACTICAL MAGIC
Israel Regardie has long been one of the
leading authorities on the theory and
practice of magic. This collection of
e s s a y s brings together a lifetime's
experience of occult techniques to form
an accessible system of
practical magic.

By the same author


CEREMONIAL MAGIC
HOW TO MAKE AND USE TALISMANS
ONE YEAR MANUAL
ROLL AWAY THE STONE
THE GOLDEN DAWN
THE MIDDLE PILLAR
THE PHILOSOPHER'S STONE
THE TREE OF LIFE

FOUNDATIONS OF
PRACTICAL MAGIC
An Introduction to Qabalistic,
Magical and Meditative Techniques

by
ISRAEL REGARDIE

THE AQUARIAN PRESS LIMITED


Wellingborough, Northamptonshire

F i r s t p u b l i s h e d 1979
F i r s t p a p e r b a c k e d i t i o n 1982

I S R A E L R E G A R D I E 1979

This book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of
trade or otherwise, be lent, re-sold, hired out, or otherwise
circulated
without the publisher's prior consent in any form of binding or cover
other than that in which it is published and without a similar
condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent
purchaser.

B r i t i s h L i b r a r y C a t a l o g u i n g in P u b l i c a t i o n D a t a
Regardie, Israel
Foundations of practical magic.
1. O c c u l t s c i e n c e s
I. T i t l e
133

BF1411

ISBN 0-85030-315-X

P r i n t e d a n d b o u n d in G r e a t B r i t a i n .

CONTENTS
Page
1.

T h e A r t and M e a n i n g of M a g i c

2.

A Qabalistic Primer

57

3.

Meditation

85

4.

T h e Q a b a l a h of N u m b e r a n d M e a n i n g

113

5.

T h e A r t of T r u e Healing

13 7

1. THE ART AND


MEANING OF MAGIC
1. Magic in East and West

W h e n I was a b o u t seventeen years of age, a friend loaned m e a copy


of Major L.A. W a d d e l F s Lamaism.
In those d a y s it impressed m e
tremendously, n o d o u b t because of its massive size. In every sense it
w a s a heavy t o m e , a n d t o m e s then suggested d e p t h a n d weight of
scholarship a n d insight. Naturally I knew nothing at t h a t time a b o u t
M a g i c , and beyond a few theosophical allusions next to nothing of
Buddhism. So the greater part of the significance a n d wide erudition of
the book must have passed me by completely, though it is a veritable
storehouse of knowledge.
T h e n , out of the blue it reappeared on m y horizon, again
t h r o u g h the agency of a friend. In the light o f the little knowledge and
experience gained t h r o u g h the p a s s a g e of several y e a r s , its contents
excited me enormously - and it w a s with the utmost interest t h a t I
reconsidered it. F o r m e , o n e of t h e things t h a t s t o o d out m o s t
emphatically this time w a s the extraordinary similarity between - even
the fundamental unity of - the highest and m o s t basic magical
conceptions of both E a s t a n d West. W h e t h e r this is d u e , as m a n y
exponents of the E a s t e r n wisdom would claim, t o t h e direct
importation of occult philosophy a n d practice from the O r i e n t t o
western civilization, it is not my intention n o w t o argue. Nonetheless,
it is m y considered belief that in occidental countries t h e r e h a s
definitely been a secret tradition o n a practical level - a tradition
which for centuries h a s orally transmitted the finer p a r t of t h i s
magical knowledge. In fact, so jealously reserved at all times w a s this

tradition that by most people it w a s hardly suspected at all. Very few


were the fortunate individuals w h o in any age were d r a w n as though
by invisible currents of spiritual affinity to the concealed portals of its
temples.
Occasionally a small portion of this closely concealed tradition
w o r m e d its w a y o u t w a r d s into b o o k s . S o m e of these latter are those
which were written by Iamblichus a n d the later Neoplatonists, and
also by students such as Cornelius Agrippa, Pietro d ' A b a n o , and
Eliphas Levi, etc. Its cruder elements found expression in the farfamed Clavicles, Grimoires and G o e t i a s . Yet for the m o s t part the true
sequence of teaching, and t h e vast implications of its practical
knowledge were, as above stated, maintained in strict privacy. T h e
reason for this secrecy m a y have been the feeling that there are only a
small n u m b e r in any age, in a n y country, a m o n g s t any people, w h o
are likely to appreciate or u n d e r s t a n d the deeper or sublimer aspects
of T h e u r g y , the higher magic. It requires s y m p a t h y , m u c h insight and
a capacity for hard work, which, needless to say, few people possess.
A n d there is, consequently, but little point scattering b r o a d c a s t these
pearls of bright wisdom which can only be misunderstood.
Indubitably this conclusion is c o r r o b o r a t e d by W a d d e l P s
Lamaism.
In point of fact, a g o o d deal of so-called esoteric magical knowledge is
there contained though it is presented wholly
without
comprehension. Hence his statement of t h a t particular aspect of
L a m a i s m is vitiated and rendered practically worthless. A n d while I
m a y agree with Waddell that s o m e of the Lamaistic practices h a v e
little to d o with historical Buddhism, his sneers as r e g a r d s an esoteric
Buddhism o n the magical side of things are simply laughable, for his
own book is a clear demonstration of precisely that one fact which he
has perceived not at all.
His book, obviously, w a s intended primarily to be an objective
account of the Buddhism indigenous to Tibet a n d a s practised b y
its m o n k s and hermits. Unfortunately, the prejudices and misunderstandings of the a u t h o r are scarcely concealed. So that, while
indubitably he did pick u p s o m e of the c r u m b s d r o p p e d h a p h a z a r d
from the esoteric table of the L a m a s , a n d recorded t h e m probably as
he found t h e m , nevertheless he had not t h e necessary training,
knowledge or insight into the subject possessed undoubtedly by s o m e
of the higher initiated L a m a s with w h o m he h a d conversed. T h e result
w a s that he w a s unable to m a k e anything of t h a t information. In fact,
his a c c o u n t of their practices s o u n d s simply silly and absurd.
Psychologically, he succeeds n o t in throwing ridicule on the L a m a s
but only u p o n himself.
Certain aspects of T h e u r g y or western M a g i c have n o w been
comparatively clearly set forth. S o m e early reviewers and critics were

of the opinion t h a t m y former work The Tree of Life w a s as plain an


elementary statement of its major traditional principles a s h a d yet
publicly been m a d e . A n d D i o n F o r t u n e ' s b o o k The Mystical
Qabalah,
a frank masterpiece, is likewise an i n c o m p a r a b l y fine rendition of the
mystical philosophy t h a t underlies the practice of M a g i c . I therefore
suggest that by employing the t h e o r e m s laid d o w n in those t w o b o o k s ,
and applying t h e m to the material in Waddell's Lamaism,
we m a y
arrive at an understanding of s o m e otherwise o b s c u r e p o r t i o n s of
Tibetan Magic.

Primal Concerns of Magic


It m a y be well, at first, t o confess that a good p a r t of the magical
routine refers to a psychic plane, t o certain levels of the collective
unconscious, t h o u g h b y n o m e a n s does t h a t wholly c o n d e m n it as
certain mystical schools feel inclined t o d o . O t h e r b r a n c h e s c o n c e r n
such p h e n o m e n a l a c c o m p l i s h m e n t s a s rain-making, obtaining g o o d
c r o p s , scaring a w a y d e m o n s , a n d similar feats with which b o t h eastern
a n d occidental legend h a v e familiarized u s - feats, moreover, which
require a good deal of explaining a w a y by the rationalist and
mechanistic scientist. Finally, there is t h a t unhappily large p a r t
which verges o n witchcraft pure a n d simple. W i t h this latter, I a m at
n o time concerned.
But I maintain, as a primal definition, t h a t M a g i c , whether of the
eastern or western variety, is essentially a divine process - T h e u r g y , a
m o d e of spiritual culture or development. F r o m the psychological
viewpoint, it m a y be interpreted as a series of techniques having as
their object the withdrawal of energy from objective a n d subjective
objects so that, in the renewal of consciousness b y a re-emergent
libido, t h e jewel of a transformed life with n e w creative possibilities
a n d with spontaneity m a y be found. It c o m p r i s e s various technical
m e t h o d s , s o m e simple in n a t u r e , others highly complex a n d m o s t
difficult to perform, for purifying the personality, a n d into t h a t
cleansed organism, freed of pathogenic strain, invoking the higher self.
W i t h this in mind, t h e n , a good m a n y of t h e apparently unrelated
items of M a g i c , s o m e of its invocations and visualizing practices, t a k e
o n a n e w a n d added significance. T h e y are i m p o r t a n t psychological
steps whereby t o repair, improve or elevate consciousness so t h a t
eventually it m a y p r o v e a w o r t h y vehicle of t h e Divine Light. A
sentence or t w o written m a n y years a g o b y William Q u a n J u d g e in his
p a m p h l e t An Epitome of Theosophy express so exactly the impression
to be conveyed that it is convenient t o q u o t e : T h e real object t o be
kept in view is t o so o p e n u p o r m a k e p o r o u s t h e lower n a t u r e t h a t the
spiritual n a t u r e m a y shine t h r o u g h it a n d b e c o m e the guide a n d ruler.

It is only " c u l t i v a t e d " in the sense of having a vehicle prepared for its
use, into which it m a y descend.'
This conception is likewise the point of view of o u r magical system.
T h e technical forms of M a g i c described in The Golden Dawn, such as
P e n t a g r a m a n d other rituals, astral a s s u m p t i o n of G o d - f o r m s ,
evocations (though not necessarily t o physical manifestation) of
elemental and planetary spirits, skrying in the spirit-vision, a n d the
invocation of the H o l y G u a r d i a n Angel, are all performed with that
single objective held ever before one. T h e u r g y and the exponents of
the Eastern mysticisms are thus in complete a c c o r d o n the fundamental
theoretical principles.

Objective Misconceptions
T o illustrate now w h a t I m e a n by the complete misunderstanding
which a purely objective a c c o u n t of magical practices is capable of
achieving, it will be found interesting t o consider but a few statements
m a d e by Waddell. First of all, let m e q u o t e from p a g e 152 (2nd
edition) of his w o r k : T h e purest Ge-lug-pa L a m a o n a w a k i n g every
morning, a n d before venturing outside his r o o m , fortifies himself
against assault by the d e m o n s by first of all a s s u m i n g the spiritual
guise of his fearful tutelary . . . T h u s when the L a m a emerges from his
r o o m . . . he presents spiritually the a p p e a r a n c e of the demon-king,
a n d the smaller malignant d e m o n s , being deluded into the belief that
the L a m a is indeed their o w n vindictive king, they flee from his
presence, leaving the L a m a u n h a r m e d . '
Surely this is a puerile interpretation. T h o u g h the fact itself of the
a s s u m p t i o n of the spiritual forms of tutelary deities is perfectly
correct, the rationale he provides is infantile a n d stupid. S o far a s
western T h e u r g y is c o n c e r n e d , centuries of effort h a v e shown that o n e
of the m o s t potent adjuncts t o spiritual experience, a s aiding t h e
assimilation of the lower self into t h e all-inclusive p s y c h e , is the astral
a s s u m p t i o n of the magical form of a divine force or a god. By m e a n s
of an exaltation of the mind a n d soul to its presence, whilst giving
utterance t o an invocation, it is conceded t h a t there m a y be a descent
of the Light into the heart of the devotee, a c c o m p a n i e d pari passu by
an ascent of the mind t o w a r d s the ineffable splendour of the spirit.

God-forms
S o far as the reason for a n d explanation of this process is concerned, it
m a y be well t o state briefly t h a t according t o the magical hypothesis,
the whole c o s m o s is permeated a n d vitalized by o n e omnipresent Life,
which in itself is both i m m a n e n t a s well as t r a n s c e n d e n t . A t the d a w n

of the manifestation of the universe from the thrice u n k n o w n


d a r k n e s s , there issue forth the Lives - great g o d s and spiritual forces,
Cosmocratores,
w h o b e c o m e the intelligent architects a n d builders of
the manifold p a r t s of the universe. F r o m their o w n individual spiritual
essence, other lesser hierarchies are begotten, and these in t u r n
e m a n a t e o r evolve from themselves still other groups. T h e s e are they
which represent in the hidden depths of the psyche those primordial
ideas which J u n g s p e a k s of as archetypal images ever present in the
collective unconscious of the race.
T h u s it is that t h r o u g h the union of the h u m a n consciousness with
the being of the g o d s in an ascending scale the soul of m a n m a y
gradually a p p r o a c h t h e final root a n d s o u r c e of his being. In the
Buddhist scheme this is ' t h e essence of mind which is intrinsically
p u r e ' , the Dharmakaya,
the unconditioned divine b o d y of truth. T h e
intent to frighten malignant d e m o n s h a s n o inclusion within the scope
of this technique. W h e t h e r the latter hypothesis is original with M a j o r
Waddell o r not is difficult t o surmise, t h o u g h the thesis is c o m m o n t o
all primitive peoples. P r o b a b l y it w a s m a d e by a L a m a in a lighter vein
to put an end t o leading questions; t h o u g h at the s a m e time it is true
t h a t in m o m e n t s of psychic danger, the a s s u m p t i o n of a god-form is of
e n o r m o u s assistance. N o t because the threatening elemental or
d e m o n , for example, is fooled or frightened by the form. But b e c a u s e
the operator, in opening himself to o n e p h a s e of the divine spirit b y the
a s s u m p t i o n of its symbolic form, does t a k e u p o n himself or is
e m p o w e r e d with the authority a n d dominion of t h a t god.
It w a s in Egypt, so far a s the western form of magic is concerned,
that these cosmic forces received close attention a n d their qualities
and
attributes
observed
and
recorded.
Thus
arose
the
conventionalized pictographs of their g o d s which are p r o f o u n d in
significance, while simple in the moving eloquence of their description
It is the Egyptian god-forms that are used in occidental m a g i c , n o t
those of Tibet or India. T h e technical use of these god-forms consists
in the application of t h e powers of will a n d imagination - as well as of
s o u n d a n d colour. A very profound p a r a g r a p h m a y b e found in The
Mahatma Letters, where K . H . wrote t o A . P . Sinnett: ' H o w could you
m a k e yourself u n d e r s t o o d - c o m m a n d in fact those semi-intelligent
forces, whose m e a n s of c o m m u n i c a t i n g with us are not t h r o u g h
s p o k e n w o r d s but t h r o u g h s o u n d s a n d colours, in correlations
between the vibrations of the t w o . F o r s o u n d , light a n d colour are the
main factors in forming these grades of intelligence . . . '
T h o u g h it is hardly politic t o enter m o r e deeply into this m a t t e r , t h e
r e m a r k s of K . H . a p p l y equally t o other forces and p o w e r s t h a n
elemental. T h e astral form of colour a n d light a s s u m e d in t h e
imagination creates a m o u l d or a focus of a special kind into w h i c h , by

technical m o d e s of vibration a n d invocation, t h e force o r spiritual


power desired incarnates. By the clothing of o n e ' s o w n astral form
with the ideal figure of the god, now vitalized b y the descent of the
invoked force, it is held that m a n m a y be a s s u m e d or exalted into the
very b o s o m of g o d h e a d , and so gradually return, with the acquisition
of his o w n h u m a n i t y , to that u n n a m e a b l e mysterious R o o t wherefrom
originally he c a m e .

Sound in Magical Conjurations


A n o t h e r instance of Waddell's lack of h u m o u r a n d insight o c c u r s on
page 3 2 2 . In describing the training of the novice, it is said that the
L a m a a d o p t s a 'deep h o a r s e voice, acquired by training in o r d e r t o
convey the idea that it e m a n a t e s from maturity and w i s d o m . ' It is not
k n o w n to me whether any of m y readers have witnessed any kind of a
magical c e r e m o n y , or heard an invocation recited by a skilled
practitioner - though I should say few have. T h e t o n e always a d o p t e d
is o n e which will yield the m a x i m u m of vibration. F o r m a n y students a
deep intoning, or a h u m m i n g , is the o n e which vibrates the most.
Therefore that is the ideal tone whereby to a w a k e n from within the
subtle magical forces required. It will have been noted t o o t h a t the best
invocations are always s o n o r o u s and intensely vibrant. T h e idea that
the voice should suggest maturity a n d wisdom is merely silly. This is
a n o t h e r instance of western c o n t e m p t rather t h a n a s y m p a t h e t i c
attempt really to u n d e r s t a n d a foreign system. T h e Tibetan specimens
of ritual given by Waddell contain an amusing n u m b e r of Oms, Hums,
Has, a n d Phats, but then western conjurations contain equally
a m u s i n g b a r b a r o u s n a m e s of evocation - Yah, Agla, etc.
With this question of sound in magical conjurations I h a v e dealt at
s o m e length elsewhere. Suffice t o remark here t h a t in The
Secret
Doctrine
M a d a m e Blavatsky suggests t h a t t h e vibratory use of
conjurations a n d sound generally h a v e a profound significance.
' S o u n d and r h y t h m ' , she observes, ' a r e closely related t o the four
elements . . . Such or another vibration in the air is sure to a w a k e n
corresponding p o w e r s , union with which p r o d u c e s good or b a d
results, as the c a s e m a y be.' T h e whole subject o f sound, and the
e m p l o y m e n t of so-called b a r b a r o u s n a m e s of evocation, requires
thoroughly t o be studied before o n e c a r e suggest an explanation
accusing either Magi or L a m a s merely of a pose of w i s d o m .

The Qabalistic Cross


O n e notes with aroused attention t o o t h a t the T i b e t a n s have a form of
w h a t is called here in the Occident the Qabalistic C r o s s . O n page 4 2 3
of his b o o k , there is the following description:

Before c o m m e n c i n g a n y devotional exercise, the higher L a m a s


perform or go t h r o u g h a m a n o e u v r e bearing a close resemblance to
'crossing oneself as practised b y Christians. T h e L a m a gently
touches his forehead either with the finger or with the bell, uttering
the mystic O m , then he touches the t o p of his chest, uttering A h ,
then the epigastrium (pit of s t o m a c h ) uttering H u m . A n d s o m e
L a m a s add Sva-ha, while others complete the cross b y touching the
left shoulder, uttering D a m a n d then Y a m . It is alleged t h a t the
object of these manipulations is to c o n c e n t r a t e the p a r t s o f the
Sattva, namely the b o d y , speech, a n d mind u p o n the image o r
divinity which he is a b o u t to c o m m u n e with.

Physical Attributions of the Ten

Sephiroth.

Prior to c o m m e n t i n g u p o n t h e a b o v e , it is imperative t o indicate


certain fundamental theories t o be found in s o m e b o o k s of t h e
Q a b a l a h . If the reader is familiar with D r W m . W . W e s t c o t t ' s splendid
Introduction
to the Study of the Kaballah or with D i o n F o r t u n e ' s
book The Mystical
Qabalah
he will have seen there a d i a g r a m
attributing t h e ten Sephiroth t o t h e figure of a m a n . A b o v e the head,
forming a c r o w n , is Keser which represents the divine spirit, and at the
feet is Malleus, while t o the right a n d left shoulders are attributed
Gevurah a n d Gedulah, M a r s a n d Jupiter, P o w e r and Majesty. In
Qabalistic p n e u m a t o l o g y , Keser is a c o r r e s p o n d e n c e of the M o n a d ,
the d y n a m i c a n d essential selfhood of a m a n , the spirit which seeks
experience through incarnation here on earth.
T h a t this Sephirah or potency is placed above the head rather t h a n ,
say, within the brain or in the centre of the heart, is highly significant.
It is the light of the spirit which shines always into the d a r k n e s s below.
( T h e spirit of m a n is the candle of the L o r d . ' A n d again, ' W h e n his
candle shined upon m y head a n d by his light I walked t h r o u g h
darkness.') This is an idea which h a s its parallels in other systems t o o .
F o r example, in The Epitome of Theosophy we find Judge writing: 'It
is held t h a t the real m a n , w h o is the higher self, being the spark of the
Divine, o v e r s h a d o w s the visible being, which h a s the possibility of
becoming united to t h a t spark. T h u s it is said that the higher Spirit is
not in the m a n , b u t above him.'
All mystical a n d magical p r o c e d u r e h a s as its object so t o purify the
lower self that this higher self which normally only o v e r s h a d o w s us
a n d is seldom in full incarnation, m a y descend into a purified a n d
c o n s e c r a t e d vehicle. T h e theurgic tradition asserts that, by the proper
performance of the Qabalistic C r o s s , a m o n g s t other things, this end
m a y be accomplished. A s a devotional exercise o r meditation, it is
used in collaboration with t h e formulation of certain lineal figures, the
vibration of n a m e s of power, a n d followed by the invocation of the
four great archangels. Its western form is as follows:
1. T o u c h the forehead, a n d say Atoh ( T h o u art)
2. T o u c h the breast, say Malkus (the K i n g d o m )
3. T o u c h the right shoulder, say ve-Gevurah ( a n d the P o w e r )
4 . T o u c h the left shoulder, say ve-Gedulah ( a n d the G l o r y )
5. Clasping the h a n d s over the heart, say le-Olahm, Amen (for
ever, A m e n . )
6. H e r e follow suitable P e n t a g r a m s m a d e facing t h e c a r d i n a l
q u a r t e r s , a n d the vibration of n a m e s of power.
7. Extend t h e a r m s in the form of a cross, s a y i n g :
8. Before m e R a p h a e l , behind m e Gabriel.
9. O n m y right h a n d Michael, o n m y left h a n d Auriel.
10. F o r before m e flames the P e n t a g r a m .

11. A n d behind m e shines the six-rayed Star.


12. R e p e a t 1-5, the Qabalistic C r o s s .
S o far a s this little ritual is concerned, o n e m a y describe its action
as under several h e a d s . It first invokes the p o w e r of the higher self as a
c o n s t a n t source of surveillance a n d guidance. It places the subsequent
procedures under the divine aegis. H a v i n g then banished b y t h e
tracing of the a p p r o p r i a t e p e n t a g r a m s all non-essential beings from
the four cardinal points with the aid of t h e four four-lettered n a m e s of
G o d , it then calls the four A r c h a n g e l s - the four concretized functions
of the interior psychic world, a n d the dual pair of opposites - t o
protect the sphere of magical operation t h a t is the circle of the self. I n
closing, it once again invokes t h e higher self, so t h a t from t h e
beginning t o the end, t h e entire c e r e m o n y is under the g u a r d i a n s h i p of
the spirit. T h e first section, comprising points o n e to five, identifies the
higher self of the o p e r a t o r with the highest aspects of the Sephirotic
universe. In fact, it affirms t h e soul's essential identity with t h e
collective consciousness of the whole of m a n k i n d .
If o n e attempted a further analysis, t h e H e b r e w W o r d
Atoh,
meaning T h o u ' , would refer t o the divine white brilliance, the higher
self overshadowing e a c h m a n . By drawing d o w n the Light t o the pit of
the s t o m a c h - which symbolically represents the feet, since t o bend
d o w n t o the feet would m a k e an a w k w a r d gesture - the vertical shaft
of a cross of light is established in the imagination. T h e horizontal
shaft is affirmed by touching both the shoulders, a n d vibrating w o r d s
which state that the qualities of the higher self include b o t h p o w e r a n d
majesty, severity a n d loving-kindness. Equilibrium is t h e especial
characteristic of the c r o s s as a particular symbol, a n d t h e tracing of
the Qabalistic C r o s s within the a u r a affirms t h e descent of the spirit
a n d its equilibrium within consciousness or within the magical sphere.
T h i s meaning is further emphasized by the gesture of clasping the
h a n d s over the Tipharas centre, t h e h e a r t place of h a r m o n y a n d
balance, a n d saying le-Olahm, Amen, forever.
T h e Sanskrit w o r d Sattva implies purity a n d r h y t h m a n d h a r m o n y ,
a n d of the three Gunas or qualities refers t o spirit. Similarly in t h e
western equivalent o f this s c h e m a , a l c h e m y , t h e three qualities a r e
c o r r e s p o n d e n c e s of the three major alchemical principles, salt, sulphur
a n d mercury. O f these the Universal M e r c u r y is an attribution of
Keser - t h a t holy angel w h o is the divine guardian a n d W a t c h e r ,
o v e r s h a d o w i n g t h e soul of m a n , ever awaiting a n ordered a p p r o a c h s o
t h a t its vehicle m a y be lifted u p t o its o w n glory. T h e r e is here, then, a
very great resemblance between the T i b e t a n devotional exercise a n d
that which is enjoined a s o n e of the m o s t i m p o r t a n t practices of t h e
Qabalistic M a g i c of t h e occidental tradition.

Lamaism and the Eucharist


In that section of the b o o k where Waddell describes the Lamaistic
celebration o f the Eucharist, a n o t h e r i m p o r t a n t parallelism is t o be
found. It describes how the priest or l a m a w h o c o n d u c t s the c e r e m o n y
is obliged t o have purified himself during t h e greater part of the
preceding twenty-four hours b y ceremonial b a t h i n g , and by having
uplifted his mind t h r o u g h continual repetition of m a n t r a s or
invocations. T h e actual description of the inner o r magical aspect of
the ritual, while not particularly well stated, is given for w h a t it is
w o r t h : 'Everything being ready a n d the congregation assembled, the
priest, ceremonially p u r e by the ascetic rites a b o v e noted, a n d dressed
in robe a n d mantle, a b s t r a c t s from the great image of the B u d d h a
Amitayus p a r t of the divine essence of that deity, by placing the vajra
of his rdor jehti t'ag upon t h e nectar vase which t h e image of
Amitayus
holds in his l a m p , a n d applying the other end to his o w n
b o s o m , over his heart. T h u s , t h r o u g h t h e string, as by a telegraph wire
passes the divine spirit, a n d the L a m a m u s t mentally conceive that his
heart is in actual union with that of the god Amitayus a n d that, for the
time being, he is himself t h a t god.'
After this meditation, the rice-offering a n d the fluid in a special vase
a r e consecrated by very 'fierce' invocations and c y m b a l music. T h e n
the consecrated food a n d water is p a r t a k e n of by the assembly.
F r o m the theurgic viewpoint the rationale of the Eucharist is quite
simple. T h e r e m a y be innumerable types of Eucharist, all having
different ends in view. A s u b s t a n c e is chosen having a special affinity
according t o t h e doctrine of sympathies for a particular kind of
spiritual force o r god and ceremonially consecrated. T h u s a w h e a t e n
wafer is of the substance of the corn goddess, attributed either t o the
p o w e r s of Venus, or t h e element of earth, presided over by C e r e s or
P e r s e p h o n e . Penetrative oils w o u l d be specially referred t o the element
of fire, the tutelary deity of which is H o r u s . Olives would be sacred t o
the force represented by the astrological sign A q u a r i u s , the element
air, a n d the goddess H a t h o r . A n d wine is referred to D i o n y s i u s and
the solar g o d s generally, Osiris, R a , etc.
By an elaborate table of c o r r e s p o n d e n c e s it is possible to select any
substance t o be the physical basis for the manifestation of a spiritual
idea. T h e consecration, ceremonially, of the material basis by m e a n s
of an invocation of the divine force accomplishes w h a t is vulgarly
called t h e miracle of t r a n s u b s t a n t i a t i o n . T o use m o r e preferable
magical terminology, t h e s u b s t a n c e is transformed from a dead inert
b o d y into a living o r g a n i s m , a talisman in short. T h e consecration
c h a r g e s it a n d gives it a soul, a s it were.

Talismanic Magic
A t this j u n c t u r e , I m u s t register m y emphatic disagreement with t h o s e
writers on science a n d M a g i c w h o , impressed unduly o r in the w r o n g
w a y b y m o d e r n psychology, explain the effect of a talisman a s d u e
entirely to suggestion. T h i s is sheer nonsense. A n d I c a n only a s s u m e
that whoever m a k e s this sort of a r g u m e n t is without t h e least
experience of this t y p e of magical work. It is this kind of experience
which comprises or should comprise the first p a r t of o n e ' s early
practical work in the technical side of M a g i c . A n d lack of experience
in even this elementary aspect of technical virtuosity vitiates every
opinion on other forms.
W e are confronted here b y the same p r o b l e m t h a t a r o s e over a
century ago in a n o t h e r sphere. T h e early great magnetisers after
M e s m e r - great n a m e s like de Puysegur, Deleuze, du P o t e t a n d
Lafontaine - claimed t h a t by m e a n s of will a n d imagination they were
able to open themselves to an influx from without a n d then t o t r a n s m i t
from their own o r g a n i s m s a species of vital p o w e r or animal m a g n e t i s m .
This force pervading all space they claimed could be used
therapeutically. L a t e r o n , when attempting t o a p p r o p r i a t e the t r a n c e
p h e n o m e n a and healing m e t h o d s i n a u g u r a t e d by t h e mesmerists,
physicians of the o r t h o d o x school eliminated the theory of an actual
transmissible force and in its stead employed the theory of suggestion.
Beginning with Braid a n d continuing t h r o u g h a line of very fine
investigators, a duplication of magnetic p h e n o m e n a w a s achieved
purely by psychological m e a n s without recourse t o any hypothesis of
animal magnetism.
But because p h e n o m e n a c a n be p r o d u c e d by o n e m e t h o d d o e s n o t
necessarily imply t h a t its duplication by a n o t h e r is false. It m a y well
be that similar feats c a n be accomplished b y quite separate techniques
based upon differing hypotheses - each valid in its o w n sphere and
each capable of explaining o n e set of facts. In a n y event, the reality of
animal magnetism, o r t h e transmission of w h a t in the E a s t h a s been
termed prana, vitality, h a s never been disproved.
O n the c o n t r a r y , it is a simple m a t t e r t o prove it quite adequately.
Let any n o r m a l healthy person suspend his fingers over the a r m of a
second person, imagining a n d willing t h a t his prana courses out from
his fingers in long filmy streamers of energy. If the second person sits
quite still a n d cultivates an objectivity of feeling a n d waiting, h e will
soon sense either a cold d r a u g h t o n t h a t a r m or a tingling in his o w n
finger tips which proceeds from t h e influx of prana. This is an
experience quite a p a r t from suggestion, for it m a y be a t t e m p t e d with
those w h o have n o idea of the fundamental principles involved a n d

w h o , Jherefore, are not directly susceptible to suggestion on this score.


Spontaneously, a n d without p r o m p t i n g , they will observe the fact that
a tangible transmission of vitality h a s been effected. It should be
possible to test it by s o m e very delicate instrument. Moreover, in a
d a r k r o o m , these s t r e a m e r s issuing from the fingers c a n be readily
seen if the h a n d is held in front of a black cloth.
F u r t h e r m o r e , one's ability t o generate this power is c a p a b l e of
culture. I h a v e elaborated this t h e m e from the point of view of a u t o t h e r a p y in The Art of True Healing (see p a g e 137). A n d it is also m y
suggestion that the interested reader consult D r Bernard Hollander's
work Hypnotism a n d Self Hypnotism where the p r o b l e m s of suggestion
a n d animal magnetism are discussed at s o m e length in connection with
experimental work - a n d t h a t m o s t intelligently.
Briefly, let m e say that suggestion does not invalidate in the least the
fact of animal m a g n e t i s m , nor the effect of a c h a r g e d talisman. F o r , as
I have intimated, we a r e confronted by the s a m e problem that years
earlier h a d arisen a s t o whether the t r a n c e a n d therapeutic p h e n o m e n a
of m e s m e r i s m were indeed d u e t o suggestion or t o a s u r c h a r g e of
vitality. If power c a n be passed t o an individual a s I contend it can,
w h y not to s o m e specific s u b s t a n c e which is particularly a p p r o p r i a t e
in its n a t u r e to receiving a c h a r g e ? Tradition h a s always asserted that
metals, g e m s a n d precious stones, vellum a n d p a r c h m e n t m a k e good
material b a s e s for talismans. If t h e vitality of the o p e r a t o r be
augmented by simple meditation exercises such as have been described
in The Art of True Healing, or by the straightforward magical m e t h o d s
of invocation and visualization of god-forms, then a very powerful
c h a r g e is imparted to the material basis of the talisman.
Of itself, however, the talisman is nothing. It only becomes
efficacious when properly consecrated a n d vitalized. T h u s the
Eucharistic substance is worthless as s u c h until it h a s been duly
consecrated b y a h a p p r o p r i a t e magical c e r e m o n y , and transformed
into the vehicle of an a p p r o p r i a t e type of force.

Consecration
T h e m o d e of consecration is, of c o u r s e , a n o t h e r matter, not to be
described here i n a s m u c h a s it is a lengthy a n d technical business. O n e
of t h e i m p o r t a n t p a r t s o f such a ceremony for t h e consecration of a
talisman or a Eucharistic s u b s t a n c e , is the a s s u m p t i o n of the god-form
astrally. W h e n the o p e r a t o r h a s determined t h e n a t u r e of the divine
force he is desirous t o invoke, a n d having selected t h e material
s u b s t a n c e c o n g r u o u s in n a t u r e t o that force, he m u s t e n d e a v o u r
during his c e r e m o n y of consecration so t o exalt the spirit within him
t h a t he actually b e c o m e s identified, in o n e w a y o r a n o t h e r , with the
consciousness of t h a t particular force or deity. T h e m o r e t h o r o u g h
a n d complete is this d y n a m i c union, the m o r e a u t o m a t i c a n d simple

does the mere subsequent charging of the telesmata b e c o m e . In the


case of the Eucharist the idea, however, is not only spiritual
identification with the deity as a preliminary to the ascent to the
u n k n o w n universal G o d , but the alchemical t r a n s m u t a t i o n of t h e
lower vehicles into a glorified b o d y .
While the higher consciousness of the M a g u s m a y certainly be
dissolved in ecstasy, it b e c o m e s imperative t o create a magical link
between that divine consciousness and his physical b o d y a n d
emotions. Therefore, the ceremonial magnetizing of a material
substance, be it a wafer or wine or herb, impregnates it with that s a m e
divine force. Its c o n s u m p t i o n assumes that t r a n s m u t i n g force into the
very being and fibre of the M a g u s , to c a r r y out t h e work of
transformation. A s the p s e u d o n y m o u s Therion once w r o t e : T h e
magician becomes filled with G o d , fed u p o n G o d , intoxicated with
G o d . Little b y little his b o d y will b e c o m e purified b y the internal
lustration of G o d ; d a y b y d a y his mortal frame, shedding its earthly
elements, will b e c o m e in very truth the Temple of the H o l y G h o s t .
D a y by day matter is replaced by Spirit, the h u m a n by the divine;
ultimately the change will be complete; G o d manifest in flesh will be
his n a m e . '
It requires some little magical experience fully to appreciate this,
but this simplified explanation will I think throw m o r e light o n the
actual nature of the c e r e m o n y t h a n does the description of Waddell.
I d o not wish to discuss in m o r e t h a n a few w o r d s the validity of a
Eucharistic c e r e m o n y celebrated other t h a n by the o p e r a t o r himself.
Bearing in mind t h a t a properly performed Eucharistic c e r e m o n y
results in the production of a talisman, it becomes clear t h a t this kind
of operation is principally of benefit t o him w h o performs it. It seems
to my way of thinking a useless rite to p a r t a k e of the E u c h a r i s t en
bloc. T h e B u d d h a is supposed to h a v e r e m a r k e d that n o ceremonies
are of the least avail in obtaining salvation or redemption. T o m e , it
seems n o t that h e a t t a c k e d the magical tradition in these w o r d s , b u t
rather wholesale ceremonies in which the audience plays n o active
part at all. There is n o willed stimulation of their o w n spiritual
principles - it is a passive vicarious participation in the labours of
other people. M a g i c , with Buddhism, agrees with M a d a m e Blavatsky's
dictum that 'the pivotal doctrine of the Esoteric philosophy a d m i t s n o
privileges or speical gifts in m a n save those w o n by his o w n e g o
through personal effort a n d merit

The Tibetan Mystery Plays


T h e r e is o n e final topic I should like t o refer t o at s o m e length before
leaving this c o m p a r a t i v e study. In so doing it is necessary to leave
Waddell for the m o m e n t t o refer to the writings of t w o other Tibetan

scholars, M a d a m e A l e x a n d r a D a v i d Neel a n d D r W . Y . E v a n s W e n t z .
Both of these scholars have written with s y m p a t h y and understanding
on Tibetan religion a n d magical practices. T h e subject to be
considered is a Tibetan mystery play in relation to Western magical
ritual.
Chod is a kind of mystery d r a m a , and the magician or yogi is the
sole actor therein. D r E v a n s W e n t z , in his masterly introduction to the
translation of the play or ritual in Tibetan Yoga and Secret
Doctrines,
explains that,
T h e Chod rite is, first of all, a mystic d r a m a , performed by a single
h u m a n actor, assisted by n u m e r o u s spiritual beings, visualized, o r
imagined, as being present in response to his magic invocation. Its
stage setting is in some wild awe-inspiring locality, often in the
midst of the snowy fastnesses of the T i b e t a n H i m a l a y a s , twelve to
fifteen or m o r e t h o u s a n d feet above sea-level. C o m m o n l y by
preference it is in a place where corpses are chopped to bits a n d
given to the wolves a n d vultures. In the lower altitudes of B h u t a n
and Sikkim, a densely w o o d e d jungle solitude m a y be c h o s e n ; b u t
in countries wherein corpses are c r e m a t e d , such a s N e p a l and
India, a cremation-ground is favoured. Cemeteries or localities
believed to be h a u n t e d b y malignant a n d d e m o n i a c a l spirits a r e
always suitable.
L o n g p r o b a t i o n a r y periods of careful preparation under a master
of Chod are required before the novice is deemed fit or is allowed to
perform the psychically d a n g e r o u s rite . . . A t the outset, the
celebrant of the Chod Rite is directed to visualize himself as being
the G o d d e s s of the All-Fulfilling (or All-Performing W i s d o m ) by
whose occult will he is mystically e m p o w e r e d ; and then, as he
s o u n d s t h e thigh-bone t r u m p e t , invoking the gurus a n d the different
o r d e r s of spiritual beings, h e begins the ritual d a n c e , with mind and
energy entirely devoted to the o n e supreme end of realizing, a s the
M a h a y a n a teaches, that Nirvana and the Sangsara are, in reality,
an inseparable unity.
S t a n z a s three to seven inclusive suggest the profound symbolism
underlying the ritual; a n d this symbolism, as will be seen, is
dependent u p o n the Five Directions, the corresponding Five
' C o n t i n e n t s ' of the lamaic c o s m o g r a p h y with their geometrical
shapes, the Five Passions (hatred, pride, lust, jealousy, stupidity)
which t h e yogin t r i u m p h a n t l y t r e a d s u n d e r foot in the form of
d e m o n s , a n d the Five W i s d o m s , the antidotes t o the Five Passions
. . . In the ninth s t a n z a c o m e s the d r a m a t i c spearing of the elements
of Self with the spears of the Five O r d e r s of
Dakinis.

A s the Mystery proceeds, a n d the yogin prepares for the mystic


sacrifice of his o w n fleshly form, there is revealed the real
significance of the Chod or 'cutting off.
T h u s the Chod as explained by E v a n s W e n t z is seen a s a highly
intricate magical c e r e m o n y in which the lama, identifying himself with
a goddess through the visualized assumption of her astral o r ideal
form, invokes w h a t we in the west would call angels, spirits a n d
elementals to attend u p o n his c e r e m o n y . These he deliberately invites
to enter his o w n sphere. N o longer does he act, as in other specialized
forms of invocation, by selecting o n e particular force only a n d
attempting forcibly t o keep all others o u t from his sphere of
consciousness. N o w he m a k e s a v a c u u m as it w e r e ; he opens himself
completely, and wholly receptive permits whatever influences will to
p e r m e a t e him through a n d t h r o u g h , a n d p a r t a k e of his nature.
In one sense, he sacrifices his being to them. His mind, his emotions
and feelings, and the o r g a n s a n d limbs of his physical b o d y , a n d the
minute cells and lives c o m p o s i n g t h e m , are all h a n d e d over to the
invaders for c o n s u m p t i o n , if so they wish. ' F o r ages, in the course of
renewed births I have b o r r o w e d from countless living beings - at the
cost of their welfare a n d life - food, clothing, all kinds of services t o
sustain m y body, to keep it joyful in comfort and to defend it against
death. T o d a y , I pay my debt, offering for destruction this b o d y which
I have held so dear. I give m y flesh to the hungry, m y blood to the
thirsty, m y skin to clothe those w h o a r e n a k e d , m y bones as fuel to
those w h o suffer from cold. I give happiness to the u n h a p p y o n e s . I
give m y breath to bring b a c k the dying to life.'
It is, briefly, a very idealized form of personal sacrifice in which the
whole individuality is opened u p , hypothetically, to whatever desires
to possess it. A s a magical operation it m u s t rank very high in
technical virtuosity, a n d for him w h o is sufficiently endowed with the
magical gifts to perform it a m o s t effectual ritual so far as results are
concerned.
T h e final stage of the d r a m a is ably described by M m e . D a v i d
Neel in this passge:
N o w he must imagine t h a t he has b e c o m e a h e a p of c h a r r e d h u m a n
bones that emerges from a lake of black m u d - the m u d of misery,
of moral defilement, a n d of harmful deeds to which he h a s c o o p e r a t e d during the c o u r s e of numberless lives, whose origin is lost
in the night of time. H e m u s t realize that the very idea of sacrifice is
but an illusion, an offshoot of blind, groundless pride. In fact, he
has nothing to give a w a y , because he is nothing. T h e s e useless
b o n e s , symbolizing the destruction of his p h a n t o m . T , m a y sink

into the m u d d y lake, it will n o t matter. T h a t silent renunciation of


the ascetic w h o realizes t h a t he holds nothing that he c a n r e n o u n c e ,
and w h o utterly relinquishes t h e elation springing from the idea of
sacrifice, closes the rite.

The Role of the Ego


In attempting a c o m p a r i s o n between this Chod rite a n d E u r o p e a n
magical rituals, we are at t h e outset confronted not b y the problem of
inferiority of conception or technical skill, a s m a n y h a v e heretofore
thought, but by a vast difference of metaphysical outlook. T h a t is t o
say, there is a markedly enunciated opposition b o t h of philosophic a n d
p r a g m a t i c aim. In c o m m o n with all schools a n d sects of Buddhism,
the M a h a y a n a is directly antagonistic t o the e g o idea. T h e whole of its
philosophy a n d ethical c o d e is directly c o n c e r n e d with t h e elimination
of the T thinking. It holds t h a t this is purely a fantasy bred of childish
ignorance, very m u c h a s the mediaeval notion that the sun
c i r c u m a m b u l a t e d t h e e a r t h w a s the result o f imperfect knowledge.
Therefore the whole of its religious and philosophic scheme is directed
t o w a r d s uprooting this fantasy from the thinking of its disciples. This
is the Anatta doctrine, a n d its i m p o r t a n c e t o Buddhism is grounded in
the belief that from this fantasy spring all s o r r o w a n d unhappiness.
E u r o p e a n M a g i c , o n the other h a n d , owes its fundamental doctrines
to the Q a b a l a h . Whilst having m u c h in c o m m o n with the b r o a d
outlines of Buddhism, the m e t a p h y s i c s of the Q a b a l a h are essentially
egocentric in a typically E u r o p e a n w a y . Nevertheless, the t e r m s of its
philosophy a r e so general t h a t they m a y be interpreted freely from a
variety of angles. Whilst decrying the ills a n d limitations t h a t
a c c o m p a n y the false ego sense, it emphasizes not s o m u c h t h e
destruction of the e g o as, with true western practicality, its purification
a n d integration. It is a very useful instrument when it h a s been t a u g h t
the needful lesson that it is not identical with t h e self, b u t only o n e
particular instrument, o n e small p h a s e of activity comprised within t h e
large sphere of the total individual. H e n c e , the practical theurgy t h a t
arises a s a superstructure from the basic theoretical Q a b a l a h m u s t
also be affected by such a viewpoint. Instead of seeking t o r e m o v e t h e
ego a s such, it seeks t o extend t h e limited b o r d e r s of its horizon, t o
enlarge its scope of activity, t o improve its vision a n d its spiritual
capacity. In a w o r d , s o to e n h a n c e its psychological worth that in
taking c o g n i s a n c e o f the universal Self permeating all things, it m a y
b e c o m e identified with that Self. H e r e , then, is a fundamental
distinction in the point of view envisaged.

T H E ART A N D M E A N I N G O F MAGIC

The Bomless Ritual


J u s t a s the Chod h a s its roots in the primitive Bon animism of preBuddhistic Tibet, having been very clearly re-shaped b y the
M a h a y a n i s t s , so the western ritual I p r o p o s e t o consider here also h a s
a very crude origin. It d a t e s possibly to the centuries immediately
preceding our own Christian era. T h e B o m l e s s Ritual', which is the
n a m e it h a s c o m e t o be k n o w n by, m a y b e found in its elementary
form in Fragments
of a Graeco-Egyptian
Work upon
Magic,
published in 1852 for the C a m b r i d g e A n t i q u a r i a n Society by C h a r l e s
Wycliffe G o o d w i n , M . A . T h e ritual h a s since undergone considerable
transformation. F r o m a simple primitive p r a y e r to w a r d off evil, in the
h a n d s of skillful theurgists trained in the western tradition of t h e
Golden D a w n , it h a s been evolved into a highly complex b u t m o s t
effectual and inspiring w o r k . T h e ritual, a s such, now consists of a
lengthy p r o e m , five elemental invocations, a n d an eloquent peroration.
Sandwiched between t h e m is a Eucharistic c e r e m o n y .
In the prologue, the o p e r a t o r identifies himself with Osiris by m e a n s
of the visualized a s s u m p t i o n of the E g y p t i a n god-form. T h a t is t o say,
he formulates a b o u t him the form of Osiris. H i s imagination m u s t be
pictorially keen a n d vivid e n o u g h t o visualize even the smallest details
of dress and o r n a m e n t a t i o n in clear a n d bright colour and form. A s a
result of this effort, if he is successful, n o longer is the c e r e m o n y
c o n d u c t e d by a mere h u m a n being. O n the c o n t r a r y , the invocations
a n d c o m m a n d s issue forth from the very m o u t h of g o d h e a d .
Osiris in magical symbolism is h u m a n consciousness itself, when
finally it h a s been purified, exalted, a n d integrated - the h u m a n ego as
it s t a n d s in a balanced position between heaven a n d earth, reconciling
a n d uniting both. In a G o l d e n D a w n initiation ritual, o n e officer,
whilst assuming the astral m a s k of t h e g o d , defines its n a t u r e b y
affirming: 1 a m Osiris, the Soul in twin aspect, united to the higher by
purification, perfected by suffering, glorified t h r o u g h trial. I h a v e c o m e
where the great G o d s are, t h r o u g h the P o w e r of the Mighty N a m e . '
T h e l a m a , when performing the Chod rite, likewise imagines himself
to be o n e of the dakinis, T h e G o d d e s s of the All-Fulfilling W i s d o m .
She, so runs the interpretation of M a d a m e A l e x a n d r a D a v i d Neel,
represents esoterically the higher will of the lama. T h e c o n c e p t s of
b o t h rituals actually a r e very similar.
But here the resemblance, superficial indeed, ends. F o r in t h e Chod
ritual t h e l a m a o r hermit, invoking the various o r d e r s of d e m o n s a n d
spirits, identifies them with his o w n vices a n d so sacrifices himself. H e
sees his ego comprised of hatred o r w r a t h , pride, lust, j e a l o u s y a n d
stupidity, a n d t h r o w s these qualities t o t h e invading spirits a n d
d e m o n s for c o n s u m p t i o n . H e visualizes his b o d y as a corpse being
4

dismembered by the wrathful goddess, and its o r g a n s also being


preyed upon by a host of malignant entities. In a few w o r d s , a species
of dissociation is intentionally induced.
N o w in the western system, the various o r d e r s of elementals a r e
also invoked from their stations during this Bornless Ritual. But they
are c o m m a n d e d to flow t h r o u g h the M a g u s with a view, not to preying
upon him a n d thus destroying him, but to purify him. T h e intent is
totally different. A t e a c h station or cardinal quarter, the appropriate
tutelary deity is invoked by m e a n s of the formulation o f the astral
form a n d the proper lineal figures. In the East, as a result of the
vibration of the a p p r o p r i a t e b a r b a r o u s n a m e s of evocation that ' h a v e
a power ineffable in the sacred rites', and by enunciating the W o r d s of
Power, the Sylphs rush t h r o u g h his sphere of sensation like a gentle
zephyr blowing the foul dust of pride before them. T h e S a l a m a n d e r s ,
raging from the South, c o n s u m e with a burning fire the jealousy a n d
hatred within him. Lust and passion b e c o m e purified by the Undines
invoked from the W e s t , a s t h o u g h the M a g u s were immersed in purest
water from which he issues spotless a n d c o n s e c r a t e d . Whilst the
G n o m e s , coming from the N o r t h , cleanse him from sloth and
stupidity, exactly as m u d d y a n d impure water is cleansed by being
filtered t h r o u g h sand. T h e o p e r a t o r , all the while, is conscious of the
injunction a propos the elementals given in o n e of his initiations. O r
rather, the injunction h a s b e c o m e a part of his unconscious outlook
u p o n life. 'Be thou, therefore, p r o m p t and active a s the Sylphs, b u t
avoid frivolity and caprice. Be energetic a n d strong a s the
S a l a m a n d e r s but avoid irritability and ferocity. Be flexible and
attentive to images like the Undines, but avoid idleness a n d
changeability. Be laborious a n d patient like the G n o m e s , b u t avoid
grossness and avarice. So shalt t h o u gradually develop the p o w e r s of
thy soul, a n d fit thyself to c o m m a n d the spirits of the elements.'
T h e elemental invocations over - very difficult work, to d o which
requires at least seventy or eighty minutes of intense magical
concentration - the o p e r a t o r , being convinced of the presence of the
invoked force a n d the salutary effect of their respective purifications
u p o n him, begins the second stage of his work b y invoking the fifth
element, the alchemical quintessence, Akasa or t h e Ether, in both its
negative a n d positive aspects. T h e effect of these t w o invocations is to
equilibriate the elementals already c o m m a n d e d to the scene of
o p e r a t i o n s . A l s o , it tends t o provide an etheric mould or astral
v a c u u m into which the higher spiritual f o r c e s . m a y descend to m a k e
c o n t a c t with the u n c o n s c i o u s p s y c h e of the o p e r a t o r .
A t this j u n c t u r e it is c u s t o m a r y t o celebrate the mystic repast which
again seems the reverse in intention of the Chod b a n q u e t . A t least, the
reversal is only a p p a r e n t . T h e M a g u s celebrates t h e Eucharist of the

four elements, after reciting powerfully the E n o c h i a n invocation of the


mystical tablet of Union beginning 01 Sonuf vaorsagi goho Iada balta
- i reign over y o u , saith the G o d of Justice . . . ' T h e perfume of the
rose on t h e altar, t h e low fire of the lighted l a m p , the bread a n d salt,
and the wine are t h u s powerfully charged with the divine force. So t h a t
as he p a r t a k e s of the elements, the influx of the spirit elevates not only
his o w n ego but all the innumerable cells and lives which comprise his
own lower vehicles of manifestation. A n d m o r e t o o , for it affects all
the spiritual beings, angels, elementals, and spirits w h o , in answer to
invocation, now p e r v a d e his astral sphere. T h u s he accomplishes that
which the tenets of all mystical religions enjoin, the elevation of all the
inferior lives as m a n himself evolves. This he d o e s , in this case, by the
agency of t h e magical invocations and the Eucharist, so that not only
does he himself b e c o m e blessed by the i m p a c t of the divine spirit, b u t
so d o all the other beings present p a r t a k e with him of the glory. T h e r e
is n o witholding of blessing. F o r here, as in the Chod rite, there is n o
retention of power from any being.
A t the opening of the c e r e m o n y , all forces and all beings
whatsoever are carefully banished by the a p p r o p r i a t e banishing rituals
so as to leave a clean a n d holy space for the celebration of the
c e r e m o n y . But into this consecrated sphere all the o r d e r s of
elementals, comprised within the five-fold division of things, a r e called.
A n d it is this mighty host w h o , having purified the sphere of the m a g u s
by having c o n s u m e d the undesirable elements within him, are
consecrated and blessed by the Eucharist a n d the descent of the
refulgent Light. T h e whole operation is sealed by the p e r o r a t i o n :
I a m H e ! T h e B o m l e s s Spirit, having sight in the feet! Strong a n d
the I m m o r t a l Fire! I a m H e the T r u t h ! I a m H e w h o hate that evil
should be w r o u g h t in the world! I a m H e that lighteneth a n d
t h u n d e r e t h ! I a m H e whose m o u t h ever flameth! I a m H e , t h e
Begetter and Manifester u n t o the Light! I a m H e , the G r a c e of the
W o r l d ! ' T h e H e a r t girt with a Serpent' is m y N a m e .
It coincides with the re-formulation of the god-form of Osiris. A n d
with e a c h clause of t h e final h y m n , the magician m a k e s the effort in
imagination to realize t h a t they answer to the divine qualities a n d
characteristics of the god, whose light is even n o w descending u p o n
him. T h e end result is illumination a n d ecstasy, a transporting of the
consciousness of the m a g u s to an identity with the consciousness of all
that lives, an ineffable union with t h e Light, the O n e Life t h a t
permeates all space a n d time.
It will be conceded I h o p e t h a t the western conceptions of M a g i c
are in n o w a y inferior, as s o m a n y unfortunately have c o m e in the p a s t

several y e a r s to believe, t o those prevalent in Tibet and the E a s t . It is


only that the philosophic forms are s o m e w h a t different. A n d this
difference h a s its r o o t in varying psychological needs - and these at n o
time are irreconcilable.

Theurgy and Spiritual Development


H e r e then I m u s t content myself with these c o m p a r i s o n s between
various points of magical interest c o m m o n to b o t h E a s t and W e s t . M y
desire t o c o m p a r e t h e m s p r a n g originally from a persual of Major
W a d d e l P s really erudite b o o k - where the reader m a y find other items
of great a n d absorbing interest. But I d o feel t h a t unless he h a s the
magical key to these practices and various ceremonies which the
L a m a s perform, he is a p t t o b e b o r e d a n d left without a p r o p e r
understanding of t h e m . With all due respect to the eastern w i s d o m for
which assuredly I h a v e a great and profound reverence, it is m y belief
that in this instance a study of T h e u r g y as developed by western
genius is m o r e capable t h a n aught else of throwing an illuminating r a y
o n the true n a t u r e of spiritual development by m e a n s of t h e p a t h of
M a g i c . T h e r e are m a n y p a t h s t o the one goal of the Beatific Vision. O f
these p a t h s , meditation is o n e . Probably in its development of
meditation a n d the purely introspective processes of Y o g a , the E a s t is
far in a d v a n c e of the West. Certainly there is n o better text-book o n
that subject t h a n the Patanjali Y o g a A p h o r i s m s . A n d I appreciate the
fact that Blavatsky b r o u g h t T h e o s o p h y from the East. But T h e u r g y
h a s climbed to sun-illuminated heights in the western schools. O u r
hidden sanctuaries of initiation, where M a g i c h a s long been
successfully employed, but all t o o rigidly suppressed from the notice
of the outer world, h a v e a finer, nobler a n d m o r e spiritual
interpretation t h a n a n y to b e found in E a s t e r n s y s t e m s .
F o r myself, I c a n only say t h a t experience d e m o n s t r a t e s t h a t
T h e u r g y m a k e s n o confusion in its statement of ideals. It introduces
n o superstitious c h a o s concerning the fear of d e m o n s , etc., which is
only t o o a p p a r e n t in the Tibetan scheme, judging from WaddelPs
book. Every magical effort of the L a m a s is described a s being d u e t o
fear o r hatred of evil spirits, t h o u g h I d o n o t d o u b t but t h a t m a n y
l a m a s h a v e a finer u n d e r s t a n d i n g of their system t h a n this. T h e u r g y
nurtures the ideal that its technique is a m e a n s of furthering o n e ' s
spiritual development so t h a t thereby o n e m a y c o n s u m m a t e the true
objects of incarnation. N o t selfishly, b u t t h a t o n e m a y be the better
able thereafter t o help a n d participate in t h e ordered progress of
m a n k i n d to that perfect d a y when the glory of this world passes, a n d
the Sun of W i s d o m shall have arisen to shine over the splendid sea.

2. The Art of Magic


Of all the subects that c o m p r i s e w h a t n o w a d a y s is called occultism,
the m o s t misunderstood of all is M a g i c . Even alchemy, which to s o m e
is annoyingly d a r k a n d obscure, evokes far m o r e s y m p a t h y and
understanding as a rule t h a n d o e s M a g i c . F o r example, the
psychologist J u n g h a s observed of alchemy in his essay The Ego and
The Unconscious t h a t 'it would b e an u n p a r d o n a b l e depreciation of
value if we were to a c c e p t the current view, a n d reduce the spiritual
striving of the alchemists to the level of the retort a n d the smelting
furnace. Certainly this aspect belonged to it; it represented t h e
tentative beginnings of exact chemistry. But it also h a d a spiritual side
which h a s never yet been given its true value, a n d which from the
psychological standpoint m u s t not b e underestimated.
Yet M a g i c , strange t o s a y , receives n o such evaluation - except
insofar a s the term M a g i c is allied t o the u n c o n s c i o u s , a n d is said to
represent a primitive a t t e m p t to cognize the u n c o n s c i o u s . T h e r e is,
hence, hardly m o r e t h a n the barest m i n i m u m a t t e m p t t o arrive at an
understanding of its processes. F o r the m o m e n t , I d o not wish to
analyse t h e possible r e a s o n s for this a m a z i n g p h e n o m e n o n . W h a t is
m o r e t o the point, however, is t o provide s o m e m o r e or less intelligible
a p p r o a c h to the subject so that, given an initial glimpse of the bright
light flooding the world of M a g i c , m o r e people m a y feel disposed to
devote j u s t a little of their energies and t i m e t o its s t u d y . T h e
a d v a n t a g e s and benefits are such a s to m a k e this effort extremely
w o r t h while.
9

The Aims of Magic


Putting it simply a n d briefly, let m e say at the outset t h a t M a g i c
c o n c e r n s itself in the m a i n with the world of m o d e r n psychology. T h a t
is t o s a y , it deals with t h a t sphere of the p s y c h e of which normally we
are n o t conscious but which exerts a n e n o r m o u s influence u p o n o u r
lives. M a g i c is a series o f psychological techniques so devised a s to
enable u s t o p r o b e m o r e deeply into ourselves. T o w h a t e n d ? First,
that we shall u n d e r s t a n d ourselves m o r e completely. A p a r t from the
fact t h a t such self-knowledge in itself is desirable, a n understanding of
the inner n a t u r e releases u s from u n c o n s c i o u s compulsions a n d
motivations and confers a mastery over life. Second, that w e m a y the
m o r e fully express t h a t inner self in e v e r y d a y activities. It is only w h e n
m a n k i n d as a whole h a s r e a c h e d , or p e r h a p s w h e n the m o r e a d v a n c e d
m e n a n d w o m e n in t h e world have evolved, s o m e degree of inner

realization that we m a y ever h o p e for t h a t ideal Utopian condition of


things - a wide tolerance, p e a c e , and universal b r o t h e r h o o d . It is t o
ends such as these t h a t M a g i c owes its raison
d'etre.

Religion and Magic


A p p r o a c h i n g the m a t t e r from a n o t h e r point of view, it m a y be said
t h a t M a g i c deals with the s a m e problems a s religion. It does not w a s t e
its or o u r valuable time with futile speculations with regard to the
existence o r n a t u r e of G o d . It affirms dogmatically that there is a n
omnipresent and eternal life principle - a n d thereupon, in t r u e
scientific fashion, lays d o w n a nost of m e t h o d s for proving it for
oneself. H o w m a y we k n o w G o d ? H e r e , as before, there is a welldefined and elaborate technique for dealing with the h u m a n
consciousness as such a n d exalting it to an immediate experience of
the universal spirit permeating and sustaining all things. I say
advisedly t h a t its technique is well defined. F o r the system h a s a n
a b h o r r e n c e of the attitude of those g o o d - n a t u r e d but muddle-headed
thinkers w h o , refusing t o a c c e p t their h u m a n limitations as they a r e
n o w , aim t o o high without dealing with the manifold problems in the
way.
Let us a s s u m e that y o n d e r building is ten storeys high. H o w m a y
we reach the roof? Certainly n o t by ignoring the very obvious fact
that at least t w o h u n d r e d feet intervene between us a n d the roof! Yet
t h a t is precisely the attitude of the so-called simplicity cult in mystical
religion. G o d , they affirm, is an exalted state of infinite consciousness
t o which the microcosmic mind m u s t be united. S o far, so good - a n d
here M a g i c is in a c c o r d with their view. Therefore, these people
p r o p o s e to attempt gaining the summit of attainment b y ignoring the
steps between m a n as we find him now a n d the s u p r e m e end - G o d . It
is as t h o u g h they wished to j u m p from the g r o u n d t o the roof of t h e
aforesaid building.
M a g i c a d o p t s a slightly different attitude. It is o n e , however, which
is m a r k e d l y similar t o the c o m m o n s e n s e attitude of the mythical m a n
in t h e street. T o get t o the t o p of the building we m u s t either climb t h e
various flights of stairs leading there, o r else t a k e the lift u p w a r d s . In
either case, it is a g r a d u a t e d p r o c e s s - a n evolution, if y o u wish.
M a n , holds the magical t h e o r y , is a m o r e or less complicated
c r e a t u r e whose several faculties of feeling, sensation, and thinking
h a v e slowly been evolved in the course of aeons of evolution. It is fatal
t o ignore these faculties, for evidently they were evolved for s o m e
useful p u r p o s e in answer t o s o m e inner need. H e n c e , in aspiring
t o w a r d s divine union, surely a laudable goal, we m u s t be quite sure

that o u r m e t h o d , whatever it is, takes into consideration those faculties


and develops them t o t h e stage where they t o o m a y participate in t h e
experience. If evolution is held u p as a suitable process, then t h e whole
m a n m u s t evolve, a n d n o t simply little bits o r aspects of him, whilst
other p a r t s of his n a t u r e a r e left undeveloped at a primitive o r infantile
level of being. M o r e o v e r , these faculties m u s t be so trained a s t o be
able t o ' t a k e ' the e n o r m o u s tension sure t o b e imposed u p o n t h e m by
so exalted b u t nevertheless so powerful a n attainment. E a c h faculty
must be deliberately trained a n d carried stage by stage t h r o u g h
various levels of h u m a n a n d cosmic consciousness so that gradually
they b e c o m e a c c u s t o m e d t o the high potential of energy, ideation, a n d
inspiration t h a t m u s t inevitably a c c o m p a n y illumination a n d an
extension of consciousness. Failure t o consider such a viewpoint in
terms of its d y n a m i c s undoubtedly m u s t a c c o u n t for t h e c a t a s t r o p h e s
so frequently encountered in occult a n d mystical circles.
T o present a bird's-eye view of t h e entire field of M a g i c , let m e
summarily state t h a t for convenience t h e subject m a y be divided into
at least three major divisions. O n e - Divination. T w o - Evocation a n d
Vision. T h r e e - I n v o c a t i o n . I will define e a c h separately a n d at s o m e
little length.

Divination
With r e g a r d t o the first division, the magical hypothesis is quite
definite. It holds t h a t divination is not ultimately concerned with m e r e
fortune-telling - n o r even with divining t h e spiritual c a u s e s in the
b a c k g r o u n d of material events, t h o u g h this latter is of n o little
i m p o r t a n c e . O n the c o n t r a r y , however, the practice of divination w h e n
c o n d u c t e d aright h a s as its objective the development of t h e inner
psychic faculty of intuition. It is an e n o r m o u s asset spiritually to h a v e
developed an exquisite sensitivity t o t h e inner subtle world of t h e
psyche. W h e n carried o n for a sufficiently long period of time, t h e
practice builds slowly b u t efficiently a species of bridge between t h e
consciousness of m a n a n d t h a t deeper hidden p a r t of his p s y c h e of
which usually he is n o t a w a r e - the u n c o n s c i o u s , o r higher self. In
these deeper spiritual aspects of his n a t u r e a r e the divine r o o t s of
discrimination, spiritual discernment, a n d lofty w i s d o m .
T h e object of divination is quite simply, then, t h e construction of a
psychic m e c h a n i s m whereby this source of inspiration a n d life m a y b e
m a d e accessible t o the o r d i n a r y consciousness, t o t h e ego. T h a t this
m e c h a n i s m is c o n c e r n e d at t h e outset with providing a n s w e r s t o
apparently trivial questions is b y itself n o objection t o t h e technique
itself. T h e preliminary a p p r o a c h e s t o any study m a y seem u n w o r t h y
of o r incompatible with t h a t study. A n d divination is n o exception t o

t h e general trend. N o r is the objection valid t h a t the technique is open


t o frequent abuse by u n s c r u p u l o u s c h a r l a t a n s . But practised sincerely
a n d intelligently a n d assiduously b y the real student, consciousness
gradually o p e n s itself t o a deeper level of awareness. ' T h e b r a i n
b e c o m e s p o r o u s t o t h e recollections and dictates of the soul', (to use a
current theosophical expression) is a true statement of t h e actual
results of the training. A s the object of analytical psychology is the
assimilation of the repressed content of the unconscious t o t h e
ordinary wake-a-day consciousness, so by these other magical m e a n s
the h u m a n mind b e c o m e s a w a r e of itself as infinitely vaster, deeper
a n d wiser t h a n ever it realized before. A sense of the spiritual aspect of
things d a w n s u p o n the mind - a sense of one's o w n innate high
w i s d o m , a n d a recognition of divinity working t h r o u g h m a n a n d t h e
universe. Surely such a viewpoint elevates divination above the level of
a m e r e occult art to an intrinsic p a r t of mystical e n d e a v o u r ?

Geomancy, Tarot and Astrology


T h e s e are the fundamental techniques of the divinatory system.
G e o m a n c y is divination by m e a n s of earth. A t one time, its
practitioners actually used s a n d o r black earth in which to trace its
sigils a n d s y m b o l s - a typically primitive or mediaeval m e t h o d . T o d a y
geomantic diviners use pencil a n d paper, relying u p o n graphite in their
pencils t o formulate, theoretically, a magical link between themselves
a n d the so-called divining intelligences or elementals of earth. It is, so
far as m y o w n experience goes, a highly efficient technique, a n d I c a n
claim at least an 8 0 per cent degree of a c c u r a c y over several y e a r s .
T a r o t is the n a m e of a set of c a r d s , seventy-eight in n u m b e r , which
were introduced into E u r o p e in either the fourteenth or fifteenth
century. N o o n e k n o w s where they c a m e from. Their origin is a
complete mystery. A t o n e period in E u r o p e there were n o such c a r d s
available, so far as we c a n see. A t a n o t h e r time, t h e c a r d s were
circulating freely.
Little mention need be m a d e of astrology, since t h a t h a s long been
o n e of the m o s t p o p u l a r m e t h o d s with which the public h a s been m a d e
familiar. A n y o n e w h o practises these m e t h o d s with this objective in
mind will assuredly b e c o m e a w a r e of the results I h a v e described. A n d
while, it is true, his q u e r e n t s for divination m a y receive perfectly g o o d
a n s w e r s t o the questions they h a v e asked, departing from his
threshold in the spirit of gratitude a n d w o n d e r , the intuitive
development accruing to him will constitute t h e m o r e i m p o r t a n t side
of t h a t transaction.

T H E A R T A N D M E A N I N G O F MAGIC

Evocation
It is when we leave the relatively simple realm of divination t o
a p p r o a c h t h e o b s c u r e subject of evocation t h a t we enter deep w a t e r s .
Here it is that m o s t difficulty h a s arisen. A n d it is in connection with
this phase of M a g i c t h a t t h e greatest misunderstanding a n d fear h a v e
developed.
In order t o elucidate the matter, let m e again turn t o the
terminology of m o d e r n psychology. T h e t e r m ' c o m p l e x ' h a s achieved
a fairly wide notoriety during the last q u a r t e r of a century since the
circulation of the theories of F r e u d and J u n g . It m e a n s an aggregation
or g r o u p of ideas in the m i n d with a strong emotional charge, capable
of influencing conscious t h o u g h t a n d behaviour. If m y interest is
Magic, then naturally every item of information acquired, n o m a t t e r
what its n a t u r e , is likely to be built by association into t h a t
constellation of ideas clustering a r o u n d m y interest - becoming in the
course of years a t h o r o u g h g o i n g complex. M r s J o n e s m y
d a i r y w o m a n , because of her professional predilection, will h a v e her
complex centring a b o u t milk and c o w s a n d butter a n d t h e price of
eggs.
Over a n d above this definition, however, is the m o r e subtle one of a
g r o u p of ideas or feelings congregating a b o u t a significant or
d o m i n a n t psychic t h e m e , such a s sex o r the need to o v e r c o m e inferior
feelings, or s o m e p s y c h i c w o u n d o f childhood, tying or locking u p
nervous energy. T h u s , as a result of repression, we m a y find a
complex of which the possessor is totally u n c o n s c i o u s - a complex
expressing itself in a sense of insecurity, obsession by m o r b i d
unreasonable fears, a n d persistent anxiety. M o r e o v e r , a constellation
of feelings a n d m o o d s a n d emotional reactions m a y exist which h a v e
become s o powerful a n d yet s o o b n o x i o u s t o r e a s o n as to h a v e
become completely split off from the main stream of the personality.
W h a t m o d e r n psychology calls a complex in this sense, the ancient
psychology of M a g i c , which h a d its o w n system of classification and
n o m e n c l a t u r e , n a m e d a Spirit. T h e system of classification w a s t h e
Qabalistic Sephiroth or the ten fundamental categories of thought.
T h u s , should we essay translation of t e r m s , the sense of inferiority
we might call the spirit of Tipharas, w h o s e n a m e is said to be Soras,
inasmuch as t h e sun, o n e of its attributions or associations, is
considered the planetary s y m b o l of the individuality. H e n c e an
affliction t o the personality, which m a y be considered a general o r
rough definition of the inferiority sense, could well be referred t o Soras
- since t h e spirit in t h e c a s e of each Sephirah is considered evil. T h a t
complex expressing itself in insecurity is the spirit of Yesod a n d the
m o o n , w h o s e n a m e is Chashmodai.
T h i s sphere of Yesod represents

the astral design o r foundation imparting stability a n d p e r m a n e n c e to


physical shapes a n d f o r m s ; in a word it is a symbol of security a n d
strength. Should we be confronted with a c a s e where the emotions
were split off from consciousness, this is the influence of the spirit of
Hod
a n d Mercury,
Taphthartharath.
S o m e o n e wallowing in
emotional c h a o s , having refused to develop equally consciousness and
the rational faculties, is subject to the spirit of Netsach a n d Venus,
Haniel. A purely destructive or suicidal neurosis which causes o n e to
exhibit the s y m p t o m a t i c tendency deliberately to break things, o r to
use t h e m in attack against oneself, is of a martial quality, belonging t o
Gevurah and M a r s , the spirit Samuel
This, naturally, is the subjective point of view. T h a t there is a purely
objective hierarchical theory I d o not deny, b u t that c a n n o t be dealt
with here.
H o w , n o w a d a y s , d o we deal with the p s y c h o n e u r o s e s in the a t t e m p t
to cure t h e m - to eliminate t h e m from the sphere of the patient's
thinking a n d feeling? Principally by the analytical m e t h o d . W e
e n c o u r a g e the patient to n a r r a t e freely his life history, to delineate in
detail his early experiences in connection with his father a n d m o t h e r ,
his reactions to brothers a n d sisters, to school and p l a y m a t e s a n d the
entire environment. H e is asked to dwell particularly on his emotional
reaction to these earlier experiences, to re-live them in his imagination,
t o r e c o u n t and analyse his feelings t o w a r d s them. M o r e o v e r , his
d r e a m s at the time of analysis are subjected t o a careful scrutiny. This
is necessary because the d r e a m is a s p o n t a n e o u s p s y c h i c activity
uninterfered with by the waking consciousness. Such activity reveals
present-day unconscious reactions to the stimuli of life - reactions
which modify, even form his conscious outlook. In this w a y the
patient is enabled to realize objectively the n a t u r e of this complex. H e
m u s t detach himself from it for a short space of time. A n d this critical
objective examination of it, this understanding of its n a t u r e a n d the
m e a n s whereby it c a m e into being, enables him, not o n c e a n d for all,
but gradually and with the p a s s a g e of time, t o oust it from his w a y s of
thinking.
M a g i c , however, at o n e time p r o c e e d e d according t o a slightly
different technique. It, t o o , realized h o w devastating were these
natural but perverse w a y s of thinking, a n d how crippling w a s the
effect they exercised o n the personality. Indecision, vacillation,
incapacitation of m e m o r y , anaesthesia of feeling a n d sense,
c o m p u l s i o n s and p h o b i a s , besides a host of physical a n d m o r a l ills, are
the resultants of these complexes or spirit-dominants. So completely is
the patient at the m e r c y of obsessing m o o d s a s almost to be beside
himself, t h u s suggesting t o the vivid imagination o f the ancients a n

actual obsession b y s o m e extraneous spirit entity. S o , in order to


restore m a n to his former efficiency, o r t o the s t a n d a r d of n o r m a l i t y ,
these afflictions m u s t be eliminated from consciousness.

Personalization of Complexes
As its first step, M a g i c proceeded t o personalize t h e m , to invest t h e m
with tangible shape a n d form, a n d t o give t h e m a definite n a m e and
quality. It is the n a t u r e of the psyche spontaneously t o give h u m a n
characteristics a n d n o m e n c l a t u r e to the contents of its o w n mind. In
doing this, the magical system receives the official blessing, if I m a y
say so, of n o less a m o d e r n psychological authority t h a n D r C . G .
J u n g . In his c o m m e n t a r y to The Secret of the Golden Flower, J u n g
n a m e s these complexes ' a u t o n o m o u s partial systems'. Referring to
these partial systems, he asserts: 'Being also constituents of t h e
psychic personality, they necessarily have the character of p e r s o n s .
Such partial-systems a p p e a r in mental diseases where there is n o
psychogenic splitting of the personality (double personality), a n d also,
quite c o m m o n l y , in mediumistic p h e n o m e n a . ' It is, as I h a v e said, a
natural tendency of the h u m a n mind to personalize these complexes or
groupings of special ideas. A s a n o t h e r proof of this, we m a y cite the
p h e n o m e n o n of d r e a m s , in which quite frequently the patient's psychic
difficulties or complexes are given symbolically some h u m a n or
animal form.
Proceeding a step further, the ancient science of Magic postulated
that to eliminate this complex it w a s necessary to render it objective to
the patient's or student's consciousness so t h a t he might acquire s o m e
recognition of its presence. Whilst these subconscious knDts of
emotion, or astral spirits, are u n k n o w n and uncontrolled, the patient is
unable to control t h e m to t h e best a d v a n t a g e , to examine t h e m
thoroughly, t o accept the o n e or to reject the other. First of all, w a s
the hypothesis, they m u s t acquire tangible, objective form before they
m a y be controlled. So long as they remain intangible and a m o r p h o u s
and unperceived by the ego, they c a n n o t adequately be dealt with. By
a p r o g r a m m e of formal evocation, however, the spirits o f the d a r k
underworld, or complexes of ideas inhabiting the deeper s t r a t a of
unconsciousness, m a y be evoked from the gloom into visible
a p p e a r a n c e in the magical triangle of manifestation. E v o k e d in this
technical w a y , they m a y be controlled by m e a n s of the transcendental
symbols a n d formal processes of M a g i c , being brought within the
dominion of the stimulated will and consciousness of the theurgist. In
other w o r d s , they are o n c e m o r e assimilated into consciousness. N o
longer are they independent spirits r o a m i n g in the astral world, or

partial systems dwelling in t h e u n c o n s c i o u s , disrupting the individual's


conscious life. T h e y are b r o u g h t b a c k o n c e m o r e into the personality,
where they b e c o m e useful citizens so to speak, integral p a r t s of the
psyche, instead of outlaws a n d gangsters, grievous a n d d a n g e r o u s
enemies threatening psychic unity and integrity.

The Process of Evocation


H o w are these e v o k e d ? W h a t is the technical p r o c e s s of rendering
objective these a u t o n o m o u s partial s y s t e m s ? M a g i c p a r t s c o m p a n y
here with o r t h o d o x psychology. M a n y m o n t h s of tedious analysis at
enormous
financial
outlay are required b y the present-day
psychological m e t h o d t o deal with these problems, a n d few there be
w h o are strong e n o u g h or patient enough to persist. T h e magical
theory prefers a drastic form o f emotional a n d mental excitation b y
m e a n s of a ceremonial technique. D u r i n g the evocation c e r e m o n y ,
divine a n d spirit n a m e s are continuously vibrated as part of a lengthy
conjuration. C i r c u m a m b u l a t i o n s are performed from symbolic
positions in the temple - these representing different strata of the
u n c o n s c i o u s , different regions of the psychic world. Breath is inhaled
into the lungs, and, rather like the p r a n a y a m a technique of the H i n d u
Yogis, manipulated by the imagination in special w a y s . By m e a n s of
these exercises, consciousness is stimulated to such a degree a s t o
b e c o m e opened, despite itself, to the enforced upwelling of the content
of the unconscious. T h e upwelling is not h a p h a z a r d but is definitely
controlled a n d regulated, for the Qabalists were thoroughly familiar
with the ideas of suggestion and association, arranging their
conjurations so t h a t by m e a n s of association of ideas there would be
suggested t o the p s y c h e the train of ideas required - and only t h a t
train.
T h e particular partial system is then excuded from the sphere of
sensation a n d projected o u t w a r d s . It embodies itself in so-called astral
or etheric substance normally comprising t h e interior b o d y which
serves as the foundation or design of the physical form, a n d acting a s
the bridge between the b o d y a n d the mind, of which it is t h e vehicle.
T h e astral form n o w reflecting the partial system projected from t h e
unconscious, attracts t o itself particles of heavy incense b u r n e d
copiously during the c e r e m o n y . G r a d u a l l y , in t h e course of t h e
ceremonial, a materialization is built u p which h a s the s h a p e a n d
c h a r a c t e r of an a u t o n o m o u s being. I t c a n be spoken to a n d it c a n
speak. Likewise it c a n be directed a n d controlled b y the o p e r a t o r of
the c e r e m o n y . A t the conclusion of the operation, it is a b s o r b e d
deliberately and consciously b a c k into the o p e r a t o r by the u s u a l
formula: ' A n d n o w I say u n t o thee, d e p a r t from hence with t h e

blessing of [the a p p r o p r i a t e divine n a m e governing t h a t particular t y p e


of complex! u p o n thee. A n d let there ever be p e a c e between m e and
thee. A n d be t h o u ever r e a d y t o c o m e a n d o b e y m y will, whether it be
by a c e r e m o n y or but by a gesture.'
T h u s , the defect in consciousness caused by the spirit-obsession is
remedied a n d , because of the accession t o consciousness of t h e
tremendous power and feeling involved in such a repression, the
psyche of the o p e r a t o r is stimulated in a special w a y , according to the
nature of the spirit.
T o recapitulate: the p u r p o s e of evocation is that s o m e portion of the
h u m a n p s y c h e which h a s b e c o m e deficient in a m o r e or less i m p o r t a n t
quality is m a d e intentionally to stand o u t , a s it were. Given b o d y and
n a m e by the power of the stimulated will a n d imagination a n d exuded
astral substance, it is, t o continue to use m e t a p h o r , specially nourished
by the w a r m t h a n d sustenance of the sun, a n d given w a t e r a n d food
that it m a y g r o w a n d flourish.
Familiarity, of c o u r s e , is requisite before this t y p e of M a g i c should
be attempted. It requires study a n d long training. A r d u o u s and
persistent toil needs to be undertaken with the appropriate formulae
before o n e d a r e apply oneself t o so formidable a n d p e r h a p s d a n g e r o u s
an aspect of the magical routine. But it h a s this a d v a n t a g e over the
analytical p r o c e d u r e . It is infinitely speedier when nee the technique
has been mastered a n d the special association t r a c k s have been
familiarized, and considerably m o r e t h o r o u g h a n d effective as a
cathartic agent. I h o p e o n e d a y t o see a modification of it in current
use by our psychologists.

Vision
There is an important variation of this technique. A t first sight, it m a y
seem to bear but little relationship with the evocation method. But it,
too, h a s as its objective the necessary assimilation of the unconscious
content of the p s y c h e into n o r m a l consciousness. Its object, also, is
the enlarging of the horizon of the mind b y enlarging the student's
intellectual conceptions of the n a t u r e of the universe.
T h e elementary technical processes of this m e t h o d call for the
drawing o r the painting of coloured s y m b o l s of the elements earth, air,
water, fire a n d ether. E a c h of these h a s a different traditional symbol
and colour. T o earth is attributed a yellow s q u a r e . Air is a blue circle.
W a t e r is a silver crescent. Fire, the red triangle, a n d ether is the black
egg. After staring intently at the s y m b o l of s o m e o n e particular
element for several s e c o n d s , a n d then throwing the vision to s o m e
white o r neutral surface, a reflex i m a g e of t h e c o m p l e m e n t a r y colour is
seen against it. This is a n o r m a l optical illusion without having in itself
any special significance. T h e optical reflex obtained, t h e student is

counselled t o close the eyes, imagining t h a t before him is the symbolic


shape a n d c o m p l e m e n t a r y colour of the element being used. T h e
shape is then to b e enlarged until it seems tall e n o u g h for h i m t o
visualize himself walking t h r o u g h it. T h e n he m u s t permit the fantasy
faculty of t h e mind full a n d unimpeded play. W h a t is particularly
i m p o r t a n t is t h a t at this stage he m u s t vibrate certain divine a n d
archangelic n a m e s which tradition ascribes to t h a t particular s y m b o l .
T h e s e n a m e s m a y be found in the first volume of my w o r k The Golden
Dawn.
In this w a y , he enters imaginatively or clairvoyantly by m e a n s of a
vision, into the elemental realm corresponding to the n a t u r e of the
symbol he h a s chosen. By employing element after element, he
acquires a sympathetic c o n t a c t with the understanding of the several
hierarchical planes existing within N a t u r e , and thus widens
tremendously the sphere of his consciousness.
F r o m the psychological point of view, we might u n d e r s t a n d the
magical theory to imply that the unconscious (which h a s been
c o m p a r e d t o the nine-tenths of an iceberg concealed under water and
not at all visible) m a y be classified into five principal layers or subdivisions. T h e s e five levels c o r r e s p o n d to the five elements, the m o s t
superficial being earth, a n d the deepest being ether or spirit. By
following such a vision or fantasy technique the candidate's ordinary
consciousness is enabled to cross the otherwise impenetrable barrier
subsisting between it a n d the unconscious. A link is formed between
the t w o aspects of mind, a bridge is constructed, across which the
psyche m a y pass at any m o m e n t . Entering these various psychic levels
by w a y of an imaginative projection is a n a l a g o u s t o forming an
association track by m e a n s of which idea, inspiration, a n d vitality are
m a d e available to consciousness.
T h e vision t h u s obtained c o r r e s p o n d s generally to a sort of d r e a m ,
experienced, however, in a fully conscious state one in which n o n e of
the faculties of consciousness, such as will, criticism a n d keen
perception are in any w a y in a b e y a n c e . T h e goal of analysis, from the
synthetic a n d constructive point of view, is accomplished readily by
such m e a n s . A wide r a n g e of knowledge a n d feeling is thereby opened
up a n d assimilated without strain or difficulty to the a d v a n t a g e a n d
spiritual development of the individual.
Interpretation of the vision is a n i m p o r t a n t factor. T h e neglect of
interpretation m a y a c c o u n t for the intellectual sterility a n d spiritual
emptiness so frequently observed in those w h o employ similar
m e t h o d s . A c q u a i n t a n c e with the m e t h o d s of J u n g ' s symbolic analysis
of d r e a m s a n d s p o n t a n e o u s fantasies m a y b e extremely useful here,
providing a useful adjunct t o the Qabalistic reference of symbols t o
the ten Sephiroth
of the T r e e of Life. Before passing on, it is

interesting to note that J u n g gives t o w a r d s t h e end of his b o o k Two


Essays
on Analytical
Psychology
an a c c o u n t of a patient's
spontaneous fantasy which is curiously similar t o the t a t t w a technique
I have just described. H e calls it a ' " v i s i o n " which by intense
concentration was perceived on the b a c k g r o u n d of consciousness, a
technique that is perfected only .after long practice.' It is so interesting
that I a m constrained to q u o t e it here:
I climbed the m o u n t a i n a n d c a m e to a place w h e r e I saw seven red
stones in front of me, seven on either side, a n d seven behind m e . I
stood in the middle of this q u a d r a n g l e . T h e stones were flat like
steps. I tried to lift the four stones t h a t were nearest to m e . In doing
so I discovered that these stones were the pedestals of four statues
of gods which were buried upside d o w n in the earth. I dug t h e m up
and so arranged them a r o u n d me that I stood in the middle of
them. Suddenly they leaned t o w a r d s one a n o t h e r so that their
heads touched, forming something like a tent over me. I myself fell
to the earth, and said, 'Fall upon m e if y o u must, for I a m tired.'
Then I saw that beyond, encircling the four g o d s , a ring of flame h a d
formed. After a time I arose from the g r o u n d and overthrew the
statues of the gods. W h e r e they fell t o the e a r t h four trees began t o
grow. A n d now from the circle of fire blue flames shot u p which
began to burn the foliage of the trees. Seeing this I said, ' T h i s m u s t
stop. I m u s t go into the fire myself so that the leaves m a y n o t be
burned.' Then I stepped into the fire. T h e trees disappeared and the
ring of fire contracted t o o n e immense blue flame that carried m e
up from the earth.

The Supreme Sacrament


Divination, evocation a n d vision a r e the preliminary techniques of
Magic. W e have observed that there is considerable justification of
their e m p l o y m e n t - when there is a d e q u a t e understanding of their
meaning a n d technical p r o c e d u r e . But these are preliminary m e t h o d s
only. T h e y are b u t steps leading t o the c o n s u m m a t i o n of the s u p r e m e
sacrament. T h e inevitable end of M a g i c is identical t o that conceived
of in mysticism, union with the G o d h e a d . M a g i c conceives of divinity
as Spirit a n d Light a n d Love. It is an all-pervasive and omnipresent
vital force, permeating all things, sustaining every life from the m o s t
minute electron t o the largest nebula of mind-staggering dimensions.
It is this life which is the s u b s t r a t u m of t h e entirety of existence, a n d it
is this primal consciousness in which we live a n d m o v e and have o u r
being. In the course of manifestation, cosmic centres develop within its
infinitude, centres of lofty intelligence a n d power, whereby the cosmic

high tension m a y be modified and reduced t o a lower k e y s o a s


ultimately t o p r o d u c e a n objective manifestation. T h e s e c o s m i c
centres of life a r e w h a t for the m o m e n t w e m a y n a m e the g o d s (not
spirits) - beings of e n o r m o u s wisdom, p o w e r a n d spirituality in a n
ascending hierarchical scale between us a n d the u n k n o w n a n d
u n n a m e d G o d . T h e particular hierarchy t h a t they form receives in
Magic a clear classification in t e r m s of the Qabalistic T r e e of Life.
In a n earlier p a r a g r a p h I gave the m e t a p h o r of a m a n striving t o
reach the roof t o p of a several-storeyed building. N o w M a g i c
conceives of spiritual development in an a n a l o g o u s w a y . T h a t is t o
say, it conceives a personal evolution as progressive a n d orderly.
Divinity is the objective w e seek to reach, the roof t o p . W e , those of u s
cherishing the mystical ideal, a r e below o n the ground. N o t with o n e
leap m a y we attain the summit. A n intervening distance d e m a n d s t o
be traversed. T o reach t h e roof we m u s t use either stairs o r lift. By
m e a n s of the magical technique we employ t h e invocation of the g o d s ,
w h o answer metaphorically to the stairs or lift, a n d attempt union with
their wider and vaster consciousness. Since they represent the several
cosmic levels of energy and mind intervening between u s a n d the
supreme goal, as we unite ourselves in love a n d reverence a n d
surrender to them, by s o m u c h the nearer d o we a p p r o a c h to the
ultimate source and root of all things.

Invocation
Using the plan of the T r e e of Life as his guide, the magician invokes
the lower gods or a r c h a n g e l s , as they a r e n a m e d in another system,
desirous of mingling his o w n life with, a n d surrendering his o w n being
to, the greater a n d m o r e extensive life of t h e G o d . T h u s , his spiritual
perceptions b e c o m e finer a n d m o r e sensitive, and his consciousness
b e c o m e s with time a c c u s t o m e d to the high tension of the divine force
flowing t h r o u g h him. H i s interior evolution proceeding, he invokes the
god of the Sephirah or plane immediately above. Following the s a m e
p r o c e d u r e , he a t t e m p t s t o assimilate his o w n essence, his o w n
integrated consciousness, to t h a t of the divinity h e h a s invoked. A n d
so o n - until finally he s t a n d s u p o n the lofty D a r i e n peak of spiritual
realization, united with t h e transcendental life of infinity, feeling with
universal love a n d c o m p a s s i o n , conscious of all life a n d every
thing as himself with supreme vision a n d power. A s Iamblichus, the
Neoplatonic theurgist, o n c e expressed it: 'If the essence a n d perfection
of all g o o d are c o m p r e h e n d e d in the g o d s , a n d the first a n d ancient
power of t h e m is with u s priests [i.e. theurgists or magicians] a n d if b y
those w h o similarly a d h e r e to m o r e excellent n a t u r e s a n d genuinely
obtain a union with t h e m , t h e beginning a n d end of all g o o d is

earnestly pursued; if this be the c a s e , here the contemplation of truth,


and the possession of intellectual science a r e to b e found. A n d a
knowledge of t h e g o d s is a c c o m p a n i e d with . . . t h e knowledge of
ourselves.'
So m u c h for theory. H o w does the art of invocation proceed? M o s t
i m p o r t a n t of all is the imaginative faculty. T h i s m u s t be trained to
visualize symbols a n d i m a g e s with the u t m o s t clarity, ease, a n d
precision. T h e necessity for this springs from the fact that certain godforms are to be visualized. M o s t popular in m a g i c a l techniques a r e the
Egyptian god-forms. T h e r e seems to be a certain quality of specific
definiteness about forms s u c h as Osiris, Isis, H o r u s and N u i t , for
example, which renders t h e m peculiarly effective for this kind of
training. In a n o t h e r system, where the archangels a r e s y n o n y m o u s
with the divine g o d s , forms a r e visualized based u p o n an analysis of
the individual letters comprising the G o d - n a m e . T h a t is t o say, should
we employ the Jewish Qabalistic system, e a c h H e b r e w letter h a s
attributed to it a colour, astrological s y m b o l , divinatory m e a n i n g in
T a r o t a n d G e o m a n c y , a n d element. W h e n building u p the so-called
telesmatic image of the archangel in the imagination, we t a k e each
letter a s representing s o m e particular p a r t or limb of the form, a n d
some particular shape, feature, o r colour. T h u s , from the letters of its
n a m e , a highly significant and eloquent form is ideally constructed.
Seated or lying in a perfectly relaxed physical state, o n e in which n o
muscular or nervous tension c a n send a disturbing message to the
brain, the student e n d e a v o u r s t o imagine that a particular god-form or
telesmatic image s u r r o u n d s him or coincides with his physical s h a p e .
Sometimes but a few minutes suffice t o p r o d u c e a conscious
realization of the presence, t h o u g h m o r e often t h a n not a g o o d h o u r ' s
work at the least is required t o p r o c u r e worthwhile results. A s
concentration and reflection b e c o m e m o r e intense and profound, the
body b e c o m e s vitalized b y s t r e a m s of d y n a m i c energy and power. T h e
mind, t o o , is invaded b y light, great intensity of feeling, a n d
inspiration.
T h e n a m e of the god or archangel is meanwhile frequently
vibrated. This vibration serves t w o ends. O n e , to keep the mind well
c o n c e n t r a t e d on t h e ideal form by m e a n s of repetition. T w o , t h e
vibration a w a k e n s in the d e p t h s of the m i c r o c o s m i c consciousness
that magical faculty which is akin or c o r r e s p o n d s to its m a c r o c o s m i c
power. R h y t h m i c breathing likewise is u n d e r t a k e n so as to tranquillize
mind a n d b o d y , a n d to o p e n the subtler p a r t s of the inner n a t u r e of the
omni-present all-permeating life. Visualizations o f the letters o f the
N a m e , moreover, are practised. A c c o r d i n g t o traditional rules, t h e
letters a r e manipulated b y the mind a s moving within the forms, or
occupying certain i m p o r t a n t positions on plexuses or major nerve

centres. T h e totality of these m e t h o d s conspire t o exalt the


consciousness of the o p e r a t o r , t o lift u p his mind b y n o devious o r
uncertain route t o a nobler interior plane w h e r e is a perception of the
meaning a n d transcendental n a t u r e a n d being of the god.

Initiation
O v e r and above all these m e t h o d s , or, m o r e accurately, combining
these techniques, is a final p h a s e of M a g i c which I p r o p o s e only to
t o u c h u p o n in brief - Initiation. T h e necessity a n d rationale of this
process depends u p o n the postulated ability of a trained initiate to
i m p a r t something of his o w n illumination a n d spiritual p o w e r t o a
c a n d i d a t e by m e a n s of a c e r e m o n y . Such a magnetic transmission of
power is conceived to stir u p t h e inner faculties of the c a n d i d a t e faculties d o r m a n t a n d o b s c u r e d for m a n y a sorry year. A s Psellus,
a n o t h e r Neoplatonist o n c e r e m a r k e d of M a g i c , 'Its function is to
initiate or perfect t h e h u m a n soul by the p o w e r of materials here on
earth, for the supreme faculty of the soul c a n n o t by its o w n guidance
aspire t o t h e sublimest intuitions, a n d t o t h e comprehension of
Divinity.'
Since t h e divine principles of m a n are o b s c u r e d a n d latent within
him, so that consciousness, of itself and by itself, is unable to climb to
the distant heights of spiritual intimacy with universal life. M a g i c in
the h a n d s of a trained a n d experienced M a g u s is the m e a n s w h e r e b y
that eclipse of the inner light m a y be o v e r c o m e . By m e a n s of several
initiations, the seeds of a w a k e n i n g are sown within the soul. Later they
are fanned and stimulated into an active living flame lighting the brain,
illuminating the soul, a n d providing the necessary guidance t o
accomplish the p u r p o s e of incarnation.
T h e n u m b e r of ceremonies and their detailed implication m u s t
differ, naturally, with different s y s t e m s , t h o u g h , in general m e a n i n g , all
are in complete accord. In o n e system of initiation, which is of especial
significance to m e personally, the major initiation ceremonies are
seven in n u m b e r . T h e first of these is a c e r e m o n y of p r e p a r a t i o n ,
consecration and purification, bringing t o the dull gaze of the
neophyte s o m e vague intimation of the light t o which he aspires a n d
which seems lost in the dim d a r k n e s s afar. T h e seed of the light is
sown deeply within him b y w a y of suggestions embodied in ritual
speeches so that, time and devotion t o the w o r k acting a s incubating
agents, it m a y grow a n d blossom into the full-grown tree of
illumination and divine union.
T h e next five ceremonies a r e concerned with developing w h a t are
termed the elemental b a s e s of t h e soul. C o n s c i o u s n e s s , placed u n d e r
the surveillance of t h e light, requires to be strengthened in its elemental

aspects. S o that when t h e light ultimately d o e s dwell in the soul of


m a n , the elemental self m a y be strong e n o u g h a n d p u r e e n o u g h t o
support t h e soul so t h a t it m a y safely bear t h e full b r u n t of the divine
glory. A t first, this m a y n o t a p p e a r p e r h a p s a n urgent necessity. But if
one r e m e m b e r s the pathologies of mysticism, t h e well-meaning b u t
scatter-brained a n d unpractical people of this world w h o h a v e been
totally unfitted for the c o n q u e s t of life by a mild species of p s y c h o spiritual experience, then t h e magical routine obtains some degree of
justification. It is in vain t h a t the wine of t h e gods is p o u r e d into old
cracked vessels. W e m u s t m a k e certain t h a t t h e vessels a r e intact a n d
strong, capable of retaining a n d not spilling the wine p o u r e d from
above.
T h e five elemental ceremonies having been experienced, a n d the
seeds of the divine e a r t h , air, water, fire a n d ether sown within t h e
h u m a n soul, the c a n d i d a t e is r e a d y for the final initiation of this
particular series. T h e central point of this initiation is the invocation of
what c o m m o n l y is called t h e higher self, o r the H o l y G u a r d i a n Angel.
This is the central c o r e of t h e individuality, the r o o t of the
unconscious. Before union with the Infinite m a y b e envisaged, it is
necessary that every principle in the h u m a n constitution b e united so
that m a n becomes o n e united consciousness, a n d n o t a disconnected
series of separate discrete consciousnesses. T h e intelligence of t h e
physical cells comprising t h e b o d y , the principle of the emotions a n d
feelings, the sphere of the mind itself, these m u s t b e united a n d b o u n d
together by a conscious realization of the true n a t u r e of t h e self
employing t h e m , t h e higher G e n i u s . Integrity p r o d u c e d t h r o u g h t h e
agency of the telestic o r initiatory rites, then t h e whole h u m a n being,
the entire m a n , m a y set forth u p o n t h a t lengthy b u t i n c o m p a r a b l e
bright r o a d which leads t o t h e end, a n d t o t h e beginning also, of life.
Then, a n d only then, is m a n able t o realize the m e a n i n g of life, a n d t h e
purpose of his multitudinous incarnations o n earth. N o longer is a
vague mysticism c o u n t e n a n c e d a n d idealized a s a cowardly e s c a p e
from the difficulties a n d turmoils of this life. W i t h these latter h e is
now capable of dealing a n d , moreover, of completely mastering t h e m ,
so t h a t n o longer d o they enslave him. By n o ties, either of a t t a c h m e n t
or disgust, is he b o u n d t o the duties of this earth - ties which m u s t
necessitate his further a n d continued incarnation until he h a s
successfully severed t h e m .
F r e e d o m obtained t h r o u g h the acquisition of integrity in its truest
and divinest sense, then t h e next magical step in evolution is possible
of recognition a n d achievement - t h e conscious return of m a n t o t h e
divine Light from which h e c a m e .

3. The Meaning of Magic


W e live t o d a y in a world of great material progress a n d m e c h a n i c a l
ingenuity. O n every h a n d are flouted the social a d v a n t a g e s o f the
world-wide c o m m u n i c a t i o n bequeathed t o us by such m o d e r n
inventions a s aviation, r a d i o a n d s p a c e craft. T i m e seems to d i s a p p e a r
in the face of such things, a n d space dwindles almost to nothing. T h e
peoples of the earth a r e d r a w n far closer together t h a n ever they h a v e
been before in recorded history. By w a y of p a r a d o x , however,
simultaneously with this unique a d v a n c e in scientific progress, a large
proportion of m a n k i n d is supremely miserable. It suffers the p a n g s of
dire starvation b e c a u s e scientific m e t h o d s h a v e yielded an overproduction of foods a n d m a n u f a c t u r e d articles without having solved
the problem of distribution. Yet m o d e r n science h a s b e c o m e invested
with a n a t u r e which originally w a s not its o w n . Despite the c h a o s of
international affairs, and the fear of a n o t h e r c a t a s t r o p h i c w a r present
in the minds of m o s t people, it h a s b e c o m e robed in a mighty
g r a n d e u r , almost of divinity.
P e r h a p s it is because of this feeling of insecurity a n d fear t h a t this
condition h a s c o m e a b o u t , for the h u m a n p s y c h e is a cowardly thing
at c o r e . W e c a n n o t b e a r t o b e honest with ourselves, accepting the
idea that whilst w e are h u m a n w e are b o u n d t o feel insecurity, anxiety
a n d inferiority. Instead, w e project these fears o u t w a r d s u p o n life, a n d
invest science, or a n y b o d y of knowledge, with a vast potential of
effect so as to bolster u p o u r dwindling fund of courage. S o science
h a s b e c o m e , t h a n k s to o u r projection, an authority tHat hardly d a r e s
to be questioned. W e c a n n o t bear t h a t it should be questioned for w e
m u s t feel that in this subject at least is authority, u n s h a k e a b l e
knowledge a n d the security we so dearly crave. T h e p h e n o m e n o n is
hardly dissimilar to that of a few centuries a g o w h e n religion, formal
religion of the c h u r c h e s , w a s the recipient of this obeisance a n d
respect. F o r m a n y people, science h a s n o w b e c o m e their intellectual
keynote, by w h o s e m e a s u r i n g rod - despite their o w n personal
neuroses a n d m o r a l defects - all things are ruled, accepted or rejected.

Science and Magic


Pursuits, n o matter of w h a t n a t u r e , t h a t temporarily a r e not popularly
favoured, even t h o u g h in t h e m lies the h o p e for the spiritual
a d v a n c e m e n t of the world, or subjects t h a t d o not possess t h e sanction
of those w h o a r e t h e leading lights in t h e scientific world, a r e a p t t o

receive as their lot neglect a n d gross misunderstanding. W h e n m a n y


folk are introduced t o M a g i c , for instance, the first reaction is either
one of stark fear a n d h o r r o r - or else w e a r e greeted b y a smile of the
utmost condescension. This is followed by the retort, intended t o be
devastating, t h a t M a g i c is s y n o n y m o u s with superstition, t h a t its
tenets were long ago exploded, a n d that, moreoever, it is unscientific.
This, I believe, is the experience of the majority of people w h o s e prime
interest is M a g i c o r w h a t now passes as occultism. It seems t h a t , j u s t
as their h o p e for security a n d their desire for unshakeable knowledge
becomes projected u p o n science, so their inner fears a n d unfaced
terrors are projected u p o n this maltreated b o d y of traditional
knowledge, M a g i c . Disconcerting this reaction c a n m o s t certainly be,
unless criticism a n d the call for definitions is immediately resorted t o .
By these m e a n s alone m a y we w h o c h a m p i o n M a g i c obtain a
begrudged hearing.
Science is a w o r d meaning knowledge. H e n c e a n y b o d y of
knowledge, regardless of its c h a r a c t e r - whether ancient, mediaeval,
or m o d e r n - is a science. Technically, however, the w o r d is reserved
primarily to imply t h a t kind of knowledge t h a t h a s been reduced t o
systematic order. T h i s order is e n c o m p a s s e d by m e a n s of a c c u r a t e
observation experimentally carried o u t over a period of t i m e , t h e
classification o f the b e h a v i o u r of natural p h e n o m e n a alone, a n d the
deduction of general laws t o explain a n d t o a c c o u n t for t h a t
behaviour. If this be t h e case, then M a g i c m u s t likewise claim
inclusion within the s c o p e of the s a m e term. F o r the c o n t e n t of M a g i c
h a s been observed, recorded a n d described in n o uncertain t e r m s over
a great period of t i m e . A n d t h o u g h its p h e n o m e n a a r e o t h e r t h a n
physical, being almost exclusively psychological in their effect, they
are, of c o u r s e , natural. G e n e r a l laws, t o o , h a v e been evolved t o
a c c o u n t for a n d t o explain its p h e n o m e n a .

Definitions of Magic
A definition of M a g i c presents a rather m o r e difficult task. A short definition which will really explain its n a t u r e a n d describe t h e field of its
operation seems practically impossible. O n e dictionary defines it a s
'the art of applying n a t u r a l c a u s e s t o p r o d u c e surprising effects.'
H a v e l o c k Ellis h a s v e n t u r e d t h e sugestion t h a t a magical act is a n a m e
which m a y well b e given t o cover every conceivable act in t h e whole of
life's span. It is Aleister C r o w l e y ' s suggestion t h a t ' M a g i c is t h e
science a n d a r t of causing c h a n g e s t o o c c u r in conformity with will.'
D i o n F o r t u n e slightly modified this b y a d d i n g a couple of w o r d s ' c h a n g e s in consciousness'. T h e a n o n y m o u s mediaeval a u t h o r of The
Goetia, or Lesser Key of King Solomon h a s written a p r o e m t o t h a t

b o o k where occurs the p a s s a g e t h a t states, ' M a g i c is the highest, m o s t


absolute, a n d most divine knowledge of N a t u r a l philosophy . . . T r u e
agents being applied to p r o p e r patients strange and admirable effects
will thereby be p r o d u c e d . W h e n c e magicians are profound a n d
diligent searchers into N a t u r e . '
H a v e these definitions t a u g h t us anything of a precise n a t u r e a b o u t
the subject? Personally, I d o u b t it very m u c h ; all are too general in
their scope t o tend t o w a r d s edification. Let us therefore cease seeking
definitions a n d consider first of all certain aspects or fundamental
principles o f the subject. Afterwards, p e r h a p s , we m a y have sufficient
trustworthy a n d evidential material at o u r disposal to formulate anew
a definition which m a y convey something intelligible and precise t o
o u r minds.
Within the significance of the o n e t e r m ' M a g i c ' are c o m p r e h e n d e d
several quite independent techniques. It m a y be a d v a n t a g e o u s t o
examine s o m e of these techniques. Before doing so, however, it might
be well t o consider a p a r t of the underlying t h e o r y . I k n o w m a n y will
say b y w a y of criticism of this discussion, t h a t it is nothing b u t
primitive psychology - a n d only t h e psychology of auto-suggestion at
that. T h e r e will be a decided sneer, barely concealed.
H o w e v e r , this objection d o e s not completely dispose of the subject
by any m e a n s . A very great deal m o r e r e m a i n s t o be said. N o t t h a t I
would d e n y that in M a g i c the process of self-suggestion is absent.
M o s t certainly it is present. But w h a t I m u s t emphasize here is t h e fact
t h a t it is present in a highly evolved a n d elaborate form. It a l m o s t
m a k e s the technical a p p r o a c h of s o m e of o u r m o d e r n experimenters
look puerile a n d undeveloped. W e are not to suppose for o n e m o m e n t
t h a t the innovators a n d developers of t h e magical processes in d a y s
gone by were naive o r fools, u n a w a r e of h u m a n psychology a n d t h e
structure of the mind itself, nor t h a t they refrained from facing m a n y
of the psychic p r o b l e m s with which we n o w a d a y s h a v e h a d to deal.
M a n y of the early magicians were wise a n d skilled men, artists a n d
sages, well-versed in the w a y s a n d m e a n s of influencing a n d affecting
people.
W e k n o w that they u n d e r s t o o d a g o o d deal a b o u t h y p n o t i s m a n d
the induction of h y p n o i d a l states. It is highly probable t h a t they
speculated, as h a v e d o n e innumerable m o d e r n psychologists, u p o n
technical m e t h o d s of inducing hypnoidal states without t h e aid a n d
help of a second person. But they soon b e c a m e a w a r e of all the
obstacles a n d barriers t h a t beset their p a t h . A n d these were m a n y . I
believe t h a t in M a g i c they devised a highly efficient technical
p r o c e d u r e for overcoming these difficulties.

T H E ART A N D M E A N I N G O F MAGIC

The Unconscious
W h e n C o u e some years a g o burst u p o n our startled horizon with his
spectacular formula of ' d a y by d a y in every w a y I a m getting better
and better', m a n y believed t h a t here at last we were presented with the
ideal m e t h o d of getting d o w n t o brass t a c k s , of finally being able t o
impinge upon the u n c o n s c i o u s mind, so called. H u n d r e d s of t h o u s a n d s
of people surely m u s t h a v e g o n e to bed at night, determined to induce
a relaxation that w a s a s nearly perfect a s they could obtain, a n d
attempted to enter the land of slumber while muttering sleepily the
magical formula over a n d over again. O t h e r s listened t o music in
dimly lighted r o o m s until they experienced some sense of exaltation
and then m u m b l e d the healing p h r a s e until they felt t h a t surely s o m e
favourable result m u s t o c c u r .
Assuredly some lucky people got results. T h e y were, however, few
and far between. S o m e of these did o v e r c o m e certain physical
handicaps of illness, nervousness, so-called defects in speech a n d other
m a n n e r i s m s , a n d t h u s were able t o better themselves a n d their
positions in the world of reality. O t h e r s were less fortunate - a n d these
were by far the greater n u m b e r , the great majority.
W h a t w a s t h e difficulty t h a t prevented these people, this large
majority, from applying the magical formula until success w a s theirs?
W h y were they n o t able t o penetrate t h a t veil stretched between the
various levels of their m i n d s ?
Before w e answer these questions - a n d I believe that M a g i c d o e s
really answer t h e m - let us analyze the situation a little m o r e closely.
T h e unconscious in these systems of so-called practical psychology,
metaphysics, and auto-suggestion, is considered a slumbering giant.
These systems hold t h a t it is a veritable storehouse o f p o w e r a n d
energy. It controls every function of the b o d y every m o m e n t of every
d a y , nor d o e s it sleep or tire. T h e heart b e a t s seventy-two times per
minute, and every three o r four s e c o n d s o u r lungs will b r e a t h e in
oxygen a n d exhale c a r b o n i c acid a n d other waste p r o d u c t s . T h e
intricate a n d complex process of digestion a n d assimilation of food
which b e c o m e s p a r t a n d parcel of o u r very being, the circulation of
blood, the growth, development a n d multiplication of cells, the organic
resistance t o infection all these processes are conceived of as
immediately under the control of this portion of o u r minds of which
we are not normally a w a r e - the u n c o n s c i o u s .
This is only o n e theoretical a p p r o a c h t o the unconscious. T h e r e are
other definitions of its n a t u r e a n d function which altogether preclude
the practical possibility of resorting t o suggestion o r auto-suggestion
for coping with o u r ills. F o r example, there is the definition provided
by J u n g with which in m a n y w a y s I a m in s y m p a t h y , a n d it might be

w o r t h o u r while to q u o t e it at s o m e length. H e w r o t e in Modern


in Search of a Soul that,

Man

M a n ' s unconscious likewise contains all the p a t t e r n s of life a n d


behaviour inherited from his ancestors, so t h a t every h u m a n child,
prior to consciousness, is possessed of a potential system of
adapting psychic functioning . . . While consciousness is intensive
and concentrated, it is transient and is directed u p o n the immediate
present a n d the immediate field of attention; moreover, it h a s
access only to material t h a t represents one individual's experience
stretching over a few d e c a d e s . . . But m a t t e r s s t a n d very differently
with t h e unconscious. It is not c o n c e n t r a t e d and intensive, b u t
shades off into o b s c u r i t y ; it is highly extensive a n d c a n j u x t a p o s e
the m o s t heterogeneous elements in the m o s t paradoxical w a y .
M o r e t h a n this, it c o n t a i n s besides a n indeterminable n u m b e r o f
subliminal perceptions, an immense fund of a c c u m u l a t e d
inheritance-factors left b y o n e generation of men after a n o t h e r ,
w h o s e mere existence m a r k s a step in the differentiation of t h e
species. If it were permissible t o personify the u n c o n s c i o u s , we
might call it a collective h u m a n being combining the characteristics
of b o t h sexes, transcending y o u t h a n d age, birth a n d d e a t h , a n d ,
from having at his c o m m a n d a h u m a n experience of o n e o r t w o
million years, almost i m m o r t a l . If such a being existed, he would b e
exalted a b o v e all t e m p o r a l c h a n g e ; the present would m e a n
neither m o r e or less t o him t h a n a n y y e a r in the o n e h u n d r e d t h
century before C h r i s t ; he would be a d r e a m e r of age-old d r e a m s
a n d , owing to his i m m e a s u r a b l e experience, he would be a n
i n c o m p a r a b l e prognosticator. H e w o u l d h a v e lived countless times
over t h e life of t h e individual, of the family, tribe a n d people, a n d h e
would possess t h e living sense of the r h y t h m of growth, flowering
and d e c a y .
G r a n t e d this kind of definition, the whole idea of suggesting ideas t o
this ' d r e a m e r of age-old d r e a m s ' , sounds utterly p r e s u m p t u o u s . O n l y a
simpleton, living a superficial intellectual a n d spiritual life, would h a v e
the audacity to d a r e give this 'being' suggestions relative t o business,
m a r r i a g e , o r health. Such a concept, then, immediately rules o u t the
use of suggestion, d e m a n d i n g m o r e sophisticated a p p r o a c h e s .

The Endopsychic Barrier


F o r the time being, a n d only for t h e p u r p o s e of this discussion, let u s
g r a n t validity to t h e first c o n c e p t of t h e u n c o n s c i o u s as being a titan
w h o m a y respond t o suggestions. T h e theory goes, therefore, t h a t if, in

the face of s o m e bodily ill or disfunction, we could literally tell the


unconscious w h a t we w a n t d o n e , these results could o c c u r in answer
to o u r concentrated wish. Theoretically, the theory s o u n d s all right.
Unfortunately, for o n e thing, it d o e s n o t t a k e into consideration t h e
fact that early in life a n impenetrable barrier is erected within the
psyche itself; a barrier of inhibition is built u p between the
unconscious a n d the c o n s c i o u s thinking self a barrier of prejudices,
false m o r a l concepts, infantile notions, pride a n d egotism. S o profound
is this a r m o u r e d barrier t h a t o u r best a t t e m p t s t o get past it, a r o u n d it,
or through it are utterly impotent. W e b e c o m e cut off from o u r r o o t s ,
and h a v e n o power, n o ability, to c o n t a c t the deeper, the instinctual,
the m o r e potent side of o u r n a t u r e s .
T h e various schools of auto-suggestion a n d metaphysics all h a v e
different theories a n d techniques with r e g a r d t o overcoming this
barrier. T h a t s o m e people d o succeed is unquestionable. O n e meets
almost every d a y an individual here a n d there w h o is able t o
' d e m o n s t r a t e ' - t o use t h e ghastly w o r d they s o glibly employ. T h e s e
few are able to impress their u n c o n s c i o u s m i n d s with certain ideas
which fall as though u p o n fertile soil, fructify a n d bring salutary results.
These we c a n n o t deny - m u c h a s sometimes we would like
to, so offensive is their smugness, their d o g m a t i c attitude, their
unthinkingness.
But by far the great majority of their devotees fail lamentably. T h e y
have not, obviously, been able t o o v e r c o m e this difficulty by t h e
employment of the usual routines.
I a m sure the ancient sages a n d magi knew of these p r o b l e m s knew t h e m very well. I a m also quite sure t h a t they realized t h a t t h e
technique they used w a s , a m o n g s t other things, a process of
suggesting a series of creative ideas t o themselves. But w h a t I a m
equally certain of is this: they h a d perfected a n almost ideal m e t h o d
which proved itself able t o penetrate this hitherto impenetrable
endopsychic barrier. T h e y were able t o reach this imprisoned titan
locked u p in the hearts of every one of u s , a n d set it free s o t h a t it
could work with t h e m a n d for t h e m . T h u s they b e c a m e almost lyrical
in their descriptions of w h a t could n o t b e accomplished by t h e
individual w h o employed their techniques with c o u r a g e a n d
perseverance.
A s I say, they knew of t h e existence of this psychic a r m o u r , a n d
knew it only t o o well. All their m e t h o d s w e r e directed t o mobilizing all
the forces of t h e individual, reinforcing his will a n d imagination, t o t h e
end t h a t h e could o v e r c o m e himself t o realize his kinship, his identity
and unity with the u n c o n s c i o u s self.
W h a t these m e t h o d s were, I h o p e t o describe in s o m e small detail in
these pages. S o m e of t h e m m a y a p p e a r irrational t o u s . T h e y certainly

are irrational. But that is n o a r g u m e n t for rejecting them s u m m a r i l y .


A great p a r t of life itself is irrational. But it is incumbent u p o n us t o
accept life in all its aspects, rational and irrational as well. O n e of the
very earliest things a p s y c h o a n a l y t i c patient learns is this o n e fact that he h a s at least t w o sides to his n a t u r e , a rational and an irrational
side. T o g e t h e r they c o m p r i s e a single discrete self - his personality. If
he denies the validity or existence of either o n e of t h e m , he d o e s
violence to himself a n d m u s t suffer accordingly. Both of these t w o
factors m u s t be permitted to exist side by side, the o n e affecting t h e
other. In this w a y , the individual g r o w s , intellectually, emotionally a n d
spiritually, a n d all his w a y s will prosper. W i t h denial, nothing b u t
trouble, neurosis a n d disease c a n follow.
These irrational processes t h a t were instituted of old a s t h e
technique of Magic c o m p r i s e the use of invocation o r prayer, of t h e
use of the imagination in formulating images a n d symbols, of
employing the religious sense to a w a k e n ecstasy a n d an intensity of
feeling, of rates of breathing that would alter the a c c u s t o m e d n e u r o physiological patterns a n d so render m o r e permeable the barrier
within the mind itself. Everything that would c o n d u c e to a heightening
of feeling a n d imagination, t h a t would lead to the instigation of a n
overpowering ecstasy, would be encouraged, for it would be in this
psychological state t h a t t h e n o r m a l barriers a n d confines of t h e
conscious personality could be overridden in a t e m p e s t u o u s s t o r m of
emotional concentration.

Concentration and Emotion


It w a s the ancient theory that the unconscious or the deeper levels of
the p s y c h e could b e r e a c h e d principally by t w o m e t h o d s . T h e s e w e r e
intense concentration, a n d intensity of emotion. T h e former is
extremely difficult of achievement. Certainly there are m e t h o d s
whereby the mind itself m a y be trained so t o c o n c e n t r a t e t h a t
eventually a funnel, as it w e r e , is created by t h e mind, t h r o u g h w h i c h
suggestions could be p o u r e d into the u n c o n s c i o u s t o w o r k their w a y
o u t in the various w a y s desired. But such m e t h o d s a r e for the very
few. T h e r e is only an individual here a n d there w h o h a s the patience
a n d the indomitable will t o sit by himself for a certain period during
the d a y , a n d e a c h d a y , a n d subject himself t o an iron m e n t a l
discipline.
T h e emotional intensity, while not easy t o cultivate, at least is m o r e
within the b o u n d s a n d possibilities of achievement t h a n is the other. It
w a s this m e t h o d t h a t the ancient magicians cultivated to a very fine
art. T h e y devised innumerable m e a n s w h e r e b y t h e n o r m a l physiological habits could be c h a n g e d a n d altered, s o a s to permit of this

impingement u p o n the underlying basis of the self.


T o s u m m a r i z e : there is divination, the art of obtaining at a
m o m e n t ' s notice any required type of information regarding the
o u t c o m e of certain actions o r events. Fortune-telling so-called is a n
abuse. T h e sole p u r p o s e of the art is to develop the intuitive faculties
of the student to such an extent that eventually all technical m e t h o d s
of divination m a y be discarded. W h e n that stage of development h a s
been reached, mere reflection upon a n y p r o b l e m will automatically
evoke from the intuitive m e c h a n i s m within the information required,
with a degree of certainty a n d a s s u r a n c e involved t h a t could never be
acquired save from an inner psychic source.
A n o t h e r p h a s e - p e r h a p s which h a s been stressed m o r e t h a n all
others - is Ceremonial M a g i c in its widest sense. C o m p r i s e d within
this expression, are at least three distinct types of ceremonial
endeavour, all, however, subject t o one general set of rules or
governed by o n e major formula. T h e w o r d 'ceremonial' includes
rituals for initiation, for t h e invocation of g o d s so-called, a n d the
evocation of elemental a n d planetary spirits. T h e r e is also the
e n o r m o u s sphere of talismans, and their consecration and charging.
Ceremonial is p r o b a b l y the m o s t ideal of all m e t h o d s for spiritual
development since it entails the analysis and subsequent stimulation of
every individual faculty a n d power. Its results are genius a n d spiritual
illumination. But personal aptitude is so potent a factor in this matter,
as well as in divination, that although the w o r d ' A r t ' m a y be applied to
cover their operation it would be unjust to M a g i c to d e n o m i n a t e it a
Science.
T h e third, and in s o m e w a y s the m o s t i m p o r t a n t b r a n c h for m y
particular purpose at the m o m e n t , is vision, or the Body of Light
technique. It is with this latter that I shall deal exclusively in this essay,
as it c o n t a i n s elements which I feel answer m o r e definitely to the
requirements of a Science t h a n any other.

Magic and the Qabalah


In discussing M a g i c , the reader's p a r d o n m u s t be sought if reference is
continually m a d e to the Q a b a l a h . T h e y are so interlaced that it is wellnigh impossible to separate them. Q a b a l a h is theory a n d philosophy.
On the other h a n d , M a g i c is the practical application of t h a t t h e o r y . In
the Q a b a l a h is a geometrical glyph n a m e d T h e T r e e of Life, which is
really a symbolic m a p b o t h of the universe in its m a j o r aspects, a n d of
its m i c r o c o s m , m a n . U p o n this m a p are depicted ten principal
continents, so t o say, o r ten fields of activity where t h e forces
constituting or underlying the universe function in their respective
w a y s . In m a n these a r e ahalysable into ten facets of consciousness,

ten m o d e s of spiritual activity. T h e s e a r e called the Sephiroth


(see
p a g e 57).
N o w consider with m e t h a t especial Sephirah or subtle aspect of t h e
universe called by the Qabalists Yesod. T r a n s l a t e d a s the ' s p h e r e of
the F o u n d a t i o n ' , it is p a r t of the Astral Light - an omniform plane of
magnetic, electric, a n d ubiquitous substance, interpenetrating a n d
underlying the whole of the visible perceptible world. It acts as a m o r e
or less p e r m a n e n t m o u l d w h e r e u p o n the physical world is constructed,
its o w n activity a n d c o n s t a n t c h a n g e ensuring the stability of this
world a s a c o m p e n s a t i n g factor. In this world function the d y n a m i c s of
feeling, desire and emotion, and just a s the activities of this physical
world are engineered t h r o u g h the modalities of heat a n d cold,
compression and diffusion, etc., so in the astral are operative attraction
and repulsion, love a n d h a t e .
A n o t h e r of its functions is t o exist as the m e m o r y of n a t u r e , where
are automatically a n d instantaneously recorded every act of m a n a n d
every p h e n o m e n o n of the universe from time immemorial t o t h e
present d a y . T h e nineteenth-century M a g u s , Eliphas Levi, h a s written
of this A s t r a l Light t h a t : T h e r e exists an agent which is natural a n d
divine, material a n d spiritual, a universal plastic mediator, a c o m m o n
receptacle of the vibrations of motion a n d the images of forms, a fluid
a n d a force, which m a y b e called in s o m e w a y the Imagination o f
N a t u r e . . . ' A n d again he registers t h e conviction t h a t it is ' t h e
mysterious force w h o s e equilibrium is social life, progress, civilization,
a n d whose disturbance is a n a r c h y , revolution, b a r b a r i s m , from w h o s e
c h a o s a new equilibrium at length evolves, the c o s m o s of a n e w
order, when another d o v e h a s brooded over t h e blackened a n d
disturbed waters.'

The Astral Light and the Collective Unconscious


It is interesting to glance from this theurgic concept t o a psychological
one which is n o t very unlike it. T h e following p a r a g r a p h is m o r e o r
less of a p a r a p h r a s e of J u n g ' s ideas concerning it, culled from an essay
of his entitled Analytical
Psychology and Weltanschauung.
It is a n
extension of the ideas previously quoted. H e defines it first of all as t h e
all-controlling deposit of ancestral experience from untold millions of
years, the echo of prehistoric world-events to which e a c h century a d d s
an infinitesimally small a m o u n t of variation a n d differentiation.
Because it is in the last analysis a deposit of world-events finding
expression in brain a n d s y m p a t h e t i c nerve structure, it b e c o m e s , in its
totality, a sort of timeless world-image, with a certain aspect of
eternity o p p o s e d t o o u r m o m e n t a r y , conscious image of the world. It
h a s an energy peculiar t o itself, independent of consciousness, b y

means of which effects are p r o d u c e d in the p s y c h e t h a t influence us all


the more powerfully from the d a r k regions within. T h e s e influences
remain invisible to everyone w h o h a s failed t o subject the transient
world-image to a d e q u a t e criticism, a n d w h o is therefore still hidden
from himself. T h a t the world h a s not only an outer, but a n inner
aspect, and that it is n o t only outwardly visible, but also acts
powerfully upon us in a timeless present, from the deepest a n d m o s t
subjective hinterland of the p s y c h e - this J u n g holds to be a form of
knowledge that, regardless of t h e fact that it is ancient wisdom,
deserves t o b e evaluated a s a new factor in forming a philosphic
world-view. I suggest, then, t h a t w h a t the magicians imply b y the
Astral Light is identical in the last resort with the Collective
Unconscious of m o d e r n psychology.
By m e a n s of t h e traditional theurgic technique it is possible t o
contact consciously this plane, t o experience its life a n d influence,
converse with its elemental a n d angelic inhabitants so-called, a n d
return here to n o r m a l consciousness with complete a w a r e n e s s a n d
m e m o r y of that experience. This, naturally requires training. But so
does every d e p a r t m e n t of science. Intensive preparation is d e m a n d e d
to fit o n e for critical observation, t o provide o n e with the particular
scientific alphabet required for its study, a n d to acquaint o n e with the
researches of one's predecessors in t h a t realm. N o less should b e
expected of Magic - t h o u g h all t o o often miracles are expected
without due preparation. A n y o n e with even the slightest visual
imagination m a y b e so trained a s to handle in but a short while t h e
elementary magical technique b y which o n e is enabled to explore the
subtler aspects of life a n d the universe. T o transcend this ' m a n y coloured world' a n d to gain a d m i t t a n c e t o loftier realms of soul a n d
spirit is quite another m a t t e r , o n e calling for other faculties and other
powers, particularly a fiery devotion a n d an intense aspiration t o the
highest.
But with the latter, I a m n o t j u s t n o w concerned, even t h o u g h it is
the pulsing heart a n d m o r e i m p o r t a n t aspect of T h e u r g y . It is with t h e
scientific aspect of M a g i c , its m o r e readily verifiable aspect, t h a t I
shall deal n o w . Elsewhere I h a v e given a s traditional attributions o r
associations to the sphere in question t h e following symbols. Its planet
is said t o b e the m o o n , its element air, its n u m b e r nine, its colour
purple - a n d also silver in another scale. T h e p e a r l and m o o n s t o n e are
its jewels, aloes its perfume, a n d its so-called divine n a m e is Shaddai
El Chai. T h e archangel attributed t o it is Gabriel, its choir of angels
are the four K e r u b s ruling t h e elements, a n d its geomantic symbols are
Populus a n d Via. T h e T a r o t symbols appertaining to this sphere are
those c a r d s in each of the four suits n u m b e r e d I X , a n d closely
associated with it also is the twenty-first t r u m p c a r d entitled T h e

W o r l d ' . H e r e we find depicted a female form s u r r o u n d e d by a green


garland. Actually this t r u m p c a r d is attributed t o the thirty-second
p a t h of Saturn which connects the material plain to Yesod. But h o w
were these symbols a n d n a m e s o b t a i n e d ? W h a t is their origin? A n d
why are they so called attributions or c o r r e s p o n d e n c e s of t h a t
Sephirah called the F o u n d a t i o n ?
First of all, meditation will disclose the fact that all h a v e a natural
h a r m o n y and affinity o n e with the other - t h o u g h not p e r h a p s readily
seen at the first glance. F o r example, the m o o n is, to us, the fastest
moving planet. It travels t h r o u g h all the twelve signs of the zodiac in
a b o u t twenty-eight d a y s . T h e idea of rapid c h a n g e is there implicit,
revealing the concept that t h e astral, while almost a timeless eternal
deposit of world events, is nevertheless the origin of m u t a t i o n s a n d
alterations which later influence the physical world - in the s a m e w a y
that impulse and thought m u s t precede any action. Its element is air, a
subtle, all-pervading m e d i u m , c o m p a r a b l e to the astral light itself a
medium without which life is quite impossible. N i n e is the end of all
n u m b e r s , containing the preceding n u m b e r s within its o w n s u m . It
a l w a y s r e m a i n s itself when added t o itself or multiplied, or subtracted,
suggesting the fundamental, all-inclusive, self-sustaining n a t u r e of t h e
realm.
W h a t is still m o r e i m p o r t a n t , however, from the scientific viewpoint,
is that they are things, n a m e s , and s y m b o l s actually perceived in t h a t
sphere by the skryer in the spirit-vision. A s a m a t t e r of solid proof,
o n e could q u o t e n u m e r o u s visions a n d astral j o u r n e y s obtained b y
different people in difference places at different times, in which all the
traditional symbols a p e a r in d y n a m i c a n d in curiously d r a m a t i c a n d
vital form.

Experimental Verification
M a g i c , as already r e m a r k e d , is a practical system, a n d every p a r t h a s
been devised for experiment. E a c h part is capable of verification using
a p p r o p r i a t e m e t h o d s . E a c h student m a y check it for himself, a n d t h u s
discover the realities of his o w n divine n a t u r e as well as of the universe
both within a n d without him, independently of w h a t any other m a n
m a y h a v e written in b o o k s . W e ask for experiment; d e m a n d it even,
for the sake of m a n k i n d . W e invite the earnest a n d sincere student t o
experiment for himself with that technique described in C h a p t e r T e n
of m y book The Tree of Life, a n d then c o m p a r e his results, t h e
j o u r n e y t o any o n e p a t h o r Sephirah, with the c o r r e s p o n d e n c e s briefly
delineated in m y o t h e r w o r k A Garden of Pomegranates
or in D i o n
F o r t u n e ' s book The Mystical
Qabalah.
It is with the u t m o s t
confidence t h a t I say o n e h u n d r e d astral j o u r n e y s obtained in t h a t w a y
will c o r r e s p o n d in every instance with the major symbols, n a m e s ,

numbers, a n d ideas recorded in the several b o o k s of t h e Q a b a l a h .


Let m e quote from the record of a colleague an illuminating p a s s a g e
or two illustrating w h a t I m e a n . T h e following is a 'vision' or w a k i n g
dream - a fantasy of the so-called thirty-second p a t h .
W e m a r c h e d d o w n the wide indigo r o a d . T h e r e w a s a cloudy nightsky - n o stars. T h e r o a d w a s raised a b o v e the general level of the
ground. T h e r e w a s a canal e a c h side b e y o n d which we could see
the lights of w h a t a p p e a r e d t o be a large city. W e w e n t on like this
for a long w a y , b u t then I noticed in t h e distance a tiny figure of a
w o m a n , like a miniature - she seemed t o be n a k e d , but as she drew
near, I saw a scarf floating r o u n d her. She h a d a crown of stars on
her head a n d in her h a n d s were t w o w a n d s . She c a m e t o w a r d s us
very quickly, a n d I gazed fascinatedly at a string of pearls reaching
from her neck to her knees - a n d gazing, found t h a t we h a d passed
through the circle of pearls, a n d she h a d disappeared!
T h e student of the Q a b a l a h w h o h a s only a passing a c q u a i n t a n c e
with T a r o t symbolism will recognize here the twenty-first A t u o f ' T h e
World', the p a t h attributed t o S a t u r n , linking t h e physical t o t h e astral
worlds. H e will p r o b a b l y b e very surprised to learn t h a t the symbols
on these c a r d s represent d y n a m i c and exceedingly vital realities. But I
must p a s s on to a brief description of the e n t r a n c e to Yesod.
N o w the sky is clear a n d full of stars . . . the m o o n , a great yellow
harvest m o o n , rises slowly u p the sky t o a full a r c h . . . a n d w e saw
the m o o n b e a m s shining o n the high purple walls of a city . . . W e
did not delay to look a b o u t , but m a r c h e d quickly to the centre of
the city, to an open space, in t h e midst of which w a s a r o u n d temple
like a ball of silver. It w a s a p p r o a c h e d b y nine steps, a n d rested o n
a silver platform. It h a d four d o o r s . Before e a c h w a s a large angel
with silver wings . . . Inside, we were in a very airy place. Light
breezes lifted our clothes a n d o u r hair - the interior w a s very white
and clear silvery - n o colours. Suspended in the centre w a s a great
globe, like the m o o n itself . . . While we looked we saw t h a t the
globe w a s not suspended in the air; it rested o n immense cupped
h a n d s . W e followed the a r m s u p and saw, far u p near the roof, deep
dark eyes looking d o w n , d a r k like the night sky. A n d a voice
said . . .
Little point would be gained in continuing with the rest of the
quotation. This p a s s a g e is given here solely t h a t the reader m a y refer t o
the description of the astral plane in the t e x t b o o k s , a n d then t o the
recurrence in this vision of t h e major symbols, a n d the d y n a m i c form

of d r a m a t i z a t i o n . Let the student t a k e g o o d notice of the presence of


the correct n u m b e r s , colours, planetary attributions, a n d above all the
hint a s t o h o w m u c h valuable knowledge m a y be acquired. N o t e the
four d o o r s to the temple - representing the four major elements of fire,
water, air a n d earth. F o r this astral world is also referred to a s the
ether (of which the element air is a surrogate), the fifth element
quintessentializing the lower elements, the temple t o which the other
elements are but d o o r s .
Suspended in t h e centre of the temple w a s a globe, symbolic
possibly of the element air itself which, in the H i n d u T a t t w a system,
is represented by a blue sphere. Before e a c h of the d o o r s s t a n d s an
angel. T h e s e are the four Kerubic angels, the vice-regents of the four
cardinal q u a r t e r s a n d elements ruling over a particular elemental
world under t h e d o m i n a n c e of o n e of the letters of the
T e t r a g r a m m a t o n . Possibly they are representations of t h e interior
psychic delimitation of t h e soul's spatial area, so t o speak, the absence
of which would indicate an unhealthy diffusion or decentralization of
consciousness. A l s o the four cardinal points of space would be
represented by these four angelic figures - concretizations, t o o , of the
double play of the m o r a l opposites. E a s t is opposite t o west, a n d n o r t h
opposite to south, whilst e a c h of these q u a r t e r s h a s attributed to it
s o m e particular m o r a l quality or psychic function. T h e sense of being
in a n airy place with light breezes bears o u t the formal attribution of
air - a curious confirmation of t h e duality of meaning implied in
pneuma, wind a n d spirit, a duality which o c c u r s not only in the G r e e k ,
but in H e b r e w , A r a b i c , a n d a host of primitive languages.

The Reality of Magic


Individual after individual h a s been trained independently t o visit this
a n d other Sephiroth.
While e a c h vision is s o m e w h a t different in its
detail a n d form t o that here quoted, nevertheless there is a startling
unanimity so far as c o n c e r n s the essential symbolic features. T h i s
constitutes definite scientific p r o o f of t h e s u p r e m e reality of the world
of M a g i c , a n d d e m o n s t r a t e s the possibility of personal experiment a n d
research. Scientific research is possible in this world of astral or
u n c o n s c i o u s realities, b e c a u s e they are effective things, t h a t is,
objective influences t h a t work and influence m a n k i n d . T h i s sphere is
the deposit of the world experience of all times, a n d it is therefore an
image of the world t h a t h a s been forming for a e o n s , an image in which
certain features, the so-called d o m i n a n t s , h a v e been elaborated
t h r o u g h t h e c o u r s e of time. T h e s e d o m i n a n t s a r e the ruling p o w e r s , the
g o d s a n d archangels a n d angels - t h a t is, represenations of
dominating laws a n d principles functioning in the c o s m o s . A n d since it

is a world functioning in the brain structure a n d sympathetic n e r v o u s


system of every individual it is a world which is open to every o n e w h o
wishes t o o v e r c o m e the fear which centuries of mal-education h a v e
projected u p o n it, a n d discover for himself anew the reality of its
dynamic urges a n d influences.
With but little ingenuity, specific tests m a y be u n d e r t a k e n with the
object of testing the relationship between geometrical s y m b o l s , the
vision obtained therefrom b y m e a n s of the b o d y of light technique,
and the correspondences of these figures recorded in the proper b o o k s .
It has been written t h a t various elements - fire, water, spirit, air a n d
earth - are attributed t o t h e five points of the P e n t a g r a m . D e p e n d i n g
entirely on the direction in which the lines are traced, so will the figure
invoke or banish t h e beings pertaining to t h a t element. F o r example, if
the student traces t h e invoking P e n t a g r a m of Fire in each of the four
cardinal quarters, a n d then employs the sensitive sight of the Body of
Light which previously he h a s cultivated, he will see a p p e a r a l m o s t
immediately the fire elementals o r S a l a m a n d e r s , the personalized fiery
constituents of his o w n p s y c h e . T h e tracing of the banishing Fire
P e n t a g r a m will see t h e m literally scuttle a w a y without hesitation,
subsiding into the u n c o n s c i o u s realm to which they belong, a n d from
which they were called.
O r else let the s t u d e n t d o this experiment in the presence of a
reliable clairvoyant, n o t mentioning w h a t figure is being traced. T h e
results will be highly illuminating. I k n o w s o m e objection m a y b e
raised by immediately responding 'telepathy'. But so far as I c a n see,
the response arouses far m o r e o b s c u r e p r o b l e m s t h a n the rationale t o
which objection is m a d e ; for telepathy certainly requires explanation
along scientific a n d d e p e n d a b l e lines - quite difficult at this stage of
the g a m e . T h e s e a n d a h o s t of other rigorous tests constitute definite
and precise scientific experiment of a significant a n d highly
authoritative nature.
In the sense t h a t several people m a y travel to certain p a t h s a n d
there u n d e r g o experiences wherein t h e essential features a r e identical
or in which the psychic d o m i n a n t s coincide, M a g i c m a y be a s s u m e d t o
be a definite, coherent science. It is precise a n d a c c u r a t e . M a g i c is the
accumulated record of psychic and spiritual experience which w e h a v e
inherited from the past, from former generations of m a n k i n d .
O n the other h a n d , it is clear that each of these visions would differ
materially a s to context, t h a t is, in the d r a m a t i c sense. T h e context, act
and scene so to speak, depend, entirely u p o n personal idiosyncrasy,
intellectual integrity, a n d the spiritual capacity to discover a n d a b s o r b
the truth, whether it is painful to the ego or not. W h e r e the personal
element enters so powerfully a s it d o e s here, the adventure m u s t be
labelled an art. Creative imagination in o n e person will b e used t o

56

F O U N D A T I O N S O F P R A C T I C A L MAGIC

formulate with an established conventional set o f symbols a whole


string of incidents a n d experiences - illuminating a n d tending t o the
expansion of his consciousness - which to the vision of a simple
unimaginative person would o c c u r in far simpler a n d matter-of-fact
form.

Sophisticated people, with a smattering of m o d e r n p s y c h o l o g y , are


likely to a s s u m e that M a g i c discloses nothing but the hidden depths of
the unconscious. T h e y will say t h a t these j o u r n e y s are c o m p a r a b l e t o
d r e a m experiences which a r e referred to the working a n d dramatizing
power of the subconscious mind. W h a t difference does it m a k e if the
Qabalists n a m e d this sphere or t y p e of consciousness the F o u n d a t i o n
or Astral W o r l d a n d the m o d e r n s 'the u n c o n s c i o u s ' ? T h e t e r m s a r e
c o g n a t e , a n d the symbols interchangeable; both m e a n the s a m e thing,
when all things are considered. If magic possesses w e a p o n s t h a t are
m o r e penetrating a n d incisive t h a n scientific ones, shall w e reject t h e m
because magic is the discredited h o u s e wherein they are stored? If
magical m e t h o d s reveal o u r secret selves m o r e directly, a n d unlock the
vast store of wisdom a n d p o w e r within o u r souls, showing us h o w t o
control them in w a y s that neither psycho-analysis n o r any m o d e r n
science h a s succeeded to d o , should we not be foolish to rejects its
benefits?
M a g i c is a scientific m e t h o d . It is a valid technique. Its a p p r o a c h t o
the universe a n d t o the secret of life's m e a n i n g is a legitimate o n e . If it
assists us to b e c o m e m o r e familiar with w h a t we really are, it is a
science - a n d a m o s t i m p o r t a n t o n e . A n d t o the scientist, whether he
be psychologist or physicist, it will open u p an entirely new universe of
t r e m e n d o u s breadth a n d d e p t h . If it succeeds in m a k i n g us better m e n
a n d w o m e n , a little m o r e kind a n d generous, a little m o r e a w a r e of the
spiritual heights to which we are capable of climbing with b u t a little
exertion, then it is the religion of religions. A n d should it spur us t o
greater efforts in o r d e r to render life a n d living m o r e beautiful a n d
intelligible, should it m a k e us m o r e anxious t o eliminate ugliness,
suffering, a n d ignoble misery, surely it is an art before which all other
M u s e s m u s t bow t h e head and bend t h e k n e e in reverential a n d
perennial praise!

2. A QABALISTIC
PRIMER
A Layman's Guide to The Tree of Life

The Q a b a l a h is an a r c h a i c system of Jewish mysticism. S.L.


M a c G r e g o r M a t h e r s in his learned introduction on this subject w r o t e
many years ago t h a t the principal doctrines of the Q a b a l a h were
designed to solve the following p r o b l e m s :
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.

T h e S u p r e m e Being, H i s nature and attributes.


Cosmogony.
T h e creation of angels and m a n .
T h e destiny of m a n a n d angels.
T h e nature of the soul.
T h e n a t u r e of angels, d e m o n s , and elementals.
T h e import of the revealed law.
T h e transcendental symbolism of n u m e r a l s .
T h e peculiar mysteries contained in the H e b r e w letters.
T h e equilibrium of contraries.

Christian G i n s b u r g , L L . D . , a hostile critic of s o m e fifty years a g o ,


wished t o differentiate between Jewish mysticism on the one h a n d and
the Q a b a l a h on the other. H i s u n s y m p a t h e t i c attitude w a s predicated
on the n a r r o w n e s s of so-called nineteenth-century rationalism. T h i s
attitude h a s since been discarded in the sciences as it h a s been in the
study of mysticism.
T h a t G i n s b u r g ' s intransigent point of view is n o longer valid is
strongly stressed by o n e of the m o s t incisive of all m o d e r n H e b r a i c

scholars, G e r s h o m G . Scholem. In his masterful w o r k , The


Kaballah
and its Symbolism,
he states simply that the Q a b a l a h literally m e a n s
'tradition'. A s such, it is the tradition of divine things, an esoteric
tradition. T h u s , it is the s u m of Jewish mysticism.
H e proceeds further by adding that it h a s h a d a long history, far
longer and m o r e stable t h a n h a s hitherto been suspected. F o r centuries
it h a s exerted a profound religious a n d philosophical influence o n
those of the Jewish people w h o were desirous of deepening their
understanding of the m o r e prosaic or o r t h o d o x forms and conceptions
of J u d a i s m . F o r him a n d m a n y other scholars like him, therefore,
G i n s b u r g ' s criticism is entirely without meaning, not being rooted in
historical fact.

Commentaries and Translations


T h e Q a b a l a h is not a particular b o o k , as s o m e laymen h a v e
erroneously a s s u m e d . It is a literature - a vast literature, m u c h of it
belonging t o the Middle A g e s a n d s o m e t o earlier G n o s t i c periods.
M o s t of it still remains in H e b r e w a n d A r a m a i c . D u r i n g the mystical
renaissance in the eighteenth century in P o l a n d a n d central E u r o p e ,
the
Chassidic
period,
the
literature
underwent
expansion,
reinterpretation a n d republication. S o m e little of this h a d been
translated into G e r m a n . R a t h e r less of it h a d a p p e a r e d in English. A
great deal still requires to be rendered into English in order to r o u n d
o u t our wholly inadequate knowledge.
Only a few of its major classics are currently available. F o r
example, the Zohar, which w a s translated by Sperling and Simon, w a s
originally published in the 1930s by the Soncino Press in England.
T h e m u c h smaller Sepher Yetzirah h a s long been obtainable in several
different translations. Its miniscule size m a d e it a less formidable t a s k
of translation t h a n did the Zohar.
S o m e few c o m m e n t a r i e s a n d b o o k s a b o u t different aspects of this
literature have been translated o r written in English. A great part of
this latter material, interestingly enough, h a s been d o n e by n o n - J e w s
w h o are mystics a n d occult students. H a v i n g found the Q a b a l a h
useful a n d interesting, they did not, however, try t o use it a s a
technical device to convert the people of Israel wholesale t o C h r i s t a s h a s been attempted before. A good p a r t of this m o r e recent w o r k ,
listed at the end of this essay, h a s been on a very high level, both from
a literary a n d a didactic point of view, a n d is likely t o survive for quite
a long time.
A s a Jewish mysticism, the Q a b a l a h is naturally very Jewish. S o m e
b o o k s of the Q a b a l a h not only elaborate theories a n d sectarian
explanations based o n early Rabbinical exegesis of Old T e s t a m e n t
texts a n d H e b r e w belief a n d history, but differ from m o s t o t h e r

systems of mysticism by extensive elaboration of the 'chosen people'


theme, elevating it into a sort of cosmically determined fact.
This a p p r o a c h m a y not necessarily be very appealing t o m a n y of us
today, Christian or Jew. W e feel little need for the formal context and
content of institutionalized religion of any sect or denomination.

The Tree of Life


The fundamental basis of the Q a b a l a h from the m o d e r n point of view
rests not on its mysticial speculations a b o u t creation, eschatology, the
Messiah, the S a b b a t h , and so o n - but on ' T h e Tree of Life'. This is a
simple theoretical and mathematical structure based on a 'filing
cabinet' idea.
This essentially illuminating possibility w a s really laid d o w n in The
Sepher Yetzirah. H e r e certain ideas are systematically attributed to
the basic system of n u m b e r s from one to ten. F u r t h e r m o r e , each of the
twenty-two letters of the H e b r e w alphabet are elaborated in m u c h the
same w a y - an idea quite intelligible w h e n it is remembered that the
Hebrew letters are, at t h e s a m e time, n u m b e r s ; T h e sum total of the
ten numerals and the twenty-two letters comprise the thirty-two P a t h s
of W i s d o m , a s they are called, a n d represent ' T h e Tree of Life'.
T o each one of these P a t h s , this early Book of Formation
attributes
planets, zodiacal signs, divine n a m e s , elements, directions in space,
etc. This is d o n e in such a m a n n e r as to formulate the rudiments of a
filing system. Later generations of scholars and students, by using this
root system, have added a complex series of additional d a t a . T h i s
includes information from Greek and Egyptian mythology, meditative
material derived from the T a r o t , information based o n mystical
experience (visionary and ecstatic), a c o n g l o m e r a t e of s o u n d s a n d
smells a n d colours - perfumes, jewels and, significantly t o o , m o d e r n
scientific d a t a . It has b e c o m e a meaningful syncretism.

The Organization of Knowledge


The whole melange t h u s serves a s a further m e a n s of classifying all
knowledge. It serves to organize the c o n t e n t s of the mind a n d to
provide a m e c h a n i s m for unifying all systems of any a n d every kind.
T h u s , ultimately, it enables o n e to reduce all types a n d kinds of
knowledge t o unity. A n d so we return to the heart, not simply of the
Jewish Q a b a l a h , but of all mysticism: ' F o r I h a v e found T h e e alike in
the M e a n d the T h e e ; there is no difference, O m y beautiful, m y
desirable O n e ! In the O n e a n d the M a n y h a v e I found T h e e : yea, I
have found T h e e . '
O n c e the potentiality of this root idea is grasped, it c a n be seen as

infinitely m o r e i m p o r t a n t , significant a n d useful t h a n any quasimystical theory of cosmogensis or anthropogenesis. It is far m o r e


productive and vastly m o r e creative t h a n esoteric hypotheses a s to
w h y the Jews were selected as the chosen people, w h a t went o n in
heaven during the Exile, or h o w the Messiah weeps on high o n
learning of the privations a n d s o r r o w s of the dispersed people of
Israel. A n y archaic psychology o r Christology o r theology fades into
minor i m p o r t a n c e when it is placed on the T r e e a n d perceived in
relation to other d a t a from similar esoteric systems.
T h e subject of the Q a b a l a h is so vast that in order to m a n a g e it
m o r e intelligently a n arbitrary division of its content material should
be m a d e into four specific segments. W e m u s t r e m e m b e r at all times,
however, that the division is wholly arbitrary a n d for our convenience
only. E a c h section is really without any dividing line, spilling over and
spreading into every other section.
1. Comparative.
By using the Tree of Life as a m a t h e m a t i c a l
structure, a science of c o m p a r a t i v e religion and mysticism is b r o u g h t
within the b o u n d s of possibility. It c a n be employed to heighten
understanding by relating o n e set of k n o w n c o n c e p t s to others in a far
different and distant system, thus reducing the m a n y to the O n e . This
essay is c o n c e r n e d solely with an elementary introduction to this
theme.
2. Doctrinal. T h i s consists of a mystico-theological exposition of
s o m e of the great p r o b l e m s that have a l w a y s preoccupied m a n k i n d .
T h e traditional Q a b a l a h h a s its o w n unique points of view. I d o u b t ,
however, that it h a s t o o m u c h validity in t o d a y ' s world. Nevertheless,
it is a distinct attitude, a n d a s such is to be respected a n d c o m p a r e d t o
other esoteric systems.
3. Theurgic. This h a s also been called t h e magical or wonderworking tradition of the Q a b a l a h . It is strongly rooted in the esoteric
traditions relating to T h e T r e e of Life, which h a s its roots in the divine,
secret life of G o d . In effect, the entire theory a n d practice revolve
a r o u n d t h e ' w a y of r e t u r n ' to the G o d h e a d from which m a n h a s
b e c o m e alienated. T h e m o r e m o d e r n interpretations of technical
p r o c e d u r e s a n d m e t h o d o l o g y are vastly different from and superior t o
the m o r e ancient a n d specifically Jewish point of view. It is in effect a
m o r e universal, eclectic a p p r o a c h rooted in t h a t curious p h e n o m e n o n
of the last century, the genius of the H e r m e t i c O r d e r of the G o l d e n
Dawn.
4. Exegetical.
Some contemporaries who know no Hebrew, and
w h o h a v e received n o schooling o r discipline in these aspects of t h e
Q a b a l a h , h a v e written foolishly t h a t these m e t h o d s are u n i m p o r t a n t .
This is to be u n d e r s t o o d a s merely a frank confession of their o w n
lack of experience a n d understanding. T h e t y r o w h o h a s developed

even minor facility in the use of these techniques o r exegesis o p e n s


himself to fantastic insights which, in their o w n w a y , are relevant
mystical experiences.
It is this latter, the realization of the universe as being divine, the
entire b o d y of G o d which includes every m a n a n d every form of life
within its vastness, which is the goal of all mysticism. If this technical
a p p r o a c h c a n yield this ultimate goal, its e m p l o y m e n t is n o t to be
sneered at or minimized.

The Ten Sephiroth


The oustanding feature of T h e Tree of Life once w e begin to examine
it closely, is revealed as a system of the ten Sephiroth
or divine
emanations, divided into three c o l u m n s . T h e r e is a right a n d a left
column of three Sephiroth each, and a middle o n e of four. T h e right
one is called the Pillar of M e r c y ; the left, the Pillar of Severity - the
prototypes of the M a s o n i c pillars of Yachin and Boaz. O n e of these is
male, the other female; o n e is positive, the other negative. O n e is
white, the other is black. A n d so on - the eternal play of the opposites:
' R e m e m b e r that unbalanced force is evil, that unbalanced severity is
but cruelty and oppression, but that also u n b a l a n c e d mercy is but
weakness which would allow and abet evil.'
T h u s the Q a b a l a h stresses a middle w a y between the two opposites,
indicating the age-old need for the avoidance of extremes. This attitude
is also found in H i n d u philosophy, in Buddhism, and in m o d e r n terms is
one of the major goals of J u n g i a n psychology.
The extremes are one-sided spiritual and psychological attitudes
which c a n only lead to total disintegration of the h u m a n spirit. T h e y
point to the need for the union of the t w o opposites in a new and
higher integrity.
T h e Middle Pillar t h u s becomes symbolic of the ' w a y of return', the
path of redemption, as it were. A vast system both of esoteric theory
and magical practice h a s been erected o n these structures.

The Four Worlds


Another w a y of looking a t the Tree is by w a y of the F o u r W o r l d s .
These levels a r e k n o w n as Atziluth, o r the A r c h e t y p a l W o r l d ; Briah,
the Creative W o r l d ; Yetzirah, the F o r m a t i v e W o r l d , a n d Assiah, the
World of Action, the Material W o r l d . T h e s e in turn are attributed to
the four letters of the divine n a m e , often referred to as the
T e t r a g r a m m a t o n , which simply m e a n s the four-lettered n a m e of
Y H V H . N o w this refers not simply to t h e J e h o v a h of t h e Old
T e s t a m e n t , w h o a p p e a r s t o have been a provincial, racial a n d testy old

tutelary deity, but t o the basic creative force in action of the A in Soph,
the Infinite. T h e old n a m e is retained but is given an entirely n e w a n d
b r o a d interpretation.
Y is Yod, attributed t o t h e element of fire, a n d is called the F a t h e r ; it
is the a r c h e t y p e of all things, a n d the area, a s it were, of G o d a n d H i s
divine n a m e s . H , Heh, the first H of T e t r a g r a m m a t o n , is the M o t h e r ,
referred t o the element of water, the creative world where t h e
archangelic forces hold sway a n d function, carrying o u t the creative
impulses received from o n high. V is Vau, the Son, referred to t h e
element of air, a n d to the F o r m a t i v e W o r l d , where the angelic forces
fashion and form the p r o t o t y p e s of all things o n the imaginative basis
previously laid d o w n . T h e final H , Heh, is referred to the D a u g h t e r ,
the element of earth, where all the intrinsic factors of t h e higher
creative forces b e c o m e embodied.
All is G o d and His creative energy, from the highest to the lowest
for there is nothing that is not G o d . It is only the limitations of o u r
sensory structure t h a t prevent u s from perceiving t h a t we live a n d
m o v e a n d have our being in the G o d h e a d , here a n d n o w .
Westcott affirms that ' M a n is still the copy of G o d o n e a r t h ; his
form is related to the T e t r a g r a m m a t o n of J e h o v a , Y H V H , for in a
d i a g r a m Yod is as the head, Heh the a r m s , Vau the b o d y , a n d the final
H , Heh,thc lower limbs.'

The Pentagrammaton
O n e of the letters of t h e H e b r e w alphabet is Shin. In the Book of
Formation
it is given the attribution of fire, a n d , by a n o t h e r
m a t h e m a t i c a l process, it b e c o m e s the s y m b o l of the H o l y Spirit.
Tradition sponsors the insertion of this letter into the middle of t h e
four-lettered N a m e , splitting it a s u n d e r , t h u s forming Y H s h V H , the
P e n t a g r a m m a t o n o r five-lettered N a m e . T h i s combination of letters
represents the illumination of t h e elemental o r natural m a n b y t h e
descent and impact of t h e H o l y Spirit. A s t h u s formed, t h e n a m e
represents the G o d - m a n , symbolized in Christianity by Christ
descending o n the m a n J e s u s . J e s u s , by this symbolism, represents t h e
natural m a n w h o , by devotion and meditation a n d t h e theurgic
process, opened his h u m a n n a t u r e to the brilliant descent of the Light.
It is this enlightenment that all men are destined t o enjoy at s o m e
far-distant time in h u m a n evolution. It is this t h a t separates m a n qua
m a n from the G o d - m a n , the goal of all mysticism. All mystical
techniques, including those of the Q a b a l a h , represent a m e t h o d of
hastening t h e slow tedious p r o c e s s of h u m a n evolution so t h a t t h e
states of consciousness that we are told will ultimately o c c u r routinely
in m a n k i n d m a y d a w n t o d a y .

The ten digits or files of T h e T r e e of Life are t h e manifold


expression of deity conceived of as t h e creative power of the Primal
Light. This is labelled as Ain Soph - the Infinite, serving as the
absolute, u n k n o w n a n d u n k n o w a b l e divine g r o u n d of Being. It is from
this Nothingness that creation takes place, creation in a n d from Its
essence, descending a n d ascending in various degrees of clarity or
obscurity (to us only), resulting in the a p p e a r a n c e of several
emanations t h a t are labelled
Sephiroth.
Incidentally, this w o r d Sephiroth is a feminine plural form of the
word Sephirah.
In The Book of Formation
the word Sephiroth
is
variously translated as n u m b e r s , letters and s o u n d s . C r e a t i o n is
conceived to be a divine magical act symbolized b y the e m p l o y m e n t of
the letters of the H e b r e w alphabet. These letters a r e n o t merely symbols
of magical forces; they are the creative forces of the universe. T h i s
assumed fact underlies all magical ritual and theurgic process. A s o n e
of the G o l d e n D a w n rituals p u t s it: ' B y n a m e s a n d images a r e all
powers a w a k e n e d a n d re-awakened.' Ritual action n o t only represents
symbolically the divine life; it evokes t h e interior spiritual force
manifested in concrete s y m b o l s .
I must emphasize here the fact t h a t this is only a n elementary a n d
suggestive treatise. T h e r e is n o a t t e m p t m a d e to follow an orderly
pattern of exposition. It is essentially a kind of free association that I
am pursuing. W h e n t h e student can follow this simple rambling
exposition without t o o m u c h difficulty, then he c a n turn with
confidence t o some of the m o r e systematic and complex delineations
of the system.

Kether
The firist Sephirah is k n o w n as Kether, the C r o w n , a n d represents a
concentration of light-energy within t h e infinity of Ain Soph. T h e
Qabalistic theory h a s it t h a t from the Infinite Light, the creative
impulse proceeded in a flash of radiant light (Zohar). T h i s released the
creative p o w e r s of the Infinite, resulting in a point or focus of multifaceted potentiality a n d development. In addition t o the C r o w n , it is
also k n o w n as the S m o o t h Point, M a c r o p r o s o p u s or t h e G r e a t F a c e
and a h o s t of other symbolic images a n d n a m e s , a n d is the first or
opening Sephirah on the Tree.
In other mythologies it is represented by A m o u n ' T h e C o n c e a l e d
O n e ' and t h e O p e n e r of the D a y ' , as well a s by P t a h t h e divine potter
h o forms all things o n his revolving wheel. O n e of the several
attributions of Kether is Raysheeth ha-gilgoleem, the first wheelings or
whirlings - a s t h o u g h to imply the earliest spiral nebula m o v e m e n t s .
AH beginnings, all seeds, of all--, things represented b y O n e , find their
Place in this part of t h e filing cabinet. O n e of the really great, t h o u g h
w

less well-known, A m e r i c a n occult teachers defines it as T h e P o w e r to


be C o n s c i o u s ' , a very eloquent p h r a s e .
A n o t h e r of its m a n y associations is M e t a t r o n , the Angel of the
Presence w h o , avers the ancient mythology, w a s changed into a fiery
flame. W e k n o w from the Bible t h a t G o d is a burning fire. Yet another
attribution is the choir of angels k n o w n as the Chayoth
ha-Qa4esh
translated a s the H o l y Living C r e a t u r e s . T h e s e are the four K e r u b u c
Beings seen by Ezekiel in his vision. T h e opening of the Book of
Ezekiel is worth re-reading at this j u n c t u r e .
This prophet's vision of the L o r d riding u p o n the fiery chariot of the
Holy Living C r e a t u r e s , a c c o m p a n i e d by supernal visions a n d voices,
m o v e m e n t s a n d upheavals o n earth - all of this well outside the range
of the spiritual experiences of m o s t other Biblical personalities - w a s
for the Qabalist a real opening into higher realms. It represented an
unveiling of the innermost a n d impenetrable secrets locked u p in the
newly-revealed interrelation of m a n and G o d . It w a s ever interpreted
as a sort of divine self-unveiling, an ineffable mystical experience of
the highest magnitude. T h e Qabalists considered t h a t the d o o r t o the
b e y o n d w a s flung wide open so that the properly prepared individual,
at the direct invitation of G o d , could m o u n t as t h o u g h on a flaming
Pegasus and chariot t o the secret spiritual life t h a t he h a s laboured for
so long t o reach.
T h e chariot (the Merkabah)
w a s thus a 'mystic w a y ' leading t o the
veritable heights of the T r e e of Life, t o the C r o w n of all. It w a s
considered a vehicle by m e a n s of which the Qabalist w a s carried
directly to a face-to-face encounter with his highest divinity. It w a s the
aim of the would-be mystic, therefore, t o be a ' M e r k a b a h - n & t ? so that
he might be enabled while still incarnate as a h u m a n being to ascend
to his spiritual El D o r a d o . Enlightenment is t h u s the meaning of all the
'chariot' symbolisms.
y

Chokmah
Chokmah,
o r W i s d o m , is t h e n a m e of the second e m a n a t i o n or
manifestation. It is alluded to a b o v e all other representations of the
primal duality a s fatherhood, maleness, wisdom, the positive pole - all
these associations are represented here. T h e r e are archangels and
angels attributed t o each o n e of these Sephiroth,
representing the
emergence of different forms or types of the divine creative power a n d
intent.
T h e divine n a m e used in the Old T e s t a m e n t is said to be Yah. T h e
archangel is Ratziel, the M y s t e r y of G o d , while its astrological
attribution refers t o the wheel of the zodiac itself, a s though t o indicate
its supraterrestrial sphere of influence.

In the prologue of the Zohar, the Book of Splendour, is a beautiful


myth expatiating o n the biblical verse 'In the beginning G o d
created
By w a y of p r e a m b l e , it is necessary to indicate t h a t the
Hebrew w o r d s for this a r e 'be-Raysheeth
bara Elohim . . . ' . A literal
translation is a s follows:
means 'In'
Raysheeth - 'the beginning'
Bara'created'
Elohim - translated as G o d . (But the w o r d El is G o d . Eloh would be
a feminine G o d , t h e suffix oh determining the feminine gender. T h e
other suffix im is a masculine form of plurality. In the w o r d
Sephiroth,
for example, the suffix oth represents the feminine form of plurality.)
The first letter of the Bible therefore is B, Beth, a s it is also of the
second word bara, to create.
The Z o h a r i c m y t h I refer t o deals with the H e b r e w letters as beings
or personifications of the creative forces which o n e by one p a r a d e
before G o d asking for the privilege of being the first to describe the
process of creation: ' W h e n the Holy O n e , blessed be H e , was a b o u t to
make the world, all the letters of the alphabet were still e m b r y o n i c . . .
When H e c a m e to create the world, all the letters a d v a n c e d themselves
before Him in reversed order.'
O n e by one, they describe w h y they a n d they atone should be so
chosen, a n d one b y one, a r g u m e n t s are tendered to deny t h e m this
privilege. Finally the letter B(in H e b r e w Beth) entered the scene, a n d
said:
' " O L o r d of the world, m a y it please T h e e to put m e first in t h e
creation of the world, since I represent the benedictions
(berakhoth)
offered to T h e e on high a n d below." T h e H o l y O n e , blessed be H e ,
said to her: " A s s u r e d l y , with thee I will create the world, and thou shalt
form the beginning in the creation of the w o r l d . " '
T h e entire emphasis o n this play o n w o r d s a n d letters is really to
elicit the concept, so necessary for m a n , of the benevolence a n d
benediction of the Creative P o w e r . It would h a v e been very difficult
for early m a n t o have lived without this belief.
A n d t h u s it c a m e to be t h a t the letter Beth o p e n s u p t h e biblical
account of creation. N o w , using the c o m p a r a t i v e m e t h o d m a d e
possible by our filing cabinet, we find that to B, the n u m b e r 2 , in the
Sepher Yetzirah, the planet M e r c u r y is attributed, a n d so its god is
H e r m e s w h o is a lower form of the E g y p t i a n T h o t h , t h e g o d of
'wisdom a n d utterance, the god t h a t c o m e t h forth from the veil.' T h o t h
is said to h a v e p r o n o u n c e d the magical w o r d s t h a t formed the whole
gamut of created things. I n the particular exordium of the G o l d e n
D a w n , there is the following significant p a s s a g e :

A t the ending of the N i g h t ; at the limits of the Light, T h o t h stood


before the U n b o r n O n e s of T i m e !
T h e n w a s formulated the Universe;
T h e n c a m e forth the G o d s thereof:
T h e A e o n s of the Bornless B e y o n d :
T h e n w a s the Voice vibrated:
T h e n w a s the N a m e declared.
A t the Threshold of the E n t r a n c e , between the Universe a n d the
Infinite,
In the Sign of the Enterer, stood T h o t h a s before him were the
A e o n s proclaimed.
In Breath did he vibrate t h e m ; in S y m b o l s did he record t h e m .
F o r betwixt T h e Light a n d the D a r k n e s s did he stand.
This entire p a s s a g e from the Golden D a w n teaching is w o r t h y of
prolonged meditation. It should be related in meditation t o t h e
following idea from D i o n F o r t u n e ' s book on the Q a b a l a h :
In o r d e r to c o n t a c t Chokmah we m u s t experience the rush of t h e
d y n a m i c cosmic energy in its pure form; a n energy so t r e m e n d o u s
that mortal m a n is fused into disruption by it. It is recorded t h a t
when Semele, m o t h e r of D i o n y s o s , saw Z e u s her divine lover in his
god-form a s the T h u n d e r e r , she w a s blasted a n d burnt, a n d g a v e
birth to her divine son prematurely. T h e spiritual experience
assigned to Kether is the Vision of G o d face t o face; a n d G o d
(Jehovah) said t o M o s e s , T h o u canst not look u p o n my face a n d
live.'
But although the sight of the Divine F a t h e r blasts m o r t a l s a s
with fire, the Divine Son c o m e s familiarly a m o n g them a n d c a n be
invoked by the a p p r o p r i a t e rites - B a c c h a n a l i a in the gase of the S o n
of Z e u s , a n d the Eucharist in the case of the Son of J e h o v a h . T h u s
we see t h a t there is a lower form of manifestation, which ' s h e w s us
the F a t h e r ' , but t h a t this rite owes its validity solely to the fact t h a t
it derives its Illuminating Intelligence, its Inner R o b e of G l o r y , from
the F a t h e r ,
Chokmah.

Binah
Binah, U n d e r s t a n d i n g , is the third Sephirah,
a n d is feminine a n d
negative in polarity. T o Binah is attributed a m o n g s t other things t h e
Shekinah,
a symbol of the H o l y Spirit. This is a fascinating set of
c o n c e p t s since it emerged in J u d a i c thought, which in its m o n o t h e i s m
is male-oriented without a diluting t r a c e of any feminine influence. T h e
one exception possibly is in the c o n s t a n t devotional reference t o t h e
S a b b a t h a s a Bride - a n d o n this c o n c e p t a vast mystical

superstructure h a s been erected. It c o n n e c t s the S a b b a t h with the


Shekinah, a n d while apparently using biblical texts as authority, s o m e
Qabalistic b o o k s force t h e e m e r g e n c e of a symbolism o r a m y t h o s
which is in every w a y feminine and t h u s unalterably o p p o s e d t o the
historical development of non-mystical J u d a i s m . It is reminiscent of
Jung's idea of e n a n t i o d r o m i a , t h a t a n y psychological trend sooner or
later must evoke o r p a s s into its opposite - the T a o i s t idea t h a t each
element of Yang or Yin contains the seed o r r o o t of its o w n opposite.
'At the height of the Yang (the male) the Yin (female) is born.'
In o r t h o d o x J u d a i c literature, t h e Shekinah
- a word meaning
literally the indwelling presence of G o d - is t a k e n to m e a n simply G o d
himself in His omnipresent activity in the world, a n d of c o u r s e in
Israel. His presence, w h a t the Bible calls His 'face', is in Rabbinical
usage H i s indwelling presence in the world. N o w h e r e in t h e
conventional o r t h o d o x literature is a distinction m a d e between G o d
Himself a n d His Shekinah.
T h e Shekinah
is n o t there a special
hypostasis distinguished from G o d as a whole. G o d is t r a n s c e n d e n t ;
His Shekinah is i m m a n e n t .
So far as c o n c e r n s the Q a b a l a h , however, the Shekinah
is
conceived as an aspect of G o d , a quasi-independent feminine element
within H i m . She is also conceived as the dwelling place of the h u m a n
soul, an entirely new conception. T h e idea t h a t man^s highest self h a d
its origin in the feminine precinct within G o d Himself is an
outstanding a n d far-reaching contribution of the Q a b a l a h t o mystical
thought. It b e a r s m a n y similarities to E a s t e r n philosophy, especially to
the V e d a n t a .
It at o n c e differentiates the Q a b a l a h from the hitherto masculine
sterility of o r t h o d o x J u d a i c belief, s o top-heavy without a feminine
component, a n d permits a well-defined c o m p a r i s o n , within the format
of T h e T r e e of Life, with s u c h feminine potencies in o t h e r esoteric
systems s u c h as the H o l y G h o s t , K w a n Yin, Shakti, M o t h e r D u r g a ,
Aditi the Light-mother, a n d M a r y the m o t h e r of J e s u s . They m a y n o t
be wholly identical, but there r e m a i n nonetheless e n o r m o u s similarities
which render the possibility of concretizing a true science of
comparative mystical religion.
All of this aids in o u r understanding of Binah as the great M o t h e r ,
the wide open sea which h a s given birth t o us all, the planet S a t u r n ,
sombre a n d grave, a n d old C h r o n o s , the father of T i m e . C r o w l e y h a s
likened her t o o u r L a d y B a b a l o n , the m o t h e r of all w h o r e d o m s - a n d
while the language is at first startling to a degree, it a c c o r d s entirely
with the E a s t e r n concept of Kali, the giver of life a n d d e a t h , the lover
of every m a n , capable of infinite conceptions. R a m a k r i s h n a ' s devotion
to Kali, t o the divine M o t h e r , is an outstanding example of this.
These three Sephiroth are 6ften spoken of a s t h e Supernals - far

removed from a n d transcending the o p e r a t i o n s a n d functions of t h e


other a r e a s of T h e T r e e o f Life. Seen as a unity, these three a r e
referred t o simply asAimah Elohim, the M o t h e r of the G o d s , t o w h o m
are given the three Vedantic characteristics of Sat-Chit-Ananda
Being, W i s d o m a n d E c s t a s y . Played against these are their Buddhist
opposites of Anatta,
Anicca,
a n d Dukkham
- Unsubstantiality,
I m p e r m a n e n c e a n d S o r r o w . T h e opposites are, paradoxically,
identical in this t r a n s c e n d e n t a r e a of the Tree.
Separating the divine t r a n s c e n d e n c e from the m o r e familiar a n d
m o r e readily conceivable aspects of the T r e e , there is said to stretch a
vast gulf, a n a b y s s between n o u m e n o n a n d p h e n o m e n o n , which is
wholly unbridgeable by m a n . S o long a s he r e m a i n s m a n , b o u n d up in
his private world of reason a n d practical events, the Supernals a r e
a b s t r a c t u n r e a c h a b l e c o n c e p t s . Only by riding the mercabah or the
mystical experience, resulting in the destruction of ahamkara, the egom a k i n g faculty, c a n t h e a b y s s be traversed. T h e tradition here is so
vast, so complex, a n d so a b s t r a c t that w e have to be content at this
m o m e n t with just this reference, a n d n o m o r e .
T h e planetary attribution is S a t u r n , stability a n d form, form which
binds energy, as purusha is embodied in prakriti
according t o the
S a n k h y a system of Kapila. Its archangel is merely the H e b r e w n a m e
for S a t u r n , ShabbathaU with the 'el' a p p e n d e d a s a suffix - at least so
it is according to t h e Sigillum Dei Aemeth of the Dee-Kelly system,
m a k i n g Shabbathiel, o r Tzaphkiel in the m o r e traditional system. T h e
divine n a m e is YHVH Elohim, a c o m p o u n d of T e t r a g r a m m a t o n plus
the masculine plural of a female god.
T h e Sephirah is ambivalent, or rather, as a true symbol, bipolar. In
the lovely C r o w l e y a n symbolism, Binah is the City of the P y r a m i d s
under the Night of P a n , where t h e adept w h o h a s crossed the a b y s s a s
a successful mercabah-ndtv,
a n d so annihilated the ego, b e c o m e s a
Babe of the A b y s s n u r s e d by our L a d y B a b a l o n .
A s a final c o m m e n t relative to Binah, there is a short p a r a g r a p h b y
Dion F o r t u n e which is pertinent h e r e t o :
T h e expansive force given off by petrol is p u r e energy, but it will
not drive a c a r . T h e constrictive organization of Binah
is
potentially capable of driving a car, but it c a n n o t d o so unless set in
motion by the expansion of the stored-up energy of petrol-vapour.
Binah is all-potential, but inert. Chokmah is p u r e energy, limitless
a n d tireless, b u t incapable of doing anything except radiate off into
s p a c e if left to its o w n devices. B u t when Chokmah
acts u p o n
Binah, its energy is g a t h e r e d u p a n d set to w o r k . W h e n Binah
receives t h e impulse of Chokmah,
all her latent capacities are
energized. Briefly, Chokmah
supplies the energy, a n d
Binah
supplies the m a c h i n e .

A QABALISTIC PRIMER

Chesed
Chesed is the next Sephirah. T h e H e b r e w w o r d m e a n s ' m e r c y ' . All
significances attached to the n u m b e r 4 find their place in this filing
jacket.
Jupiter is the astrological attribution, from which w e obtain ideas of
the authority, form, law, a b u n d a n c e , generosity, a n d order in the
Eastern sense of dharma - the Tightness of things, the proper w a y .
Here too is to be found the E g y p t i a n Maat, w h o wields the feather of
Truth.
Its magical symbol o r image is t h a t of a c r o w n e d and powerful king
enthroned on a dais, clothed with the fulsome purples a n d royal blues
associated with his regal status. A r o u n d him are the cognate symbols
of Jupiterian authority, the o r b a n d the c r o o k . O n s o m e of t h e
Egyptian godforms, the c r o o k is pointed t o the left shoulder t o which
Chesed is attributed, whilst t h e flail or the scourge points to the right
shoulder, t o Geburah. T h e c r o o k or crozier is the shepherd tool of
mercy, the pastoral staff of giving aid on the spiritual level.
In this s a m e connection, Z e u s is an attribute - the god whose
authority a n d p o w e r a n d energy is so vast t h a t h e c o m m a n d s the
lightning a n d the s t o r m s , a n d hurls the thunderbolts.
T h u s Chesed is authority a n d divine leadership, which p r o d u c e s
order out of c h a o s , permitting freedom and liberty within certain welldefined limits. 'Liberty', wrote D i o n F o r t u n e with great sagacity,
'might be defined as the right t o c h o o s e o n e ' s m a s t e r , for a ruler o n e
must have in all organized c o r p o r a t e life, else there is c h a o s . It is
effectual a n d inspiring leadership that is the crying need of the world
at the present time, a n d c o u n t r y after c o u n t r y is seeking a n d finding
the ruler w h o a p p r o x i m a t e s m o s t closely to its national ideal, a n d is
falling in a s o n e m a n behind him. It is the benign, organizing, ordering
Jupiter influence t h a t is the only medicine for the w o r l d ' s sickness; a s
this c o m e s t o bear, the nations will recover their emotional poise and
physical health.'
T h e geometrical form p r o p e r t o this sphere is the square
reminiscent of the M a s o n i c m o r a l idea of being o n the level, on the
square; this t o o is dharma. Its Jungian a r c h e t y p a l s y m b o l would
probably be the 'wise old m a n ' . Its element is water, reflected
d o w n w a r d s from Binah. E a c h Sephirah,
it m u s t be noted, is a
fascinating combination of b a l a n c e of male a n d female, positive a n d
negative s y m b o l s , in equilibrium.
Other titles for Chesed are Gedulah, greatness or majesty, and
Rachamon,
M e r c y . T h e divine n a m e is El, meaning simply G o d masculine in n a t u r e a n d g r a m m a r . Its archangelic force is called
Tzadkiel, t h e righteousness of G o d . Its angels a r e the
Chashmalim,
the Brilliant O n e s .

It is t h e ancient occult view t h a t m a n is a m i c r o c o s m of the


m a c r o c o s m , a replica in miniature of the great world in which he lives,
a n d of which he is a part. W h a t e v e r set of forces operate in the vast
expanses of the universe a b o u t him, these are also represented within
m a n himself. T h u s t h e T r e e is not only a symbolic m a p of the
universe; its Sephiroth
are symbolic representatives of the psychic
structure of m a n as well.
In fact, relative to this, t h e r e is a pertinent quotation from the
Zohar:
W h a t , then, is m a n ? D o e s he consist solely of skin, flesh, bones a n d
sinews? N a y , t h e essence of m a n is his soul; the skin, flesh, bones
a n d sinews a r e but a n o u t w a r d covering, the mere g a r m e n t s , b u t
they are n o t the m a n . W h e n m a n d e p a r t s (from this world) he
divests himself of all these g a r m e n t s . T h e skin with which he covers
himself, a n d all these b o n e s a n d sinews, all have a symbolism in the
mystery of the Supernal W i s d o m , c o r r e s p o n d i n g to t h a t which is
above . . .
T h e bones a n d the sinews symbolize the C h a r i o t s a n d the
celestial H o s t s , which a r e inward. All these are g a r m e n t s upon that
which is i n w a r d ; which also is the m y s t e r y of the Supernal M a n ,
w h o is t h e innermost. T h e s a m e is found here below. M a n is
something inward, a n d his g a r m e n t s c o r r e s p o n d to that which is
a b o v e . . . Esoterically, the m a n below c o r r e s p o n d s entirely to the
M a n above.

Geburah
Geburah, Severity, is the fifth Sephirah. It c o u n t e r b a l a n c e s Chesed on
the Tree, a n d in t e r m s of Qabalistic theory is the opposite. W h e r e a s
the fourth Sephirah represents mercy a n d kindness a n d form-building
t h r o u g h love a n d attraction, Geburah represents power a n d energy
a n d , inversely, destruction a n d tearing d o w n . Both are cosmic
processes as well as endopsychic events, neither to be denied or
underestimated. If there were only building-up a n d construction, the
universe would soon b e c o m e a rather cluttered place - the vision of
o u r already over-crowded cities on a cosmic scale. T h e p o w e r
involved here ensures t h a t o u t m o d e d forms of life and w a y s of
c o m m u n i c a t i o n , whatever they m a y be, are b r o k e n d o w n a n d the
material re-employed in other a n d m o r e suitable w a y s .
It is nicely expressed in D i o n F o r t u n e ' s b o o k in these well-chosen
words:
D y n a m i c energy is a s necessary t o the welfare of society a s
meekness, charity, a n d patience. W e m u s t never forget that the

eliminatory diet, which will restore health in disease, will p r o d u c e


disease in health. W e m u s t never exalt the qualities which are
necessary to c o m p e n s a t e an overplus of force into ends in
themselves a n d the m e a n s of salvation. T o o m u c h charity is the
handiwork of a fool; t o o m u c h patience is the hall-mark of a
c o w a r d . W h a t we need is a j u s t and wise b a l a n c e which m a k e s for
health, happiness, a n d sanity all r o u n d , a n d the frank realization
that sacrifices are necessary to obtain it. You c a n n o t eat y o u r c a k e
and h a v e it in the spiritual sphere any better t h a n a n y w h e r e else.
T h e divine n a m e is appropriately Elohim Gibor, a Powerful G o d , or
the G o d s (male a n d female) of Might. Its planet is M a r s , the god of
War, expressing the c h a r a c t e r of R a H o o r K h u i t in The Book of the
Law: ' N o w let it be first u n d e r s t o o d that I a m a god of W a r a n d of
Vengeance. I shall deal hardly with them . . . W o r s h i p m e with fire &
blood; worship m e with s w o r d s & with spears. Let the w o m a n be girt
with a s w o r d before m e : let blood flow t o m y n a m e . '
In the book of E x o d u s , there is a p a e a n of martial j o y to J e h o v a h
after the crossing of the R e d Sea which h a d opened up for the children
of Israel to p a s s t h r o u g h , a n d then closed over the E g y p t i a n s with
their c h a r i o t s , destroying t h e m wholly. T h e r e H e is called Eesh milchomah, a M a n of W a r . ' J e h o v a h is a mighty w a r r i o r ; J e h o v a h is H i s
N a m e ! ' I c a n still vividly r e m e m b e r from early b o y h o o d attending the
synagogue w h e n this particular portion of the Torah w a s being sung.
The entire melody a n d style of ritual chanting c h a n g e d triumphantly
as the c a n t o r entoned: 'I will sing u n t o J e h o v a h , for he h a t h t r i u m p h e d
gloriously! . . . T h y right h a n d , O J e h o v a h , is b e c o m e glorious in
power; thy right h a n d O L o r d h a t h d a s h e d the e n e m y to pieces! . . .
W h o is like u n t o T h e e a m o n g the G o d s , O J e h o v a h ! ' (The H e b r e w
initials of this last sentence were used centuries later to form the
neologism ' M a c a b e e ' . ) N o o n e listening could fail t o h a v e the blood
freeze in his veins, a n d the hackles arise on the b a c k of his neck.
Geburah, in a w o r d , is the energy aspect of creativity. All the
symbols, from any source, mythological o r otherwise, relate
exclusively t o this notion. Since it is the fifth file in o u r filing system, all
five pointed figures, s y m b o l s , ideas, a n d so forth, a r e referred here.
Aleister Crowley o n c e w r o t e a c h a r m i n g little p o r n o g r a p h i c story
called The Daughter
of the Horseleech
which in itself is of n o
consequence t o us here, save for the o n e redeeming feature of a
beautiful description of t h e entire spiritual hierarchy of Geburah, from
the divine N a m e d o w n t o the lowliest spirit. It is so well d o n e t h a t it is
worth-while quoting the several p a r a g r a p h s a s descriptive of t h e
hierarchical elements:

T h e c r o w n of Elohim Gibor w a s S p a c e itself; the t w o halves of his


brain were the Yea a n d N a y of the Universe; his breath w a s t h e
breath of very Life; his being w a s the M a h a l i n g a m of the First,
b e y o n d Life a n d D e a t h t h e generator from N o t h i n g n e s s . H i s
a r m o u r w a s t h e Primal W a t e r of C h a o s . T h e infinite moonlike
curve of his b o d y ; the flashing swiftness of his W o r d , that w a s t h e
W o r d t h a t formulated t h a t which w a s b e y o n d C h a o s a n d C o s m o s ;
the might of him, greater t h a n that of t h e Elephant a n d of t h e Lion
a n d of the Tortoise a n d of the Bull fabled in Indian legend a s t h e
s u p p o r t s of the four letters of the N a m e ; the glory of him, that w a s
even as t h a t of the Sun which is before all a n d beyond all S u n s , of
which the stars a r e little s p a r k s struck off as he battled in t h e
Infinite against t h e Infinite . . .
Behold the mighty o n e , behold Kamael the strong! His crownless
head w a s like a whirling wheel of a m e t h y s t , a n d all the forces of t h e
earth a n d heaven revolved therein. H i s b o d y w a s the M i g h t y Sea
itself, a n d it b o r e the s c a r s of crucifixion that h a d m a d e it t w o score
times stronger t h a n it w a s before. H e t o o b o r e the wings a n d
w e a p o n s o f S p a c e a n d J u s t i c e ; a n d in himself h e w a s t h a t great
A m e n t h a t is the beginning a n d end of all.
Behind him w e r e the Seraphim, the fiery Serpents. O n their h e a d s
the triple tongues of fire; their glory like unto t h e Sun, their
scales like burning plates of steel; they d a n c e d like virgins before
their lord, a n d u p o n the storm a n d r o a r of the sea did they ride in
their glory . . .
All glorious w a s t h e moon-like c r o w n of the great Intelligence
Graphiel. His face w a s like the Sun as it a p p e a r s b e y o n d the veil of
this earthly firmament. H i s w a r r i o r b o d y w a s like a tower of steel,
virginal strong.
Scarlet were his kingly robes, a n d his limbs were swathed in
y o u n g leaves of lotus; for those limbs were stronger t h a n a n y
a r m o u r ever forged in heaven or hell. Winged w a s h e with t h e
wings of gold t h a t are the W i n d itself; his s w o r d of green fire flamed
in his right h a n d , a n d in his left he held the blue feather of Justice,
unstirred by the wing of his flight, o r the u p h e a v a l of the universe.
Bartzabel
. . . O f flaming, radiant, far-darting gold w a s his
c r o w n ; flashing hither a n d thither m o r e swiftly t h a n the lightning
were its r a y s . H i s head w a s like the Sun in its strength, even at high
n o o n . H i s cloak w a s of pure a m e t h y s t , flowing behind h i m like a
mighty river; his a r m o u r w a s of living gold, burnished with
lightning even t o the greaves a n d the a r m e d feet of h i m ; he radiated
an intolerable splendour of gold a n d he b o r e t h e S w o r d a n d b a l a n c e
of Justice. Mighty a n d golden were his wide-flashing wings!

Tiphareth
Tiphareth ( p r o n o u n c e d T ' p h a y - r e t h ) m e a n s Beauty, h a r m o n y a n d
infers Equilibrium a n d balance. O n T h e Tree of Life it is the central
Sephirah, a n d in m a n y w a y s is o n e of the m o s t i m p o r t a n t sections of
our filing cabinet. It is equidistant, a s it were, to Kether as it is from
Malkuth, a n d it has connecting links with practically every other p a r t
of the Tree.
The magical images which give meaning to the file are manifold.
They include t h e resurrection g o d s of every a g e a n d clime from Osiris
to Christ, the solar discs from R a t o Apollo, g o d s of spiritual
inebriation such as B a c c h u s a n d D i o n y s o s , a n d t h e newly b o r n
spiritual child from K r i s h n a t o b a b y J e s u s . Meditation on all of these
images will reveal the essential n a t u r e of t h e Sephirah.
As usual, D i o n F o r t u n e expresses herself extremely well in this
connection:
The ancients . . . differentiated between the mantic m e t h o d s which
induced the chthonic, or underworld c o n t a c t s , a n d t h e divine
inebriation of the Mysteries. T h e M a e n a d s rushing in the train of
D i o n y s o s were of an entirely different o r d e r of initiation to the
pythonesses; the pythonesses were psychics a n d m e d i u m s , but the
M a e n a d s , the initiates of the D i o n y s i a c Mysteries, enjoyed
exaltation of consciousness a n d a quickening of life t h a t enabled
them t o perform a m a z i n g prodigies of strength.
All the d y n a m i c religions h a v e this D i o n y s i a c aspect; even in the
Christian religion m a n y saints h a v e left record of the Crucified
Christ of their devotion c o m i n g t o t h e m at last as the Divine
Bridegroom; a n d when they speak of this divine inebriation t h a t
c o m e s to t h e m , their language uses the m e t a p h o r s of h u m a n love a s
its a p p r o p r i a t e expression - ' H o w lovely a r t t h o u , m y sister, m y
s p o u s e ' ; ' F a i n t from the kisses of the lips of G o d . . . ' T h e s e things
tell a great deal to those w h o h a v e understanding.
Its m o r e immediate astrological symbol is t h e sun with its a l m o s t
infinite n u m b e r of attributions a n d significances, which should be
studied a n d meditated upon t o get the full i m p a c t of the Sephirah.
Its divine n a m e is YHVH
Eloah ve-Daath,
rather difficult o r
meaningless t o translate literally, b u t m a y b e rendered a s Y H V H ,
Lord G o d of Knowledge. T h e archangel is R a p h a e l , t h e healing of
G o d , which might remind us o f E x o d u s , 15:26: ' F o r I a m t h e L o r d
that healeth thee.' Malachim is a H e b r e w w o r d m e a n i n g angels; if t h e
second ' a ' is omitted, it m a y b e translated a s 'kings'.
P e r h a p s one of the best w a y s of elucidating the full meaning of this

Sephirah is t o q u o t e o n e of the Golden D a w n ritual speeches from a


document known as Z - 1 :
F o r Osiris o n - N o p h r i s w h o is found perfect before the G o d s , h a t h
said:
T h e s e are the Elements of m y Body.
Perfected t h r o u g h suffering, glorified t h r o u g h trial.
F o r t h e scent of the dying rose is a s t h e repressed sigh of m y
suffering:
A n d the flame-red fire as the energy of mine u n d a u n t e d will;
A n d t h e c u p of W i n e is t h e pouring o u t of t h e blood of m y H e a r t .
Sacrificed u n t o regeneration, unto t h e newer Life.
A n d t h e bread a n d salt a r e as the foundations of m y b o d y
W h i c h I destroy in order t h a t they m a y be renewed.
F o r I a m Osiris t r i u m p h a n t , even Osiris on-Nophiris t h e
Justified.
I a m H e w h o is clothed with the b o d y of flesh,
Yet in w h o m is the Spirit of the great G o d s .
I a m t h e L o r d of Life, t r i u m p h a n t o v e r death.
H e w h o p a r t a k e t h with m e shall arise with m e ;
I a m t h e manifestor in matter of T h o s e whose a b o d e is t h e
Invisible.
I a m purified: I s t a n d u p o n t h e universe.
I a m its reconciler with t h e eternal G o d s .
I a m t h e Perfector of M a t t e r .
A n d without m e , the Universe is not.

Netzach
Netzachy Victory, is the seventh section of o u r filing cabinet. B y using
the English translation, w e c a n consider Nike, with a firm stride
forward, with wings a p a r t a n d ablaze with fire a n d fury, a s t h e
symbolic image for o u r m e a n i n g s .
T h e divine n a m e YHVH Tzabaoth, L o r d G o d of H o s t s , is equally
confirmatory of this t h e m e . W e a r e n o t dealing with creative
imagination here, o r with a n y mental faculty in t h e ordinary sense of
the t e r m , b u t with t h e fire of emotion a n d feeling, which basically a r e
the forces t h a t evoke creativity. T h e s e a r e n o t merely constituents of
the h u m a n p s y c h e ; they a r e integral c o m p o n e n t s of t h e universe itself.
T h e experience of ecstasy, j o y , delight a n d fervour - this is Victory.
Its fire is reflected from Geburah, m a k i n g a well-defined relationship
between t h e astrological polarities of M a r s a n d Venus.
T h e p a n t h e o n s filed here a r e those relating t o t h e astrological
attribution of Venus itself. A p h r o d i t e , A s t a r t e , H a t h o r , a n d so forth.

They represent love, fulfilment, pleasure, the a r t s in all their forms, a n d


beauty.
Just as in a h o r o s c o p e , the seventh h o u s e represents m a r r i a g e , but
the fifth house represents pleasure, creativity, a n d sex, so
Netzach
may include love, pleasure a n d sexuality (or polarity), but it is Yesod
which refers t o productivity a n d fertility. T h e r e is n o necessary
relationship between one a n d the other; each m a y co-exist by itself.
Netzach refers t o the e m o t i o n s and feelings which m a y bring a b o u t
a union of the t w o poles, b u t it is Yesod a n d the m o o n a n d its inner
psychic tides that permit this coupling t o result in offspring.
Netzach m a y be said to refer t o the desire-nature, to w h a t t h e E a s t
calls Kama, desire, wish, need, lust.
T h e a p p r o a c h to G o d , a s a technical mystical w a y of life, relating to
this sphere is bhakta, devotion a n d love. C r o w l e y ' s Liber Astarte vel
Berylli is certainly w o r t h reading in this connection, a n d the following
is one small quotation from this devotional text to elicit the full flavour
of bhakta a n d Netzach.
Let the devotee consider well that although C h r i s t a n d Osiris b e
one, yet the former is t o b e worshipped with Christian, a n d the
latter with Egyptian, rites. A n d this, although the rites themselves
are ceremonially equivalent. T h e r e should, however, be one symbol
declaring the transcending o f such limitations; a n d with regard t o
the Deity also, there should be s o m e one affirmation of his identity
both with all other similar g o d s of other n a t i o n s , a n d with the
S u p r e m e of w h o m all a r e b u t partial reflections.
Concerning the chief place of devotion: T h i s is the H e a r t of t h e
D e v o t e e , a n d should b e symbolically represented b y t h a t r o o m o r
spot which he loves best. A n d the dearest spot therein shall be t h e
shrine of his temple. It is m o s t convenient if this shrine a n d altai
should be sequestered in w o o d s , or in a private grove, or garden.
But let it be protected from t h e profane.
Concerning the Image of the Deity: Let there b e an image of t h e
D e i t y ; first because in meditation there is mindfulness induced
t h e r e b y ; a n d second b e c a u s e a certain p o w e r enters and inhabits it
by virtue of the ceremonies; or so it is said, a n d w e deny it not. Let
this image be the m o s t beautiful a n d perfect which the devotee is
able t o p r o c u r e ; o r if h e be able to paint or t o carve the s a m e , it is
all t h e better. A s for Deities with w h o s e n a t u r e n o I m a g e is
compatible, let t h e m b e worshipped in an e m p t y shrine . . .
Concerning
the Ceremonies:
Let t h e PhUosophus p r e p a r e a
powerful Invocation of t h e particular Deity according t o his
Ingenium. But let it consist of these several p a r t s :
First, an I m p r e c a t i o n , a s of a slave u n t o his L o r d .

Second, an O a t h , a s of a vassal to his Liege.


Third, a M e m o r i a l , a s of a child to his P a r e n t .
F o u r t h , an Orison, a s of a Priest u n t o his G o d .
Fifth, a C o l l o q u y , a s of a Brother with his Brother.
Sixth, a Conjuration, as to a Friend with his Friend.
Seventh, a Madrigal, as of a Lover t o his Mistress.
A n d m a r k well that the first should b e of a w e , the second of
fealty, the third of d e p e n d e n c e , the fourth of adoration, the fifth of
confidence, the sixth of c o m r a d e s h i p , the seventh of passion.
This is the essential spirit of

Netzach.

Hod
Hod is G l o r y , a n d in this eighth file we h a v e all the mercurial g o d s ,
stressing the notion that here we h a v e the mental a n d intellectual. It h a s
a w a t e r y attribution, reflected from Chesed, so t h a t there is a welldefined connection between Jupiter, t h e so-called higher mind, a n d
M e r c u r y , lower o r the c o n c r e t e forms of mental activity. S o m e of the
m o d e r n writers consider Hod as a ' f o r m ' Sephirah as opposed t o t h e
'force' c o n c e p t of Netzach. It is the area of mental images on the inner
plane a n d intellectual effort.
If we t a k e t h e ancient p h r a s e ' G o d geometrizes' a n d then a d d ' G o d
philosophizes' we h a v e something implied of t h e n a t u r e of Hod. Its
attribution t o M e r c u r y is further indicative of its essential n a t u r e , for
like the metal m e r c u r y , this p h a s e of mental activity in m a n is
eternally in a flux, never still for a m o m e n t . T h e description of the
R o m a n or G r e e k M e r c u r y is eloquent in describing the area of mental
activity implied b y Hod. A mythological dictionary asserts t h a t
H e r m e s w a s the god of c o m m e r c e , wealth a n d g o o d fortune as well as
t h e messenger o r herald of the gods. H e seems also to h a v e been the
p a t r o n deity of tricksters, travellers, glib talkers a n d thieves. I n early
G r e e k history, he w a s also k n o w n as a fertility god, a n d interestingly
e n o u g h , c r u d e phallic images of him called hermae were set u p at
c r o s s r o a d s a n d in front of houses. Like the E g y p t i a n A n u b i s , the dogheaded w a t c h e r of the temples, he w a s considered t o be a
p s y c h o p o m p , the c o n d u c t o r of departed souls t h r o u g h the after-death
states.
T h e magical image is said to be a h e r m a p h r o d i t e . T h e n a m e also
used w a s H e r m a n u b i s , a c o m b i n a t i o n of H e r m e s o f the G r e e k s a n d
A n u b i s of the E g y p t i a n s . T h e h e r m a p h r o d i t e or bi-sexual implies t h a t
M e r c u r y o r Hod is t h e a r e a of thought-forms a n d is largely neutral
a n d sexless; o r let us say that its polarity is larval, depending u p o n the

use to which these forms c a n b e p u t b y t h e ensouling emotional


factors.
T h e divine n a m e is Elohim Tzabaoth,
t h e G o d of H o s t s - the
Elohim, let us recall from an earlier page, being in H e b r e w the male
plural termination of t h e singular female ' g o d ' . T h i s is o p p o s e d to
YHVH Tzabaoth of Netzach, which is J e h o v a h of H o s t s o r A r m i e s .
T h e archangel is said t o b e Michael, w h o is like G o d , a n d then we
have t o recall that of all the planets M e r c u r y is t h a t which is nearest
the sun a n d reflects the light of the sun m o r e clearly t h a n a n y other
planet o r satellite.
Just as the practical a p p r o a c h of Netzach is bhakta, so the Hod
a p p r o a c h is gnana, philosophy. It is w o r t h y of n o t e t h a t in C r o w l e y ' s
reformulation of the G o l d e n D a w n , the specific t a s k s he prescribed for
the g r a d e attributed to Hod were the m a s t e r y of philosophy a n d above
all of t h e Q a b a l a h itself. E m p h a s i s w a s directed for e x a m p l e to its
m a t h e m a t i c a l p a r t s so t h a t a n y n u m b e r might b e fully investigated
and u n d e r s t o o d in t e r m s of its intrinsic formula.
Appropriately, there is in D i o n F o r t u n e ' s b o o k this s t a t e m e n t :
If w e h a v e n o magical c a p a c i t y , which is the w o r k of the intellectual
imagination, the Sphere of Hod will be a closed b o o k to us. W e c a n
only o p e r a t e in a Sphere after we have received the initiation of t h a t
Sphere, which, in the language of the Mysteries, confers its p o w e r s .
In t h e technical working of t h e Mysteries these initiations are
conferred on the physical plane by m e a n s of ceremonial, which
m a y be effectual, or m a y n o t . T h e gist of the m a t t e r lies in t h e fact
that o n e c a n n o t w a k e n into activity t h a t which is not already
latent. Life is the real initiator; the experiences of life stimulate into
function t h e capacities of o u r t e m p e r a m e n t s in such degree as we
possess them. T h e c e r e m o n y of initiation, a n d the teachings that
should be given in the various g r a d e s , a r e simply designed to m a k e
conscious w h a t w a s previously s u b c o n s c i o u s , and t o bring u n d e r
the control of t h e will, directed by the higher intelligence, those
developed reaction-capacities which h a v e hitherto only responded
blindly t o their a p p r o p r i a t e stimuli.

Yesod
Yesod, t h e F o u n d a t i o n , is t h e a r e a of the lunar gods a n d those w h o
preside over fertility, animal o r vegetative. It is also the area of sex, so
that, without effort, this p a r t of the filing cabinet can b e c o m e
extensive. Its magical i m a g e is t h a t of a very s t r o n g n a k e d m a n ,
capable of bearing large a n d heavy b u r d e n s - classically, Atlas

holding the world o n his shoulders. T h e Egyptian o n e is not dissimilar


- Shu, the god of the air, w h o separates the sky-goddess N u i t from
G e b , the god of the earth. J u s t to r o u n d out the symbolism, there is,
paradoxically, the notion of the fundamental three p h a s e s of t h e
m o o n , their deity attributions, a n d their functions in w o m e n . T h e r e is
A r t e m i s , or Selene, the y o u n g virginal g o d d e s s , huntress, c h a s t e ,
innocent a n d pure - the m o o n in the opening d a y s of her cycle. This is
followed by t h e full m o o n , representing the fecund a n d fertile M o t h e r ,
in full p r o d u c t i o n a s it were, fulfilling herself j o y o u s l y in her basic
generative function, symbolized by A p h r o d i t e . T h i s is the fertile a n d ,
b e c a u s e fulfilled, loved a n d loving w o m a n in her prime. T h e n follows
t h e m o o n in her decline, the waning m o o n , H e c a t e , the postm e n o p a u s a l w o m a n w h o h a s found n o substitute fulfilment n o w t h a t
her child-bearing d a y s are g o n e , she resents the loss of love a n d loving
n o w that her sexual attractiveness h a s vanished, becoming embittered,
sullen, skinny, and hag-like. T h i s old c r o n e w h o h a s n o family, feared
a n d h a t e d because of her s h a r p masculinized t o n g u e , w a s in old times
suspected of witchcraft, a n d b e c a m e altogether isolated.
R o b e r t G r a v e s expresses this extraordinarily well in the Introduction
t o his b o o k The Greek
Myths:
Since the sun's a n n u a l c o u r s e similarly recalled t h e rise and decline
of her physical p o w e r s - spring a m a i d e n , a s u m m e r a n y m p h , winter
a crone - the goddess b e c a m e identified with seasonal changes in
animal a n d plant life; a n d t h u s with M o t h e r E a r t h w h o , at t h e
beginning of the vegetative year, p r o d u c e s only leaves a n d b u d s ,
then flowers and fruits, a n d at last ceases t o bear. She could later b e
conceived a s yet a n o t h e r triad; the maiden of the upper air, t h e
n y m p h of t h e e a r t h o r t h e sea, the c r o n e of t h e u n d e r w o r l d typified b y Selene, A p h r o d i t e , a n d H e c a t e . T h e s e mystical
analogues fostered the sacredness of t h e n u m b e r three, a n d the
M o o n - g o d d e s s b e c a m e enlarged to nine when e a c h of t h e three
persons - maiden, n y m p h , a n d c r o n e - a p p e a r e d in triad t o
d e m o n s t r a t e her divinity. H e r devotees never quite forget t h a t there
were not three goddesses, b u t o n e goddess.
W e a r e dealing with t h e generative p o w e r of n a t u r e which
coordinates, integrates a n d stimulates the chemistry of o u r bodies, a n d
the larger b o d y of the e a r t h w e live on, a n d t h e chemistry of t h e solar
a n d stellar s y s t e m s in which we live. It is n o t a p r o d u c t of physical life,
t h o u g h it m a y seem t o b e so. It is, however, t h e p o w e r behind t h e
scenes, a s it were, activating the molecules, cells a n d tissues. T h u s , it
led to the concept o f a hidden a r e a behind or within n a t u r e w h i c h is
the electro-magnetic model o r energy-field shaping t h e p r o t o p l a s m

within t h a t field. S o t h a t we h a v e the theory of the etheric or astral world


which preserves t h e stability of the material world a n d provides t h e
invisible models for all things here below t h a t c a n only be c h a n g e d b y
altering the invisible astral fields a n d images. M o d e r n notions of radiant
energy are held referrable here.
T h e divine n a m e is Shaddai El Chai, Almighty Living G o d , the
lord of generation, the indwelling divinity of the pelvis. T h e archangel
is said to be Gabriel, the might of G o d w h o oversees the angels, w h o
are the Ishim, the flames referred to in P s a l m s , 104:4.
Its element is air, a n d this T h e T r e e of Life depicts as reflected d o w n
the middle pillar from Kether t o Tiphareth, a n d thence to Yesod, the
sphere of generation. A b o u t this topic, D i o n F o r t u n e w r o t e s o m e
years a g o :
In dealing with the r h y t h m s of L u n a we are dealing with etheric,
not physical, conditions. T h e magnetism of living creatures w a x e s
and w a n e s with a definite tide. It is a thing t h a t is n o t difficult t o
observe when one k n o w s w h a t t o look for. It shows itself m o s t
clearly in relations between persons in w h o m magnetism is fairly
evenly balanced. S o m e t i m e s o n e will be in the a s c e n d a n t , a n d
sometimes the other.
N o w , it m a y b t asked, if the Sphere of Yesod is etheric, w h y are
the generative o r g a n s assigned t o this sphere, for surely their
function is physical, if a n y t h i n g is? T h e answer to that question is
to be found in the knowledge of the subtler aspects of sex which
a p p e a r s t o be entirely lost t o the W e s t e r n world . . . W e m u s t liken it
to an iceberg, five-sixths of whose bulk is below the surface. T h e
actual physical reactions of sex form a very small proportion, a n d
by n o m e a n s the m o s t vital portion of its functioning.

Malkuth
Malkuth, the K i n g d o m , is the tenth a n d final e m a n a t i o n in o u r filing
system, the inferior representative of Binah, a n d in t h e Zohar she is
called the Lower o r Inferior M o t h e r , Malkah the Q u e e n a n d Kallah
the Bride of T e t r a g r a m m a t o n .
S o m e of t h e s y m b o l s s p e a k of Malkuth
a s a g a t e , the G a t e of
D e a t h , t h e G a t e of T e a r s , a n d even the G a t e of the D a u g h t e r of t h e
Mighty O n e s . S o m e of these are d r a w n from t h e beautiful a n d
s o n o r o u s titles given t o the T a r o t C a r d s . Malkuth
is n o t a closed
sphere; it leads always t o the higher or interior Sephiroth; the gate is
always o p e n if we c a n b u t see it. She is also called T h e Virgin of t h e
World', a n d s o m e of the alchemical d o c u m e n t s describe her, as the
first m a t t e r of the G r e a t W o r k , in s o m e detail.

T h e divine N a m e is Adonai ha-Aretz, L o r d of the E a r t h a n d its


archangel is S a n d a l p h o n , a n d its choir of angels a r e said to be the
K e r u b i m , t h e rulers of the elements. A b o v e all o t h e r things it is the
realm of t h e element earth, though the conventional c h a r t s of T h e T r e e
split u p the sphere of Malkuth
into a r e a s representing the four
elements themselves. T h i s Sephirah on T h e T r e e symbolizes matter,
the material world itself.
As Dr Westcott wrote:
T h e K a b a l a h teaches t h a t o n e m u s t entirely relinquish the a p p a r e n t
knowledge of m a t t e r a s an entity a p a r t from spirit. T h e assertion
t h a t m a t t e r exists, a n d is an entity entirely different from Spirit, and
t h a t Spirit - the G o d of Spirits - created it, m u s t be denied, a n d the
notion m u s t be torn o u t by the r o o t s before progress c a n be m a d e .
If m a t t e r exists it is something, a n d m u s t have c o m e from
s o m e t h i n g ; b u t Spirit is n o t a thing, a n d creative Spirit, the highest
Spiritual conception, could n o t m a k e m a t t e r , the lowest things, o u t
of nothing; hence it is not m a d e , a n d hence there is n o matter. All is
Spirit a n d conception. Ex nihilo nihil fit. All t h a t d o e s exist c a n
only h a v e c o m e from Spirit, from Divine Essence. T h a t Being
should arise from non-being is impossible. T h a t matter should
create itself is a b s u r d ; m a t t e r c a n n o t proceed from Spirit; the t w o
w o r d s m e a n t h a t the t w o ideas are entirely a p a r t ; t h e n m a t t e r
c a n n o t exist. H e n c e it follows t h a t w h a t we call matter is but an
aspect, a conception, an illusion, a m o d e of motion, a delusion of
o u r physical senses.
This is w h a t K o r z y b s k i , the general semanticist, would h a v e called
the o u t m o d e d Aristotelian kind of thinking. A m o d e r n mystic, Vitvan,
h a s attempted t o conjoin general semantics or non-Aristotelian
thought with the ancient w i s d o m , a n d h a s formulated s o m e fascinating
a n d highly creative c o n c e p t s . Basic t o his a s s u m p t i o n s is the notion of
identity - 'identification of i m a g e s appearing substantive in an
individual's psychic n a t u r e , with t h a t from which stimuli (energy
wave-lengths and frequencies) are received.'
H e r e is the great value in conscious abstracting, because by this
process o n e learns t o differentiate between an image-in-the psychicn a t u r e a n d configurations of units of energy constituting this world.
( ' F o r m s ' w a s P l a t o ' s n a m e for these we call configurations.)
A s an image a p p e a r s o n the p h o t o g r a p h i c plate in a c a m e r a , so
energy wave-lengths a n d frequencies are formulated as a picture in
the mental functions of a n individual's psychic n a t u r e . W h e n this
picture, d u e t o the various neural a n d brain processes, appears 'out

there*, i.e., substantive, it becomes identified with a given


configuration of units of energy from which stimuli are received,
then that image-appearing-substantive in the psychic n a t u r e
becomes designated, labeled, etc., 'a thing', 'object', etc . . .
In the totality, this formulation of qualities into mental images,
constitutes w h a t we call ' t h e objective world'. T h i s identification
a n d belief therein represents w h a t we called ' t h e error'.
This intellectual error t h a t Vitvan refers to is prevalent in m a n y
metaphysical systems including Christian Science as well a s V e d a n t a
- the delusion of matter, the notion t h a t the world is M a y a a s the
Orientals would say. It is also stressed in W e s t c o t t ' s interpretation of
the non-existence of m a t t e r , d u e n o d o u b t to his having been
considerably influenced by association with M a d a m e H . P . Blavatsky
and the Eastern School of esotericism.
Be that as it m a y , the i m p o r t a n t notion t o be derived from this is
that Malkuth, the tenth Sephirah, is the Divine K i n g d o m . T h e world
we inhabit is a divine world, a n d it is only d u e to the spiritual fog we
live in, the blindness of o u r minds due to the limitations of our sensory
systems, t h a t we fail t o perceive it as the living b o d y o f G o d . Only
children, lovers, m a n y artists - poets, painters and writers - a n d
mystics h a v e been able t o see Malkuth
as it really is, a n d n o t a s a
dead, e m p t y shell. They see it, a s did T h o m a s T r a h e r n e , w h o reported
his vision of reality in Centuries of
Meditation:
T h e corn was orient a n d immortal wheat, which never should be
reaped, nor w a s ever sown. I t h o u g h t it h a d stood from everlasting
to everlasting. T h e dust a n d t h e stones of t h e street were as
precious as gold; the gates were at first the end of the world. T h e
green trees when I saw them first t h r o u g h one of t h e g a t e s ,
t r a n s p o r t e d a n d ravished m e , their sweetness a n d unusual b e a u t y
m a d e m y heart to leap, a n d almost m a d with ecstasy, they were
such s t r a n g e a n d wonderful things. T h e m e n ! O w h a t venerable a n d
reverend creatures did the aged seem! I m m o r t a l C h e r u b i m ! a n d the
y o u n g men glittering a n d sparkling angels, a n d m a i d s , strange
seraphic pieces of life a n d beauty. Boys a n d girls tumbling in the
street, a n d playing, were moving jewels . . . I k n o w not t h a t they
were b o r n or should die. But all things abided eternally as they were
in their proper places. Eternity w a s manifest in the Light of the
D a y , a n d something infinite behind everything appeared.
T o complete this simple discussion of the T r e e of Life, I c a n think of
nothing m o r e fitting t h a n Paul F . C a s e ' s ' P a t t e r n o n the Trestleboard'.
It h a s a distinct metaphysical flavour, since there h a s been in the

United States a well-defined interplay between the metaphysical a n d


occult m o v e m e n t s . In this particular instance I think both m a y h a v e
profited.
THE PATTERN ON THE TRESTLEBOARD
This is the T r u t h a b o u t the Self.
0. All the p o w e r t h a t ever w a s or will be is here now.
1. I a m a centre of expression for the Primal Will-to-Good
which eternally creates a n d sustains the universe.
2. T h r o u g h m e its unfailing W i s d o m t a k e s form in t h o u g h t a n d
word.
3. Filled with U n d e r s t a n d i n g of its perfect law, I a m guided,
m o m e n t by m o m e n t , along the p a t h of liberation.
4. F r o m the exhaustless riches of its Limitless S u b s t a n c e , I d r a w
all things needful, both spiritual a n d material.
5. I recognize t h e manifestation of the undeviating Justice in all
the c i r c u m s t a n c e s of m y life.
6. In all things, great a n d small, I see t h e Beauty of the divine
expression.
7. Living from that Will, supported by its unfailing W i s d o m a n d
U n d e r s t a n d i n g , mine is t h e Victorious Life.
8. I look forward with confidence to the perfect realization of t h e
Eternal Splendour of the Limitless Light.
9. In thought a n d deed, I rest m y life, from d a y t o d a y , u p o n the
sure F o u n d a t i o n of Eternal Being.
10. T h e K i n g d o m of Spirit is embodied in m y flesh.*

For kind permission to quote this 'Pattern on the Trestleboard' I must acknowledge
the generosity of Mrs Harriet Case, the widow of the late Paul F. Case (founder of the
B.O.T.A).

A QABALISTIC PRIMER

83

FURTHER READING
Once the student h a s learned to feel at h o m e intellectually with these
elementary Qabalistic c o n c e p t s a n d c a n function to s o m e extent with
them, h e will then be ready t o turn his attention to s o m e of the m o r e
serious or m o r e comprehensive texts.
In the order given, I strongly r e c o m m e n d the following for further
reading:
1. Introduction
to the Kaballah, William W y n n Westcott.
2. The Kabbalah, Christian D . G i n s b u r g .
3. The Mystical Qabalah, D i o n F o r t u n e .
4. Practical Course in Qabalistic Symbolism,
G a r e t h Knight.
5. Liber 777, Aleister C r o w l e y .
6. Kaballah Unveiled, Introduction by M a c G r e g o r M a t h e r s .
7. The Secret Doctrine in Israel, A . E . W a i t e .
8. Sepher Yetzirah, T r a n s l a t e d by William W y n n Westcott.
9. On the Kaballah and its Symbolism,
G . G . Scholem.
10. Apocalypse Unveiled, J a m e s Pryse.
11. The Tarot, Paul F . C a s e .
12. The Seven
Rays
of Q.B.L,
F r a t e r Albertus S p a g y r i c u s ,
(Paracelsus R e s e a r c h Society, Salt L a k e C i t y , 1968).

3. MEDITATION
A Modern Approach to an Age-old Science
and Art

In o n e of his m a n y b o o k s , the late Paul F o s t e r C a s e , p e r h a p s the


greatest of m o d e r n authorities o n the significance of the traditional
T a r o t a n d Q a b a l a h , described one of his old experiences with
concentration and meditation. F o r at least ten long m o n t h s , he said, he
steadfastly practised concentration at least twice daily for a b o u t half
an h o u r , without achieving any tangible results whatsoever. H e j u s t
worked patiently, and continued to work further. S o m e ten m o n t h s
afterwards, the first results b e g a n to show. His labour paid off. H e h a d
had the patience and perseverance to keep to a disciplined schedule.
Regardless of how dull, tedious a n d uninspiring such daily practice
could be, he proved is own dedication to t h e G r e a t W o r k .
In reality this is the story of a n y single person w h o p r o p o s e s t o gain
some degree of m a s t e r y over the processes of his o w n mind.
Innumerable examples could be quoted here t o c o r r o b o r a t e this
dogmatic statement; but o n e is e n o u g h .
M o r e rhetoric h a s been written on this topic t h a n almost a n y other I
know - with the exception of M a g i c . Students are misled by
innumerable b o o k s a b o u t 'going into the silence', 'dwelling in t h e
secret place of the M o s t H i g h ' , a n d 'transcendental meditation', a n d
m a n y m o r e grandiloquent p h r a s e s . With only a minor exception here
and there, few of t h e m e m p h a s i z e the all-important fact that only
discipline a n d c o n s t a n t practice are the r o y a l factors t h a t lead
anywhere in this art. Affirmations a b o u t the n a t u r e of G o d a n d the
G r a c e s of G o d , and an infinite n u m b e r of metaphysical variations o n

this t h e m e , without daily practice of concentration, lead ultimately


n o w h e r e , regardless of the frequency of the reiterations.
M o s t students claiming t o meditate are merely wool-gathering,
which is awfully easy, indulging in vague reveries which accomplish
next to nothing, save for inducing a ' g o o d feeling' temporarily. But this
is neither concentration nor meditation, and is essentially worthless.
Periodically I hear of s o m e o n e , without any previous technical
training, going for several d a y s to a retreat, to spend the greater part
of e a c h waking d a y in prayer a n d meditation. F o r the life of m e , it is
difficult to imagine w h a t goes o n in their minds for the sixteen h o u r s
supposedly devoted t o meditation.
N o ! I d o not really w o n d e r any more. After years of intimate
psychological consultation with people from all w a l k s of life and m o s t
vocations, it is my considered opinion t h a t m o s t of them have n o
talent whatsoever for c o n c e n t r a t i o n in any b u t the m o s t superficial
m a n n e r . A lawyer, a c c o u n t a n t , engineer, physician and similar
professionals h a v e indeed developed s o m e capacity for concentration.
T h e years of study a n d intellectual p r e p a r a t i o n for their profession
d e m a n d e d its development. But this mental faculty operates only w h e n
functioning in a wide mental set. If their minds are forced t o
n a r r o w d o w n the b r o a d s p e c t r u m of activity t o c o n c e n t r a t e on a single
s y m b o l , for example, at o n c e the mental defect is demonstrable. It is
widespread a n d an integral p a r t of our culture.

Training the Mind


H o w people ever discovered the need for concentration, ' t o hinder the
modifications of the thinking principle', is n o t difficult t o imagine. I
s u p p o s e while performing their devotions of whatever kind - the
devotions of love-making, of p r a y i n g t o their o w n particular deity, o r
working at their o w n appointed t a s k - they m u s t have discovered the
natural ease the mind h a s to w a n d e r off a t a tangent, and r o a m all
over the universe.
Usually, for the untrained p e r s o n , only a profound emotion will
spontaneously bring a b o u t a degree of concentration. A n d this has t o
be a m o s t intense feeling, rarely something a n individual can p r o d u c e
t o o r d e r o n d e m a n d . L o v e , anger, jealousy a n d envy a r e capable of
excluding from the mind all t h o u g h t s and feelings save t h a t particular
one.
A n o t h e r factor t h a t c a n p r o d u c e concentration spontaneously is a
very strong physical sensation - regardless of whether it be pleasure
o r pain. I p r e s u m e t h a t m o r e or less everyone, a t s o m e time or other,
h a s experienced an intense h e a d a c h e , t o o t h a c h e , o r a pain somewhere
in t h e b o d y , t h a t h a s b e c o m e intense e n o u g h t o thrust all other

considerations t o the outside of t h e mental periphery.


These t w o facts m u s t be of s o m e vital i m p o r t a n c e . Ultimately, they
can be harnessed t o t h e task of training the mind t o c o n c e n t r a t e a t will
and then t o meditate.

Why Meditate?
W h y should o n e bother t o learn first t o c o n c e n t r a t e , a n d t h e n t o
meditate? W h y bother with s o difficult a t a s k ? This question h a s t o b e
answered in a variety of different w a y s , for there a r e as m a n y a n s w e r s
as there a r e fundamentally different drives that m o t i v a t e people.
O n e p e r s o n m a y seek p o w e r ; another peace a n d surcease from
inner tensions; a third will y e a r n for love a n d heightened creativity. All
motives a r e valid. F o r , in the end, all of these will b e seen as facets of
one major result. F o r meditation does result in t h e acquisition of
spiritual power, in peace a n d j o y , a n d an e n h a n c e m e n t of t h e ability of
the self t o express itself in love a n d genius. S o t h e prime motive is t o
discover a n d t o realize t h e self.
If y o u h a p p e n t o b e a Christian, meditation is the ideal w a y of
discovering t h e Christ within, of bringing t h e Christ-child t o birth
within o n e ' s soul. If y o u are a H i n d u , then b y these m e a n s o n e p u r s u e s
the classical p a t h w a y t o b e c o m e a w a r e of A t m a n , the Universal Self,
and its essential identity with B r a h m a n ; a n d t h e meditation practice
will help point the w a y , if y o u a r e a Buddhist, t o becoming conscious
of t h e B u d d h a - n a t u r e , t h e T r a n s c e n d e n t a l W i s d o m , t h e essence of
mind that is intrinsically pure.
T h e r e a r e m a n y w a y s by which this j o u r n e y of discovery m a y b e
m a d e . But concentration a n d meditation have t o b e considered within
the category of major m e t h o d s .

The Power of Meditation


C o n c e n t r a t i o n is a m e t h o d t h a t h a s long been u s e d successfully b y
some of t h e greatest spiritual giants t h a t have blessed t h e burgeoning
history of m a n k i n d .
T h e eternally enacted d r a m a is t h a t a m a n w h o is actually a n o b o d y
goes a w a y , n o o n e k n o w s w h y o r , generally, where. After a lapse of
years, he r e t u r n s t o his h o m e t o w n or native c o u n t r y , a c h a n g e d
person. H e is enlightened. Something strange a n d wonderful h a s
happened t o him. T h e r e is a n air of quiet b u t vigorous authority a b o u t
him. It is widely recognized t h a t t h e m a n t l e of inspiration cloaks him.
F o r t h w i t h h e begins t o teach a n e w law, a new doctrine, a new w a y of
a p p r o a c h i n g the divine m y s t e r y - t h e n a t u r e of t h e inner core of m a n .
This new w a y promises t o bring a b o u t j o y a n d t h e cessation of anxiety
and sorrow. It is said t h a t t h e new w a y will ally m a n with the cosmic

sources of power a n d strength a n d wisdom. It is unequivocally


asserted that it is a w a y for all m e n , not for a special few, so t h a t all
men m a y attain.
A n d in so preaching, these hitherto u n k n o w n m e n stir u p a h o r n e t ' s
nest and, attracting to themselves hordes of followers and believers, at
the s a m e time invite ridicule a n d severe persecution from established
a n d entrenched authority. O n e h a s only t o examine superficially the
history of M o s e s , B u d d h a , Jesus a n d M o h a m m e d , to n a m e but a few
of the great n a m e s t h a t first c o m e to mind, to recognize t h e
universality of the d r a m a t i c t h e m e . A n d at the heart of this periodical
shake-up of m a n k i n d is the practice of concentration a n d meditation,
sometimes k n o w n as interior p r a y e r .
O n c e o n e h a s decided t h a t a meditative discipline is essential, there
are a few fundamentals that should be observed. I say should rather
t h a n must, because the e m p h a s i s will vary from person t o person.

Posture
T h e Orientals lay great stress o n posture a s a preliminary requisite.
T h e i r textbooks describe the m o s t complex physical m a n o e u v r e s in
o r d e r to find t h e right kind of meditative posture, a n d then elaborate
fantastic rationalizations as t o w h a t h a p p e n s physically in o r d e r to
justify them. It is w o r t h remembering that p o s t u r e of the yoga variety
c o m e s easily to the H i n d u s b e c a u s e these people h a v e assumed these
postures naturally all their lives. T h e y h a v e n o t b e c o m e addicted to
sitting in o r o n chairs of a d o z e n different varieties as we h a v e as a
p a r t of o u r daily existence. T h e lotus position of o n e form or a n o t h e r
is something they h a v e d o n e all their lives without special significance
or i m p o r t a n c e being a t t a c h e d t o it. O n e h a s only t o w a t c h children at
play to realize the magnificence of their m u s c u l a r flexibility a n d the
ease with which they are able t o slide in and o u t of these otherwise
difficult positions. T h e r e is only a small percentage of W e s t e r n e r s ,
E u r o p e a n s a n d A m e r i c a n s , for w h o m the m a s t e r y of this posture is a
distinct possibility, a n d for w h o m it represents n o challenge, n o major
difficulty.
T h e r e is really only o n e rule t o follow concerning a meditative
position. Patanjali o n c e w r o t e t h a t t h a t p o s t u r e t h a t is easy a n d
comfortable is right, a n d that is the only point t h a t is of significance
for us. If y o u c a n d o it easily, o r p e r h a p s after s o m e little practice, b y
all m e a n s proceed t o use it daily as y o u r o w n personal posture.
H o w e v e r , should you n o t be o n e of these people (I personally a m not,
despite years of painful practice), reconcile yourself t o sitting upright

in a good upholstered chair, so t h a t your feet are set comfortably on


the floor a n d your spine rests easily against the b a c k of the chairs. If
necessary, stuff a small pillow against the chair opposite to the small
of the back to prevent you from leaning t o o far back. T h e head a n d
neck should be held erect.
M a k e a point of practising daily, sitting upright, h a n d s folded in lap,
for s o m e several minutes, not m o r e t h a n ten at first, without moving a
muscle or shifting position. T h e m o s t i m p o r t a n t p a r t of this instruction
is the daily practise.

Bodily Awareness
M a k e a point of letting y o u r mind r o a m all over y o u r b o d y t o b e c o m e
aware of minor discomforts a n d the locus of m u s c u l a r tensions. This
is most i m p o r t a n t . U n d e r n o c i r c u m s t a n c e s m a k e any effort t o
separate y o u r mind, your a w a r e n e s s , from these bodily sensations.
There is a great temptation t o d o this, to think of something else to
distract o n e ' s mind from discomfort. This tendency m u s t be resisted at
all costs. T h e mere fact of watching these m u s c u l a r and visceral
sensations, a n d observing t h e m in order to separate t h e m into ever
more discrete a n d subtle sensations, will go far t o w a r d s producing a
state of physical relaxation t h a t exceeds anything you c a n conceive of
at this m o m e n t . A n d this is altogether separate from the gains of the
process itself - self-realization a n d integrity of the whole m a n .
While practising, m y suggestion is that the eyes be kept closed.
Some schools of meditation, usually the Z e n , prefer t h a t the eyes be
kept, not fully closed, but half-closed a n d non-focused, or with the
eyes lowered. T h e motive for this r e c o m m e n d a t i o n is, a m o n g other
things, usually fear that with his eyes closed, the student m a y go to
sleep. T h e half-closed position m a y avoid this. T h e r e is s o m e validity
to this, b e c a u s e when the b o d y begins to relax, whether sitting u p o r
lying d o w n , the average student is so u n a c c u s t o m e d to relaxation that
the c h a n c e s a r e he will slip involuntarily or unwittingly into a deep
sleep state. N o r m a l l y , I d o not object to his. M y attitude is, first of all,
that the ensuing sleep is of very short duration. Second, as o n e gets
used to relaxing in this or any other position, there will be less a n d less
likelihood of sleep developing, and the alert attitude maintained.
T h e best stance is a condition of almost total bodily relaxation,
while at the s a m e time the mind is altogether wide-awake and vigilant.
It has been described a s being ' b r a c e d ' . S o , the eyes being closed is not
by any m e a n s a liability, even if the u n w a n t e d state of sleep does o c c u r
in the opening p h a s e s or sessions of practice. Besides, with the eyes
closed, innumerable external stimuli are removed t h a t otherwise would
interfere with the exploration of t h e inner world. O t h e r stimuli from far

different a r e a s of the p s y c h e are still active, of c o u r s e , b u t these a r e


w o r t h y of note a n d actually, u p o n observation a n d examination,
enlarge the horizons of the p s y c h e .

Doubts and Fears


If y o u h a v e a s e p a r a t e r o o m t h a t c a n b e reserved solely for y o u r
meditative w o r k , so m u c h the better. T h e burning of a stick of incense,
a n d lighing a candle, m a y assist in the p r o d u c t i o n of a devotional
m o o d t h a t m a y conceivably dispose to working h a r d . But if there is n o
extra r o o m available, a n d if incense c a n n o t be b u r n e d n o r a candle
lighted, d o not under a n y c i r c u m s t a n c e s regard these facts a s
obstacles nor consider yourself d o o m e d .
This latter attitude usually t u r n s out to be a rationalization, a
psychic defence m e c h a n i s m , to protect oneself against the
innumerable d o u b t s a b o u t o n e ' s ability t o succeed, o r the fear t h a t if
o n e does learn t o meditate, nothing will ever c o m e of it. O n e is
required to face oneself with as m u c h honesty as possible.
H e r e , especially, is the value of a teacher. In so far as he is
objective, he c a n help the student confront his d o u b t s , his dishonesties,
a n d his rationalizations. This confrontation will g o far to assist in
knuckling d o w n t o t h e h a r d a n d serious work of practice. But if there
is n o teacher available one m u s t handle these probelms oneself. In a n y
event, the r o o m a n d candle a n d incense h a v e but small value. T h e
larger value is in the daily persistent exercise.
C o u p l e d with this, the student should t a k e a d v a n t a g e of some of t h e
k n o w n facts a b o u t conditioning. A t least o n e of t h e practice periods of
the d a y should certainly be a r r a n g e d to t a k e place at the same h o u r ,
every d a y , without fail. In this m a n n e r , b o t h mind a n d body b e c o m e
a c c u s t o m e d to settling d o w n to the self-imposed discipline b y t h e
process of conditioning. Practising at the s a m e h o u r every d a y sets u p a
favourable psychological pattern that predisposes t o w a r d s success.

The Ethical Question


Authorities o n the subject of meditation usually devote s o m e
consideration t o the subject of ethics a n d morality. C o m p l e x rules of
c o n d u c t and behaviour are laid d o w n dogmatically, with the assertion
t h a t they are as inviolable as the laws of the M e d e s a n d Persians. W e a r e
told that they are i m p o r t a n t preliminaries t o the work on h a n d .
In point o f fact, however, it will be discovered t h a t they a r e of n o
c o n s e q u e n c e whatsoever. T h e only point the student h a s to observe is
t h a t he shall d o nothing t o disturb his mental a n d emotional
equilibrium. D o i n g so would only render concentration m o r e difficult.

T h e mind is h a r d e n o u g h t o control at best; t o engage in questionable


activities t h a t h a v e an obsessional effect on the mind, and that will
preoccupy o n e in spite of o n e ' s best intentions, is certainly u n s o u n d
policy.

Disturbing Factors
O n e c a n therefore set u p certain (arbitrary) rules to facilitate the
development of an attitude that will pose as few difficulties as possible.
Quarrelling with one's m a t e is certainly inadvisable. If one m u s t fight,
then fight enthusiastically a n d get it over with so that the mind d o e s
not dwell o n it for h o u r s afterwards. A b o v e all, the m e n t a l debate kind
of activity h a s t o b e avoided. T h a t is to s a y , while ruminating or
stewing over the results of the quarrel, one m a y recriminate a n d
c o n d e m n oneself for not having answered o n e r e m a r k in a certain
way. This is unproductive a n d unrewarding a n d should be avoided; at
the least verbalize t h e m aloud a n d have d o n e with t h e m .
T h e r e is n o sin in having a meal before practice. It should be tried at
least o n c e . T h e realization will develop that it d o e s n o t c o n d u c e to
alertness or vigilance or e n t h u s i a s m to practice. In this w a y , o n e
should examine a n u m b e r of possibilities that a r e existent in o n e ' s
environment and daily life, with a view to determining their value or
otherwise.
Sex is another topic t h a t for s o m e people m a y prove t o be a
disturbing factor t o the ease of concentration. I rather agree with
Crowley in this respect: t h a t there will be little or n o clear thinking o n
this topic until sex is recognized a s a b r a n c h of athletics or erotology
and n o t in the least bit related t o ethics and morality. Informed
c o m m o n sense, a n d familiarity with s o m e of the m o r e liberal views
held b y m o d e r n psychologists a n d sociologists will g o far t o w a r d s
handling this subject.

Religious Devotion
This is a n o t h e r topic raised as being a necessary preliminary to the
practice of meditation. But n o w a d a y s this is less of a necessity t h a n
ever it w a s in y e a r s g o n e b y . A n agnostic or atheist c a n practise
meditation j u s t a s successfully a n d a s effectively a s the person w h o
p r a y s for help to G o d , or w h o constantly affirms, in true metaphysical
fashion, t h a t all distractions a r e out of h a r m o n y with the essential
being of G o d . By pleading for trie G r a c e of G o d , he believes
concentration m a y be m o r e easily c o m e by. Religious attitudes
are
more meaningful and productive as a result of the mystical
experience
achieved
by the practice
of meditation
than those
compulsively
assumed before hand as a theoretical aid to meditation. T h e practices
p r o d u c e their o w n mystico-religious results t h a t the agnostic a n d

atheist c a n benefit b y a n d p r o c e e d accordingly. Prior beliefs a r e in


effect worthless, unless a c c o m p a n i e d b y p r o f o u n d conviction, deep
emotion a n d fervour.
This is not to a s s u m e t h a t a genuinely religious person m a y n o t
sincerely use his faith a n d his devotions t o further his religious
practices and concentration. I d o not question this sincerity. H o w e v e r ,
I m u s t confess that I h a v e found it t o be relatively rare. T h e agnostic
position m a y p r o v e m o r e fruitful. Objectivity c a n be a t r e m e n d o u s
asset in this connection.

Introspection
O n e of the succeeding stages is introspection. I c a n only liken this t o
w h a t is k n o w n in p s y c h o a n a l y s i s as free association. O n e simply lets
the mind w a n d e r , letting it m o v e where it will, without hindrance. O n e
simply w a t c h e s . It is like putting a horse out to p a s t u r e , without r o p e
or saddle o r a n y o t h e r h i n d r a n c e t o block its free m o v e m e n t . In this
practice, o n e rapidly proves for oneself a basic theorem of
p s y c h o a n a l y s i s , that all t h o u g h t s are strictly determined. O n e
discovers soon enough that o n e c a n t r a c e all t h o u g h t s t o a causative
chain t h a t extends far b a c k into the past. But this h a s to b e selfdiscovered.
'Until you k n o w w h a t the mind is doing you c a n n o t control it.' S o
wrote Swami V i v e k a n a n d a m a n y years a g o , a n d w h a t he said then is
still true.
Give it the full length of the reins; m a n y hideous thoughts m a y
c o m e into it; y o u will be astonished t h a t it w a s possible for y o u t o
think such t h o u g h t s . But y o u will find t h a t e a c h d a y the m i n d ' s
vagaries are b e c o m i n g less a n d less violent, t h a t e a c h d a y it is
becoming calmer. In the first few m o n t h s y o u will find that the
mind will h a v e a t h o u s a n d t h o u g h t s , later y o u will find that it is
toned d o w n t o p e r h a p s seven h u n d r e d , a n d after a few m o r e
m o n t h s it will h a v e fewer a n d fewer, until a t last it will be under
perfect control, b u t we m u s t patiently practise every d a y . A s soon
as the steam is t u r n e d on t h e engine m u s t run, a n d as soon as things
are before us we m u s t perceive; so a m a n , t o p r o v e that he is not a
m a c h i n e , m u s t d e m o n s t r a t e t h a t he is under the control of nothing.

Using a Tape Recorder


A favourite device of mine at o n e time w a s t o use a wire recorder
during e a c h session of practice. I suggest t h a t t h e instrument be so
p r e p a r e d t h a t it will run for a full h o u r without needing a n y attention
from the student. T h i s is n o t t o state t h a t at the beginning a n y o n e

practice session should run for a n h o u r . O n the c o n t r a r y : it is m y


contention t h a t practice sessions initially should be relatively short not m o r e t h a n ten minutes at a time. O n e could practise o n c e , twice,
or even three times a d a y . A s time goes on, a n d a s proficiency is
gained, then the time could be extended considerably. But the recorder
should be able to handle a full h o u r s recording in the event of o n e
getting carried a w a y by the process.
Incidentally, o n e should determine beforehand how long each
session should be. If it is for ten minutes, then one could set an alarm
clock, or a kitchen timer for that length of time. O n c e it h a s s o u n d e d
off, the practice should be stopped promptly. In this w a y , o n e will not
be carried away over-enthusiastically b y recording the associations
that o c c u r to one during the practice of introspection.

The Hidden Content of Consciousness


While sitting upright and motionless in the meditative position, quietly
verbalize t o the m i c r o p h o n e nearby a n y t h o u g h t , m e m o r y , idea,
sensation or feeling that h a p p e n s to arise. If there is a second practice
period during the s a m e d a y , o r if there is s o m e open time available, the
recording could be played b a c k so that o n e m a y h e a r audibly w h a t
one h a s been previously thinking.
Usually, the results are shocking as well as illuminating. It will give
the student an idea of w h a t lies concealed within his psyche. T h e y are
shocking only if o n e h a s been wholly honest in overtly verbalizing the
stray forbidden t h o u g h t s that occasionally float before t h e inner
vision. T h e development of s o m e mental honesty is a t r e m e n d o u s gain.
O n c e one has really b e c o m e a w a r e of the hidden content of
consciousness and struggled t o c o m e t o t e r m s with oneself, the inner
conflicts p r o d u c e d by the censorship of the super ego (conscience) is
considerably reduced, a n d so will be t h e n u m b e r of ' b r e a k s ' in
concentration p r o d u c e d b y the forcible pressure of these repressed
ideational and emotional c o n t e n t s within the p s y c h e .

Draining Off Mental Energy


T h e practice of introspection, free association recording, and p l a y b a c k
should be pursued for m a n y m o n t h s until the shock a n d d i s m a y
usually experienced at the hideous thinking one is capable of h a s been
dissipated or reduced t o practically zero. T h e n o n e is ready to attack
the p r o c e s s of concentration directly.
Directly? I think not. T h e head-on attack of forcing the mind by an
act of will t o c o n c e n t r a t e on a single object or symbol, while admirable
in intent, is misguided from the tactical point of view. In the end, this

kind of tactic results in a shadow-boxing type of reaction. T h e greater


the effort of will to force concentration u p o n t h e mind, the greater is
the reaction in t e r m s of mind-wandering, plain resistance, a n d feelings
of fatigue a n d exhaustion.
I h a v e never forgotten a r e m a r k m a d e b y a teacher of mine when I
w a s a b o y in early g r a d e school. H e said there a r e m o r e w a y s of
killing a d o g t h a n by choking it with butter. A n d there a r e m a n y w a y s
of learning h o w to c o n c e n t r a t e t h a n b y trying t o bludgeon the mind
into obedience, and turning it into a m o s t unwilling a n d resistant
instrument.
O n e i m p o r t a n t contribution t o the subject of concentration is the
d e m a n d t h a t we consider t h e mind as a piece of m a c h i n e r y , intricate
a n d infinitely complex, b u t a piece of machinery nonetheless. A n d , a s
such, it should never be forgotten t h a t m a c h i n e r y requires energy in
o r d e r t o r u n . N o w if it were possible t o drain off the energy from this
m a c h i n e r y , o r t o redistribute it in s o m e m a n n e r , the machinery would
s t o p running. S o far so good.
N o w t h r o u g h o u t history, this notion having been often considered,
various devices have been employed t o drain off the energy from the
m a c h i n e r y of the mind. Starvation o r a restricted diet h a s been o n e
m e t h o d . H o w e v e r , this merely ruins the b o d y as s u c h , so t h a t nothing
m u c h c a n b e d o n e a p a r t from nursing a sick a n d malfunctioning
physical o r g a n i s m ; a n d in any event, such devices stimulate the mind
into t r e m e n d o u s b u r s t s of fantasy a b o u t food, b a n q u e t s and
gluttonous d e b a u c h e s so t h a t s o m e of the ancients complained bitterly
t h a t they were being t o r m e n t e d b y the Devil a n d all his hosts.
Flagellation h a s been used t o w h i p the b o d y into submission in the
h o p e t h a t at the s a m e t i m e the mind will also be beaten into
submission a n d give u p its incessant wandering. This is a forlorn hope.
Usually a n y o n e c r a s s enough t o a t t e m p t these austerities h a s a secret
o r u n c o n s c i o u s yen for masochistic indulgence, a n d the derivation of
pleasure in s o m e form from the whipping stimulates the mind into
further pleasurable anticipation of repeat performances. N o energy is,
in fact, drained off.
H a i r shirts, abstaining from bathing a n d so b e c o m i n g lice-ridden,
standing o r sitting in o n e p o s t u r e for long periods of time a n d other
forms of mortification to give affront t o t h e vanity of the mind yield
absolutely nothing. T h e y simply t u r n the entire process of learning to
c o n c e n t r a t e into a n i g h t m a r e a n d a devilish ordeal.
Depriving the mind of sensory stimuli b y solitary confinement is
o n e w a y o f turning off t h e current, but then o n e h a s t o b e prepared t o
face the uprush of proprioceptive stimuli from t h e muscles a n d o r g a n s
of the b o d y , a n d t h e a p p e a r a n c e of hallucinations a n d unconsciously
derived imagery and fantasy. N o n e of this seems, in a n y w a y , t o r o b

the mind of its energy. O n a n d o n it goes, endlessly perpetuating


thoughts a n d fantasies and memories, all designed, apparently, b y a
malignant power t o interfere with t h e development of concentration.
Some of t h e Eastern experts in the process of meditation call
attention t o t h e fact that sustained o r prolonged meditation will
certainly evoke specific hallucinations, which they call maya. T h e s e
hallucinations a r e nothing b u t the o u t c r o p p i n g a n d projection of the
latent c o n t e n t s of the u n c o n s c i o u s . They m u s t be recognized as such
otherwise it is said that there is danger t o the stability of the p s y c h e .

Mantras
Earlier, I m a d e mention of the fact that a strong emotion or a powerful
physical
sensation
will induce a species of
concentration
spontaneously. T h e r e is n o draining off of energy, however, but it
might be possible to use the foregoing m e t h o d s with a third o n e that
will simultaneously induce c o n c e n t r a t i o n a n d circulate t h e energy
away from the mind itself. W e have, then, three topics t o dilate o n :
emotion, sensation, a n d circulation of energy.
Prior t o dealing with these three ideas directly, however, there is o n e
more issue t o be enlarged o n , since it bears indirectly o n t h e m . T h e r e
is, traditionally, a simple device having a s its intent the slowing d o w n
of the quicksilver-like m o v e m e n t of the mind in all directions at once.
It is k n o w n a s a m a n t r a . A p a r t from all other considerations, a m a n t r a
is simply a w o r d o r a p h r a s e , usually of a sacred or religious import,
which is repeated over a n d over again, either audibly o r subvocally,
but m o r e often mentally, until after s o m e d a y s it is t a k e n u p by the
mind itself. In that case, it goes o n repeating itself automatically. T h u s ,
a mechanical type of concentration is acquired t h a t c a n then be used
to further t h e pre-determined goals.
There a r e Eastern m a n t r a s a n d W e s t e r n affirmations. T h e r e is little
to c h o o s e between them. O n l y y o u r o w n preference o r prejudice is the
crucial factor t o be considered. S o m e of the classical Eastern ones a r e :
Om Tat Sat! Tat Twam A si; Om nimaha shivaya om; Om mani
padme hum. Regardless of w h a t their literal meanings m a y b e , they
take on a n o t h e r meaning altogether after their repetition h a s b e c o m e an
automatic process. Insights d a w n spontaneously.
Metaphysical m a n t r a s , based u p o n Christianity, a r e m o s t c o m m o n :
T h e L o r d is m y Shepherd, I shall not w a n t ' h a s achieved a wide
popularity, with s o m e other p h r a s e s extrapolated from the Scriptures.
A m a n t r a t a k e n from the C a t h o l i c missal is also very effective:
Kyrie eleison. Christe eleison. This s a m e missal m a y be used t o
indicate m a n y m o r e similarly effective ones. T h e equivalent of o n e of
these p h r a s e s from the R u s s i a n O r t h o d o x C h u r c h Gospody polmilui is

m o s t e u p h o n i o u s and m a k e s for a good r h y t h m i c m a n t r a . T h e Eastern


C h u r c h h a s a melodious h y m n sung o n G o o d F r i d a y consisting only
of these t w o w o r d s , sung over a n d over again in a most effective
manner.
' L o r d J e s u s Christ, Son of G o d , have m e r c y o n m e a p o o r sinner.'
T h i s is a Christian m a n t r a t h a t h a s been described very poignantly in
The Way of a Pilgrim, a b o o k every student should read. It is a b o u t a
simple R u s s i a n p e a s a n t w h o w a n t e d to discover the meaning and
m e t h o d of the Biblical injunction ' t o p r a y without ceasing' a n d ' t o
p r a y with the heart'.
I m u s t q u o t e the following p a s s a g e from this b o o k , for it is so naive,
sincere a n d so technically superb t h a t it c a n n o t help being useful:
Picture to yourself y o u r heart in j u s t t h e s a m e w a y , turn your eyes
t o it j u s t as though you were looking at it t h r o u g h y o u r breast, a n d
picture it as clearly a s y o u c a n . A n d with y o u r ears listen closely to
its beating, b e a t by beat. W h e n you h a v e got into the w a y of doing
this, begin to fit t h e w o r d s of the P r a y e r t o the beats of the heart
o n e after the other, looking at it all the time. T h u s , with the first
beat, say or think ' L o r d ' , with the second, J e s u s ' , with the third,
' C h r i s t ' , with the fourth, ' h a v e m e r c y ' , a n d with the fifth, ' o n me'.
A n d d o it over and over again. This will c o m e easily t o you, for you
already k n o w the g r o u n d w o r k and the first p a r t of praying with the
heart.
In the b o o k , the pilgrim is describing the m e t h o d t o a blind m a n
w h o had previously b e c o m e familiar with the R u s s i a n mystical classic
The
Philokalia.
Afterwards, when you h a v e grown used to w h a t I h a v e j u s t told
you a b o u t , y o u m u s t begin bringing the whole P r a y e r of J e s u s into
a n d o u t of y o u r heart in time with y o u r breathing, a s the F a t h e r s
taught. T h u s , as y o u d r a w y o u r breath in, say, o r imagine yourself
saying, ' L o r d Jesus Christ', a n d as y o u b r e a t h e o u t again, ' h a v e
m e r c y o n m e ' . D o this as often a n d as m u c h a s you can, a n d in a
short s p a c e of time you will feel a slight and not unpleasant pain in
y o u r heart, followed by a w a r m t h . T h u s by G o d ' s help you will get
the j o y of self-acting inward p r a y e r of the heart.
Joel G o l d s m i t h gives several of these m o d e r n metaphysical
affirmations in his excellent b o o k The Art of Meditation,
which should
certainly a p p e a r on a n y list of worthwhile b o o k s on the topic of
meditation. A n d of c o u r s e we m u s t never forget t h e famous b o o k of

M a r y Baker E d d y , which b e c a m e the b a c k b o n e of the C h r i s t i a n


Science M o v e m e n t . ' G o d is All in all. G o d is g o o d . G o d is mind
G o d , Spirit, being all, nothing is matter.' T h e whole of this d o g m a t i c
statement (or only p a r t s of it) w a s used as affirmation, with the intent
of turning o n e ' s mind in an act of concentration to G o d for the healing
of bodily o r mental ills a n d w a n t s . T h e N e w T h o u g h t m o v e m e n t ,
which h a s evolved by devious routes from the m a i n s t r e a m of
Christian Science, h a s likewise devised h u n d r e d s of new affirmations.
The little m a g a z i n e s published b y the Unity organization sometimes
give a different affirmation for every day of the week or m o n t h , a s aids
to meditation.
T h e M o h a m m e d a n s h a v e a long s o n o r o u s A r a b i c m a n t r a , which
for pure e u p h o n y h a s m u c h t o r e c o m m e n d it: Qol; Hua Allahu
achad;
Allahu Assamad; lam yalid walam yulad; walam yakun lahu
kufwan
achad. T r a n s l a t e d into English, which h a s little t o d o with t h e
efficiency of a m a n t r a , it m e a n s : ' S a y , H e is G o d alone! G o d the
Eternal! H e begets not and is not begotten! N o r is there like u n t o H i m
any o n e ! '
A n o t h e r affirmation or m a n t r a having its roots in ancient magicoreligious traditions is ' T h e r e is n o p a r t of m e which is not of the G o d s . '
Originally it w a s part of one of the rituals in the Egyptian Book of the
Dead. In the middle of the nineteenth century it w a s appropriated by
the Hermetic O r d e r of the G o l d e n D a w n , o n e of whose chiefs,
M a c G r e g o r M a t h e r s , used it as a greeting t o w h o m s o e v e r he met.
C r o w l e y ' s m a n t r a from The Book of the Law also h a s a s o n o r o u s
r h y t h m . H e transliterated this from a n Egyptian stele in the Boulak
M u s e u m : A ka dua. Tuf ur biu. Bi aa chefu. Dudu ner af an nuteru.
His poetic rendering of this is given a s :
Unity uttermost showed!
I a d o r e the might of T h y b r e a t h ,
S u p r e m e a n d terrible G o d ,
W h o m a k e s the G o d s a n d D e a t h
T o tremble before T h e e :
I, I a d o r e T h e e !
O n e of the famous Buddhist m a n t r a s is: Namo tasso
Bhagavato
Arahato Samma-sambuddhasa.
Its meaning is: ' H a i l u n t o T h e e , the
Blessed O n e , the Perfected O n e , the Supremely Enlightened O n e . '
T h e r e are m a n y o t h e r s . It only remains for the student to select the
one t h a t he is attracted t o w a r d s , and for which he feels s o m e
s y m p a t h y . It really would not m a t t e r w h a t its n a t u r e w a s . F o r
example, consider the following: ' H e y diddle diddle. T h e cat a n d the

fiddle. T h e c o w j u m p e d over t h e m o o n . ' W e r e he t o feel t h a t he could


readily seize u p o n this p r o s a i c n u r s e r y r h y m e , repeating it over a n d
over again, it would serve for the student j u s t a s effectively a s a n y
other m a n t r a .

Practising with a Mantra


W h a t e v e r it is, select a m a n t r a t h a t suits y o u - a n d then start
practising. I suggest t h a t at the outset it be repeated audibly. Only
later, as familiarity with the p r o c e d u r e g r o w s , should it be transferred
to the p s y c h e t o be repeated silently or mentally.
M y o w n predilection is in the area of the Q a b a l a h . A m a n t r a I have
often used is Eheieh, t h e divine n a m e attributed t o Kether t h e first
Sephirah o r e m a n a t i o n o n T h e T r e e of Life. In t h e past I have often
visualized a large H e b r e w letter, Shin, in bold red outlines a b o v e the
c r o w n of the h e a d , while continuously vibrating this single w o r d . O n
other o c c a s i o n s I h a v e used Achath Ruach Elohim chayim which
m e a n s ' O n e (is she) t h e Spirit of the Everliving G o d . ' T h e meaning,
however, is subordinate t o the continued vibration of t h e n a m e a n d to
training the mind t o t a k e it u p spontaneously. This s o u n d s difficult a s does the whole business of practice in this a r e a . But once o n e h a s
achieved a steady discipline, it is far less difficult t h a n anticipated.
P r o b a b l y the m o s t difficult p a r t of the entire project is simply to m a k e
u p one's mind t o begin, a n d then sticking t o it. O n c e this initial
resistance is o v e r c o m e , t h e m a s t e r y of a m a n t r a is, actually, relatively
easy.
If the student h a p p e n s t o be a religiously-minded person regardless of his denomination, which is not particularly i m p o r t a n t to
this issue - the u s e of a m a n t r a c a n b e infinitely rewarding. T h e
repetition of the p h r a s e - be it from the P s a l m s , the G o s p e l s , the
K o r a n , the V e d a s , or even the Book of the Dead - is a c c o m p a n i e d by
the emergence of a great deal o f effect. T h e sincerely devout Jewish
Qabalist w h o repeats t h e ancient prayer ' H e a r O Israel: the L o r d o u r
G o d , the L o r d is O n e ' is investing this sentence with a t r e m e n d o u s
a m o u n t of energy and emotion. It is this passion that directs the mind
one-pointedly
towards
the maintenance
of the repetition,
until
concentration
is obtained. A n d so with the o r t h o d o x C a t h o l i c w h o ,
like the h e r o of The Way of the Pilgrim, repeats fervently ' O L o r d
J e s u s Christ, Son of G o d , h a v e m e r c y u p o n m e a p o o r sinner.' T h e
loading of emotion o n t o t h e mechanical repetition of t h e m a n t r a
forces the recalcitrant mind to behave, inducing a deep state of
c o n c e n t r a t i o n . W i t h practice, the concentration c a n be turned o n and
off until it b e c o m e s a faculty t h a t is a s readily available a s is the
electric c u r r e n t in the m o d e r n h o m e .

Mantras for Atheists or Agnostics


The agnostic or atheist w h o h a s n o religious feeling per se, a n d w h o
thus will n o t be emotionally m o v e d by the m o r e conventional religious
m a n t r a s , c a n nonetheless still avail himself of the distinct benefits to be
obtained b y employing emotion a s a tool. H e could select s o m e p h r a s e
from a p o e m o r a novel of any kind t h a t h a s moved him profoundly and I a m certain this h a s h a p p e n e d at s o m e time to almost everybody
- and then use this as his o w n m a n t r a . Failing this, h e could fail b a c k
on s o m e personal private experience, such as the courting of a lover in
early adolescent d a y s when emotion r a n high. A n d picturing this lover
in mind, he could repeat over a n d over again, a s if it were a religious
m a n t r a , ' D a r l i n g , I love y o u ! Darling, I love y o u ! ' and if this
combination of mental picture a n d repeated p h r a s e c a n evoke the deep
emotion t h a t w a s felt long years anterior t o practice, it will succeed n o
less t h a n the religiously oriented m a n t r a in developing concentration.

The First Stage


' W h a t is m e a n t by holding the mind to certain p o i n t s ? ' asks
Vivekananda in his excellent b o o k Raja Yoga. ' F o r c i n g the mind to
feel certain p a r t s of the b o d y to the exclusion of o t h e r s . F o r instance,
try to feel only the h a n d , to the exclusion of other p a r t s of the b o d y .
When the Chitta, or mind-stuff, is confined a n d limited to a certain
place, this is called Dharana. This Dharana is of various sorts, a n d
along with it, it is better t o h a v e a little play of the imagination. F o r
instance, the mind should be m a d e t o think of o n e point in the heart.
That is very difficult; an easier w a y is t o imagine a lotus there. T h a t
lotus is full of light, effulgent light. P u t the m i n d there.'

Breathing
The next stage is t o practise simple r h y t h m i c breathing. T h e simplicity
of this m e t h o d is its great a d v a n t a g e . It consists of inhaling slowly to a
certain count, and exhaling to the s a m e count. If o n e ' s chest is tight
muscularly, then one should be guided accordingly to select a short
r h y t h m (such as 1, and 2, a n d 3 , a n d 4 ) a n d then exhale t o the s a m e
r h y t h m . It is m y suggestion t o include ' a n d ' between every n u m b e r so
as to slow d o w n the counting process. This is m o s t important. F o r not
only does the establishment of the r h y t h m p r o d u c e s o m e perceptible
physical results, but at the s a m e time the gradual extension of the
r h y t h m results in the slowing d o w n of mental activity. A s t h e
muscular tensions are released, longer r h y t h m s m a y be used.
T h e development of the r h y t h m sooner or later sets u p well-defined

physical sensations, largely of t w o kinds - t h o u g h this is n o t t o say


that there are not m a n y o t h e r s . T h e first is the experiencing of a
tingling sensation all over the b o d y . It c a n easily b e likened t o that
sensation when o n e h a s been pressing o n a limb a n d the circulation
h a s been initially cut off for a few s e c o n d s . W h e n the pressure is
removed, a prickling sensation is experienced as t h e blood circulation
is restored. R h y t h m i c b r e a t h i n g initiates a n a n a l o g o u s sensation in
every cell t h r o u g h o u t t h e entire b o d y .
Parallel with this is a peculiar rippling sensation very h a r d t o
describe t h a t is experienced in the d i a p h r a g m a t i c segment of the
t h o r a x . A s it b e c o m e s established b y persisting with the rhythmic
breathing it tends t o spread widely, until there is a well-defined feeling
of a total bodily pulsation. T h e s e h a v e t o b e experienced t o fully
appreciate the n a t u r e of this description. Finally, these sensations are
a c c o m p a n i e d by pleasant feelings. S o m e describe t h e m as 'soft ,
'melting', 'delicious'.
T h e s e extraordinary a n d unusual feelings are b u t the harbingers of
the ineffable bliss a n d ecstasy t h a t , o n e d a y , will o c c u r a s the later
spiritual results unfold. ' T h e b o d y is w e a r y , a n d the soul is sore weary,
but ever abides t h e sure consciousness of ecstasy, u n k n o w n , yet
k n o w n in t h a t its being is certain. O L o r d , be m y helper and bring me
to the bliss of the beloved!'
9

The Power of Rhythm


T h e experience of a pleasant emotional response n o m a t t e r h o w gentle
or light t o t h e r h y t h m i c breathing, will g o a long w a y t o w a r d s
facilitating a state of concentration. W i t h the process eliciting pleasure
there will b e less tendency for the mind t o w a n d e r - except t o other
a n d former experiences when pleasure w a s t h e keynote. T h e r e is likely
to b e s o m e mind-wandering o n purely pleasurable experiences. But
however m u c h w a n d e r i n g there is, it represents the beginning of s o m e
concentration o n one particular topic.
F u r t h e r m o r e , the experience of a definite physical sensation or a
d i a p h r a g m a t i c rippling will be very heartening a n d encouraging t o the
beginner. It will comprise a n o t h e r aid t o focusing t h e mind o n a single
point - in this case, the b r e a t h i n g process itself. H a v i n g t o c o u n t
mentally in order t o establish the r h y t h m also c o n d u c e s t o
concentration. A mechanical aid in this direction is a m e t r o n o m e .
Listening t o the loud clicking, a n d timing o n e ' s breathing in
coordination with t h e s o u n d , is a still further aid t o concentration.
N o r is this all. It h a s long been k n o w n t h a t mental hyperactivity is
s o m e h o w tied t o respiratory rapidity. If we are mentally disturbed or
excited, the breathing tends t o b e c o m e rapid. T h i s would suggest,

n , that if w e slow d o w n the r a t e of respiration t o an easy rhythmic


rate, the m i n d ' s furious turbulence follows suit a n d c a n be controlled,
so that then, after you h a v e b e c o m e a c c u s t o m e d to breathing to a
simple r h y t h m of, let u s say, four in a n d four o u t , t h e rate c a n be
changed to four in a n d eight o u t . Again, the w o r d ' a n d ' should be
inserted between each n u m b e r so as to prevent the likelihood of hurry.
Above all,* strain should be avoided. H e r e the g o o d sense of the
student h a s t o be called u p o n . If he h a s a m o r e experienced friend or
fellow-student w h o can act in this instance as an authoritative teacher,
he will see t h a t the student does n o t h u r r y or strain while striving for a
prolonged r h y t h m .
t n e

Fascinating the Mind


As skill a n d ease are obtained, the r h y t h m c a n be c h a n g e d in a variety
of w a y s : first, to prevent b o r e d o m , which is a n ever-present enemy,
and second, b e c a u s e the different sensations engineered by a different
rhythm, will h a v e the effect of fixing the mind u p o n t h e m . In other
words, the sensations themselves facilitate
concentration.
I c a n n o t stress this notion t o o strongly. In m y experience, it is m o s t
important a n d I d o n o t feel that this h a s been stressed sufficiently by
modern authorities w h o , I a m sure, k n o w a good deal m o r e a b o u t
concentration a n d meditation t h a n I d o . Initially, I* obtained the clue
from two classical b o o k s o n Y o g a - The Hatha Yoga Pradipika
and
The Shiva Sanhita. Both of them describe a whole variety of bizarre
practices with which we are not in t h e least bit concerned. But as I
read t h e m , y e a r s a g o , I noticed a p h r a s e c o m m o n t o b o t h : that w h e n
the s o u n d s of t h e N a d a o c c u r ( T h e Voice of the Silence, a s Blavatsky
puts it) - s o u n d s that a r e internally elicited a s certain practices are
performed - the mind b e c o m e s fascinated by t h e m , being d r a w n to
them irresistibly in m u c h t h e s a m e w a y as a bird is irresistibly
fascinated b y the steady g a z e of a snake.
This description stayed with m e for m a n y years, until in the c o u r s e
of considerable experimentation with breathing processes - as p a r t of
preparation for meditation, a n d , later, a s a n operational tool of the
Reichian system of p s y c h o t h e r a p y - I suddenly joined t h e m together.
For I found t h a t these breathing processes, even on a superficial level,
without having progressed t o the point of eliciting the sounds of the
N a d a , b r o u g h t a b o u t a variety of s o m a t i c a n d visceral sensations.
These kept m e utterly fascinated so t h a t wool-gathering w a s the last
thing in the world that c o u l d o c c u r . A n d then, a s the y e a r s w o r e o n , it
occurred t o m e that this could be used as an operational tool in the
development of concentration. In other w o r d s , concentration
followed
spontaneously
and inevitably
as the breathing practice
produced
massive sensory
responses.

Effect of Prolonged Concentration


A m o s t interesting p h e n o m e n o n m a y b e observed a s the o u t c o m e of
this. If, for example, a series of curious tingling a n d prickling
sensations are initiated in the feet, o n e ' s attention becomes
automatically d r a w n t o t h a t area. C o n c e n t r a t i o n o n the feet develops.
T h e first effect of this c o n c e n t r a t i o n is t h a t t h e sensations become,
gradually, e n o r m o u s l y heightened. T h e feet feel alive, buzzing,
suffused with electrical energy, o r so it seems. This m a y continue for
s o m e considerable time.
N o w if the concentration persists o n t h a t o n e spot, unwaveringly
a n d steadfastly, then something h a p p e n s for which o n e is totally
u n p r e p a r e d . T h e tingling continues - but a sense of n u m b n e s s in the
feet m a k e s its a p p e a r a n c e . G r a d u a l l y , all a w a r e n e s s of the feet fades
o u t entirely. This is altogether paradoxical. T h e feet feel alive a n d vital
b u t at the s a m e time there is n o direct a w a r e n e s s of feet. In other
w o r d s , a basic law evolves o u t of this. If concentration is prolonged,
then sensation becomes almost entirely expunged. T h e feet disappear
from consciousness.
If o n e were concentrating o n sensations in the nose, shortly one
would h a v e n o a w a r e n e s s of n o s e at all. It would disappear from view
altogether. O n e might h a v e t o open one's eyes a n d look in a m i r r o r , or
bring o n e ' s h a n d u p t o o n e ' s face in order t o ascertain whether the
nose is still there.
A m e t h o d t h a t bears s o m e resemblance to this is t o be found within
Z e n Buddhism of the S o t o sect. It r e c o m m e n d s a meditation practice,
' T h i s very b o d y is B u d d h a . ' W h e n persisted in, psychological
p h e n o m e n a o c c u r of the t y p e referred t o above, for the awareness of
the b o d y disappears t o b e replaced b y a n o t h e r kind of awareness.
T h i s , when meditated u p o n , is also expunged in very m u c h the same
way.

Displacing the Ego


This finding is fraught with the m o s t serious a n d important
consequences when treading the P a t h . It is axiomatic in most
b r a n c h e s of mysticism a n d occultism, t h a t the ego - or the conscious
mind, or the cortex of t h e brain - is the ' d r a g o n in t h e w a y ' . ' T h e m i n d
is the slayer of the R e a l . Let the disciple slay the slayer.' T h a t is to
say, it is t h e obstacle t o realizing t h a t G o d is here a n d n o w , that there
is in reality n o separation between m a n a n d N a t u r e , o r between any
o n e soul a n d the entire universe. This unity h a s existed from time
immemorial a n d will continue to exist in all time to c o m e . It is only the
limitations of o u r thinking, of o u r surface consciousness fed by stimuli
from the senses, t h a t blind u s t o t h e reality of t h e omnipresence and

immanence of G o d . T h e 'heresy of separateness' is essentially a


product of the ego. It is not a fact in n a t u r e .
If therefore the ego c a n be pushed o u t of t h e w a y by o n e device or
another, then we could b e c o m e conscious, o r we could realize as
factual, t h e unity of all of life. In sleep the ego is displaced, b u t so is
the perceiver; in d r u n k e n n e s s the ego is eclipsed - a n d t h e perceiver is
too; in concentration o n e disciplines oneself t o be able t o constrain all
thinking t o o n e point - a n d then ultimately t o d r o p it altogether. In
other w o r d s , this training is devised so that o n e c a n stop thinking, a t
will, a n d t o resume thinking, when it is necessary t o return to o n e ' s
daily affairs, also at will. W h e n thinking is suspended in this m a n n e r ,
but maintaining vigilance a n d conscious a w a r e n e s s , then this is
enlightenment. G o d is! It w a s always t h u s , a n d will always be t h u s . It
remained only t o get the ego o u t of t h e w a y .
W h e n considering the law of concentration t h a t we are discussing,
it b e c o m e s clear that if all the attention were c o n c e n t r a t e d u p o n t h e
ego itself, at first such an ego-awareness might b e extraordinarily
heightened. It would a p p e a r as if o n e h a d a hypertrophied ego, an
egomania. But were the concentration t o be prolonged, then gradually
this e g o m a n i a would subside a n d eventually fade o u t of view entirely.
It would leave only a n actively e m p t y mind - p a r a d o x that this m a y
seem t o be t h a t is acutely conscious of being ^ t o n e with G o d a n d
Love a n d Life a n d Beauty.
If we m u s t give n a m e s t o t h e goals of T h e G r e a t W o r k , the
development of concentration a n d meditation, then we h a v e t h e m
here: t o b e c o m e acutely a w a r e of one's essential identity with the root
and source of life itself, a n d t o b e c o m e a conscious agency for its
continuous activity. Egotism rooted in the self b e c o m e s universally
enlarged t o include t h e Self of All, because T h a t is All there is.
Meditation o n the H i n d u m a n t r a will disclose this t o be the meaning
of Tat Tvam Asi.
T o arrive at this exalted mystical consciousness, which is the goal
of all systems of enlightenment, Eastern o r W e s t e r n , we h a v e to
become a d e p t s in t h e utilization of concentration a n d meditation. A n d
this is w h y we are discussing w a y s a n d m e a n s of developing
techniques t h a t lead t o its m a s t e r y .

Hyperventilation
There is a physiological sequel called hyperventilation t h a t we simply
must call attention t o here. W i t h o u t it there is simply n o
understanding of w h a t transpires in s o m e of t h e m o r e a d v a n c e d uses
of t h e respiratory technique. W h a t h a p p e n s as o n e goes on breathing,
with longer periods of exhalation, a n d longer periods of p a u s e , between

exhalation a n d inhalation, is t h a t m o s t of t h e c a r b o n dioxide


within the alveoli of t h e lungs is blown off, a n d greater quantities of
oxygen are t a k e n in.
(I m u s t insist, for the sake of t h e readers w h o h a v e d o n e some reading
o n t h e topic of Y o g a a n d meditation, t h a t there is n o alternate nostrilbreathing r e c o m m e n d e d here in this essay. T h e r e are n o gymnastics,
occult o r physiological, in these simple exercises to train for
meditation. I h a v e nothing b u t respect for Y o g a a n d p r a n a y a m a . But
this process is not being dealt with here. Both nostrils are kept open. T h e
h a n d s are kept relaxed in the lap, a n d not b r o u g h t t o the face to open or
close o n e or other of the nostrils.)
T h e result of taking in an excess of oxygen leads t o an
e x t r a o r d i n a r y sequence of events t h a t h a s been noted a n d recorded by
physiologists. M o s t of t h e m h a v e only observed it as a pathological
process. It remained for Wilhelm Reich, t h e psychiatrist and one-time
disciple of F r e u d , to realize t h a t it could b e used a s a n operational tool
in p s y c h o t h e r a p y ; a n d , modestly, it h a s been left for m e to note t h a t it
m a y be used a s a tool for t h e induction of concentration.
W i t h t h e inhalation of an excess of oxygen - or with the blowing off
of residual c a r b o n dioxide, which is saying t h e s a m e thing - a
chemical c h a n g e is engineered in the blood-stream, rendering it more
alkaline. T h i s , in turn, alters t h e chemical environment of the brain, so
t h a t its essential function is c h a n g e d . W h a t h a p p e n s is a n a l o g o u s to
stating t h a t the individual b e c o m e s d r u n k , not o n alcohol, b u t on
oxygen. T h e n o r m a l flow of t h o u g h t s , feelings, a n d bodily function
b e c o m e s considerably altered, a n d the individual, unless he is prepared
beforehand b y instructions such as this, m a y be inclined to think he is
' o u t of the groove'. H e is actually shaken out of his n o r m a l dull kind
of functioning, a n d a wide variety of sensations, physical, emotional,
a n d mental are induced.
T h e only somatic sequel t h a t h e needs t o be s o m e w h a t o n guard
against is tetany. T h i s represents tonic s p a s m s , stiffnesses developing
in different sets of muscles t h r o u g h o u t the b o d y . T h e s e differ with
e a c h person, because e a c h p e r s o n h a s his o w n peculiar set of muscular
tensions t h a t is related t o his o w n individual history a n d emotional
b a c k g r o u n d . The hyperventilation
merely intensifies
the
muscular
tensions already existent, to the point where tetany may occur.
This p h e n o m e n o n h a s been long noted in Y o g a literature w h e r e it is
mentioned that a t certain stages of development ' a u t o m a t i c rigidity'
m a y o c c u r , a n d the b o d y m a y h o p a r o u n d like a frog. W i t h traditional
Y o g a breathing or p r a n a y a m a , this is indeed likely to o c c u r , a n d it
represents a distinct piece of personal progress. W i t h the kind of
breathing described in this essay, tetany is a l m o s t impossible - save
p e r h a p s in a very small minority of shallow-breathers, with a

hysterical character-structure, w h o a r e also sensitive t o a surplus of


oxygen. T h e average student t o w h o m this essay is addressed is
unlikely t o practise for h o u r s at a time, n o r t o a d o p t t h e p r a n a y a m a
technique peculiar to H a t h a - Y o g a practice. S o there is nothing t o fear
on this score. T h e r e is n o d a n g e r here whatsoever.
In the event t h a t a slight hint of tetany d o e s o c c u r , the breathing
technique should be momentarily discontinued, a n d the respiration
permitted t o resume its n o r m a l p a t t e r n while o n e busies oneself with
purely r o u t i n e prosaic t a s k s . If this is n o t a d e q u a t e , then obtain a large
brown p a p e r b a g , a n d breath into it. In this m a n n e r , o n e inspires one's
own c a r b o n dioxide, quickly rendering the blood m o r e acid, in which
case the t e t a n y , d u e t o over-alkalinization, will disappear. M o r e often
than not, it will ease u p b y itself without anything being d o n e a b o u t it.
T h e only significant s y m p t o m s t h a t we need t o mention here a r e :
the development of powerful tinglings all over t h e b o d y , a delightful
feeling
of relaxation
of m u s c u l a r tensions, dizziness
and
lightheadedness, pulsations of energy flowing from head t o t o e ,
feelings of considerable pleasure, a n d sensations of quivering a n d
inner trembling which eventually p r o d u c e a wonderful sense of ease
and release.
Hyperventilation sometimes engineers affective discharge, s o t h a t
one m a y feel inclined either t o laugh almost hysterically, o r t o break
down a n d dissolve in t e a r s . Should either of these p h e n o m e n a o c c u r
there is n o need for a l a r m . Merely regard t h e m a s distinct stages of
progress t h a t result in t h e discharge of repressed emotions a n d
feelings, a n d realize t h a t o n c e these feelings h a v e been released, the
ability t o c o n c e n t r a t e is e n o r m o u s l y e n h a n c e d .

Koans
These, however, a r e the crucial m o m e n t s , (just w h e n the function of
the brain a n d central n e r v o u s system h a v e u n d e r g o n e radical change),
when o n e should e m p l o y every k n o w n device t o aspire eagerly a n d
enthusiastically t o t h e highest. T h e p r a y e r s of old-time o r magical
invocations or t h e m o d e r n - d a y affirmations will n o w prove to be preeminently useful. M a n t r a s intitiated at this point will be t a k e n u p sua
sponte a n d act almost a s t h o u g h they were Z e n koans.
W h a t is a koanl A c c o r d i n g t o m o s t authorities, the koan is, in
effect, n o t a puzzle to be cleverly solved by an agile m o n k e y - m i n d ; n o r
is it merely a psychological device to shift o r shock the previously
fragile e g o of a student into a newer species of equilibrium. Certainly
it is not a p a r a d o x , save t o t h o s e w h o h a v e never perceived it from
within. It is, however, a simple, clear a n d direct statement issuing from
a specific state of consciousness t h a t it h a s helped t o elicit.

A n affirmation o r invocation, hence, engaged in at this particular


point of development, will exalt the student t o the highest state of
spiritual consciousness t h a t he is then capable of reaching. Its use m a y
help t o precipitate t h e enlightenment t o w a r d s which he h a s been
working for s o long. It is like placing an a r r o w in a t a u t bow. W h e n
the cord is released, t h e a r r o w is shot with force t o its m a r k . ' I have
aimed at the peeled w a n d of m y G o d , a n d I h a v e hit; yea, I have hit.'

Suspension of Breath
H a v i n g spoken of full breathing a n d hyperventilation, I should m a k e
mention, briefly, of a n o t h e r p h e n o m e n o n which is t h e diametrical
opposite. W h e n s o m e of the higher results of meditation a p p e a r , the
breathing sometimes a p p e a r s t o b e c o m e a l m o s t wholly suspended. In
reality, it is a very light, fine breathing, existing a s it were under the
d i a p h r a g m - often called interior breathing - which h a s been nicely
described b y t h e ancient T a o i s t s a s being 'like t h e breathing of the infant
in the w o m b . '

Further Breathing Techniques


T h e r e is a n age-old variation of breathing technique which is exquisite
in its simplicity, a n d miraculous in its effect. N o r h y t h m is deliberately
set u p in t h e breathing p r o c e s s . N o a t t e m p t is m a d e t o regulate it in
a n y w a y . O n e merely b r e a t h e s in a natural o r d i n a r y w a y . But as one
d o e s , o n e simply notes T h e b r e a t h flows in. T h e b r e a t h flows out.
A n d t h a t is all. It s o u n d s s o simple, a n d basically it is.
In s o doing, o n e m a y b e c o m e exquisitely a w a r e of the nostrils,
against which t h e incoming tide of air hits; then, after a while, o f the
turbinates, the upper portions of t h e n o s e ; later, of t h e t h r o a t a n d then
of t h e bronchial tree a n d t h e lungs themselves. It m i g h t b e w o r t h while
t o imagine the air, incoming a n d outgoing, a s a white mist that o n e is
c a p a b l e of observing a n d tracing. A n d a s o n e d o e s all this, lo! a n d
behold! O n e is concentrating.
Finally, a s a result of these breathing practices a n d the acquisition
of concentration, o n e m a y b e c o m e a w a r e of t h e fact t h a t o n e is
becoming e n o r m o u s l y vitalized. T h e impression is t h a t of being
s a t u r a t e d with cosmic energy t h a t flows t h r o u g h every cell and p o r e of
o n e ' s being. A t this stage of practice, o n e needs t o learn to circulate
t h e energy - a n d in this w a y , to return t o a t h e m e of an earlier p a g e t o drain o u t the energy from t h e m i n d . W h e n this kind of skill h a s been
achieved, o n e merely h a s t o think a n d lightly will t h a t energy t o m o v e
a n d of c o u r s e it m o v e s . T h e r e are several m e t h o d s of circulation.
9

Circulation of Energy
T h e ancient Qabalistic a p p r o a c h is t o c o n c e n t r a t e on the c r o w n of the
head, imagining this t o be the centre of o n e ' s spiritual life, which is the
Universal Self; a n d , while so doing, to imagine a n d will that all the
energies in the lower a r e a s of the b o d y a r e gradually being pulled u p ,
sucked u p a s it were, t o the light above the c r o w n of t h e head.
Persistency is required, practice being engaged in d a y after d a y . O n e
of these d a y s , while working, so Vitvan s a y s , there is a n inner
explosion, the electrical circuit is, a s it were, completed, and
illumination o c c u r s . O n e knows. N o t with a knowing of the brain or
mind, b u t with a realization of one's divine ancestry a n d divine n a t u r e
- the goal of all mystical w o r k , a n d the beginning of spiritual freedom.
T h e full method is rather m o r e detailed, a n d is described a t s o m e
length in the essay The Art of True Healing (see p . 137). It consists
basically of the visualization of five centres within the o r g a n i s m a n d
the vibration of certain Qabalistic n a m e s within those centres. T h i s
develops o r releases vast quantities of energy t h a t a r e circulated in a
variety of w a y s until the organism is enclosed within a vast spinning
sphere of light-energy.
A similar method of circulation w a s o n c e employed by the Chinese
Taoists of long a g o . T h e s t u d e n t w h o is interested should consult
R i c h a r d Wilhelm's translation of a n ancient Chinese text included in
J u n g ' s Secret of the Golden
Flower.
O n c e this stage is reached, a s a result of upright posture a n d simple
breathing a n d m a n t r a practice, t h e achievement of concentration at
will h a s b e c o m e a fact. F r o m this point o n , s o m e of the classical
practices c a n be instituted because t h r o u g h t h e m t h e attainment of t h e
mystical experience b e c o m e s a possibility. Call it Union with G o d , o r
the discovery of the Inner Self, o r the realization of t h e B u d d h a n a t u r e , this is t h e goal to b e aimed at o n c e concentration is a faculty
that h a s been developed.

Visualization of Objects
Perfectly prosaic objects c a n b e taken, visualized a n d c o n c e n t r a t e d
upon. F o r example, here is o n e classical set of instructions for
Dharana, the control of t h o u g h t , which could be m o s t useful a t this
particular stage:
1. C o n s t r a i n the mind t o c o n c e n t r a t e itself u p o n a single simple
object imagined.
T h e five t a t v a s are useful for this p u r p o s e : they a r e : a black o v a l ;
a blue disk; a silver crescent; a yellow s q u a r e ; a red triangle.

2. Proceed to combination of simple objects; e.g. a black oval


within a yellow s q u a r e , a n d so o n .
3. Proceed t o simple moving objects, such as a p e n d u l u m
swinging, a wheel revolving, etc. A v o i d living objects.
4. Proceed t o c o m b i n a t i o n s of moving objects, e.g. a piston
rising a n d falling while a p e n d u l u m is swinging. T h e relation
between the t w o m o v e m e n t s should be varied in different
experiments.
O r even a system of flywheels, eccentrics, a n d governor.
5. D u r i n g these practices t h e mind m u s t be absolutely confined
t o the object determined u p o n ; n o other t h o u g h t m u s t be allowed t o
intrude u p o n the consciousness. T h e moving systems m u s t b e
regular a n d h a r m o n i o u s .
6. N o t e carefully t h e d u r a t i o n of the experiments, t h e n u m b e r
a n d n a t u r e of the intruding t h o u g h t s , the tendency of the object
itself t o depart from the c o u r s e laid o u t for it, a n d a n y other
p h e n o m e n a which m a y present themselves. Avoid overstrain; this
is very important.

The Use of Hypnotism


O n e m o r e a p p r o a c h needs t o be considered. This c o n c e r n s t h e
c o o p e r a t i o n o f a n o t h e r trained person. It seems t o m e that hypnotic
suggestion in the h a n d s of a reliable teacher trained in meditation
could be e n o r m o u s l y valuable. It d o e s not eliminate the need for
discipline and prolonged practice. N o t b y a n y m e a n s . But it m a y m a k e
the achievement of discipline a n d practice easier for s o m e types of
students.
T h e r e is n o reason w h y , if t h e student is found t o b e suggestible, t h e
meditation teacher should not a r r a n g e several hypnotic sessions in
which s o m e basic notions are laid d o w n . It could b e suggested (once
the elementary a n d preliminary hypnotic induction h a s been found t o
be effective) t h a t t h e student should practise daily. A previous
discussion should h a v e determined h o w often a n d w h e n the student
could practise a n d whether h e wishes t o d o so. T h e n the n u m b e r of
practices will b e carefully stated during h y p n o s i s , a n d the length of
time t o be devoted for e a c h p r a c t i c e period. T h e teacher could then
wait for s o m e considerable time to see whether t h e student w a s
cooperating, or responding t o t h e hypnotic suggestions.
If there is a r e a s o n a b l e r e s p o n s e , then the h y p n o t i c suggestions
could be extended. F o r e x a m p l e , suggestions could b e given t h a t
henceforth t h e student will find it easy, at t h e practice period at such a n d
such a time, m o r n i n g , n o o n a n d / o r evening, t o c o n c e n t r a t e all his

mental p o w e r s o n a series of pre-arranged topics, symbols, or


concepts. It m a y require considerable e m p h a s i s and repetition for
these suggestions t o b e c o m e effective; but there is no reason on earth
why they should not b e c o m e effective.
T h e usual a r g u m e n t against this kind of technical a p p r o a c h is t h a t it
eliminates t h e student's personal responsibility; t h a t it is not selfinduced a n d self-devised. T h i s a r g u m e n t is altogether without
foundation. T h e student is still obliged t o practise, a n d practise h a r d
and faithfully. H e will h a v e discussed with his teacher w h a t should
and should not be suggested in h y p n o s i s , a n d h a s given his entire
assent t o the procedure. But it is still his mind t h a t he h a s t o
c o n c e n t r a t e , and he will h a v e to devote considerable time a n d effort to
achieve success. N o t h i n g is c h a n g e d in the traditional p r o c e d u r e s ,
except p e r h a p s that a n additional help-incentive or motive h a s been
added.
In this connection, it should always be r e m e m b e r e d that all heterosuggestion b e c o m e s , in the last resort, auto-suggestion. It is suggestion
given to, a n d accepted by oneself, but with the aid of a second p a r t y .
In o n e sense, this help h a s always been recognized. Sometimes the
student w a s permitted to meditate in the c o m p a n y o r a t m o s p h e r e of
the teacher. If the student h a d m a d e a transference to the teacher, o r
was deeply devoted to him, s u c h a practice h a d been k n o w n t o be of
considerable service. Sometimes g r o u p meditations have been resorted
to. It h a s been theorized that, if a g r o u p of students practise together
in a meditation hall - as is c o m m o n within the confines of Z e n
Buddhism - all benefit enormously by becoming m o r e concentrated
more quickly and m o r e easily.
I d o n o t d o u b t t h e efficacy o f a n y of these p r o c e d u r e s . It is merely
m y contention t h a t if these are valid, then hypnotic suggestion is also
valid a n d should be used in certain selected c a s e s a s a m e a n s of
disposing of stubborn psychological resistances a n d obstacles.
I should mention t h a t while performing these exercises of every
type, a record should be kept. A book or diary should be maintained
just for the p u r p o s e of entering u p the practices performed, the time of
the d a y , the m o o d one h a p p e n e d to b e in, the kind of weather
generally prevailing, and a n y other conditions t h a t y o u h a p p e n t o be
a w a r e of t h a t m a y have s o m e bearing o n the experiments performed.
M a k e t h e record as comprehensive, though n o t necessarily lengthy, a s
possible. O n e d a y in the future, after s o m e attainment h a s been
reached, this will b e seen t o h a v e considerable value. A n d if you a r e
lucky e n o u g h t o h a v e t h e guidance of a teacher of any degree o r
grade, h e will w a n t to see t h e record t o k n o w h o w t h o r o u g h y o u m a y
or m a y not h a v e been.

110

FOUNDATIONS OF PRACTICAL MAGIC

The Final Union


T h e instruction q u o t e d a b o v e mentioned only t h e m o s t p r o s a i c of
objects t o use for constraining the mind t o a single point. O n the other
h a n d , objects that h a v e a religious or mystical o r occult significance
m o r e often t h a n not p r o d u c e results m o r e quickly. A n d while w e are
advised to ' w o r k without lust of result', this attitude is the result of,
rather t h a n a prerequisite t o , the mystical experience. O n c e o n e h a s
discovered the G o d within, the n a t u r e of all o n e ' s reactions t o oneself,
o n e ' s environment (which is seen t o be self-created) a n d t o all else
undergoes a massive revolution. O n e of these c h a n g e s , of course, is so
t o function t h a t the fruits of action are of n o c o n c e r n t o u s . T h i s is
K a r m a Y o g a in the true sense of the w o r d . T h e results a r e the concern
of G o d , a n d t h a t is all.

Meditation consists in turning the concentrated mind to a n y particular


topic t h a t requires attention. All the previous discussions were devoted
t o w a r d s developing concentration, without which so-called meditation
is merely wool-gathering a n d uncontrolled fantasy. Meditation based
u p o n concentration eventuates in a union between the meditator and
t h a t which is meditated u p o n , the union of the subject a n d object, the
union of G o d a n d M a n . Regardless of t h e language employed to
describe it - whether we u s e E a s t e r n t e r m s such as Dhyana
and
SamadhU o r the achievement of Moksha or Mukti - this is the goal
t o w a r d s which meditation is aimed.
It represents freedom a n d liberty in the fullest and most
philosophical sense of the w o r d s . T h e unity a n d universality of life,
love and beauty are the spiritual c o m p o n e n t s of t h e enlightenment that
is realized with awe, w o n d e r a n d true simplicity. T h e earth is the
L o r d ' s a n d the fulness t h e r e o f . A n d since Tat tvam asi is seen in
meditation t o be the truth, the M e d i t a t o r a n d the L o r d are one.
S o t o w h a t end, all of this h a r d w o r k , discipline and c o n s t a n t
p r a y e r , this appalling labour t o develop c o n c e n t r a t i o n ? S o m e of the
goals aimed at h a v e been simply described; I d o u b t if anything is t o be
gained b y a great deal of rhetoric or description of t h e mystical states
sought after o r aspired t o w a r d s . H o w e v e r , t o close this essay, I c a n
d o n o better t h a n t o q u o t e , a s a n example, the illuminations of J a c o b
B o e h m e o n e of t h e greatest C h r i s t i a n mystics of a n y age.
Sitting o n e d a y in his r o o m , 'his eyes fell u p o n a burnished pewter
dish, which reflected t h e sunshine with such marvellous splendour that
he fell into an inward ecstasy, a n d it seemed t o him as if he could n o w
look into t h e principles a n d deepest foundations of things. H e believed
t h a t it w a s only a fancy, a n d in o r d e r t o banish it from his mind he

MEDITATION

111

went o u t u p o n the green. But here he r e m a r k e d t h a t he gazed into the


very heart of things, the very herbs and grass, a n d that actual n a t u r e
h a r m o n i z e d with w h a t he h a d inwardly seen. H e said nothing of this t o
a n y o n e , b u t praised a n d t h a n k e d G o d in silence/
N o t t o o long after this initial illumination, ' h e w a s again s u r r o u n d e d
by the divine light and replenished with the heavenly knowledge;
insomuch a s going a b r o a d in the fields to a green before N e y s G a t e , at
Goerlitz, he there sat d o w n a n d , viewing the herbs a n d grass of the
field in his inward light, he saw into their essences, use a n d properties,
which w e r e discovered t o him by their lineaments, figures a n d
signatures. In like m a n n e r he beheld the whole creation, a n d from t h a t
foundation he afterwards w r o t e his b o o k , De Signature Rerum. In the
unfolding o f those mysteries before his understanding h e h a d a great
m e a s u r e of j o y , yet returned h o m e and took c a r e of his family a n d
lived in g r e a t p e a c e a n d silence, scarcely intimating t o a n y these
wonderful things that h a d befallen him.'

FURTHER READING
Art of Meditation,
Joel Goldsmith.
PatanjaWs Yoga Aphorisms, William Q . J u d g e .
Science of Breath, Yogi R a m a c h a r a k a .
Part One of Book Four, F r a t e r P e r d u r a b o (Aleister Crowley).
Concentration
and Meditation, Buddhist L o d g e ( L o n d o n ) .
Meditation, Vitvan (School of the N a t u r a l Order).
The Zen Koan, R u t h Fuller Sasaki.
Spiritual Exercises, St Ignatius of Loyola.
Man's Highest Purpose, Karel Weinfurter.
The Way of a Pilgrim, translated from t h e R u s s i a n b y R . M . F r e n c h .

4. THE QABALAH OF
NUMBER AND MEANING
An Elementary Manual of Numerical
Procedures

W h e n I w a s a b o u t sixteen years of age, I first b e c a m e interested


enough in t h e Q a b a l a h t o r e a d voraciously w h a t little of it w a s
available at that time in English. It w a s surprisingly diminutive in
quantity a n d quality.
Since I then resided in W a s h i n g t o n , D . C . , I m a d e t h e L i b r a r y of
C o n g r e s s m y second h o m e . I derived a great deal of pleasure
browsing, not only t h r o u g h the extensive files b u t , after obtaining
permission, through the vast stacks also. In d u e c o u r s e of time, I h a d
m a d e t h e a c q u a i n t a n c e of the scholarly h e a d of the Semitic Division of
the L i b r a r y and, a s t h o u g h I were free-associating t o him, m a d e
mention of a burning ambition. W h e n I knew e n o u g h , I wanted t o be
able t o translate into English several of the ancient texts t h a t still
remained in H e b r e w a n d A r a m a i c . H e w a s wise e n o u g h to
r e c o m m e n d t o m e a H e b r e w tutor. T h i s w a s a y o u n g m a n attending
college in W a s h i n g t o n w h o needed some extra funds t o facilitate his
staying in the city.
Every week, then, for a b o u t a year I received a lesson from him.
G r a d u a l l y I learned t o r e a d H e b r e w fairly fluently, t o u n d e r s t a n d
s o m e of the fundamentals of its c o m p l e x g r a m m a r a n d syntax, a n d , if
the material w a s sufficiently elementary, t o translate it into English
passably well. I never persevered long e n o u g h t o learn t o speak the
language - which t o d a y I regret very m u c h .
But t h e major result of t h a t y e a r ' s tutorship w a s this: t h o u g h I
never succeeded in fulfilling m y adolescent d r e a m to translate

Qabalistic texts into English, I did m a n a g e t o acquire a solid


foundation of the language which h a s stood m e in good stead where
s o m e Qabalistic fundamentals were concerned.
G e m a t r i a , for example, really presents n o problem. T h i s I attribute
entirely t o the linguistic education given m e by m y tutor, and the s a m e
is true for other phases of the so-called practical Q a b a l a h .
N o w by this I d o not wish t o imply t h a t every student should t a k e a
year of H e b r e w g r a m m a r a n d reading in order t o u n d e r s t a n d s o m e of
the Qabalistic m e t h o d s of elucidation of hidden facets of meaning in
the n a m e s a n d symbols of the O l d T e s t a m e n t ; or t o enable him
intelligently t o construct talismans a n d amulets in t h a t b r a n c h of
Q a b a l a h that is k n o w n as T h e u r g y . This is not altogether necessary.
But it m a y b e worthwile pointing out t h a t great a d v a n t a g e m a y be
obtained from a little study of the H e b r e w alphabet, a n d from s o m e
slight experience in d r a w i n g a n d painting these letters a s the magical
symbols they really are, as well a s from familiarizing oneself with
certain basic H e b r e w w o r d s relative to the Sephiroth on T h e T r e e of
Life. All this would render intelligible n u m b e r s o f facts which even
otherwise astute writers a n d students of the Q a b a l a h are inclined to
gloss over, dismissing t h e m a s wholly u n i m p o r t a n t t o the subject.

Simple Gematria
A few very simple examples s h o u l d rapidly convey the kind of hidden
m e a n i n g sought by the Qabalists in their apparently arbitrary
manipulation of w o r d s , letters a n d n u m b e r s .
F o r i n s t a n c e , there is the H e b r e w w o r d Achad. It m e a n s ' o n e ' or
'unity'. Its spelling i s :
Aleph
1

Cheth
8

Daleth
4

Its numerical total o r value, o r G e m a t r i a , t h u s is thirteen, 13. It so


h a p p e n s t h a t there is a n o t h e r H e b r e w w o r d ahavah - meaning Move .
It is spelt:
9

Aleph
1

+
5

Heh

Beth
2

Heh
5

Its numerical value is also thirteen, as is t h e preceding w o r d . T h u s it


is a s s u m e d t h a t , since t h e y h a v e identical n u m b e r values, there is a
connection between love a n d unity - o n e leading into a n d producing
t h e other. I c a n never think o f this matter without recalling St P a u l ' s
definition of charity o r love:

T h o u g h I speak with the tongues of m e n and angels, a n d have n o t


charity, I a m b e c o m e a s sounding b r a s s , o r a tinkling c y m b a l . . .
Charity suffereth long, a n d is kind; charity envieth n o t ; charity
vaunteth n o t itself, is not puffed u p , doth not behave itself
unseemly, seeketh n o t her o w n , is not easily provoked, thinketh n o
evil, rejoiceth n o t in iniquity, b u t rejoiceth in t h e t r u t h ; beareth all
things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, e n d u r e t h all things.
Charity never faileth; but whether there b e prophecies, they shall
fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be
knowledge, it shall vanish a w a y . F o r we k n o w in p a r t , a n d we
prophesy in part. But when t h a t which is perfect is c o m e , then that
which is in p a r t shall b e d o n e a w a y . . . A n d n o w abideth faith,
hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
If w e join the n u m b e r s of love a n d unity together, uniting them
as it were, the p r o d u c t b e c o m e s 2 6 . This is the numerical value of
the T e t r a g r a m m a t o n , the four-lettered n a m e of G o d :
Yod
1

Heh
0

Vav
6

Heh
+

= 2 6

F r o m this operation, t h e Qabalists therefore deduce t h a t G o d ,


w h o is O n e a n d only O n e , o p e r a t e s t h r o u g h love, a n d t h a t H i s
nature m a y well be defined a s unity a n d love conjoined. O r , that
H e is a unity operating t h r o u g h duality t o p r o d u c e love.
Incidentally, it is w o r t h mentioning t h a t there a r e t w o valuable
aids for t h e student w h o is attempting t o b e c o m e adept in t h e use of
these m e t h o d s . T h e first is a Hebrew-English a n d English-Hebrew
Dictionary which he c a n consult for t h e meanings of w o r d s
developed t h r o u g h G e m a t r i a . T h e second is an even m o r e valuable
book. It is Sepher Sephiroth t o be found in Equinox VIII. T h i s is a
large b o o k originally begun b y F r a t e r Iehi A o u r (Allan Bennett) of
the G o l d e n D a w n , a n d then continued a n d completed b y Aleister
C r o w l e y w h o b e c a m e his chela, in the early y e a r s of this century.
This book consists of a large n u m b e r of H e b r e w w o r d s
extrapolated both from t h e Scriptures a n d from some of t h e
original Qabalistic texts - particularly p a r t s of t h e Zohar a n d t h e
Sepher Yetzirah. T h e G e m a t r i a of several h u n d r e d s of w o r d s a n d
n a m e s h a v e been carefully w o r k e d o u t b y these t w o Qabalists, w h o
then classified e a c h w o r d according t o its n u m b e r . S o t h a t if in the
course of study o n e h a s developed a significant n u m b e r , it is then
possible t o look it u p in Sepher Sephiroth
in o r d e r t o ascertain
w h a t o t h e r w o r d s o r n a m e s h a v e been gathered together with t h a t
particular n u m b e r .
T h e m o r e skill o n e develops in using t h e Q a b a l a h o f n u m b e r s

a n d m e a n i n g , t h e m o r e useful this b o o k b e c o m e s . It is really a


d i c t i o n a r y of Q a b a l i s t i c n u m b e r s . I t h a s been republished in
Qabalah

ofAleister

Crowly,

The

( N . Y . Weiser a n d C o . , 1973).

Name in Meaning English Numer- Sepher


Yetzirah
Hebrew of Letter Letter ation

Tarot

1.

Aleph

Ox

-Fool

2.

Betb

House

Mercury

Magician

3.

Gimel

Camel

Moon

II

-Hiph
Priestess

4.

Daletb

Door

Venus

III

Empress

5.

Heb

Window

Aries

IV

Emperor

6.

Vav

Nail

Taurus

Hierophant

7.

Zayin

Sword

Gemini

VI

- Lovers

8.

Cbetb

Fence

Ch

Cancer

VII

-Chariot

Tetb

Serpent

Leo

VIII

- Strength

9.
10.

Yod

Finger

U.Y

10

Virgo

IX

Hermit

11.

Capb

Palm of
Hand

20

Jupiter

- W h e e l of
Fortune

12.

Lamed

Whip

30

Libra

XI

Justice

13.

Mem

Water

40

Water

XII

Hanged Man

14.

Nun

Fish

50

Scorpio

XIII

15.

Samecb

Arrow

60

Sagittarius XIV

Temperance

16.

Ayun

Eye

NG

70

Capricorn

XV

-Devil

17.

Peb

Mouth

80

Mars

XVI

- Blasted
Tower

- Death

18.

Tzaddi

Hook

TZ

90

Aquarius

XVII - S t a r

19.

Qopb

Back of
Head

100

Pisces

XVIII - The Moon

20.

Resb

Head

200

Sun

XIX

21.

Shin

Tooth

Sh

300

Fire

XX

Judgment

22.

Tau

Cross

400

Saturn

XXI

- T h e World

- The Sun

Notariqon
In a q u i t e different direction, t h e r e is a m e t h o d called

Notariqon,

w h i c h is a H e b r e w w o r d m e a n i n g s h o r t h a n d writing. It consists in
m a k i n g n e o l o g i s m s (new w o r d s ) from t h e initial letters of c e r t a i n
selected w o r d s .
I n a l c h e m i c a l literature, t h e r e is a f a m o u s e x a m p l e of t h e u s e o f

N o t a r i q o n . T a k e the w o r d vitriol, which is sulphur. E a c h letter of this


word b e c o m e s the initial of a n o t h e r w o r d forming a sentence of seven
words:
V
Visita
I
Interiora
T
Terrae
R
Rectificando
I
Invenies
O
Occultum
L
Lapidem
T h e entire sentence, then, which is an expension of vitriol, carries
with it the meaning of 'Visit o r explore the interior o r depths of the
E a r t h , a n d find a n d rectify the secret Stone.'
O n e of t h e traditional n a m e s for t h e Q a b a l a h is t h e
Chokmah
Nestorah,
t h e Secret W i s d o m . It is considered t o b e that esoteric
knowledge which h a s been h a n d e d d o w n from time immemorial. By
taking t h e first letter of these t w o w o r d s , Cheth a n d Nun, and
combining t h e m , the result is a w o r d p r o n o u n c e d chen. By consulting
a H e b r e w lexicon, it will discovered t h a t there is a legitimate w o r d
chen which m e a n s grace. H e n c e the Qabalists argued t h a t w h e n it is
mentioned in holy script t h a t G o d vouchsafed His grace to so-and-so,
the hidden interpretation is t h a t he transmitted the secret esoteric
knowledge of the divine life a n d plan. This w a s H i s grace.

The Notariqon of the Tenach


An even m o r e c o m m o n a n d prosaic example of this m e t h o d is in daily
use a m o n g t h e Jewish people, t h o u g h it is strongly t o be d o u b t e d if
m a n y of t h e m recognize it a s a traditional m e t h o d of Qabalistic
exegesis. I n H e b r e w , the Bible - the Old T e s t a m e n t - is n a m e d the
Tenach (always r e m e m b e r the ' c h ' in H e b r e w is a gutteral
pronunciation, a s in the Scottish w o r d 'loch'). It is spelled Tau, Nun a n d
final Caph.
This is really a n o t a r i q o n , o r a neologism, based u p o n three H e b r e w
words:
Torah
N'vee-im
K'soovim

- the first few b o o k s of t h e Bible, the so-called Five


B o o k s of M o s e s .
- t h e b o o k s of t h e P r o p h e t s , several texts including
Isaiah, J e r e m i a h , etc.
- the H o l y W r i t i n g s ; the miscellaneous g r o u p of
scriptures comprised of t h e P s a l m s , P r o v e r b s ,
Ecclesiastes, et al.

T h e first letter of e a c h of these three w o r d s is extracted a n d used to


form a new w o r d Tenach. This w o r d is, in effect, a s h o r t h a n d
abbreviation t o represent t h e contents of t h e whole of the Old
Testament.
4

The Gematria of Am en'


A n o t h e r very c o m m o n w o r d , used b y J e w s a n d all Christian
d e n o m i n a t i o n s alike, without very m u c h insight o r understanding, is
the w o r d ' A m e n ' . Its origins a n d meaning are quite obscure. Its use at
the close of a p r a y e r is generally considered t o imply *Let it be s o ! ' or
' S o m o t e it b e ! ' T h e Qabalists, however, give it an interpretation which
is a particular exhortation of divinity. Its letters, Aleph, Mem, Nun, are
considered to be the initials of the three H e b r e w w o r d s relating to
God.
Aleph = the first letter of Adonai, m y L o r d .
Mem = t h e first letter of Melekh, K i n g .
Nun = the first letter of Na 'amon, Faithful.
T h e whole meaning of ' A m e n ' , then, is ' L o r d , Faithful K i n g ' . T h e
peroration is thus simultaneously a divine invocation.
If w e wished t o p u r s u e t h i s further, w e could determine t h e
G e m a t r i a o f ' A m e n ' , which is:
Aleph=
Mem =
Nun =

1")
40
50

= 91.

T h e r e are a n u m b e r of other H e b r e w w o r d s in Sepher


Sephiroth
having this s a m e n u m b e r . S o m e h o w a n intimate connection would
h a v e t o b e established between t h e m . Ehlon (Aleph, Yod,
Lamed,
Nun) is a tree. T h e biblical w o r d Ephod (Aleph, Peh, Daleth) m e a n i n g
t h e coloured g a r m e n t w o r n b y t h e high priest, h a s also t h e s a m e
n u m b e r . Malkah (Mem, Lamed, Caph, Aleph) a virgin or a bride, a s
well a s Manna (Mem, Nun, Aleph) are still further examples of this
n u m b e r . C o n n e c t i o n s between these w o r d s a n d n u m b e r s m a y a p p e a r
o b s c u r e at first, b u t the wise experienced Qabalist could readily t r a c e
t h e m out. I n reality, a species of free association is used.
T h e r e is o n e final manipulation o f ' A m e n ' a n d its numerical value of
9 1 . T h e s e t w o digits m a y b e added together b y so-called theosophical
addition t o p r o d u c e 10. T e n is the n u m b e r o n T h e T r e e of Life of
Malkuth, t h e K i n g d o m , the last of the holy e m a n a t i o n s from G o d , t h e
completion o f the c h a i n o f n u m b e r s , a n d b y the elimination o f the
z e r o , t h e beginning of a n o t h e r sequence of n u m b e r s a n d ideas.

THE QABALAH O F NUMBER A N D M E A N I N G


4

Ruach Elohim

119

Finally, there is the e x a m p l e of Ruach Elohim, t w o H e b r e w w o r d s


mentioned in the opening verses of Genesis referring to the Spirit of
G o d b r o o d i n g over the w a t e r s of creation. A m o r e literal rendition
would really b e ' T h e Spirit of the G o d s ' . T h e G e m a t r i a of these t w o
w o r d s joined together is 3 0 0 , d e m o n s t r a t e d as follows:
Ruach =

Elohim

Resh
200
Aleph
1

+
Lamed
30

Vau
6

Heh
5

Cheth
8

Yod
10

Mem
40

= 2 1 4

86

A d d e d together they yield 3 0 0 . (By lopping off the t w o zeros, this


n u m b e r could be reduced t o 3 , a n d 3 is the p a t h of Gimel, the C a m e l ,
attributed to the T a r o t c a r d T h e High Priestess, w h o h a s t h e title of
Priestess of the Silver S t a r - the p a t h descending from Kether a b o v e
to Tiphareth below.)
T h e letter Shin - a three pronged letter - w a s considered t o be the
equivalent of these t w o w o r d s , not merely b e c a u s e of the identity o f
their n u m b e r s (which would be enough), but b e c a u s e Shin in t h e
Sepher Yetzirah w a s attributed t o the element of fire. In m a n y a r e a s
of the Old T e s t a m e n t , fire is considerred an attribute of G o d ,
indicative of H i s presence. L a t e r , light b e c a m e o n e of these attributes
- light a n d fire being interrelated a n d interconnected. T h u s , o n e of t h e
old magical exercises associated with visualizing the descent of the
divine spirit w a s to use a concrete symbol - a large fiery red letter Shin,
imagined above the head. In this connection, I never fail to think
of the peroration of o n e of C r o w l e y ' s earliest e s s a y s :
U n d e r t h e stars will I g o forth, m y b r o t h e r s , a n d drink of t h a t
lustral d e w ; I will return m y b r o t h e r s , when I h a v e seen G o d face to
face, a n d read within t h o s e eternal eyes the secret t h a t shall m a k e
you free . . .
T h u s shall we give b a c k its y o u t h t o the world, for like tongues of
triple flame we shall b r o o d u p o n t h e G r e a t D e e p - Hail u n t o t h e
L o r d s of t h e G r o v e s of Eleusis! (my italics)
O n e of the early traditions h a s it t h a t when G o d uttered Fiat Lux,
'Let there be light', he c o m m a n d e d n o t merely the physical
a p p e a r a n c e of light a n d all t h a t it entails, b u t , s o states the ancient
wisdom, the emergence of the divine m y s t e r y . F o r light is Aour
(Aleph,
Vav, Resh = 207) a n d Raz, (Resh, Zayin = 2 0 7 ) m e a n i n g m y s t e r y .

T h u s light in all its manifold significances is t h e divine m y s t e r y .


T h e Qabalist c a t c h e s glimpses of this m y t h o s in his magical or
theurgic w o r k i n g , of a r a y of t h e infinite light.
Zohar m e a n s r a d i a n c e or splendour; t h u s a n o t h e r reference t o l i g h t
T h e r a d i a n c e of the divine light is reflected in t h e mysteries of t h e text
of this Qabalistic w o r k . But when these mysteries a r e cloaked in
merely literal theological interpretation, this splendour is obscured and
hidden. T h e literal prosaic m e a n i n g w a s always considered by mystics
t o be but d a r k n e s s a n d obscurity. T h e esoteric interpretations elicit the
Raz or mystery a s well a s t h e Zohar or Splendrous Light that m a n y
believe t o shine t h r o u g h every line of the sacred scriptures.
Ain Soph A our is the Infinite Light from which the Sephiroth
of
T h e T r e e of Life have e m a n a t e d . T h u s the light is also, in m a n y m o r e
w a y s t h a n o n e , the great m y s t e r q without end.

Paradise
T h e r e is a good deal of symbolic ' p l a y ' with t h e H e b r e w w o r d for
p a r a d i s e - pardes, meaning also a garden. S o m e of the early Qabalists
related its letters Peh, Resh, Daleth, Samech t o t h e four rivers t h a t in
Genesis a r e said t o flow forth from t h e G a r d e n of E d e n . F o r example
in t h e Golden Dawn, o n e of t h e early rituals contained t h e following
references:
T h e River Naher (meaning never-failing waters) flows forth from
the Supernal E d e n a n d in Daath it is divided into four h e a d s :
Pison: Fire - flowing t o Geburah w h e r e there is G o l d .
Gihon: W a t e r - the W a t e r s of M e r c y , flowing into Chesed.
Hiddikel: Air - flowing into Tiphareth
Phrath ( E u p h r a t e s ) : E a r t h - flowing into Malkuth . . . T h e River
going o u t of E d e n is the River of the A p o c a l y p s e , the W a t e r s of
Life, clear a s crystal proceeding from t h e T h r o n e , o n either side
of the T r e e of Life, bearing all m a n n e r of fruit.
N o w c o m p a r e this set of b a r e occult d o g m a s relative t o the
elements t o a far earlier Qabalistic interpretation in which these letters
a n d t h e Rivers a r e c o m p a r e d t o levels of m e a n i n g :
1. Peh for Pison = literal m e a n i n g (Peshat).
2. Resh for Remez = allegorical meaning, a n d t h e River Gihon.
3 . Daleth
for Derasha
= talmudic (the s h a r p and deft)
interpretation, a n d for
Hiddikel.
4 . Samech for Sod = mystical a n d i n n e r m o s t m e a n i n g , a n d for
Phrath.

S o t h a t the wisdom derived from not o n e b u t multiple levels of


meaning a n d interpretation lead, as it were, to paradise, t o
illumination.

Names of God
T h e r e is a page or so from F r a n c i s Barrett's Magus, the section o n
C e r e m o n i a l M a g i c , that is of s o m e c o n s e q u e n c e here. This b o o k ,
originally published circa 1800, is a hotch-potch of superstitious
nonsense a n d s o m e basic magical information, in a b o u t equal
p r o p o r t i o n s . N e w editions of this b o o k are n o w available,* a n d the
serious s t u d e n t could d o far w o r s e t h a n to obtain a c o p y , so long as he
learns t o separate the wheat from the chaff which is copiously a n d
a b u n d a n t l y present. S o m e of this quotation t h r o w s a great deal of light
on m a n y of the strange-appearing, almost H e b r e w n a m e s appearing in
some of the old invocations.
T h e H e b r e w in this text is appalling. I imagine m a n y of these
mistakes have been inadvertently perpetuated b y ignorant copyists.
N a m e s are copied by students w h o knew little or n o H e b r e w so t h a t
after the original c o p y h a s p a s s e d t h r o u g h a dozen illiterate h a n d s ,
and u n d e r g o n e as m a n y alterations and mutilations, the final p r o d u c t
bears little resemblance to a n y a c c u r a t e original, a n d is to all intents
and purposes indecipherable.
I saw this p h e n o m e n o n within the confines of the G o l d e n D a w n .
Some of the students m u s t h a v e copied the H e b r e w letters from
original m a n u s c r i p t s without any insight or understanding. Their
inaccuracies a n d miscopyings have been perpetuated right d o w n the
line to this d a y . P e r h a p s it m a y be said t h a t this m a k e s little difference.
But it d o e s imply ignorance above all. A n d when the m a k i n g a n d
drawing of all talismans are considered, the H e b r e w mistakes as seen in
specimens repeated by Barrett a n d in s o m e old grimoires, are so
appalling as t o m a k e the talisman meaningless. It would be j u s t a s
effective (or useless, as the case m a y be) to inscribe hieroglyphs a n d
lines d r a w n at r a n d o m instead of H e b r e w letters and sigils.
I n s t a n c e s of this type indicate strongly t h a t the elementary study of
basic H e b r e w should be m a d e m a n d a t o r y in w h a t e v e r sanctuaries of
initiation still exist so that, if they teach the Q a b a l a h , the m o n s t r o u s
illiterate errors of former times m a y never again be repeated.
' G o d himself, t h o u g h he be o n e only essence,' wrote Barrett in the
section of his book referred to above, 'yet hath divers n a m e s , which
e x p o u n d not his divers essences or deities; b u t certain properties
flowing d o w n from h i m ; b y which n a m e s he p o u r s d o w n u p o n us and
all his c r e a t u r e s , m a n y benefits . . . '
'The Magus, Thorsons 1977.

In s o m e of the following examples given by Barrett, I h a v e t a k e n


the liberty of eliminating the H e b r e w letters a n d making the
a p p r o p r i a t e corrections in his transliteration into English.
'Hua is another n a m e revealed to E s a u , signifying the a b y s s of
G o d h e a d . . . ' This w o r d m e a n s simply ' H e ' , a n d is attributed t o
Kether. 'Esch is a n o t h e r n a m e received from M o s e s , which soundeth
fire, and is the n a m e of G o d : Na is to be invocated in perturbations
a n d troubles. T h e r e is also the n a m e Yah, a n d the n a m e Elion (which
is translated " t h e m o s t high"), a n d the n a m e Macom (this w o r d m e a n s
" p l a c e " ) , the n a m e Caphu ...'
Barrett spells this n a m e Caphu with a Caph, Peh, a n d Beth which is
quite meaningless. I c a n only a s s u m e t h a t the Beth w a s a copyist's
mistake for a Resh, in which case we would find Capur or Kippur,
meaning ' a t o n e m e n t ' . ' . . . a n d t h e n a m e Innon, a n d the n a m e Emeth,
which is interpreted t r u t h , a n d is the seal of G o d ; a n d there are t w o
other n a m e s Tzur ( " R o c k " ) a n d Aben, ("stone"), b o t h of these signify
a solid work, a n d o n e of t h e m expressed the F a t h e r with the S o n ; a n d
m a n y n a m e s we have placed in the scale of n u m b e r s . . . ' Barrett then
mentions the a r t s of N o t a r i q o n a n d G e m a t r i a b y m e a n s of which
w o r d s a n d n u m b e r s are derived, a n d p r o c e e d s :
In like m a n n e r the n a m e Iaia, from this verse: YHVH
Alohenu
YHVH Achod, this is, G o d o u r G o d is O n e G o d . [In reality it is t o
be translated, ' J e h o v a h , o u r G o d , J e h o v a h is One.'] In like m a n n e r
the n a m e IaVa, from this verse: IehiAour,
vayehiAour,
that is 'Let
there be Light a n d there w a s l i g h t ' . . . a n d this n a m e Hacaba is
extracted from this verse, Ha-Qadesh
baruch hua ('the H o l y O n e ,
blessed b e H e ' ) . . . T h e s e sacred w o r d s h a v e not their p o w e r in
magical operations from themselves, a s they are w o r d s , b u t from
the occult divine p o w e r s working b y t h e m in the minds of t h o s e
w h o b y faith adhere to t h e m .

AGLA and ARARITA


I h a v e omitted a direct q u o t a t i o n from Barrett dealing with t w o
classical w o r d s found c o m m o n l y in s o m e of the older magical rituals
because they deserve a s o m e w h a t fuller consideration. I n the
banishing ritual of the P e n t a g r a m , n o w to be found in m a n y
publications, there is a four-lettered word A G L A . This is another g o o d
example of a n o t a r i q o n , a n d its analysis is really quite simple. T h e r e
a r e four w o r d s from the Scriptures meaning ' T h o u art mighty for ever,
O L o r d [or A d o n a i ] . ' In H e b r e w , this p h r a s e is Atoh gibor
Volahm
adonai. T h e initials of these w o r d s placed together form A G L A .
T h e r e is an even m o r e c o m m o n ritual n a m e which is m o r e o b s c u r e

(and which h a s often been miscopied atrociously), save to the rare


g o o d student. T h e magical n a m e A R A R I T A is found particularly in
the H e x a g r a m Ritual, a n d is t o be vibrated in e a c h of the four q u a r t e r s
while tracing the a p p r o p r i a t e geometrical figure with sigils. T h e six
points a n d the centre of the H e x a g r a m are attributed to the forces of
the seven planets, which are t h u s invoked or banished by the correct
use of this figure. It, t o o , is a fine example of a notariqon, a n d its seven
letters a r e the initials of the following sentece: ' O n e is His beginning;
O n e is His individuality; H i s p e r m u t a t i o n is O n e . ' T h e corresponding
Hebrew
is: Achad
raysheethoh;
achad
Resh
Yechidathoh;
Temurathoh
achod.
T h e w o r d Achad m e a n s ' o n e ' ; we have examined this w o r d several
times so far. Raysheeth
is the H e b r e w w o r d for beginning, a n d the
addition of the suffix ' o h ' merely m e a n s ' H i s ' . Resh m e a n s a head or a
beginning, and is t h e r o o t of Raysheeth.
Qabalistic students will
r e m e m b e r the word Yechidah
as being attributed to
Kether,
representing, when dealing with the constitution of m a n the Individual,
the i m m o r t a l part of m a n . S o t h a t the p h r a s e Resh Yechidathoh
means
the H e a d of his Individuality. Temurah m e a n s p e r m u t a t i o n ; the ' o h '
on the e n d meaning ' H i s ' . T h u s is resolved this otherwise highly
complex a n d confusing H e b r e w sentence which yields the magical
name A R A R I T A .
A very interesting example of this exegetical process is to be found
in The Golden Dawn, Vol. I, p . 166, p r o b a b l y contributed by S.L.
MacGregor Mathers:
H e r e is a m e t h o d of writing H e b r e w w o r d s by the Yetziratic
attribution of the alphabet, whence results s o m e curious
hieroglyphic symbolism. T h u s T e t r a g r a m m a t o n will be written
Virgo, Aries, T a u r u s , Aries. Eheieh, by Air, Aires, Virgo, Aries.
F r o m Yeheshuah, the Qabalistic m o d e of spelling J e s u s , which is
simply the T e t r a g r a m m a t o n with the letter Shin placed therein, we
obtain a very peculiar c o m b i n a t i o n - Virgo, Aries, Fire, T a u r u s ,
Aries. Virgo b o r n of a Virgin, Aries the Sacrificial L a m b , Fire the
Fire of the H o l y Spirit, T a u r u s t h e O x of the E a r t h in whose
M a n g e r H e w a s laid, a n d lastly Aries the flocks of sheep w h o s e
H e r d s m e n c a m e t o w o r s h i p H i m . Elohim yields Air, Libra, A r i e s ,
Virgo, W a t e r - the F i r m a m e n t , the Balanced F o r c e s , the Fire of the
Spirit (for Aries is a fiery sign) operating in the Z o d i a c , the Fire
G o d d e s s , a n d the W a t e r s of Creation.
A m u c h longer a n d m o r e complex d e m o n s t r a t i o n of Qabalistic
m e t h o d s of elucidation, which elaborate at greater length these simpler
techniques, is to be found in the following example. T h o u g h I have

tried t o render this d e m o n s t r a t i o n a s simple a s I c a n , it still needs t o be


followed with s o m e care a n d attention.

I.N.R.I.
Let us t a k e a s a start, an old application of Qabalistic principles - the
English letters I . N . R . I . T h e y a r e , of course, t h e initials of a Latin
p h r a s e o n c e placed by the R o m a n s at the h e a d of the C r o s s
representing the p h r a s e ' J e s u s of N a z a r e t h , King of t h e J e w s ' . Several
other theological m e a n i n g s t o these letters have been given at different
periods in history by various g r o u p s of people a n d scholars.
F o r example, the mediaeval alchemists suggested t h a t I.N.R.I.
m e a n t 'Igne N a t u r a R e n o v a t u r I n t e g r a ' - the whole of N a t u r e is
renewed by fire.
A n o t h e r example of a b o u t the s a m e period elaborated the four
letters to 'Igne N i t r u m R a r i s Invenitum', translated as 'shining (or
glittering) is rarely found in fire.'
T h e Jesuits in their d a y interpreted it a s ' J u s t u m N e c a r e Regis
I m p h i s ' : 'It is j u s t to kill an impious king.'
J.S.M. W a r d in his b o o k Freemasonry
and the Ancient Gods gives
another example:
I
Yam = W a t e r
N
Nour = Fire
R
Ruach = Air
I
Yebeshah = E a r t h
T h u s t h e four letters are H e b r e w initials of the four ancient
elements.
In t h e nineteenth century, when the H e r m e t i c O r d e r of the Golden
D a w n c a m e to be formed, these letters w e r e picked u p a n d integrated
into the complex structure of the O r d e r ' s symbolism. It w a s used a s
the keyword t o o n e of its ritual g r a d e s , that of the A d e p t u s Minor. T o
follow the interpretation used b y the O r d e r we need only the m o s t
superficial knowledge of the attributions given in the Sepher
Yetzirah,
the T a r o t p a c k of c a r d s , a smattering of Gnosticism a n d astrology.
T h e first gesture is t o convert the four letters into their H e b r e w
equivalents a n d then to their direct Yetziratic attributions, a s follows:
I
N
R
I

=
=
=
=

Yod
Nun
Resh
Yod

=
=
=
=

Virgo
Scorpio
Sun
Virgo

= ^
= O

T h e final T , being repetitious, is d r o p p e d , only t o be picked up again

in a later place in o r d e r to extend the significance of the meanings


derived from the analysis.
This b r e a k d o w n , t h o u g h it d o e s not get us very far, is nonetheless
highly suggestive. Elementary astrology will extend the m e a n i n g a little.
Virgo represents the virginal sign of n a t u r e itself. Scorpio is the sign of
death a n d t r a n s f o r m a t i o n ; sex is involved here as well. Sol, the sun, is
the source of light a n d life t o all o n e a r t h ; it is the centre of o u r solar
system. All the so-called resurrection gods are k n o w n to be connected
with the sun. T h e sun w a s t h o u g h t t o die every winter when vegetation
perished a n d the earth b e c a m e cold a n d barren. Every spring, when the
sun returned, green life w a s restored t o the earth.
T h e n we could look at Liber 777, which codified m o s t of the basic
knowledge material of the G o l d e n D a w n a n d a d d e d m o r e as it w a s
gradually acquired b y its a u t h o r , Aleister C r o w l e y . I n o n e of the
c o l u m n s of this book entitled ' E g y p t i a n G o d s ' we find the following
which we c a n add t o the d a t a already obtained.
Virgo = Isis - w h o w a s N a t u r e , the M o t h e r of all things.
Scorpio = A p o p h i s - death, the destroyer.
Sol = Osiris - slain and risen, the E g y p t i a n resurrection
vegetative G o d .

and

H e r e we begin to get a definite sequence of ideas t h a t proves


s o m e w h a t meaningful. T h e simplicity of a natural state of affairs in,
shall we s a y , the G a r d e n of E d e n (representing the springtime of
m a n k i n d ) is shattered by the intrusion of the knowledge of G o o d and
Evil, sexual perception. This is d u e to the intervention of the destroyer
A p o p h i s , o r Lucifer the Lightbearer, w h o c h a n g e d all things - by
illuminating all things. T h u s the Fall, as well a s the fall of the year.
This is succeeded by the advent of Osiris the resurrection G o d w h o
stated ' T h i s is m y b o d y , which I destroy in o r d e r t h a t it m a y b e
renewed.' H e is the symbolic p r o t o t y p e of the perfected Solar M a n ,
w h o suffered t h r o u g h earthly experience, w a s glorified by trial, w a s
betrayed a n d killed, a n d then rose again to renew all things.
T h e final analysis of the k e y w o r d s u m s u p the formula with the
initials of / s i s , A p o p h i s , Osiris = I A O , the s u p r e m e G o d of the
Gnostics ( I A O is p r o n o u n c e d ee-ah-oh).
Since the sun is the giver of life and light, the formula m u s t refer to
light as the redeemer. T h e O r d e r of the-Golden D a w n w a s predicated on
the age-old process of bringing light t o the natural m a n . I n other w o r d s ,
it t a u g h t psycho-spiritual techniques leading t o illumination, to
enlightenment. In this connection, o n e should a l w a y s r e m e m b e r those
beautiful versicles a b o u t the light in the opening c h a p t e r of the Gospel
according t o St J o h n .

In the very first o r N e o p h y t e Ritual of the G o l d e n D a w n , the


c a n d i d a t e is startled t o hear the strangely-worded invocation ' K h a b s
A m Pehkt. K o n x o m P a x . Light in Extension.' In other w o r d s , ' M a y
y o u t o o receive the benediction of t h e light, a n d u n d e r g o the mystical
experience, the goal of all o u r w o r k . '
' T h e enlightenment by a r a y of the divine light which transforms the
psychic n a t u r e of m a n m a y b e an article of faith,' says H a n s J o n a s in
his excellent b o o k Hie Gnostic Religion, ' b u t it m a y also be an
experience . . . Annihilation a n d deification of the person are fused in
the spiritual ecstasis which p u r p o r t s to experience the immediate
presence of the acosmic essence.'
In the gnostic context, this transfiguring face-to-face experience is
gnosis in the most exalted and at t h e s a m e time t h e most
paradoxical sense of the t e r m , since it is knowledge of the
u n k n o w a b l e . . . T h e mystical gnosis theou - direct beholding of the
divine reality - is itself a n earnest of the c o n s u m m a t i o n to c o m e . It
is transcendence b e c o m e i m m a n e n t ; a n d although prepared for by
h u m a n acts of self-modification which induce the proper
disposition, the event itself is one of divine activity a n d grace. It is
thus as m u c h a 'being k n o w n ' b y G o d as a ' k n o w i n g ' H i m , a n d in
this ultimate mutuality the 'gnosis' is b e y o n d the t e r m s of
'knowledge' properly speaking.
Since this is the basic t h e m e recurrent t h r o u g h all the G o l d e n D a w n
rituals a n d teaching, we would expect to find it repeated and expanded
in the analysis of the k e y w o r d of the A d e p t u s M i n o r grade. A n d of
c o u r s e it is there, clearly defined.
T h e w o r d light is translated into L V X , the Latin w o r d for light. A
series of physical mimes or gestures a r e m a d e b y the officiants to
represent t h e descent of this light, as well as t o s u m m a r i z e the
symbolism of the previous findings.
S o one A d e p t or officiant raises his right a r m directly in the air
a b o v e him, while extending his left a r m straight o u t w a r d s (as though
to m a k e a left turn w h e n driving a car). This forms b y s h a p e the letter
L.
A second A d e p t raises his a r m s as t h o u g h in supplication above his
head - the letter V.
T h e third A d e p t extends his a r m s o u t w a r d s forming a cross.
All together finally c r o s s their a r m s o n their chests, forming the
letter X .
(A single person m a y of c o u r s e perform the identical gestures.)
In a n y event, the letters form L V X which is n o w interpreted a s the
Light of the C r o s s . It is so interpreted because the letters I N R I were
initially found on the Crucifix, and because L V X m e a n s light. Finally

the letters L V X themselves are portions of one type or another of the


Cross:

A process of repetition is followed in order t o synthesize all these


variegated ideas a n d gestures, a n d to add one m o r e mime to replace
the second T that w a s eliminated for being repetitious.
A s the L sign is being m a d e , the A d e p t s a y s : ' T h e Sign of the
Mourning of Isis'. This expresses the sorrow of Isis o n learning that
Osiris h a d been slain b y Set or A p o p h i s .
A s the V sign is m a d e , the A d e p t says, ' T h e Sign of A p o p h i s and
T y p h o n ' . T h e s e are the other n a m e s for Set, the brother a n d murderer
of Osiris, w h o s e b o d y w a s so mutilated t h a t only the phallus could be
found by Isis w h o h a d searched all over creation for him.
A s the A d e p t spreads his a r m s o u t w a r d to the side forming actively
the C r o s s , h e says, ' T h e Sign of Osiris Slain'.
T h e n , crossing one a r m o v e r the other on the chest, he a d d s : ' A n d
risen. Isis, A p o p h i s , Osiris, I A O ' .
T h u s w h a t started o u t to be a simple abbreviation of a traditional
Latin sentence on t h e C r o s s above the head of C h r i s t , h a s now
evolved b y a Qabalistic process of exegesis into a complex series of
evocative ideas a n d symbolic gestures which extend tremendously the
root idea. A n d by knowing these ideas, the gestures m a y be used
practically t o aspire to the illumination it suggests. This is the essential
value of t h e s a c r a m e n t a l actions.
T h e Rosicrucian equivalent of this formula is found in the Fama
Fraternitatis,
o n e of the original three classical Rosicrucian
d o c u m e n t s : ' E x D e o N a s c i m u r . In Jesu M o r i m u r . Per spiritus s a n c t u s
reviviscimus.': ' F r o m G o d are we b o r n . In Christ we die. W e a r e
revived b y t h e H o l y Spirit.'
N o r is this all. If we take L V X as symbols of, R o m a n numerals, we
have 6 5 . T h i s n u m b e r , therefore, attains the symbolic equivalent of
light, gnosis and illumination.
T h e A d e p t u s Minor obligation imposed on the c a n d i d a t e during the
ritual initiation obligates him to aspire and work a n d practise so that
by enlightenment he m a y o n e d a y ' b e c o m e m o r e t h a n h u m a n ' . This is
the Qabalistic philosophy s u m m a r i z e d in the statement t h a t the A d e p t
seeks to unite himself t o his higher soul or his higher self, symbolized
again in t h e H e b r e w w o r d Adonai. All the a b o v e notions therefore are
synthesized in this w o r d Adonai, literally translated ' M y lord'. Its
Hebrew letters a r e :
Aleph
1

Daleth
4

Nun
5 0

Yod
0

= 6 5

This n u m b e r is also t h a t of L V X , light. Qabalistically, the process


enables us t o perceive a necessary connection between Adonai a n d the
light - their identity.

Symbolism of the Heart and the Serpent


In 1907, when Aleister C r o w l e y received s o m e of his m o s t meaningful
illuminations after a d e c a d e of h a r d magical w o r k a n d spiritual
discipline, he wrote an inspirational book which he called Liber
LXV,
which w e h a v e seen is 6 5 . Its sub-title w a s ' T h e Book of t h e H e a r t girt
with a Serpent'. This latter p h r a s e w a s extrapolated from t h e last
section of an old ritual found in some scholarly texts entitled ' T h e
B o m l e s s Ritual'. Its last p a r a g r a p h r e a d s :
I a m H e , the Bornless (or eternal) Spirit
H a v i n g Sight in the feet, strong and the I m m o r t a l Fire.
I a m H e , the T r u t h !
I a m H e w h o h a t e that evil should be w r o u g h t in the world!
I a m H e that lighteneth and t h u n d e r e t h !
I a m H e from w h o m is the shower of the Life of E a r t h !
I a m H e whose m o u t h ever flameth!
I a m H e , the G r a c e of the W o r l d !
The Heart girt with a serpent is my name.
It is the above underlined p h r a s e which Crowley appropriated as
the title of his illuminated book t o bear witness t o Adonai.
W h a t of the symbols of the heart and the serpent? W h a t meaning
have they?
T h e heart h a s clear reference t o the emotional life, to the inner c o r e
of m a n , to ' t h e heart of the matter', as we would colloquially say. A n d
of the m a n y titles given to Christ, o n e of t h e m , ' T h e Sacred H e a r t ' ,
represents his passion, his sacrifice, a n d his redemptive love of
mankind.
T h e serpent is an even m o r e ancient a n d sophisticated symbol. It
not only represents the a b u s e of the sexual force t h a t corrupted and
precipitated the Fall and expulsion from E d e n , but also the t r a n s m u t e d
a n d sublimated libido. K n o w n as the kundalini, it is trained t o arise
out of the d a r k pelvic area, t o course u p t h e spine to form the
golden aureole a r o u n d the head of the saint o r the fully enlightened
adept.
I a m the H e a r t ; a n d the S n a k e is entwined
A b o u t the invisible core of the m i n d .
Rise, O m y s n a k e ! It is n o w t h e h o u r
O f the h o o d e d a n d holy ineffable flower.

Rise, O m y s n a k e , into brilliance of bloom


O n the c o r p s e of Osiris afloat in the t o m b !
O heart of m y m o t h e r , m y sister, mine o w n ,
T h o u a r t given to Nile, to the terror T y p h o n !
A h m e ! b u t t h e glory of ravening s t o r m
E n s w a t h e s thee a n d w r a p s thee in frenzy of form.
Be still, O m y soul! t h a t the spell m a y dissolve
A s the w a n d s are upraised, a n d the aeons revolve.
Behold! in m y b e a u t y how j o y o u s T h o u art,
O S n a k e t h a t caresses the c r o w n of mine h e a r t !
Behold! W e a r e o n e , and the t e m p e s t of y e a r s
G o e s d o w n to the dusk, a n d the Beetle a p p e a r s .
0 Beetle! the d r o n e of T h y d o l o r o u s note
Be ever t h e t r a n c e of this t r e m u l o u s t h r o a t !
1 await t h e awakening! T h e s u m m o n s on high,
F r o m t h e L o r d A d o n a i , from the L o r d A d o n a i !
R e g a r d i n g Adonai, the title given t o the H o l y G u a r d i a n Angel, we
could p a y s o m e little attention t o the very last verse in Liber LXV as
having s o m e further bearing on this task of exegesis. It s a y s : ' A n d m y
lord A d o n a i is a b o u t m e on all sides, like a thunderbolt, like a pylon,
like a serpent, a n d like a phallus, a n d in the midst thereof he is like the
w o m a n t h a t jetteth o u t the milk of t h e stars from her p a p s , y e a , the
milk of the stars from her p a p s . '
It m a y s o u n d ludicrous p e r h a p s a n d m o s t o b s c u r e until we
c o m m e n c e t h e task of elucidation using o u r basic Qabalistic tools.
A = Aleph = thunderbolt b y s h a p e a n d b y attribution.
D = Daleth = literally a g a t e ; t h u s a pylon.
N = Nun = literally a fish, attributed t o Scorpio, o n e of whose
triune m e a n i n g s is the serpent.
I = Yod = finger of the h a n d ; even in F r e u d i a n t e r m s it is the
symbol of the phallus.
T h u s , t h e first p a r t of the t e r m simply explicates a n d emphasizes
that the L o r d A d o n a i s u r r o u n d s o n e o n all sides. O n e is altogether
enclosed within his divinity. T h e w o m a n w h o jetteth forth the milk of
the stars from her b r e a s t s is of c o u r s e N u i t , the L a d y o f the Starry
H e a v e n s , t h e Egyptian s y m b o l of Infinite S p a c e , within which the
nebulae a p p e a r , a n d thus c o g n a t e with Ain Soph. T h e Adonai is a
spiritual centre within the boundlessness of t h e Infinite Light, a n d in a
sense symbolized the infinite G o d t o the finite natural m a n .
F u r t h e r a b o u t the serpent: for example, H a n s J o n a s in his
authoritative text The Gnostic Religion, h a d this to s a y :

M o r e t h a n o n e gnostic sect derived its n a m e from the cult of the


serpent ('Ophites' from the G r e e k ophis: ' N a a s e n e s ' from t h e
H e b r e w nahas - the g r o u p a s a w h o l e being t e r m e d 'ophitic') and
this position of the serpent is based o n a bold allegorizing of the
biblical text . . . T h e P e r a t a e , sweepingly consistent, did n o t even
shrink from regarding the historical J e s u s as a particular
incarnation of the 'general serpent', i.e., the serpent from P a r a d i s e
u n d e r s t o o d as a principle . . . By M a n i ' s time (third century) the
gnostic interpretation of the P a r a d i s e story a n d J e s u s ' connection
with it h a d b e c o m e so firmly established t h a t he could simply put
J e s u s in the place of the serpent with n o mention of the latter.
T h e r e are s o m e interesting possibilities here, for in H e b r e w there is
a w o r d nachosh, a serpent. A n a l y s i n g the w o r d as before, we o b t a i n :
N = Nun = Scorpio = Serpent = 5 0
C h = Cheth = C a n c e r = T h e C h a r i o t in T a r o t = 8
Sh = Shin = Fire = T h e H o l y Spirit = 3 0 0 .
T h e total e n u m e r a t i o n is 3 5 8 .
N o w we m u s t consult Sepher Sephiroth o n c e m o r e . T h e r e we
find under the s a m e n u m b e r a n o t h e r H e b r e w w o r d
Meschiach,
translated a s the Messiah, the anointed o n e :
M
Sh
Y
CH

=
=
=
=

Mem = W a t e r = T h e H a n g e d M a n in T a r o t = 4 0
Shin = Fire = T h e H o l y Spirit = 3 0 0
Yod = Virgo = T h e H e r m i t in T a r o t = 10
Cheth = C a n c e r = T h e C h a r i o t in T a r o t = 8.

T h i s , t o o , a d d s u p t o 3 5 8 . Inferentially, therefore, we m u s t
d e d u c e t h a t the serpent a n d t h e M e s s i a h h a v e m u c h in c o m m o n .
By m e a n s of the serpent power, t h e interior transforming fire of
the spirit, the A d e p t b e c o m e s transformed into a Messiah or a
R e d e e m e r t o his o w n inner world at the very least, if n o t in s o m e
occult m a n n e r t o m a n k i n d a s a whole. E a c h m a n w h o gains
freedom thereby renders freedom a greater possibility to o t h e r
men.
N o w look at the sequence of ideas in each of these t w o w o r d s .
T h e serpent t r a n s f o r m s the A d e p t into a 'Mercabf'h
(.chariot) rider' t o w a r d s his mystical h o m e in the Infinite Light - t h a t is t o
s a y , it is the powerful agent involved in his illumination. T h e
second w o r d yields a n a l o g o u s material. By sacrifice of all
e x t r a n e o u s factors, the H o l y Spirit or the G u a r d i a n Angel, acting
a s t h e hermit o r silent illuminator of m a n k i n d , a s c e n d s Ezekiel's
chariot a n d m o v e s h e a v e n w a r d .

IAO
Then there is the G n o s t i c n a m e of G o d - I A O . It is o n e of those
archaic n a m e s of which the so-called Chaldean Oracles s a y s : ' C h a n g e
not the b a r b a r o u s n a m e s of evocation for they h a v e a power ineffable
in the s a c r e d rites.' Well m a y we ask, w h a t kind of p o w e r d o e s this
n a m e h a v e ? This question m a y be answered b y transliterating the
n a m e into H e b r e w . F r o m there, its Yetziratic attributions will provide
a degree of enlightenment. T h e r e are two w a y s of doing this; b o t h are
interesting.
I = Yod= Virgo = 10
A = A leph = Air = 1
O = Vau = T a u r u s = 6
Seventeen represents the n u m b e r of s q u a r e s in the swastika or
Fylfot C r o s s . By s h a p e it represents A leph, the thunderbolt. A n d A leph
is the first letter of the alphabet, a n d is 1.
T h e second w a y provides a slightly different result:
I = Yod= Virgo = 1 0
A = A leph = Air = 1
O = Ay in = C a p r i c o r n = 70
81 is a mystic n u m b e r of the m o o n . L u n a is attributed to Yesod, the
F o u n d a t i o n . Its n u m b e r is 9. T h e magical square of L u n a is 9 x 9,
giving 81 squares. This does not fit into o u r discussion in the least, so
the previous m e t h o d is m o r e a p p r o p r i a t e .
If the numerical value of I A O , then, is 17,'referred to A leph and so the
thunderbolt, by the symbolism described above, we have a m u c h
clearer idea of the divine power involved. It is that of the F a t h e r of all
the G o d s wielding the thunderbolt (the Scandinavian swastika or the
Tibetan dorje) to further his intent of creation. F u r t h e r m o r e , notice
that we h a v e Aleph, the thunderbolt acting in the divine Air,
sandwiched between t w o e a r t h y signs, Virgo a n d T a u r u s , whirling
their s u b s t a n c e into t h e a p p r o p r i a t e function of creation.
W h a t a long w a y we h a v e gone from ' J e s u s of N a z a r e t h , K i n g of
the J e w s ' . A n d if o u r Qabalistic m e t h o d s will enable us to gain this
m u c h insight from merely four letters, it c a n be left to the student to
gather t o w h a t lengths we c a n go to b e c o m e enlightened o n the basis
of other w o r d s and other ideas. T h e y will show h o w v a s t a r e the
possibilities involved in but a single w o r d o r sentence. T h e English
translation of the Zohar presents innumerable examples of exegesis of
m a n y simple biblical notions. Before you k n o w where y o u a r e y o u
have been swept a w a y o n an exciting w a v e of spiritual a d v e n t u r e that
can only end with the melting of the soul in its divine source.

A *

O
H

jj

1
10

TIB

11

The Swastika (considered as a Fylfot Cross of seventeen squares).


T o conclude this essay, I a m going to select o n e or t w o m o r e
examples, which are fairly c o m p l e x in s u b s t a n c e a n d import, in order
to d e m o n s t r a t e how s o m e of these Qabalistic m o d e s of exegesis w o r k .
This particular example is from The Vision and The Voice, Liber 418,
second p a r t of the F o u r t e e n t h A e t h y r (Equinox V, Supplement):
T h e blackness gathers a b o u t , so thick, so clinging, so penetrating,
so oppressive, that all the other d a r k n e s s that I h a v e ever conceived
would be like bright light beside it.
His voice c o m e s in a w h i s p e r : O thou t h a t art m a s t e r of t h e fifty
gates of U n d e r s t a n d i n g , is not m y m o t h e r a black w o m a n ? O t h o u
that art master of the P e n t a g r a m , is not the egg of spirit a black
egg? H e r e abideth terror, a n d the blind a c h e of the Soul, and lo!
even I, w h o a m the sole light, a spark shut u p , stand in the sign of
Apophis and Typhon.
I a m the s n a k e that d e v o u r e t h t h e spirit of m a n with the lust of
light. I am the sightless s t o r m in the night t h a t w r a p p e t h the world
a b o u t with desolation. C h a o s is m y n a m e , a n d thick d a r k n e s s .
K n o w t h o u t h a t the d a r k n e s s of the earth is r u d d y , a n d t h e
d a r k n e s s of the air is grey, but the d a r k n e s s of the soul is utter
blackness.

T h e egg of the spirit is a basilisk egg, a n d the g a t e s of the


understanding are fifty, that is the sign of the Scorpion. T h e pillars
a b o u t the n e o p h y t e are c r o w n e d with flame, a n d the vault of the
A d e p t s is lighted by the R o s e . A n d in the a b y s s is the e y e of
the h a w k . But u p o n the great sea shall the M a s t e r of the T e m p l e
find neither star nor m o o n . "

Exegetical Analysis
This whole speech is one of crossing the a b y s s a n d the visionary entry
into the Sephirah of Binah, the third e m a n a t i o n on T h e Tree of Life. It
is attributed t o the G r e a t Sea, from which all life h a s emerged, to the
planet S a t u r n which is the planet of d e a t h a s well as of stability. It is
further attributed to Aimah Elohim, the m o t h e r of the G o d s a n d to
Isis as well, the goddess of N a t u r e , to B a b a l o n w h o is the goddess
representing Shakti, which is the universal creative energy a n d j o y ,
a m o n g s t m a n y other meanings. With these basic clues, m u c h of w h a t
is cryptically stated in the vision b e c o m e s relatively clear.
Since the vision o p e n s with blackness, this b e c o m e s a fundamental
declaration that the seer is o n the right track. All the s y m b o l s a r e
h a r m o n i o u s , a n d the association p a t h w a y s are not cluttered with
inappropriate symbols.
Binah is translated as ' u n d e r s t a n d i n g ' . A n d since attributed t o
Saturn a n d death, a related symbol would be Scorpio which is
attributed t o the T a r o t c a r d ' D e a t h ' , usually meaning involuntary
change, transformation, sublimation. T h e Sepher
Yetzirah
letter
relative to Scorpio is Nun, which m e a n s a fish, a n d its n u m b e r is 5 0 .
T h e s e a r e the gates of u n d e r s t a n d i n g , fifty in n u m b e r , all links in a
long but valid chain of associations. Scorpio is also t h e basilisk.
Saturn is black, the colour of m o u r n i n g . Since Isis, the great M o t h e r ,
is attributed t o this sphere, we h a v e the statement, ' I s not m y m o t h e r a
black w o m a n ? ' A n d , as we h a v e learned earlier, the sign of A p o p h i s
and T y p h o n is the sign of destruction.
T o e a c h of the five points of the P e n t a g r a m is attributed one of the
five elements. T h e five-pointed signet star is in the s h a p e of the
perfected m a n w h o h a s developed all p h a s e s of his personality
represented by the elements. E a c h of the latter h a s its o w n symbols. In
the E a s t e r n system, spirit, the quintessence or Akasa, is represented
by an upstanding black egg.
Binah is also represented b y the c o r r e s p o n d e n c e of night, the
darkest blackest kind of night which Crowley at o n e time poetically
represented by t h e City of the P y r a m i d s under the N . O . X . o r N i g h t of
P a n , a n d a t times b y the n a m e of a former lady friend Leila, which he
promptly transliterated into H e b r e w - t h u s Laylah, m e a n i n g Night. In

this w a y he transformed a personal relationship into a symbol o f a


high spiritual experience. T h e s e attributions a r e all referred t o Binah
a n d Shekinah - the divine Presence of the i m m a n e n c e of G o d , a n d to
C h a o s , the realm of t h e unformed a n d uncreated.
T h e vision a s a whole, therefore, relates t o Binah a n d Scorpio, to
d e a t h a n d rebirth, t o the transformation of the ego-ridden m a n into
N E M O , ' n o m a n ' , because b y dying to self, h e h a s b e c o m e identified
with the Holy Spirit of all that lives, the Self.

The Fama Fraternitatis


O n e of the old Rosicrucian classics previously mentioned is the Fama
Fraternitatis.
It w a s first published at Cassel, G e r m a n y , a n d of course
circulated freely a m o n g s t mystics, alchemists a n d occultists of the
time in E u r o p e . A n unabridged version of the Fama, together with
s o m e of the other Rosicrucian classics, is t o be found in an excellent
b o o k entitled Rosicrucian
Fundamentals
( N e w York, 1923) by Khei
X (the late G e o r g e Winslow P l u m m e r ) of the Societas Rosicruciana
in A m e r i c a . In A r t h u r E d w a r d W a i t e ' s b o o k The Brotherhood
of the
Rosy Cross (University P r e s s , N e w York, circa 1963) an edited
version is t o be found.
T h e Fama p u r p o r t s t o give t h e history of the founder of the
Rosicrucian O r d e r , o n e Brother C . R . C . or Christian R o s e n c r e u t z ,
said to h a v e been b o r n in 1378. His education and travels are
delineated at some length. P a r t s of this d r a m a t i c history were
extrapolated for inclusion into t h e A d e p t u s M i n o r ritual of the Golden
D a w n . A great deal of Qabalistic exegesis h a s been undertaken on the
basis of this history by various m e m b e r s of t h e O r d e r at different
times. P e r h a p s the most readily accessible is The True and Invisible
Rosicrucian
Order written by Paul Foster C a s e . This latter b o o k goes
into such e x t r a o r d i n a r y detail a n d analysis of t h e minutiae of the
Fama a n d other early R o s i c r u c i a n d o c u m e n t s t h a t p e r h a p s t h e
beginner is likely to be overwhelmed by the great wealth a n d skill of
exposition d e m o n s t r a t e d by the a u t h o r . T h e m o r e a d v a n c e d student
will see in it a useful source b o o k upon which he c a n build, by his own
ever-expanding knowledge of the m e t h o d s depicted here a n d by his
o w n meditations.
I select o n e or t w o n a m e s from the Fama t o indicate how they can
be elucidated b y m e a n s of t h e Q a b a l a h o f n u m b e r a n d symbol. F o r
example, the story n a r r a t e s t h a t C . R . C . m a d e a bargain with the
A r a b i a n s t o take him t o D a m c a r . S o m e of the early c o m m e n t a t o r s
h a v e suggested that this w a s D a m a s c u s . B u t since the legend is
symbolic these n a m e s need t o be interpreted symbolically.
If we transliterate D a m c a r into H e b r e w , following o u r previous

rules, we h a v e t w o w o r d s : dam (Daleth a n d Mem), which m e a n s


blood, a n d car (Caph a n d Resh), a word meaning l a m b . O u r n a m e
place, then, b e c o m e s transformed into a symbol of the 'Blood of the
L a m b ' . O f c o u r s e the R o s i c r u c i a n s were C h r i s t i a n s , a n d C h r i s t i a n s of
the R e f o r m a t i o n ; but being mystics they interpreted the traditional
Christian b o d y of knowledge in a symbolic m a n n e r . S o ' T h e blood of
the L a m b which taketh a w a y the sins of the w o r l d ' of necessity w a s
taken symbolically by t h e m .
T h e L a m b is Agni in the H i n d u Scriptures, symbol of the sacrificial
fire, a n d of c o u r s e in the W e s t it is Christ. A s indicated in the essay o n
meditation (page 85), it is hypothesized t h a t meditation a c c o m p a n i e d
by other occult work succeeds in altering the chemistry of the blood,
which in t u r n c h a n g e s the n o r m a l function of the cerebral cortex. T h e
result of this is that, with the cessation of cerebral or cortical activity,
illumination can o c c u r . T h a t is to say, the ego is eclipsed a n d the
A d e p t for the time being b e c o m e s , o r realizes, h e is a vehicle for the
divine spirit, the L a m b of G o d .
T h e temple at D a m c a r where C . R . C . w a s t a k e n b y the A r a b s , w h o
at that time were the repositors of the ancient knowledge, is t h u s the
A d e p t himself, his o w n o r g a n i s m . F o r are we not told t h a t the b o d y is
the T e m p l e of the H o l y G h o s t ? T h u s it is implied t h a t the A r a b s w h o
took him t o D a m c a r initiated him into s o m e of {he secrets of practical
occultism so that he b e c a m e a vehicle for the transmission of the
forces of the higher spiritual planes.
But let us look at t h e G e m a t r i a of these t w o w o r d s :
Dam

Daleth + Mem
4
+
40

and
= 44

Car =

Caph +
20 +

Resh
200

220

W e c a n t a k e the w o r d s separately a n d then together. F o r example,


dam (44) which m e a n s blood, equates with w o r d s for a r a m (telah)
a n d flame (lehat) a n d s o r r o w (agam). T h e s e w o r d s a r e t a k e n from
Sephir Sephiroth,
which h a s several w o r d s tabulated u n d e r specific
n u m b e r s . S o m e little meditation b y the student will enable h i m t o
integrate these w o r d s together under the aegis of the p r i m a r y
exegetical m e a n i n g o f ' T h e Blood of the L a m b ' .
T h e w o r d car (220), meaning l a m b , e q u a t e s with Baher (the Elect)
as well a s o n e of the Old T e s t a m e n t w o r d s nephilim (meaning giants).
T h e student should n o t experience m u c h difficulty in relating these
w o r d s with o u r basic term.
O n t h e other h a n d , if we t a k e D a m c a r with the n u m b e r 2 6 4 , w e find
in Sepher
Sephiroth
w o r d s like chekokim,
meaning hollows or
cavities, a n d rehbtim m e a n i n g c h a n n e l s , t r o u g h s , o r pipes. T h e s e t w o
latter w o r d s were originally used in connection with the ten Sephiroth

136

FOUNDATIONS OF PRACTICAL MAGIC

of T h e T r e e of Life, implying t h a t they were cavities or channels


t h r o u g h which flowed Mezla, the divine life a n d spirit.
O n e final manipulation reveals a little bit m o r e . 2 + 6 + 4 = 12. This
n u m b e r w a s dealt with o n an earlier p a g e in c o n n e c t i o n with the path
of Gimel, the High Priestess o f t h e T a r o t . All of these w o r d s a n d
n u m b e r s a n d symbols a r e descriptive of D a m c a r , a n d meditation will
enlarge the concept still further.

Conclusion
T h e s e a r e s o m e of the a p p r o a c h e s taken b y the Qabalists of m a n y
schools, ancient a n d m o d e r n , H e b r e w and Christian, o r t h o d o x a s well
as w h a t G . S . Scholem h a s mistakenly called nihilistic mysticism. S o m e
of these m e t h o d s m a y a p p e a r to be strained a n d arbitrary. P e r h a p s they
are. A t the s a m e time, however, should they elicit even a shred of
m e a n i n g from otherwise o b s c u r e texts, a n d illuminate the d a r k n e s s of
sterile scriptures that s o m e feel m a y be i m p o r t a n t , then we can t a k e the
simple point of view t h a t they h a v e served a useful p u r p o s e .

5. THE ART OF TRUE


HEALING
l.
Within every m a n a n d w o m a n is a force which directs a n d controls
the entire c o u r s e of life. Properly used, it c a n heal every affliction and
ailment t o which m a n k i n d is heir. Every single religion affirms this
fact. All forms o f mental or spiritual healing, n o m a t t e r u n d e r w h a t
n a m e they travel, promise the s a m e thing. Even p s y c h o a n a l y s i s
e m p l o y s this power, t h o u g h indirectly, using the n o w p o p u l a r w o r d
libido. F o r the critical insight a n d u n d e r s t a n d i n g which it brings t o
bear u p o n t h e p s y c h e releases tensions of various kinds, a n d t h r o u g h
this release the healing p o w e r latent within a n d n a t u r a l t o the h u m a n
system o p e r a t e s m o r e freely. E a c h of these systems u n d e r t a k e s t o
t e a c h its devotees technical m e t h o d s of thinking o r contemplation o r
p r a y e r s u c h a s will, according t o the a priori t e r m s of their o w n
philosophies, renew their bodies a n d transform their whole
environment.
N o n e o r few of t h e m , however, actually fulfil in a complete w a y the
high promise m a d e at the outset. T h e r e s e e m s b u t little u n d e r s t a n d i n g
of t h e practical m e a n s whereby the spiritual forces underlying the
universe a n d permeating the entire n a t u r e of m a n m a y b e utilized a n d
directed t o w a r d s t h e creation of a new heaven a n d a new earth.
N a t u r a l l y , without universal co-operation, such an ideal is impossible
for all m a n k i n d . Nevertheless, e a c h o n e for himself m a y c o m m e n c e
the task of reconstruction.
T h e crucial question, then, is h o w are we t o b e c o m e a w a r e of this
force? W h a t are its n a t u r e a n d properties? W h a t is t h e m e c h a n i s m
whereby w e c a n use it?

Untapped Currents
A s I h a v e said before, different systems h a v e evolved widely differing
processes, b y which the student might divine t h e presence of such a
power. Meditation, p r a y e r , invocation, emotional exaltation, a n d
d e m a n d s m a d e at r a n d o m u p o n the universe o r the Universal M i n d ,
have been a few of such m e t h o d s . In t h e last resort, if we ignore petty
details of a trivial n a t u r e , all h a v e this in c o m m o n . By turning the fiery
penetrating p o w e r of the mind i n w a r d s u p o n itself, a n d exalting the
emotional system t o a certain pitch, we m a y b e c o m e a w a r e of
previously unsuspected currents of force. C u r r e n t s , moreover, almost
electric in their interior sensation, healing a n d integrating in their
effect.
It is the willed use of such a force t h a t is capable of bringing health
to b o d y a n d mind. W h e n directed it acts magnet-like. By this I m e a n
that it a t t r a c t s t o w h o m s o e v e r e m p l o y s these m e t h o d s j u s t those
necessities o f life, material o r spiritual, that he urgently requires o r
which a r e needed for his further evolution.
F u n d a m e n t a l l y , the underlying idea of t h e mental healing systems is
this. In t h e ambient a t m o s p h e r e surrounding us a n d pervading the
structure of e a c h minute b o d y cell is a spiritual force. T h i s force is
omnipresent a n d infinite. It is present in t h e m o s t infinitesimal object
as it is in t h e m o s t proportion-staggering nebula or island universe! It
is this force which is life itself. N o t h i n g in the vast e x p a n s e of space is
dead. Everything pulsates with vibrant life. Even t h e ultra-microscopic
particles of t h e a t o m a r e alive; in fact the electron is a crystallization
of its electric power.
This life force being infinite it follows t h a t m a n m u s t b e saturated p e r m e a t e d t h r o u g h a n d t h r o u g h with spiritual force. It constitutes his
higher self, it is his link with g o d h e a d , it is G o d in m a n . Every
molecule in his physical system m u s t b e soaked with its d y n a m i c
energy. E a c h cell in t h e b o d y c o n t a i n s it in its plenitude. T h u s w e are
b r o u g h t face to face with the e n o r m o u s problem underlying all disease,
the enigmatical problem of n e r v o u s depletion.

What is Fatigue?
H o w can there b e depletion if vitality a n d cosmic c u r r e n t s of force
daily p o u r t h r o u g h m a n , simply saturating his mind a n d b o d y with its
p o w e r ? Primarily, it is b e c a u s e h e offers s o m u c h resistance t o its flow
t h r o u g h him that he b e c o m e s tired a n d ill, t h e conflict finally
culminating in d e a t h . H o w is p u n y m a n able t o defy t h e universe? N a y
m o r e , offer resistance a n d opposition t o t h e very force which

underlies, a n d continually evolves in, the universe? T h e c o m p l a c e n c y


a n d confusion of his mental o u t l o o k , the m o r a l c o w a r d i c e b y which he
w a s reared, a n d his false perception of the n a t u r e of life - these are t h e
c a u s e s of resistance to t h e inward flow of t h e spirit. T h a t this is
u n c o n s c i o u s is n o logical obstacle to the force of this a r g u m e n t , a s all
the depth psychologies h a v e d e m o n s t r a t e d . W h a t m a n is really a w a r e
of all t h e involuntary processes going o n within him? W h o is
conscious of the intricate m e c h a n i s m of his mental processes, of t h a t
by which his food is assimilated a n d digested, of the circulation of his
blood, of the arterial distribution of n o u r i s h m e n t t o every bodily
o r g a n ? All these are purely involuntary p r o c e s s e s : t o a large degree so
are his resistances t o life. M a n h a s s u r r o u n d e d himself with a
crystallized shell of prejudices a n d ill-conceived fantasies, a n a r m o u r
which affords n o e n t r a n c e t o the light of life without.
W h a t w o n d e r he ails? W h a t w o n d e r he is s o ill a n d impotent,
helpless a n d p o o r ? W h y should there be surprise t h a t the average
individual is s o unable adequately t o deal with life?

The First Two Steps to Health


T h e first step t o w a r d s freedom a n d health is a conscious realization of
the vast spiritual reservoir in which we live a n d m o v e a n d h a v e o u r
being. R e p e a t e d intellectual effort t o m a k e this p a r t a n d p a r c e l of
o n e ' s mental outlook u p o n life automatically b r e a k s d o w n or dissolves
something of the h a r d inflexible shell of t h e mind. A n d then life a n d
spirit p o u r a b u n d a n t l y . H e a l t h spontaneously arises, a n d a n e w life
begins a s t h e point of view undergoes this radical c h a n g e . M o r e o v e r , it
would a p p e a r that the environment attracts j u s t t h o s e people w h o c a n
help in various w a y s , a n d precisely those amenities of life t h a t h a d
been longed for.
T h e s e c o n d step lies in a slightly different direction. Regulated
breathing - quite a simple p r o c e s s . Its necessity follows from the
following postulate. If life is all a b o u t o n e , all-penetrating a n d allpervasive, w h a t m o r e r e a s o n a b l e t h a n t h a t t h e very air we b r e a t h e
from o n e m o m e n t to a n o t h e r should be highly c h a r g e d with vitality?
O u r breathing processes we therefore regulate accordingly. W e
c o n t e m p l a t e t h a t life is the active principle in t h e a t m o s p h e r e . D u r i n g
the practice of this r h y t h m i c a l breathing a t fixed periods of the d a y ,
there should be n o strenuous forcing of the mind, n o overtaxing of t h e
will. W e let t h e b r e a t h flow in while mentally counting very slowly . . .
o n e , t w o , three, four. T h e n w e exhale counting the s a m e beat. It is
fundamental a n d i m p o r t a n t t h a t the initial r h y t h m , whether it be a
four o r a ten b e a t c o u n t o r a n y other convenient o n e , should b e

maintained. F o r it is the very r h y t h m itself which is responsible for the


easy absorption of vitality from without, a n d the acceleration of the
divine power within.

Rhythm
I m m u t a b l e r h y t h m is everywhere manifest in the universe. It is a living
process w h o s e p a r t s m o v e a n d a r e governed in a c c o r d a n c e with the
cyclic laws. L o o k at the sun, the stars, a n d the planets. All move with
c o m p a r a b l e g r a c e , with a r h y t h m in their inexorable times. It is only
m a n k i n d t h a t h a s wandered, in its ignorance a n d self-complacency,
far from the divine cycles of things. W e h a v e interfered with the
r h y t h m i c process inherent in n a t u r e . A n d how sadly h a v e we paid for
it!
Therefore, in attempting t o a t t u n e ourselves o n c e m o r e t o t h e
intelligent spiritual power functioning t h r o u g h n a t u r e ' s m e c h a n i s m , we
a t t e m p t , n o t blindly t o c o p y , b u t intelligently to a d o p t her m e t h o d s .
M a k e , therefore, the breathing rhythmical at certain fixed times of the
d a y , when there is little likelihood of disturbance. Cultivate a b o v e all
the art of relaxation. L e a r n t o address each tensed muscle from toe t o
head a s y o u lie flat on y o u r b a c k in bed. Tell it deliberately to loosen
its tension a n d cease from its u n c o n s c i o u s c o n t r a c t u r e . T h i n k o f the
blood in response to y o u r c o m m a n d flowing copiously to e a c h o r g a n ,
carrying life a n d n o u r i s h m e n t everywhere, p r o d u c i n g a state of
glowing, r a d i a n t health. Only after these preliminary processes h a v e
been accomplished should you begin y o u r r h y t h m i c breathing, slowly
a n d without haste. G r a d u a l l y , as the mind a c c u s t o m s itself t o the idea,
the lungs will t a k e u p the r h y t h m spontaneously. I n a few minutes it
will h a v e b e c o m e a u t o m a t i c . T h e whole p r o c e s s then b e c o m e s
extremely simple a n d pleasurable.
It would be impossible to overestimate its i m p o r t a n c e or efficacy.
A s the lungs t a k e u p the r h y t h m , automatically inhaling a n d exhaling
to a m e a s u r e d beat, so d o they c o m m u n i c a t e it a n d gradually extend it
t o all the s u r r o u n d i n g cells a n d tissue - j u s t as a stone t h r o w n into a
pool sends o u t widely e x p a n d i n g ripples a n d c o n c e n t r i c circles of
motion. In a few minutes the whole b o d y is vibrating in unison with
their m o v e m e n t . Every cell seems to vibrate sympathetically. A n d
very soon, the whole o r g a n i s m c o m e s t o feel a s if it were an
inexhaustible storage battery of power. T h e sensation - a n d it must be a
sensation - is u n m i s t a k a b l e .
Simple a s it is, t h e exercise is n o t t o b e despised. It is u p o n t h e
m a s t e r y of this very easy technique t h a t the rest of this system s t a n d s .
M a s t e r it first. M a k e sure t h a t y o u c a n completely relax a n d then
p r o d u c e the r h y t h m i c b r e a t h in a few seconds.

Mental and Spiritual Centres


I n o w a p p r o a c h a n idea fundamental a n d highly significant. It is t h e
inability t o realize o r thoroughly t o have grasped its i m p o r t a n c e which
really underlies the frequently observed failure of m a n y mental culture
a n d spiritual healing systems. Just a s in t h e physical b o d y are
specialized o r g a n s for the performance of specialized functions, so in
the mental a n d spiritual n a t u r e exist corresponding centres a n d
o r g a n s . Exactly a s the teeth, t h e s t o m a c h , liver a n d intestines are so
m a n y m e c h a n i s m s evolved a n d devised by n a t u r e for the digestion a n d
assimilation of food, so are there similar centres in the other
constituents of m a n ' s n a t u r e .
T h e m o u t h receives food. Digestion o c c u r s in the s t o m a c h a n d
small intestines. Likewise there is a n a p p a r a t u s for rejecting w a s t e
effete p r o d u c t s . In the psychic n a t u r e also a r e focal centres for the
a b s o r p t i o n of spiritual p o w e r from the universe without. O t h e r s render
its distribution and circulation possible. T h e d y n a m i c energy a n d
p o w e r entering m a n from without is not uniform or alike in vibratory
rate. It m a y be of t o o high a voltage, so to say, readily to be endured
b y him. Within, therefore, is a certain p s y c h i c a p p a r a t u s whereby
indiscriminate cosmic currents of energy m a y be assimilated a n d
digested, their voltage t h u s becoming stepped d o w n or adjusted to t h e
h u m a n level. T h e process of becoming a w a r e of this psychic
a p p a r a t u s , a n d using the energy it generates, is an integral p a r t of this
healing system.
It is m y contention t h a t p r a y e r a n d contemplative m e t h o d s
unconsciously employ these inner centres. H e n c e we would be wiser
a n d far m o r e efficient deliberately to employ for o u r o w n e n d s this
spiritual p o w e r a n d the c e n t r e s it flows t h r o u g h . Let u s call these
latter, for the m o m e n t , psycho-spiritual o r g a n s , of w h i c h there are five
m a j o r o n e s . Since n a m e t h e m we m u s t , i n a s m u c h as t h e h u m a n mind
loves t o classify a n d tabulate things, let m e give t h e m the m o s t nonc o m m i t t a l a n d n o n - c o m p r o m i s i n g titles imaginable so t h a t n o system
of prejudice m a y b e erected theron. F o r convenience's s a k e , the first
we m a y n a m e Spirit, the second Air, the succeeding o n e s being called
Fire, Water and Earth.
T o illustrate the c o n c e p t , I r e p r o d u c e here a simple d i a g r a m . It
s h o w s t h e position a n d location of the centres. N o t for one m o m e n t d o
I wish to be u n d e r s t o o d a s stating t h a t these centres a r e physical in
n a t u r e a n d position ( t h o u g h there m a y be glandular parallelisms).
T h e y exist in a subtler spiritual o r psychic p a r t of m a n ' s n a t u r e . W e
m a y even consider t h e m , n o t as realities themselves, b u t as symbols of
realities, great, redeeming a n d saving s y m b o l s . U n d e r certain
conditions we m a y b e c o m e a w a r e of t h e m in very m u c h the s a m e w a y

as we m a y b e c o m e a w a r e of different o r g a n s in o u r physical bodies.


W e often speak of r e a s o n as being situated in t h e h e a d , referring
emotion to the heart and instinct to the belly. Similarly, there exists a
natural c o r r e s p o n d e n c e between these centres and various p a r t s of the
body.

Thought, Colour and Sound


It is axiomatic t o this system t h a t there are three principal engines or
m e a n s whereby we m a y b e c o m e a w a r e of these centres t o a w a k e n
them from their d o r m a n t state so that they m a y function properly
within. T h o u g h t , colour, a n d s o u n d a r e the three m e a n s . T h e mind

The Five Centres.

m u s t c o n c e n t r a t e itself on the a s s u m e d position of these centres o n e


by o n e . T h e n certain n a m e s which are t o be considered as vibratory
rates m u s t be intoned a n d vibrated. Finally, e a c h c e n t r e is to b e
visualized as having a particular colour a n d shape. T h e c o m b i n a t i o n
of these three agencies gradually a w a k e n s the centres from their
latency. Slowly they b e c o m e stimulated into functioning e a c h
a c c o r d i n g t o its o w n n a t u r e , pouring forth a s t r e a m of highly
spiritualized energy a n d p o w e r into t h e b o d y a n d mind. W h e n ,
utlimately, their operation b e c o m e s habitual a n d stabilized, t h e
spiritual p o w e r they generate m a y be directed by will to heal various
ailments a n d diseases both of a psychological a n d physical n a t u r e . It
c a n also be c o m m u n i c a t e d by a mere laying o n of h a n d s t o a n o t h e r
p e r s o n . Simply by thinking fixedly a n d with intent, the energy,
m o r e o v e r , c a n be c o m m u n i c a t e d from mind t o mind telepathically or
t r a n s m i t t e d t h r o u g h space t o a n o t h e r person miles a w a y - objects in
s p a c e affording n o interruption or obstacle t o its p a s s a g e .

The Coronal Sphere


First of all, the position of the centres, as s h o w n in t h e d i a g r a m , m u s t
be m e m o r i z e d . T h e y are t o b e stimulated into activity either while
sitting upright o r whilst lying d o w n flat o n t h e b a c k in a perfectly
relaxed state. T h e h a n d s m a y b e folded in the l a p , o r else, with fingers
interlocked, be permitted t o rest loosely below t h e solar plexus.
C a l m n e s s of mind should be induced, a n d several minutes devoted t o
r h y t h m i c breathing should result in the sensation o f a gentle ripple
playing over the d i a p h r a g m .
T h e n imagine a b o v e the c o r o n a l region of t h e head a ball o r sphere
of brilliant white light. D o n o t force the imagination t o visualize t h e
light sphere. T o force would only result in t h e development of
n e u r o m u s c u l a r tension, a n d this would defeat o u r end. Let it be d o n e
quietly a n d easily. If t h e mind w a n d e r s , as indeed it will, wait a
m o m e n t o r t w o a n d gently lead it back. A t t h e s a m e time vibrate or
intone t h e w o r d Eheieh, p r o n o u n c e d a s Eh-huh-yeh.
After a few d a y s
of practice it will b e c o m e quite easy t o imagine the n a m e vibrating
a b o v e t h e h e a d in the so-called Spirit centre. This is the indwelling o r
o v e r s h a d o w i n g divinity in e a c h o n e of u s , the basic spiritual self which
we c a n all d r a w u p o n . Eheieh m e a n s literally I A M , a n d this centre
represents t h e I A M consciousness within.
T h e effect of t h u s mentally directing the vibration is to a w a k e n t h e
centre t o d y n a m i c activity. W h e n o n c e it begins t o vibrate a n d r o t a t e ,
light a n d energy a r e felt t o e m a n a t e d o w n w a r d s u p o n a n d into t h e
personality. E n o r m o u s c h a r g e s of spiritual p o w e r m a k e their w a y into
the brain, a n d the entire b o d y feels suffused with vitality a n d life. Even

t h e finger-tips a n d toes react t o t h e a w a k e n i n g o f t h e c o r o n a l sphere


by a faint pricking sensation at first being felt. T h e n a m e should be
intoned during t h e first few weeks of practice in a moderately audible
a n d s o n o r o u s tone of voice. A s skill is acquired, then the vibration
m a y be practised in silence, the n a m e being imagined a n d mentally
placed in the centre. If t h e mind t e n d s t o w a n d e r , the frequent
repetition of the vibration will b e found a great help t o concentration.

The Air Centre


H a v i n g let the mind rest h e r e for s o m e five minutes, when it will be
seen t o glow and scintillate, imagine t h a t it emits a white shaft
d o w n w a r d s t h r o u g h the skull a n d brain, stopping a t the t h r o a t . H e r e it
e x p a n d s to form a second ball of light, which should include a large
p a r t of the face, u p t o a n d including the e y e b r o w s . If the larynx is
conceived t o be the centre of the sphere, then t h e distance from it to
the cervical vertebrae at the b a c k of the neck will be approximately the
r a d i u s . N a t u r a l l y this dimension will vary with different people. A
similar technique should be p u r s u e d with this sphere, which w e n a m e
the Air centre, as obtained with t h e previous one. It should be strongly
a n d vividly formulated a s a scintillating sphere of brilliant white light,
shining a n d glowing from within. T h e n a m e t o be vibrated is Jehovah
Elohim-pronounced
as
Yuh-hoh-vohEh-loh-heem.
A w o r d o r t w o m a y not be amiss at this point with regard t o the
n a m e s . In reality they a r e n a m e s ascribed in various p a r t s of t h e Old
T e s t a m e n t t o G o d . T h e variety a n d variation of these n a m e s a r e
attributed t o different divine functions. W h e n acfting in a certain
m a n n e r , H e is described b y the biblical scribes b y o n e n a m e . W h e n
doing something else, a n o t h e r n a m e m o r e a p p r o p r i a t e to His action is
used. T h e system I a m describing n o w h a s its r o o t s in the H e b r e w
mystical tradition. Its ancient i n n o v a t o r s were m e n of exalted religious
aspirations a n d genius. It is only t o be expected t h a t a religious bias
w a s projected by them into this scientific psychological system. But it
m u s t be explained t h a t for o u r present-day p u r p o s e s n o religious
c o n n o t a t i o n is implied by m y use of these biblical divine n a m e s .
A n y o n e m a y use t h e m without subscribing in the least t o the ancient
religious views - whether he be a J e w , C h r i s t i a n , H i n d u , Buddhist or
atheist. It is a purely empirical system which is successful despite t h e
scepticism or faith of the o p e r a t o r . W e t o d a y m a y consider these
sacred n a m e s in a n entirely different a n d practical l i g h t T h e y a r e
keynotes o f different constituents of m a n ' s n a t u r e , d o o r w a y s t o s o
m a n y levels of t h a t p a r t of t h e p s y c h e o f which normally we a r e
u n c o n s c i o u s . T h e y a r e vibratory rates o r symbolic signatures of t h e
psychophysical centres we a r e describing. Their use as v i b r a t o r y

k e y n o t e s a w a k e n s into activity the centres with which their r a t e is in


s y m p a t h y , conveying t o o u r consciousness s o m e recognition o f the
several levels of the u n c o n s c i o u s spiritual side o f o u r personalities.
H e n c e the actual religious significance does not c o n c e r n u s . N o r their
literal translation.
T o refer back to the Air centre in the t h r o a t , let t h e vibratory
s o u n d s be intoned a n u m b e r of times, until its existence is recognized
a n d clearly felt a s a definite sensory experience. T h e r e is n o mistaking
the sensation of its awakening. A b o u t t h e s a m e length of time should
be spent formulating it a n d the succeeding centres a s w a s devoted t o
t h e contemplation o f the coronal sphere. T h i s period having elapsed,
let it thrust d o w n w a r d from itself, with t h e aid of imagination, a shaft
of light.

The Fire Centre


D e s c e n d i n g to the region of the solar plexus, j u s t beneath the s t e r n u m
or breast-bone, t h e shaft e x p a n d s o n c e again t o form a third sphere.
This is the position of the Fire centre. T h e allocation of fire t o this
centre is particularly a p p r o p r i a t e , for t h e heart is notoriously
associated with t h e emotional n a t u r e , with love a n d the higher feelings.
H o w often d o we not speak o f a r d e n t passion, a n d the flame of love,
a n d so forth? T h e diameter of this a m b i e n t c a r d i a c sphere should be
s u c h as t o extend from t h e front of the b o d y t o the b a c k . H e r e vibrate
the n a m e Jehovah Eloah ve-Daas, pronounced, as Yuh-hoh-voh
Eh-loh
ve-Dah-ahs.
T a k e c a r e t h a t the intonation vibrates well within the
formulated white sphere. If this is d o n e , a t o n c e a radiation of w a r m t h
will be felt t o e m a n a t e from the centre, gently stimulating all the p a r t s
a n d o r g a n s a b o u t it. S o m e students h a v e complained t h a t the a b o v e
divine n a m e is u n d u l y long a n d difficult t o p r o n o u n c e . After s o m e
experimentation, I h a v e substituted the gnostic n a m e I A O for the
H e b r e w w o r d . Both are attributed, qabalistically, t o the Sephirah of
Tiphareth o n T h e T r e e of Life, a n d so are equally valid. I h a v e found
it t o b e every bit a s effective a s the H e b r e w n a m e , a n d in m y o w n
practice of this meditation I h a v e p e r m a n e n t l y substituted t h e o n e for
the other.
I A O should be p r o n o u n c e d eee-( as in key) ah-oh, slowly a n d with
vigour. In point of fact, it is simpler t o vibrate this n a m e t h a n almost
a n y other, and the vibration it p r o d u c e s is clear a n d strong.
Since the mind functions in a n d t h r o u g h t h e b o d y , being coextensive with it, t h e mental a n d emotional faculties likewise b e c o m e
stimulated by the d y n a m i c flow of energy from the centres. T h e h a r d
a n d fast barrier erected between consciousness a n d the u n c o n s c i o u s ,
an a r m o u r e d partition which impedes o u r free expression a n d hinders
spiritual development, slowly b e c o m e s dissolved. A s time goes o n , a n d

the practice continues, it m a y d i s a p p e a r completely and the


personality gradually achieve integration and wholeness. T h u s health
s p r e a d s to every function of mind a n d b o d y a n d happiness ensues a s a
p e r m a n e n t blessing.

The Water Centre


C o n t i n u e the shaft d o w n w a r d s from the solar plexus to the pelvic
region, the region of the generative o r g a n s . H e r e , t o o , a radiant sphere
is t o be visualized approximately of the s a m e dimensions a s the higher
one. H e r e also is a n a m e to b e intoned so a s t o p r o d u c e a rapid
vibration in the cells a n d molecules of the tissue in t h a t region.
Shaddai El Chai is to be p r o n o u n c e d Shah-di El Chi (remember the
ch is gutteral a s in 'loch'). T h e mind m u s t be permitted t o dwell on the
imaginative formulation for s o m e m i n u t e s , visualizing t h e sphere as of
a white brilliance. A n d each time the mind w a n d e r s from s u c h a
brilliance, a s at t h e beginning it is b o u n d to d o , let it gently be coaxed
b a c k by repeated a n d powerful vibrations of t h e n a m e .
It m a y be feared that this practice could a w a k e n or stimulate sexual
feeling a n d emotion unnecessarily. In those in w h o m a sexual conflict
is raging such an apprehension is j u s t a n d legitimate. Actually,
however, the fear is groundless. F o r the contemplation of the W a t e r
centre a s a sphere of white light connected b y a shaft to the higher and
m o r e spiritual centres acts rather in a m o r e sedative w a y . A n d in point
of fact sexual stimulation c a n be r e m o v e d , n o t b y ignorant a n d shortsighted repression, b u t by t h e circulation of such energies t h r o u g h the
system by m e a n s of this practice. A t h o r o u g h g o i n g a n d far-reaching
process of sublimation, alchemical almost in effect, m a y t h u s be
instigated. This is n o t to be c o n s t r u e d as legitimizing t h e avoidance of
the sexual problem.

The Earth Centre


T h e final step is o n c e m o r e to visualize the shaft descending from the
reproductive sphere, moving d o w n w a r d s t h r o u g h t h e thighs and legs
until it strikes the feet. T h e r e it e x p a n d s from a point approximately
beneath t h e ankle, a n d forms a fifth sphere. W e h a v e n a m e d this o n e
the E a r t h centre. Let t h e mind formulate here exactly a s before a
brilliant dazzling sphere of the s a m e size a s the others. Vibrate the n a m e
Adonai
ha-Aretz
as Afi-doh-ni
hah-Ah-retz.
Several minutes
having been utilized in a w a k e n i n g this centre b y fixed a n d steady
t h o u g h t a n d b y repeated vibration of the n a m e , p a u s e for a short
while.
T h e n try to visualize clearly the entire shaft of silvery light, studded
a s it were with five g o r g e o u s d i a m o n d s of i n c o m p a r a b l e brilliance,
stretching from the c r o w n of the head t o the soles of the feet. But a few

minutes will suffice t o give reality to this concept, bringing a b o u t a


vivid realization of the powerful forces which, playing u p o n t h e
personality, a r e eventually assimilated into the psychophysical system
after their transformation a n d p a s s a g e t h r o u g h the imaginative
centres. T h e combination of r h y t h m i c breathing with t h e willed
visualization of the descent of power t h r o u g h the light shaft or Middle
Pillar, as it is also called, p r o d u c e s by far the best results.

Colour Correspondences
A s skill a n d familiarity a r e acquired in t h e formulation of t h e centres,
a n addition t o t h e technique m a y b e m a d e . Earlier I r e m a r k e d t h a t
colour w a s a very i m p o r t a n t consideration where this technique w a s
c o n c e r n e d . E a c h centre h a s a different colour attribution, t h o u g h it is
wisest for a long period of time t o refrain from using any other colour
t h a n white. T o the Spirit or c o r o n a l centre t h e c o l o u r white is
attributed. It is the colour of purity, spirit, divinity, a n d so o n . It
represents, n o t so m u c h a h u m a n constituent, b u t a universal a n d
c o s m i c principle overshadowing t h e whole of m a n k i n d . A s w e descend
the shaft, however, t h e colours c h a n g e . L a v e n d e r is attributed t o t h e
Air o r t h r o a t centre, a n d it represents particularly t h e mental faculties
- h u m a n consciousness as such.
T o t h e Fire centre, red is a n obvious association requiring n o
further c o m m e n t . Blue is t h e colour referred t o t h e W a t e r c e n t r e ; it is
the colour of p e a c e , calmness a n d tranquillity, concealing e n o r m o u s
strength a n d virility. In other w o r d s , its p e a c e is t h e peace of strength
a n d p o w e r r a t h e r t h a n t h e inertia of mere weakness. Finally, t h e
colour referred t o the lowest centre of E a r t h is russet, the rich d e e p
colour of t h e earth itself, t h e foundation u p o n which w e rest.
F r o m this very brief a n d concise s u m m a r y it will b e seen t h a t e a c h
of these centres h a s a species of affinity o r s y m p a t h y with a different
spiritual constituent. O n e c e n t r e is peculiarly s y m p a t h e t i c t o o r is
associated with t h e emotions a n d feelings, whilst a n o t h e r h a s definitely
an intellectual bias. H e n c e , it follows logically, a n d experience
d e m o n s t r a t e s this fact, t h a t their equilibrated activity a n d stimulation
evokes a sympathetic reaction from every p a r t of m a n ' s n a t u r e . A n d
w h e r e disease manifesting in t h e b o d y is directly d u e t o s o m e psychic
maladjustment or infirmity, then t h e activity of t h e a p p r o p r i a t e centre
m u s t b e considered as affected s o m e h o w in a deleterious w a y . Its
stimulation by sound, t h o u g h t a n d colour, tends t o stimulate t h e
corresponding
psychic principle a n d t h u s t o disperse t h e
maladjustment. Sooner o r later a reaction is induced physically in t h e
d i s a p p e a r a n c e of t h e disease, a n d t h e c o n s e q u e n t building u p of n e w
cells a n d tissue - the a p p e a r a n c e of health itself.

W e a p p r o a c h a further a n d i m p o r t a n t stage in the development of the


Middle Pillar technique. H a v i n g b r o u g h t power a n d spiritual energy
into the system by m e a n s of the psycho-spiritual centres, h o w best are
we to use it? T h a t is to s a y , use it in such a w a y that every single cell,
every a t o m , a n d every o r g a n b e c o m e s stimulated and vitalized by that
dynamic stream?
T o begin with, we t h r o w the mind u p w a r d s to the coronal sphere
again, imagining it to b e in a state of vigorous activity. T h a t is, it
revolves rapidly, absorbing spiritual energy from space a b o u t it,
transforming it in such a w a y t h a t it b e c o m e s available for immediate
use in any h u m a n activity. I m a g i n e then that such transformed energy
flows, stream-like, d o w n t h e left side of the head, d o w n the left side of
the trunk a n d the left leg. While the current is descending the breath
should slowly be exhaled t o a convenient r h y t h m . With the slow
inhalation of the breath, imagine t h a t the vital current passes from the
sole of the left foot to the right foot, and gradually a s c e n d s the right
side of the b o d y . In this w a y it returns to the source from which it
issued, the coronal centre, the h u m a n source of all energy a n d vitality,
a closed electrical circuit t h u s being established. Naturally this
circulation is visualized as persisting within the b o d y rather than as
travelling a r o u n d the periphery of the physical s h a p e . It is, so to say,
a n interior psychic circulation rather t h a n a purely physical one.

Stimulating Circulation
Let this circulation, o n c e firmly established by the mind, flow evenly
to the r h y t h m of the breath for s o m e seconds so t h a t the circuit h a s
been traversed a b o u t half a d o z e n times - or even m o r e , if you wish.
T h e n repeat it in a slightly different direction. Visualize the vital flow
as moving from the c o r o n a l centre a b o v e the head d o w n the front of
the face a n d b o d y . After having turned b a c k w a r d s under the soles of
the feet, it a s c e n d s a t the b a c k in a fairly wide belt of vibrating energy.
This, likewise should a c c o m p a n y the inhalation a n d exhalation of
breath, a n d should also be persisted in for at least six complete
circuits.
T h e general effect of these t w o m o v e m e n t s will b e t o establish in
a n d a b o u t t h e physical form a n ovoid s h a p e of swiftly circulating
substance a n d p o w e r . Since the spiritual energy dealt with b y this
technique is extremely d y n a m i c a n d kinetic, it r a d i a t e s in every

direction, spreading o u t w a r d s to a n appreciable distance. It is this


radiation which forms, colours and informs t h e ovoid sphere of
sensation which is not c o n t e r m i n o u s with the s h a p e o r dimension of
the physical frame. G e n e r a l perception and experience h a s it that the
sphere of luminosity a n d m a g n e t i s m extends o u t w a r d s t o a distance
m o r e o r less identical with the length of the outstretched a r m . A n d it is
within this a u r a , as we call it, that the physical m a n exists rather like a
kernel within a nut. Circulating the force admitted into the system b y
the former mental exercises is t a n t a m o u n t t o charging it t o a
considerable degree in every d e p a r t m e n t of its n a t u r e with life a n d
energy. N a t u r a l l y this is b o u n d to exert a considerable influence, so far
as general health is concerned, u p o n the enclosed 'kernel' within.
T h e final m e t h o d of circulation rather resembles t h e action of a
fountain. J u s t a s water is forced o r d r a w n u p t h r o u g h a pipe until it
jets u p a b o v e , falling in a s p r a y o n all sides, so d o e s the power directed
by this last circulation. T h r o w the mind d o w n w a r d s to the E a r t h
centre, imagining it t o be t h e culmination of all t h e others, the
receptacle of all power, the storehouse a n d terminal of the incoming
vital force. T h e n imagine t h a t this p o w e r a s c e n d s , o r is d r a w n o r
sucked u p w a r d s by the magnetic attraction of the Spirit centre a b o v e
the c r o w n of the h e a d . T h e p o w e r ascends the shaft a n d then falls
d o w n within the confines of the ovoid a u r a . W h e n it h a s descended t o
the feet it is again gathered together a n d c o n c e n t r a t e d in the E a r t h
centre p r e p a r a t o r y to being pushed up t h e shaft again. A s before, t h e
fountain circulation should a c c o m p a n y a definite r h y t h m of inhalation
a n d exhalation. By these m e a n s , the healing force is distributed t o
every p a r t of the b o d y . N o single a t o m o r cell in any o r g a n or limb is
omitted from the influence of its healing regenerative power.
T h e circulation completed, the mind m a y b e permitted t o dwell o n
the idea of the sphere of light, spiritual a n d healing in quality,
surrounding the entire b o d y . T h e visualization should b e m a d e a s
vivid a n d a s powerful as possible. T h e sensation, following the partial
or c o m p l e t e formulation of the a u r a in the m a n n e r described, is so
m a r k e d a n d definite a s t o b e quite u n m i s t a k a b l e . In the first place it is
m a r k e d b y an extreme sense o f calmness a n d vitality a n d poise, a s
t h o u g h the mind w a s placid a n d still. T h e b o d y , completely at jest in a
state of relaxation, feels in all its p a r t s t h o r o u g h l y c h a r g e d a n d
p e r m e a t e d by the vibrant current of life. T h e skin over all the b o d y will
t h r o w u p s y m p t o m s , caused by the intensification of life within, o f a
gentle pricking a n d w a r m t h . T h e eyes b e c o m e clear a n d bright, the
skin t a k e s o n a fresh healthy glow, a n d every faculty, mental,
emotional a n d physical, b e c o m e s e n h a n c e d to a considerable degree.

Focusing Energy
This is the m o m e n t w h e n , should there be a n y functional disturbances
in a n y o r g a n or limb, the attention should be directed a n d focused on
that part. T h e result of this focus of attention directs a flow of energy
over a n d a b o v e the general equilibrium j u s t established. T h e diseased
o r g a n b e c o m e s bathed in a sea of light and power. D i s e a s e d tissue and
diseased cells, under the stimulus of such p o w e r , b e c o m e gradually
b r o k e n d o w n a n d ejected from the personal sphere. T h e revitalized
blood-stream is then able to send t o that spot new n o u r i s h m e n t and
new life so t h a t new tissue, fibre, cells, etc., c a n easily be built u p . In
this w a y , health is restored by the persistent c o n c e n t r a t i o n there of the
divine p o w e r . C a r r i e d o n for a few d a y s in the c a s e of superficial
ailments, a n d for m o n t h s in the event of chronic a n d severe troubles,
all s y m p t o m s m a y successfully be banished without others coming to
t a k e their place. T h e r e is n o suppression of s y m p t o m s . Elimination is
the result of these m e t h o d s . Even psychogenic erruptions m a y t h u s be
cured. F o r the currents of force arise from the deepest s t r a t a of the
u n c o n s c i o u s , where these p s y c h o n e u r o s e s h a v e their origin and w h e r e
they lock u p the n e r v o u s energy, preventing s p o n t a n e o u s a n d free
expression of the psyche. T h e upwelling of t h e libido, a s the vital force
is called in psychological circles, dissolves the crystallizations and
a r m o u r e d barriers which divide t h e various s t r a t a of psychic function.
W h e r e organic disease is the p r o b l e m t o be a t t a c k e d , the procedure
to be followed is slightly different. ( O n e should still b e under the care
of a c o m p e t e n t physician.) In this instance a considerably stronger
c u r r e n t of force is required s u c h a s will dissolve t h e lesion a n d be
sufficient to set in motion those systemic a n d metabolic activities to
c o n s t r u c t new tissue a n d cellular structure. T o fulfil these conditions in
an ideal sense a second p e r s o n m a y be requisite so t h a t his vitality
a d d e d to t h a t of the sufferer m a y o v e r c o m e the condition. A useful
technique which m y experience h a s discovered supremely successful,
a n d which a n y student c a n a d o p t , is first o f all t o relax completely
every tissue t h r o u g h o u t t h e b o d y before attempting the Middle Pillar
technique. T h e patient is placed in a highly relaxed state, o n e in which
every n e u r o m u s c u l a r tension h a s been tested a n d called t o t h e
attention of the patient. C o n s c i o u s n e s s is then able t o eliminate tension
a n d induce a relaxed state of t h a t muscle o r limb. I h a v e found a
useful preliminary in the practice of spinal manipulation a n d m a s s a g e ,
with deep kneadings a n d effleurage, for in this w a y an e n h a n c e d
circulation of the b l o o d a n d l y m p h is p r o d u c e d - which from the
physiological point of view is half the battle w o n . A suitable degree of
relaxation o b t a i n e d , the patient's feet are crossed over the ankles a n d his
finger interlaced t o rest lightly over the solar plexus. T h e o p e r a t o r

or healer then seats himself o n the right side of the person should t h e
patient be right-handed - vice versa for a left-handed patient. Placing
his right h a n d gently o n t h e solar plexus under the patient's
intertwined h a n d s , a n d his left h a n d o n the patient's head, at o n c e a
form of rapport is established. Within a few minutes a free circulation
of m a g n e t i s m and vitality is set u p , readily discernible both b y patient
a n d healer.
T h e patient's attitude should be o n e of absolute receptivity t o t h e
incoming force - a u t o m a t i c , should he h a v e unwavering confidence
a n d faith in the o p e r a t o r ' s integrity a n d ability. Silence a n d quiet
should be maintained for a short while, following which the o p e r a t o r
silently performs the practice of the Middle Pillar, still maintaining his
physical c o n t a c t with t h e patient. His a w a k e n e d spiritual centres act
on t h e patient by s y m p a t h y . A similar a w a k e n i n g is introduced with
the patient's sphere, a n d his centres eventually begin t o o p e r a t e a n d
t h r o w an equilibrated s t r e a m of energy into his system. Even w h e n the
o p e r a t o r d o e s not vibrate t h e divine n a m e s audibly, the p o w e r flowing
t h r o u g h his Angers sets up an activity which will surely p r o d u c e s o m e
degree of healing activity within t h e patient. His psycho-spiritual
centres are sympathetically stirred into the active assimilation a n d
projection of force s o that, without any conscious effort o n his p a r t ,
his sphere is invaded by t h e divine p o w e r of healing a n d life.
W h e n the o p e r a t o r arrives at the circulation stage, he so e m p l o y s
his inner visualizing faculty, a veritable m a g i c a l p o w e r indeed, t h a t the
a u g m e n t e d currents of energy flow n o t only t h r o u g h his o w n sphere
but t h r o u g h t h a t of his patient a s well. T h e n a t u r e of this rapport n o w
begins to u n d e r g o a subtle c h a n g e . W h e r e a s formerly there existed
close s y m p a t h y a n d a h a r m o n i o u s frame of mind, mutually held, during
a n d after the circulation there is an actual union a n d interblending of
the t w o energy fields. T h e y unite t o form a single c o n t i n u o u s sphere as
the interchange a n d transference of vital energy proceed. T h u s t h e
o p e r a t o r , o r his u n c o n s c i o u s p s y c h e or spiritual self, is able to divine
exactly w h a t potential his projected current should b e , a n d precisely t o
where it should b e directed.
A n u m b e r of these t r e a t m e n t s incorporating t h e c o o p e r a t i o n a n d
training of t h e patient in the u s e of mental m e t h o d s should certainly g o
far in alleviating the original condition. Occasionally, since fanaticism
a b o v e all is t o be eschewed, medical a n d manipulative m e t h o d s m a y
usefully be combined with t h e mental m e t h o d s described t o facilitate
a n d hasten the cure.
A l t h o u g h I have stressed healing of physical ills in the a b o v e , it
c a n n o t be insisted u p o n t o o strongly t h a t this m e t h o d is suitable for
application t o a host of other p r o b l e m s . This description of technique
will b e found a d e q u a t e for all other situations which m a y c o m e before

the student - whether it be a problem of poverty, c h a r a c t e r development, social or marital difficulties - a n d in fact a n y other problem type
of which one can think.

Recapitulation: The Preliminaries


Repetition is often invaluable b o t h in teaching a n d in learning new
subjects. H e n c e s o m e recapitulation of the various processes involved
in the Middle Pillar practice will help to clarify s o m e of the issues. A n d
I should like t o a d d a further consideration which will help to render
the entire m e t h o d m o r e effectual, lifting it to a higher plane of spiritual
u n d e r s t a n d i n g a n d achievement. This final step will enable t h e student
to call into operation d y n a m i c factors within the h u m a n p s y c h e which
will aid in the production of the desired result.
T h e first step, a s we h a v e seen, is a psycho-physical exercise. T h e
student m u s t learn h o w t o relax, h o w to loosen the chronic grip o f
n e u r o m u s c u l a r tensions in his b o d y . Every involuntary tension in any
g r o u p o f muscles o r tissues in a n y a r e a of the b o d y m u s t be b r o u g h t
within the scope of his conscious a w a r e n e s s . A w a r e n e s s is t h e magical
key by m e a n s of which such tension m a y literally be melted a w a y a n d
dissolved. O n l y a little practice is necessary for this, a n d skill is very
readily obtained. T h e i m p o r t a n t conclusion following u p o n physical
relaxation is that the mind itself in all its d e p a r t m e n t s a n d
ramifications undergoes a similar relaxation.
Psychic tension a n d s o m a t i c inflexibility are the great barriers t o
realizing the o m n i p r e s e n c e of t h e b o d y o f G o d . T h e y actually prevent
one from b e c o m i n g a w a r e of the ever-presence of t h e life-force, the
dependence of the mind u p o n - even its ultimate identity with - t h e
Universal M i n d , t h e Collective U n c o n s c i o u s . T h e mind's petty
barriers eliminated, a n d life flowing t h r o u g h its extensive organization,
almost immediately we b e c o m e c o n s c i o u s of t h e d y n a m i c principle
pervading a n d permeating all things. T h i s step is w i t h o u t question the
all-important p h a s e in t h e application of these psycho-spiritual
techniques.
O n c e having b e c o m e a w a r e of the preceding, the logical p r o c e d u r e
is to a w a k e n the inner spiritual centres which c a n h a n d l e , a s it were,
this high-voltage power a n d t r a n s f o r m it into a usable h u m a n quality.
Possibly the easiest w a y t o conceive of this is to liken the spiritual p a r t
of m a n t o a r a d i o receiving set. T h e instrument m u s t first be started
with power either from the b a t t e r y or from the m a i n before it will
work. O n c e p o w e r is flowing t h r o u g h it, then t h e rest of the intricate
m e c h a n i s m of wiring, t r a n s f o r m e r s , c o n d e n s e r s , tubes a n d a n t e n n a e
a r e able to c o m e into operation. S o also with m a n . W e c a n tune
ourselves t o t h e Infinite m o r e readily t h r o u g h t h e m e c h a n i s m of

lighting u p the inner centres, m a n ' s o w n radio tubes. W h e n the radio


set is operative, then the divine current c a n be shot t h r o u g h the set in
various w a y s , until both b o d y a n d mind b e c o m e powerfully vitalized
a n d strong with spiritual energy.

Prayer
But all this is merely p r e p a r a t o r y . T h e radio set m a y be lighted, the
c o n d e n s e r s and transformers a n d a n t e n n a e in perfect operation - but
w h a t d o we w a n t t o d o with it? S o also here. W e need m o n e y .
Sickness is present. O r w e have undesirable m o r a l or mental traits - or
w h a t not. W e h a v e so to elevate o u r m i n d s , in the utilization of this
spiritual energy, that the desire of o u r h e a r t automatically realizes
itself with practically n o effort at all. T h e wish, the heart's desire, the
goal to be reached, must be held firmly in mind, vitalized by divine
p o w e r , but propelled forward into the universe by t h e fiery intensity of
all t h e emotional exaltation we are capable of. P r a y e r is therefore
indispensable. P r a y e r , not merely a s a petition t o s o m e G o d outside
t h e universe, but prayer conceived as the spiritual and emotional
stimulus calculated to bring a b o u t an identification with or realization
of o u r o w n G o d h e a d , P r a y e r , sincerely u n d e r t a k e n , will mobilize all
the qualities of the self, a n d the inner fervour t h a t it will a w a k e n will
reinforce the work previously d o n e . It will render success an almost
infallible result. F o r in such a case, success c o m e s not because of one's
o w n h u m a n effort, but because G o d brings a b o u t the result. T h e
fervour a n d the emotional exaltation enable o n e to realize the divinity
within, which is the spiritual factor which brings our desires t o
immediate a n d complete fulfilment.
But I question whether prayer of the quiet unemotional variety h a s
a n y value a t all here. This cold-blooded petitioning finds n o place
within the highest conceptions of spiritual achievement. A n ancient
m e t a p h y s i c i a n o n c e said, 'Inflame thyself with p r a y e r . ' H e r e is the
secret. W e m u s t s o pray t h a t the whole of o u r being b e c o m e s aflame
with a spiritual intensity before which nothing can stand. All illusions
a n d all limitations fade a w a y utterly before this fervour. W h e n the soul
literally b u r n s u p , then spiritual identity with G o d is attained. T h e n the
h e a r t ' s desire is accomplished without effort - because G o d d o e s it.
T h e wish b e c o m e s fact - objective, p h e n o m e n a l fact, for all to see.
W h a t p r a y e r s , then, should b e employed to lift the mind t o this
intensity, t o a w a k e n t h e emotional fervour of which it w a s said
'inflame thyself in p r a y i n g ' ? T h a t I conceive t o b e a problem t o be
solved e a c h o n e for himself. E v e r y m a n a n d w o m a n h a s s o m e idea
a b o u t p r a y e r which, when sustained, will inflame him t o inward
realization. S o m e people will use a p o e m t h a t h a s a l w a y s h a d the

effect of exalting t h e m . O t h e r s will use the L o r d ' s prayer, or m a y b e


Psalm 2 3 . A n d so o n for all possible types. F o r myself, I prefer the use
pf s o m e archaic h y m n s k n o w n as invocations, but which are prayers
nonetheless, which certainly h a v e the desired effect u p o n m e of
arousing the necessary emotional potential. In the h o p e that these
might be useful t o others, I a p p e n d herewith a couple of fragments, the
first one being c o m p o s e d of versicles from various scriptures.
I a m the Resurrection a n d the Life. W h o s o e v e r believeth o n me
t h o u g h he were dead, yet shall he live, and whosoever liveth a n d
believeth on m e shall h a v e everlasting life. I a m the First, a n d I a m
the L a s t . I a m H e that liveth a n d w a s d e a d - but behold! I a m alive
for evermore, a n d hold the keys of hell and death. F o r I k n o w that
m y R e d e e m e r liveth a n d that he shall stand at the latter day upon
the E a r t h . I a m the W a y , the T r u t h , and the Life. N o m a n cometh
u n t o the F a t h e r but by m e . I a m the Purified. I h a v e passed through
the gates of d a r k n e s s u n t o Light. I have fought u p o n earth for good.
I have finished m y work. I h a v e entered into the invisible.
I a m the Sun in his rising, p a s s e d t h r o u g h the h o u r of cloud and
of night. I a m A m o u n , the C o n c e a l e d O n e , the opener of the d a y . I
am Osiris O n n o p h r i s , the Justified O n e , the L o r d of Life,
t r i u m p h a n t over death. T h e r e is n o part of me which is not of the
G o d s . I a m the Preparer of the P a t h w a y , the R e s c u e r u n t o the
Light. Let the W h i t e Light of the Divine Spirit D e s c e n d .
T h e second fragment is rather different from the a b o v e although
both h a v e a similar personal effect when slowly repeated, meditated
upon, and felt intensely. This second prayer consists of t w o p a r t s - the
first o n e being a sort of petition of the higher divine self, whilst the
second p a r t bespeaks of the realization of identity with it.
T h e e I invoke the Bornless O n e . T h e e t h a t didst create the E a r t h
and the H e a v e n s . T h e e t h a t didst create the N i g h t a n d D a y . T h e e
that didst create the D a r k n e s s a n d the Light. T h o u art M a n - M a d e Perfect, w h o m n o m a n hath seen a t any time. T h o u art G o d a n d
very G o d . T h o u h a s distinguished between the J u s t a n d the Unjust.
T h o u didst m a k e the female a n d the male. T h o u didst p r o d u c e the
seed a n d the fruit. T h o u didst form m e n to love o n e a n o t h e r and to
hate o n e another. T h o u didst p r o d u c e the moist a n d the dry, a n d
T h a t which nourisheth all created things.
T h e second half should follow only after a long p a u s e , in which o n e
a t t e m p t s to realize j u s t w h a t it is t h a t t h e prayer h a s asserted, and that
it is raising the mind t o an appreciation of the hidden secret G o d h e a d
within, which is the c r e a t o r of all things.

T h i s is the L o r d of the G o d s . This is the L o r d of the Universe. This


is H e w h o m the winds fear. This is H e , w h o having m a d e voice by
his c o m m a n d m e n t is L o r d of all things, king, ruler and helper. H e a r
m e a n d m a k e all spirits subject u n t o me, so t h a t every spirit of the
firmament and of the ether, u p o n the earth a n d under the earth, o n
d r y land a n d in the water, of whirling air, a n d of rushing fire, a n d
every spell a n d s c o u r g e of G o d the Vast O n e m a y be m a d e
obedient u n t o m e .
I a m H e , the B o m l e s s Spirit, having sight in the feet, strong a n d
the immortal Fire. I a m H e , the T r u t h , I a m H e w h o h a t e that evil
should be w r o u g h t in the world. I a m H e that lighteneth a n d
thundereth. I a m H e from w h o m is the shower of the Life of E a r t h .
I a m H e whose m o u t h ever flameth. I a m H e , the begetter a n d
manifester unto the Light. I a m H e , the G r a c e of the W o r l d . T h e
H e a r t G i r t with a Serpent is my N a m e .
T h e s e prayer fragments are suggested only a n d are t o be used o r
rejected, as e a c h student feels fit. T h e y o p e r a t e for m e - they m a y
o p e r a t e in the case of other students, or not, as the case m a y be.

Non-therapeutic Uses
Quite a p a r t from t h e r a p y , there are o t h e r uses of the Middle Pillar
technique a s I h a v e intimated above. T h e enterprising student will
divine his own usages for it.
It m a y be for various r e a s o n s t h a t certain necessities of life, either
physical or spiritual, h a v e b e e n denied o n e - with a c o n s e q u e n t
c r a m p i n g effect o n c h a r a c t e r a n d the onset of a sense of frustration.
T h e latter always h a s a depressing a n d inhibitory effect on the h u m a n
mind, producing indecision, inefficiency a n d inferiority. T h e r e is n o
real necessity w h y there should be any u n d u e frustration a n d
inhibition in o u r lives. A certain a m o u n t is n o d o u b t inevitable. So
long a s we remain h u m a n it is quite certain t h a t in s o m e m e a s u r e we
a r e likely to be thwarted in o u r efforts fully to express the inner self,
t h u s experiencing s o m e degree of frustration. But any a b n o r m a l
m e a s u r e or persistent sense of thwarting a n d frustration m a y be dealt
with and, by these m e n t a l a n d spiritual m e t h o d s , eliminated.
First of all an understanding of life is essential, a n d an
unconditional a c c e p t a n c e of everything in life a n d every experience
t h a t m a y c o m e o n e ' s w a y . W i t h u n d e r s t a n d i n g will c o m e a love of life
a n d living, for love a n d u n d e r s t a n d i n g a r e o n e a n d the s a m e . It will
also foster the determination n o longer t o frustrate natural processes
but by a c c e p t a n c e t o c o o p e r a t e with n a t u r e . T h e m e t h o d s of spiritual

a n d mental culture h a v e long held o u t h o p e that these inhibitory


conditions m a y be alleviated.
Poverty of estate a s well as of idea is a life-condition which these
techniques have a l w a y s a c k n o w l e d g e d to be a m e n a b l e t o treatment.
T h e usual m e t h o d is o n e of such deep a n d prolonged reflection upon
j u s t that mental stimulus, m o r a l quality or material thing which is
wanted, that the idea of the need sinks into the so-called subconscious
mind. If the barriers leading to the subconscious are penetrated so that
the latter accepts the idea of the need, then, so it is said, sooner or later
life will inevitably a t t r a c t o n e of t h o s e things required. But, a s with all
therapeutic m e t h o d s , there were s o m a n y instances where, despite
close a d h e r e n c e to the prescribed techniques, success w a s not
forthcoming. It is m y contention, therefore, t h a t they fail for very
m u c h the s a m e r e a s o n s that their healing efforts fail. In short, it w a s
because there w a s n o true understanding of the interior
p s y c h o d y n a m i c m e c h a n i s m whereby such effects could be produced:
T h e r e w a s n o appreciation of the m e t h o d s b y which the d y n a m i c
n a t u r e of the u n c o n s c i o u s could s o be stimulated t h a t the h u m a n
personality b e c a m e transformed into a powerful m a g n e t attracting t o
itself whatever it truly desired or w a s necessary t o its welfare.
W h e t h e r this p r o c e d u r e is morally defensible is a question I d o not
wish to discuss a t length, t h o u g h I k n o w it will be raised. But the
a n s w e r is brief. W h a t e v e r faculties w e h a v e are m e a n t to be used, a n d
used both for o u r o w n a d v a n t a g e a n d that of others. If we are in a
state of c o n s t a n t mental friction, emotional frustration, a n d excessive
poverty, I fail t o see in w h a t w a y we c a n be of service either to
ourselves or o u r fellow men. Eliminate these restrictions first, improve
the mental a n d emotional faculties so t h a t the spiritual n a t u r e is able
t o penetrate t h r o u g h the personality a n d manifest itself in practical
w a y s , t h e n we a r e in a position t o be of s o m e service t o those with
w h o m we c o m e into c o n t a c t . T h e preliminary stimulation of the
psycho-spiritual centres within, a n d t h e n formulating clearly a n d
vividly o n e ' s d e m a n d s u p o n t h e universe is c a p a b l e of attracting
almost a n y t h i n g required, s o long, naturally, as it exists within the
b o u n d s of r e a s o n a n d possibility.

Using the Astrological Structure


First of all, let m e preface m y further r e m a r k s by stating that from the
practical point of view the rudiments of t h e astrological s c h e m a are of
untold value in t h a t they offer a concise classification of the b r o a d
divisions of things. I a m not c o n c e r n e d h e r e with astrology a s such,
merely t h a t it is convenient t o use its s c h e m a . Its r o o t s a r e in t h e seven
principal ideas o r planets t o which m o s t ideas a n d things m a y b e

referred. T o each of these r o o t ideas there is attributed a positive and


negative colour, a n d a divine n a m e for the p u r p o s e of vibration. I
p r o p o s e naming the planets with their principal attributions as follows:
Saturn.
Older people a n d old plans. D e b t s and their r e p a y m e n t .
Agriculture, real estate, d e a t h , wills, stability, inertia. Positive colour
indigo; negative black. Jehovah Elohim,
pronounced
Yeh-hoh-voh
Eh-loh-heem.
Jupiter.
Abundance,
plenty,
growth,
expansion,
generosity.
Spirituality, visions, d r e a m s , long j o u r n e y s . B a n k e r s , creditors,
d e b t o r s , gambling. Positive colour purple; negative blue. El,
p r o n o u n c e d exactly a s written.
Mars. E n e r g y , haste, anger, construction or destruction (according to
application), danger, surgery. Vitality a n d m a g n e t i s m . Will-power.
Positive a n d negative colours bright red. Elohim Gibor, p r o n o u n c e d
Eh-loh-heem
Gibor.
Sun. Superiors, employers, executives, officials. P o w e r a n d success.
Life, m o n e y , g r o w t h of all kinds. Illumination, imagination, mental
power. H e a l t h . Positive colour o r a n g e ; negative colour yellow or gold.
Jehovah Eloah ve-Daas, p r o n o u n c e d Yeh-hoh-voh
El-loh-ve-dah-ahs,
I A O , as explained previously.
Venus. Social affairs, affections a n d e m o t i o n s , w o m e n , younger
people. All pleasures a n d t h e arts, music, b e a u t y , e x t r a v a g a n c e ,
luxury, self-indulgence. Both colours emerald green. Jehovah
Tzavods,
p r o n o u n c e d Yeh-hoh-voh
Tsah-voh-ohs.
Mercury.
Business m a t t e r s , writing, c o n t r a c t s , j u d g e m e n t a n d short
travels. Buying, selling, bargaining. N e i g h b o u r s , giving a n d obtaining
information. Literary capabilities, a n d intellectual friends. B o o k s ,
p a p e r s . Positive colour yellow; negative colour o r a n g e .
Elohim
Tzavods.
Moon. G e n e r a l public, w o m e n . Sense-reactions. S h o r t j o u r n e y s a n d
r e m o v a l s . C h a n g e s a n d fluctuations. T h e personality. Positive colour
blue; negative colour puce. Shah-daiEl
Chai.
T h e s e very briefly a r e the attributions of the planets under which
a l m o s t everything and every subject in n a t u r e m a y be classified. This
classification is extremely useful b e c a u s e it simplifies e n o r m o u s l y
o n e ' s task of physical a n d spiritual development. It m a y b e best if

before concluding I instance a few simple a n d elementary examples t o


illustrate
the
function
and
method
of
employing
these
correspondences.

Using Astrological Correspondences


S u p p o s e I a m engaged in certain studies requiring b o o k s t h a t are not
easily obtainable from booksellers. Despite m y every d e m a n d for
t h e m , in spite of widespread advertising and willingness t o p a y a
reasonable price for t h e m , m y efforts are unavailing. T h e result is that
for the time m y studies are held u p . This delay reaches t h e point when
it is excessive a n d irritating, a n d I decide t o use m y o w n technical
m e t h o d s for ending it. A t certain prescribed intervals, preferably u p o n
a w a k e n i n g in the m o r n i n g a n d before retiring t o sleep at night, I
practise the r h y t h m i c breath a n d t h e Middle Pillar. By these m e t h o d s I
h a v e m a d e available e n o r m o u s quantities of spiritual power, a n d
transformed the unconscious into a powerful storage b a t t e r y , ready t o
project or a t t r a c t power to fulfil m y need. This I circulate t h r o u g h the
auric system.
M y next step consists of visualizing the negative o r passive colour
of M e r c u r y , o r a n g e , so t h a t meditating u p o n it c h a n g e s the
surrounding auric colour t o t h a t hue. O r a n g e is used b e c a u s e b o o k s ,
which I need, are attributed t o M e r c u r y ; and I employ the negative
colour b e c a u s e it tends t o m a k e the sphere of sensation open, passive
a n d receptive. T h e n I proceed t o c h a r g e a n d vitalize the sphere by
vibrating the a p p r o p r i a t e divine n a m e again and again, until it seems
to m y perceptions that all t h e mercurial forces of the universe react to
the magnetic attraction of that sphere. All the forces of the universe
a r e imagined t o converge u p o n m y sphere, attracting t o me j u s t those
b o o k s , d o c u m e n t s , critics, friends a n d so o n , needed t o further m y
work. Inevitably, after persistent a n d c o n c e n t r a t e d w o r k I hear from
friends or booksellers quite by c h a n c e , so it would see, t h a t these
b o o k s are available. I n t r o d u c t i o n s are procured to the right people,
a n d t a k e n by a n d large m y w o r k is assisted. T h e results occur,
however, in a perfectly n a t u r a l w a y .
O n e is not t o imagine t h a t the use of these m e t h o d s contravenes the
k n o w n laws of n a t u r e a n d t h a t m i r a c u l o u s p h e n o m e n a will o c c u r . F a r
from it. T h e r e is nothing in t h e m t h a t is supernatural. T h e s e m e t h o d s
are b a s e d u p o n the use of p s y c h i c principles normally latent within
m a n , a n d which everyone possesses. N o individual is unique in this
respect. A n d the use of these psychic principles brings results t h r o u g h
quite n o r m a l b u t unsuspected c h a n n e l s .
O n t h e other h a n d , should I desire to help a colleague w h o h a s
literary aspirations but at a certain j u n c t u r e finds his style c r a m p e d

a n d the free flow of ideas inhibited, I should alter m y m e t h o d in o n e


particular point only. Instead of using o r a n g e a s before, I should
visualize the a u r a as of a yellow or golden colour, t h o u g h t h e
vibratory n a m e would be the s a m e . A g a i n , instead of imagining the
universal forces t o h a v e a centripetal motion t o w a r d s m y sphere, I
should a t t e m p t to realize t h a t the mercurial forces a w a k e n e d within
m e by the colour visualization a n d vibration are being projected from
m e to m y patient. If he, t o o , b e c o m e s quiet a n d meditative at the s a m e
hour, m y help b e c o m e s m o r e powerful since he consciously assists m y
efforts with a similar meditation. But this need n o t be insisted u p o n .
F o r , as s h o w n by telepathy experiments, the greater p a r t of t h e
receiver's impressions a r e unconsciously received. Therefore, in the
c a s e of the patient, his own unconscious p s y c h e will pick up
automatically and of necessity t h e inspiration and power I h a v e
telepathically forwarded to him in absentia.
This system combines telepathic suggestion with the willed
c o m m u n i c a t i o n of vital p o w e r . I strenuously o p p o s e t h o s e partitive
apologists w h o uphold in theory the o n e faculty t o the detriment of the
other. S o m e deny suggestion or telepathy, and argue overenthusiastically on behalf of vital m a g n e t i s m . O t h e r s refuse
categorically to admit the existence of magnetism, pressing their
proofs exclusively in favour of telepathy and suggestion. Both, to my
mind, are incorrect a n d d o g m a t i c when insisting upon their idea alone
a s having universal validity or as being the sole logical m o d e of
explanation. Equally, each is right in some respects a n d in a certain
n u m b e r of c a s e s ; there is a place for both in the natural e c o n o m y of
things. T h e resources of n a t u r e are both great a n d extensive enough to
admit the mutual existence of both of them, a n d innumerable other
p o w e r s also.

Self-analysis
T h e technical procedure is, as I have shown, extremely simple - even
where employed for subjective ends. S u p p o s e the realization suddenly
c o m e s t o m e that instead of being the m a g n a n i m o u s person I h a d
imagined myself to be I a m really m e a n and stingy. O f c o u r s e I could
g o t h r o u g h a c o u r s e of p s y c h o a n a l y s i s to discover why m y n a t u r e
early in life h a d b e c o m e w a r p e d so t h a t a habit of m e a n n e s s w a s
engendered. But this is a lengthy a n d costly business - b a d a r g u m e n t s ,
admittedly, against its necessity. A n d so m u c h would depend upon the
analyst a n d his relations with myself. Instead, however, I might resort
to the following technique. M y first steps consist of those described
a b o v e - r h y t h m i c breathing, the light-shaft formulated from h e a d to
foot, a n d the circulation of force t h r o u g h the a u r a . T h e n remembering
that a generous outlook u p o n a n d an attitude t o w a r d s life is a

Jupiterian quality, I would s u r r o u n d myself with a n a z u r e sphere


whilst vibrating frequently a n d powerfully t h e divine n a m e EL It
depends entirely u p o n o n e ' s skill a n d familarity with t h e system
whether the n a m e s are vibrated silently o r audibly, b u t b y either w a y ,
powerful Jupiterian c u r r e n t s would p e r m e a t e m y being. I would even
visualize every cell being b a t h e d in an o c e a n of blueness; a n d I would
attempt t o imagine c u r r e n t s invading m y sphere from every direction,
so t h a t all m y thinking a n d feeling is literally in t e r m s of blueness.
Slowly a subtle transformation ensues. T h a t is, it w o u l d w e r e I really
sincere, desirous of correcting m y faults, a n d if I did a t t e m p t to
b e c o m e g e n e r o u s e n o u g h as to perform the practice faithfully a n d
often.
Likewise, if a friend o r patient complained of a similar vice in him,
appealing t o m e for help, in this instance I would use a positive colour
for projection. I would formulate m y sphere a s a n active d y n a m i c
purple s p h e r e , rich a n d royal in colour, a n d project its generous,
healing, a n d fecund influence u p o n his mind a n d personality. With
time the fault would be corrected t o his satisfaction a n d t h u s e n h a n c e
his spiritual nature.
A n d s o on, with everything else. T h e s e few examples will, I a m sure,
have s h o w n the application of the m e t h o d s .
It is not e n o u g h simply to wish for certain results a n d idly expect them
to follow. Failure only c a n c o m e from such an idle c o u r s e . A n y t h i n g
w o r t h while a n d likely to succeed requires a great deal of work a n d
perseverance. T h e Middle Pillar technique is certainly n o exception.
But devotion t o it is extremely worthwhile b e c a u s e of the n a t u r e and
quality of the results which follow. O n c e a d a y will d e m o n s t r a t e the
efficacy of the m e t h o d . Twice a d a y would be m u c h better - especially
if there is s o m e illness or psychic difficulty t o o v e r c o m e . After a while,
the student w h o is sincere a n d in w h o m t h e spiritual n a t u r e is
gradually unfolding, will apply himself t o the m e t h o d quite a p a r t from
the promise which I h a v e here held out. Healing p o w e r s , freedom from
poverty a n d w o r r y , h a p p i n e s s - all these are eminently desirable. But
over a n d a b o v e all of these is the desirability of knowing and
expressing t h e spiritual self within - t h o u g h it m a y be in s o m e cases
that this ideal is hardly attainable until s o m e m e a s u r e of fulfilment in
other respects a n d o n other levels h a s been achieved. W h e n , however,
the ideal is realized as desirable, then the value of this m e t h o d will also
be realized as supremely effectual t o t h a t end.

T h e s e e s s a y s , n o w r e v i s e d a n d b r o u g h t t o g e t h e r for t h e first
t i m e , b y o n e of t h e f o r e m o s t a u t h o r i t i e s o n t h e t h e o r y a n d
p r a c t i c e of M a g i c , r e p r e s e n t t h e fruit of a l i f e t i m e ' s s t u d y a n d
e x p e r i e n c e of o c c u l t t e c h n i q u e s .
T h e e m p h a s i s t h r o u g h o u t is o n p r a c t i c a l m e t h o d s of r e l e a s i n g t h e
v a s t i n n e r p o t e n t i a l o n w h i c h M a g i c d e p e n d s , w i t h t h e a i m of
finding ' t h e j e w e l of a n e w life' a life full of c r e a t i v e
possibilities b a s e d o n a radical r e n e w a l of c o n s c i o u s n e s s .
T h e v o l u m e c o n t a i n s T h e A r t a n d M e a n i n g of M a g i c ' , ' A
Q a b a l i s t i c P r i m e r ' , ' M e d i t a t i o n ' , T h e Q a b a l a h of N u m b e r a n d
M e a n i n g ' a n d T h e A r t of T r u e H e a l i n g ' .
'Very remarkable indeed . . . This is probably Regardie's best book since
his classic Tree of

Life.'

Colin Wilson

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