A Brief Overview
Of This Introductory Discourse
“I have found that in this Meditation there are five principle heads, which must
be diligently considered, as much by all who are in possession of the wisdom of
philosophy as by all who aspire after that wisdom which is attained by our art.
The first is the invocation of God; the second, the contemplation of Nature; the
third, true preparation; the fourth, the way of using; the fifth, the use and profit.
He who does not carefully attend to these points will never be included amoung
the real Alchemists, or be numbered amoung the perfect professors of the
(Basile Valentine – The Triumphal Chariot of Antimony – 1602)
It is important right from the outset to understand exactly what this
introductory discourse seeks to achieve, so that we might focus on what is
important and avoid unnecessary distractions, thereby making the most of an
intention to study productively.
First and foremost it should be accepted that many aspirants who desire and
seek initiation via the ancient western mystery tradition often have either
extremely unrealistic expectations or a healthy degree of ignorance about the
subject. Experience demonstrates that sooner or later either or both of these
things will conflict with the reality of training and possibly interfere with the
student’s ability to maintain a productive study regime.
Thus, whether you are familiar with the mystery tradition, or not, and seek
instruction in a particular school or from a specific tutor because you hope the
flavour of their particular approach appeals to you, or whether you know little
of the tradition, but feel that it has something important to offer in your desire
to further your personal spiritual journey – we believe it is important that you
learn, before you are faced with accepting or rejecting serious commitment to
long term formal study, from someone who has made some headway in this
area of expertise.
This approach is necessary, we would suggest, where long term commitment
to any esoteric school is a consideration. It is particularly necessary where our
school of thought is concerned because we provide quite a novel approach to
esoteric training. Therefore, in the course of this introductory discourse we
present two views concerning the western mystery tradition. Firstly there is the
general, historical and popular view. Secondly, there is the particular
approach we have developed. It is hoped by covering both areas that the
student will develop a good understanding about the tradition itself, and the
pros and cons of the approaches to training that have previously been tried as
well as the motive behind, and benefits of, our approach to the process.
ecause there are many books published in the realm of popular occultism,
which describe in great detail the methods of past and contemporary schools
and systems of occult training, it is our stand that the world does not need
another college that is simply a repetition of the conventional, popular,
standard approach. When the formal training course we provide was being
designed it developed around the central idea that for all the complexity of the
modern tradition it is agreed that there is an almost complete lack of ability to
guide students into advanced states of consciousness and enable them to
work real Magick with accuracy and reliability. In other words it is our intention
to raise the standard of training in order to attain higher goals than has
previously been the norm.
In the guise of excuses for failure we hear oft-repeated clichés like “it takes
more than one life, and often several, to attain the summit of spiritual
aspiration”. This may be true, but when we consider how many shots at the
task we have probably already taken we also must consider that it’s likely that
we have missed something. Although not everyone is ready for the extremes
of success, the Guild insists, based on its experience, that those
achievements that are part of the generally accepted lot are far below the
actual goals we all should not only be aiming at but relatively easily attaining.
Therefore it should be remembered from the outset that our process is
result driven. Designed to work fast and effectively and therefore makes
use of techniques that are not everyone’s cup of tea. There is no place
here for the indolent, the spectator or the tourist. We suggest from the
outcome it is better that you withdraw from tuition now rather than
waste your time or waste your tutor’s time with a mediocre commitment
or disreputable behaviour. The Guild does not want you if you are not
100% committed to the life of an alchemist.
We believe that the present low standard of attainment in mainstream esoteric
schools has arisen from a general stagnation brought on by an almost
complete loss of knowledge concerning the underlying principles which enable
the a tutor to successfully lead a student from spiritual impotency back to self
empowerment, and through a lack of skill in maintaining the integrity of
working groups. Our formal Instruction, therefore, is aimed at educating the
student in these basic principles, in a fundamental understanding of the
machinery of occult training and practice, devoid of any extraneous and
distracting subject matter. By such a method, we suggest, the student who is
patient and persistent in our system will be able to apply the tools they have
obtained from their training to any system he or she desires, and to turn that
system from an impotent toy into a powerful Magickal discipline and way of
Why have a Tutor as opposed to being self-taught?
It is often asked why it is necessary to have the assistance of a tutor for such
instruction, when many schools these days seem to do so well without them,
giving instruction via correspondence courses. Our assertion is that, primarily,
and for the greater number of people who take part in such correspondence
ourses, such instruction is only really providing information of a certain
impersonal type. While it is often helpful to have such information, that type of
instruction does not constitute effective esoteric training of the kind that leads
to serious personal-internal transmutation. The bulk of students who
assiduously work away at these kinds of courses simply end up well informed
but no better of for want of significant reliable spiritual progress.
Therefore, we insist, that such instruction allows the average student to
progress to a certain early point of readiness and no further. What is required,
if we are to advance into the real work, is the experienced help of a competent
guide. Because of the nature of the stages of growth the advancing initiate
must pass through it is self evident, to those who have the experience that
one cannot progress past a certain early stage, without outside help.
For this reason our study course is designed to provide maximum success
only when the student desiring to follow this path does so under the guidance
of an experience tutor.
In order to prove our point, because it seems that the student often demands
or requires such proof, that a tutor is necessary, we were motivated to open
these documents to semi-public access. In this way we are assured that some
persons, with sincere desire to advance in our science, will insist they can
succeed in this work both safely and effectively without help, will learn that
both safety and effect are undermined by lack of experienced guidance.
To such persons who have tried and have lost heart or suffered we only say
that this system has been proved to deliver what it offers, but only under the
conditions we insist it be applied. Admit defeat and if you desire to succeed
seek an experienced tutor.
The student should establish a regular study rhythm. In order to assure that a
good rhythm is established that includes productive activities we set out below
in a series of five steps the exact procedure you should follow each week.
First Step: Choose a convenient study period, one night a week, where you
can remain undisturbed for at least 1 hour. The exact time should be
discussed with your tutor so that you can meet at the agreed time to work
together. Adhere to the keeping of this study period religiously. The reason for
this is that an attempt to assert your will by encouraging yourself to establish
new rhythms will test your degree of commitment to the task. A student with a
weak will and little commitment to study will find a way to break or dishonour
the commitment to regular study quickly and thereby demonstrate their
unsuitability for the task.
Second Step: Each weekly study period will then begin by performing the
opening prayer and the meditation.
The opening prayer (or affirmation) is taken from the ‘Egyptian book of the
Dead’ (The Pert Em Heru – or Book of Coming Forth into the Light) “The
Chapter of changing into the God who Giveth Light in the Darkness” – Literally:
The prayer epitomises the Initiates search for Inner Wisdom.
“I am the Girdle of the Robe of the God Nu, which shineth and sheddeth Light,
which abideth in His Presence and sendeth forth Light into Darkness, which
knitteth together the two fighters who liveth in my body through the mighty
spell of my mouth, which raiseth up Him who hath fallen”.
After the opening prayer we suggest you perform a short and simple
meditation designed to focus your attention ‘in the present moment’ so that
you can gain the maximum benefit from each study period.
Seat yourself in the ‘God form’, that is, in a straight-backed chair feet and
knees together hands resting straight and apart on your lap. This stance can
be seen in some Egyptian statues. Close your eyes and concentrate on your
breathing until you have established a calm even flow of breath in and out.
Now concentrate on each of your senses one at a time. Listen carefully to
every noise you can hear, smell the atmosphere you are studying in, become
aware of the tastes in your mouth, feel the tactile sensations you get through
your body, and lastly, when you open your eyes take a long careful look at the
room you are in.
hird Step: The third step, then, is where your weekly work is carried out –
reading the lesson, reading textbooks, discussion of this material with your
tutor and practicing any exercises you have been set. If you are an Internet
student intending to log on to IRC (for example) each study session, in order
to work with your tutor, you might do that immediately after the meditation.
(Note; when discussing your tuition with your tutor, using a chat client, please
do it in a private message window, not in an open channel).
Fourth Step: Make notes on the material discussed or read, and on any
advice your tutor offers concerning your ongoing work. Make an entry in your
journal as necessary.
Fifth Step: After completing the night’s lesson close the study period with the
final adoration. It is important to follow this entire formula precisely and ritually
The closing adoration is more an invocation directed at the highest ideal of
Godhead. That God who is Lord over all creation, who itself has not been
created, and who exists in total unity, beyond duality, and therefore outside of
conflict. This second prayer was adapted from an ancient Greek Hermetic text
by the creators of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.
“Holy Art Thou, Lord of the Universe”
“Holy Art Thou, Whom Nature Hath not formed”
“Holy Art Thou, The Vast and the Mighty One”
“Lord of the Light and of the Darkness … Amen”
It is not your tutor’s job to chase you up if you fail to fulfil your obligations
where tuition is concerned. If you do not closely adhere to all the instruction
given, tuition will automatically be postponed or cancelled (without notice) until
you make contact again. It is your responsibility to fulfil tuition requirements; it
is not your tutor’s job to goad you. Self-motivation is important.
The introductory lectures are divided into four blocks of five lessons/study
periods each including a fifth lecture to close the course. One subject
dominates each block. For example the focus of the first block revolves
around instruction on esoteric fraternities, the second block on Magick, the
third on Alchemy and the fourth on Qabala. These four subjects are the basis
of our formal training so we desire you to have a very good understanding of
our attitude to each before making any decision as to whether or not to
attempt the practical application of the material presented in formal tuition.
The last lesson in each block is designed to review the information in the
preceding four lessons. The student should be aware that the tutor will require
him to present his journal in its entirety for all of these review sessions
here is a final instruction, which represents the fifth and last block of
instruction that aids in the transformation from probation to formal training.
This final probationary instruction is provided to graduates, who have been
invited to formal training, only.
At set points within the body of these introductory discourses, information on
meditation is also given. This meditational instruction we call trancework and
involves some simple demonstration of basic techniques for working with
astral states of awareness. This simple introductory trancework forms the
backbone of the more complex trancework presented in our formal training so
it must be attended to with the greatest care. You are advised not to actually
start the trancework exercises until you get word from your tutor, the timing of
which depends on certain goals being achieved as the process is designed to
cater for the individual needs of each student.
We understand that some students will be familiar with much of the subject
material presented in the introductory discourses. Therefore some may
consider that the instruction is becoming tedious and wish to move more
quickly towards more serious matters. In some cases this is possible. Each
student is judged on his or her individual potential, in such a situation, and as
long as the tutor believes the student has displayed all of the appropriate
personality traits, and success in the exercises described, to a degree which
warrant early advancement, a request my be considered. But it should be
understood that we know from experience that many students think they
understand much of the material presented when in fact the requirements of
later training often reveal that their understanding is relatively superficial and
often lacks in certain key points.
We also understand that some students will have their own opinion about
some of the material provided in these lessons, and that that opinion may be
contrary to ours. It should be remembered by more advanced students that
this introductory instruction is designed, firstly, for individuals who are almost
complete novices in general, and secondly, for anyone who is not familiar with
the Guild’s philosophy specifically. We should point out, therefore, that we do
not desire to indoctrinate anyone into a ridged point of view, but instead to
supply an understanding of certain subjects as a starting point for further
investigation. Later, as the formal student gains skill in the art of the
observation and investigation of the occult side of his being, and his
environment, he can then decide for himself what he accepts or rejects as far
as our opinion is concerned.
In the meantime the scene we set in these introductory lessons points to the
motives behind our approach to the task of delivering training.
For example, it is understood that some subjects, such as the history of our
Tradition, are open to much debate. In this example each individual’s personal
view of the information provided is respected. On the other hand there is
some subject matter contained in our instruction that is quite explicit and exact
in meaning, which can be verified by demonstration, and personal
investigation. The acceptance of some of these ideas is, it will be seen,
essential to success in our system of study.
It is not our concern, at the outset, whether any individual student accepts
what is taught in our instruction, but what is required is that each student
maintains an open mind about the information presented.
We hope you enjoy this introductory instruction. Please do not hesitate to
question your tutor on any of the material presented. Questioning is the basis
of a good learning experience.
Probationers Lesson 1
The Tradition and its Schools
“Thus in this one vile thing you will discover and bring to perfection the whole
work of philosophy, which to most men appears impossible, though it is a
convenient and easy task. If we were to shew it to the outer world we would be
derided by men, woman and children. Therefore be modest and secret, and you
will be left in peace and security.”
(Nicholas Delphinas – The Book of Lambspring)
The Probationers Contract
“Square conduct, level steps and upright intentions”
What is the purpose of the novice accepting an oath or contract at the outset
of instruction? There are two primary reasons for insisting that every novice
accept such a binding agreement. Firstly, it is important for the integrity of the
tuition relationship that the tutor has a measuring stick by which he can
determine the degree of mortality a student is willing to practice. Occult
training, especially that which aims at success in the Great Work, does not
function without an adherence to a certain moral code. The probationer’s oath,
then, is a preliminary expression of that code.
Secondly, effective occult training relies heavily on the establishment and
maintenance of personal discipline in its students. We are inherently
Magickal beings, as our tradition and our experience teach, but we have lost
access to our personal power through the weakening of our higher will. One of
the surest methods for re-asserting that will is to accept and abide by a set of
rules, a discipline that is specifically designed for the job. In some ways it is
not the rules themselves that are important (although they do suit a practical
purpose), but rather it is the act of forcing ourselves to uphold rules that is the
point. The side of our nature which abhors the Light and would do all it can to
weaken our will and turn us from the path to soul liberation will desire to
wrestle against such a discipline – and thus the Great Work, the work of the
attainment of enlightenment, full knowledge of our total being, begins.
The Probationer’s Prayers and
The ability to produce Magickal effects relies on our controlling some well-
defined psycho-dynamics. One of these dynamics is will power; a further
consideration is the productive use of habit, built up by a ritual-rhythm and
suggestions that take advantage of the powers of the subconscious in order to
awaken certain latent potentialities and to create constructive habits.
The process of Magickal training exposes the student to various types of
information and to various practices on an ascending scale of complexity. This
probationary instruction is designed to establish a firm healthy mental
foundation upon which to build a Magickal personality and to ensure time is
taken to assess the individual’s response to each new stimulus.
We introduce the novice to these first considerations in the form of the
opening prayer that must be read before every study period begins and a
short meditation following the prayer. At the end of the study period another
prayer is read to close down the session. Here we have the basic structure of
an occult ritual intended to establish a new, productive, psychophysical habit.
The idea, then, is that on the evening you have set aside as your study period,
begin by performing the opening prayer and the meditation. (See the opening
lecture). You can light a candle and incense if you desire, in order to aid in
creating a more definite atmosphere.
The idea is to focus your newly developing Magickal personality within well
defined limits, the boundaries of which are set by your opening and closing
gestures. During the study period try very hard to avoid thinking about
mundane things. Shut out that part of your life and attempt to flood yourself
with thoughts, reading, note taking, pictures and images that are centred on
your study. When choosing your study time, therefore, a period should be
chosen where outside distraction is reduced to a minimum. This helps to aid
concentration and to clear a space in your life that belongs to the occultist
only. It is an hour (or more) of sanctuary, where the divine self can stretch and
flex its muscles like a butterfly emerging from its chrysalis.
The opening and closing turn this period into a ritual. They are methods that
help you to learn to switch on and turn off power as you will it so that you will
be able to control your personal power once it begins to awaken properly.
These are your first psychic exercises, ways of preparing for what will follow.
“Preparation is Everything”
The Past History of the Western
The details of the story of how the western mystery tradition began have
probably been presented differently with every Order that cares to consider it,
almost. But the basic stories, the fundamentals, are generally agreed upon.
Humanity existed in a state devoid of the possibility of attaining enlightenment
by natural evolution. That is, it had plateaued out at a biological and
psychological level that is characterised as being the peek of lower animal
evolution. This proto-humanity needed a shock, a catalyst, supplied from
outside of its gene pool to bounce it up into the next phase of evolution – the
human. This shock was, it is generally agreed, supplied from the outside by a
non-human race of beings from a higher level of existence, an event that
constitutes the sort after ‘missing link’. Just who or what these beings were is
not clear or specifically agreed upon. But the Qabalistic1 tradition cites
mention of the Beni Elohim, the Sons of God, spoken of early in Genesis.
This inter-marriage between humanity, and what the Qabalistic tradition refer
to as Divine Beings – incarnate in bodies of flesh, produced a number of new
species, some monsters and some from which modern humanity can trace its
ancestry. These new men had both physically and psychologically the
capability to evolve into the next level of being above human, the
transcendental man. We might call this process one of careful gene
manipulation for the purpose of creating a higher life form.
It is suggested that this race, of praetor-human intelligence, also gifted their
new mankind with a variety of advanced (for their present stage of
development), knowledge: art, warfare, language, medicine, agriculture, the
beginnings of civilisation and … for the elite few who had developed more
quickly than the rest spiritually they gifted – occult knowledge, the esoteric or
universal science, which would enable them to develop their psychophysical
condition beyond natural bounds.
Some traditions teach that humanity itself, through a process of evolution, by
trial and error, discovered the secret laws of nature with no physical outside
help, such as we have postulated above. Shaman, they would have us
believe, were the first simple primitive Magi. Successive generations and
cultures developed their knowledge and its ordering until roughly about 3000-
2000 BC, at which time the Egyptians and Chaldeans had developed huge
powerful Mystery Schools. This version of esoteric history is only propagated,
largely, by the earth traditions such as wicca. As H.P.Blavatsky, the author of
‘The Secret Doctrine’, pointed out “In all ages of human evolution primitive
cultures have existed beside advanced civilised ones” (rough quote), and that,
therefore, Magickal knowledge did not evolve from a primitive into an
advanced state. The western mystery schools, the inheritors of this ancient
tradition, state quite firmly that humanity did not discover by trial and error but
were given lock-stock-and-barrel a complete advanced universal science
which we now refer to by such names as ‘the ageless wisdom’, ‘the divine
science’ or simply ‘the ancient mysteries’, and commonly ‘occultism’ for
These mystery teachings were basically the arte of accelerating human
evolution through various techniques that exploited a deeper knowledge of the
secret laws of nature, both physical and psychological. The process of
teaching, itself, involved both an education in these laws, exercises that put
these laws into practice, and a philosophy concerning the proper channels
that the results of enlightenment should be guided into.
Qabala: (also spelled Qabbalah, Kabbala, Cabala, Cabbala, etc). A Hebrew word meaning ‘to receive’
referring originally to the oral reception of a secret spiritual tradition upon which the Old Testament
and various other Hebrew religious texts were based. The western mystery tradition makes extensive
use of the ‘Hermetic’ Qabala, which, while heavily Hebraic, is more universal in nature.
So the Egyptians, the Persians and Chaldeans of Mesopotamia, and
eventually the Semites, specifically the Hebrews, were the immediate
inheritors of the ancient Atlantean mysteries – the Mysteries of the ‘Solar
Temple’ as their white or evolutionary Magick is termed, as well as the
mysteries of the ‘Luna Temple’ or dark Magick. These cultures changed the
original unified and universal science of the Beni Elohim into various different
disciplines. As Paracelsus, the famous Alchemist, tells us in his ‘Aurora of the
Philosophers’: ‘The Chaldeans, Persians, and Egyptians had all of them the
same knowledge of the secrets of nature, and also the same religion. It is only
the names that differed. The Chaldeans and Persians called their doctrine
Sophia and Magic; and the Egyptians, because of the sacrifice, called their
wisdom Priestcraft. The magic of the Persians and the Theology of the
Egyptians were both of them taught in the schools of old. (. . .) But Moses,
Abraham, Solomon, Adam, and the wise men that came from the East to
Christ, were true magi, divine sophists and Qabalists. Of this art the Greeks
knew very little or nothing at all; and therefore we shall leave this philosophical
wisdom of the Greeks as being mere speculation, utterly separate from other
true arts and sciences’. Bold words indeed, (but nevertheless true),
considering modern science believes that it had its beginning in the
contemplation’s of the Greek philosophers.
Eventually the Greeks conquered Egypt and were thereby immersed in the
dregs of the ancient secrets – philosophy, mathematics, chemistry and
medicine. The Arabs in post Christian times followed in the steps of the
Greeks conquering Egypt about 46 AD. By the end of the dark ages Christian
Europe had secretly been Initiated into the Mysteries of our ancient forebears
through the efforts, mainly, of certain religious clerics, monks who travelled to
the East, to learn from the progenitors of the Sufis, Qabalists amongst the
Hebrews and Hermetic Magi (for example), and returned to start secret
schools within the confines of the monastic tradition, wherein Qabala and
Alchemy and other occult arts developed a distinctly European expression.
From these early Christian secret societies grew more complex schools with
more and more developed knowledge evolved through years of experience.
By the beginning of the renaissance these schools were regularly initiating
secular persons, mainly aristocrats, into their ranks, and the mystery schools
slowly became divorced from religious control. Here we find hints of the
beginnings of some of the most famous secret traditions such as the
Templars, the Freemasons and the Rosicrucians.
Now, the most ancient mystery schools, those of Egypt and Mesopotamia,
most certainly had complex rites of initiation and advancement, in which
subtle natural forces were invoked in order to catalyse changes in their
initiates consciousness. But at the fall of the ancient Egyptian mysteries, and
the mysteries of Greece and Rome, these ageless rites were all but lost.
Through the dark ages, the middle ages and on up through the renaissance
the secret colleges probably used ceremonial initiation sparingly, and often
not at all. Most likely the early Rosicrucians of the 16th and 17th centuries had
no ceremonial as part of their early tradition, for these men and woman
formed secret societies interested in the preservation and research of occult
science and Christian mysticism only. Their interest was in experiment and
the further unveiling of the hidden laws of nature and devotion to a spiritual
ideal, with the firm hope of once again recovering a greater portion of the
knowledge possessed once by their most ancient forefathers, and of
protecting it from the ravages of mundane human society.
It was not until the beginnings of modern speculative Freemasonry that
ceremonial Initiation and advancement was once again experimented with
and developed into, by the late 1700s, a very complex and varied series of
rites that expressed a desire to once again awaken the ancient esoteric rites
in a modern setting. The primary catalyst for this explosion of occult ritual was
Freemasonry. The real psychological benefits of such rites were not, really,
understood or explained it seems, until the advent of the Hermetic Order of
the Golden Dawn in 1888.
It is, then, through the seed of Freemasonry, almost solely, that we find many
modern western occult schools2 have grown. Masonry itself is not an overtly
occult institution but it attracted the attention and commitment of many of the
western world’s foremost occultists for the last 300 years. These vigorous
investigators of the divine grafted new more complex and more deeply occult
branches onto the tame rites of popular Freemasonry until by the end of the
1800’s a neo-Masonic fraternity called the Society of Rosicrucians in England
(S:.R:.I:.A:.) gave birth to the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn which has
become the most notorious modern technically occult fraternity in our time,
effecting almost every school of thought in this subject area since its public
exposure just after the turn of the century.
Today we refer the mainstream of schools in the western tradition as
‘Hermetic’. For they, according to legend, preserve a tradition that had its
inception with the one time King of Egypt Thoth-Hermes. Schools which have
openly followed in the wake of the G:.D:. system particularly use the epithet
Hermetic are considered so.
Keeping a Magick Journal
Occult training is a science, as well as an art. No scientific endeavour would
be as productive or safe as it should be without keeping careful and detailed
record of its progress. Such training as ours affects ones behaviour, dream
life, beliefs, emotional and intellectual faculties and daily relationships with
family, work mates and friends. Life in general, not just your training, very
soon becomes a very complex affair, and therefore it is important that you
establish the habit quickly of recording you progress so you can keep track
during the rough periods. It is too late once you find yourself struggling to
decide “I better start keeping my journal now” because the important entries
you will need to look over will be those in the weeks or months leading up to
Specifically the school structure as an institution, not so much the actual occult techniques that such
the start of the problem period. Therefore it is important that you immediately
begin keeping a daily record in a ‘Magick journal’ – in which you will record:
Every dream you remember.
The results of all trance (astral) work.
What you read in relation to your study and your opinions and
questions about the contents of reading material.
Your attitudes, questions and progress in general study.
Mood swings, emotional highs and lows, concerns and fears, etc.,
connected with the work.
Realisations and insights concerning or stemming from the work.
In short anything and everything you feel is connected with, or springs from,
your tuition should be noted. The question often arises “how much detail
should I include?” The answer is simple. Since the journal is designed (partly)
to help you understand how problem behaviour begins, you will be grateful
later, once problems do begin, if you have included too much detail rather
than too little. It should be remembered that a big part of serious occult
training is about learning to be honest with yourself about your nature, your
experiences and your life. Short entries with a lack of helpful detailed in a
journal generally betray a resistance towards honesty with self rather than a
willingness to succeed.
If you have not done or experienced any of the above listed six activities on
any one day you should simply write “I did nothing today”. There is no need to
explain why. It is important that every day of every week has some kind
of entry. Remember that at times your tutor will require a look at your journal.
One reason for this is so that he can check on your progress, to make sure
you’re still moving forward without any difficulties. Another treason is so that
he can learn to understand you a bit better. If he is going to help you later,
during formal tuition, if you desire to advance that far, he cannot help you
safely and productively if he does not know what kind of a person you are. It is
important to remember this when deciding what kind of detail about yourself
you might include in your journal.
At the least your journal records will be requested every review lesson. Any
student who fails to provide adequate journal records at his tutor’s request is
in danger of having his tuition terminated. There is no room for negotiation on
this matter as it is of the utmost importance. For this reason online students
should endeavour to keep an up to date e-copy of their journal ready to hand
to the tutor if required.
There are three textbooks that every student who advances to formal training
is required to study with care. If you desire, you may ask for copies of these
textbooks now3 so that you may begin to give them some preliminary
E-text versions are available.
consideration. However they are somewhat advanced reading, so as a further
option we strongly suggest that you first make an effort to obtain at least one
book from each of the four sections below, as a proper supplement to these
1 The Tradition and its Schools:
The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail – Baigent, Leigh, Lincoln
The Temple and the Lodge – Baigent, Leigh, Lincoln
What you should know about the Golden Dawn
(Was called ‘My Rosicrucian Adventure’) – Israel Regardie.
The Unlocked Secret (Freemasonry revealed) – James Dewar.
Selected Masonic Papers – A.E.Waite.
Orders of the Quest or – Manly P Hall
Masonic Orders of Fraternity or – Manly P Hall
Orders of Universal Reformation – Manly P Hall
Apprenticed to Magic – W.E. Butler
The Tree of Life – Israel Regardie
The Training and Work of the Initiate – Dion Fortune
A separate reality – Carlos Castaneda
Tales of Power – Carlos Castaneda
Magick Without Tears – A.Crowley
The Alchemists Handbook – Frater Albertus
The Philosophers Stone – Israel Regardie
Plant Alchemy – Manifred Junius
The Garden of Pomegranates – Israel Regardie
The Mystical Qabala – Dion Fortune
The Tree of Life – Shimeon Halevi
The Way of Kabbalah – Shimeon Halevi
A Practical guide to Qabalistic Symbolism (2 Vols) – Gareth Knight
(Note: The books on the above list are chosen because of their relationship to
the Guilds formal training course, and not because of any general
considerations as to a books worthiness as a source of helpful esoteric
information. They are listed in order of preference.)
Some Important Words
The following is a list of some important words that recur in our lectures. In
order that they are understood in the way in which we intended them to be we
include this appendix to lesson 1.
Alchemy: Specifically an ancient occult science and art that focuses on
seeking to discover the secret laws of nature through a process of seeking the
Philosophers Stone. Traditional Alchemy is a form of sacred chemistry that
makes use of spiritual techniques.
Astral: refers generally to the layers of non-physical existence that extend
from just beyond the physical world to just before the absolute divine world.
WE can say that these realms are psychological in nature.
Magick: Spelled with a ‘k’ to differentiate it from stage illusionism. It is the
ancient art of causing change to happen through the application of mental
powers. Therefore Magick is a form of occult psychology.
Occult: Hidden, Secret. (See any good dictionary). A system of Magickal
philosophy, including various practical exercises, that is concerned with
exalting the physical reality by incarnating spirit into matter.
Mystic(al): A system of spiritual development concerned with rejecting the
physical reality in preference for unity with God.
Esoteric: Not commonly accepted (adhered to/liked), used or adhered to. E.g.
classical music is considered esoteric.
Elements: Referring to the four alchemical/Magickal elements. These
represent four different conditions or states that reality exists in. They can also
be considered as four different forces working in nature. A fifth element, called
the quintessence or spirit, is also referred to. The fifth is a harmonious
combination of the four. The common names of these elements are Fire, Air,
Water and Earth and do not solely refer to the physical substances that
commonly go by these names.
Exoteric: Common, mundane.
Higher Genius: also called the higher self. Refers to the extreme upper limit
of the human experience.
Hermetic: Refers to a particular Magickal tradition and philosophy which is
said o have been founded by the God-King Thoth/Hermes about 8000 BC. It
was adopted by the western world as its primary Magickal orientation.
Holy Guardian Angel: A term popularised by the Golden Dawn initiates.
Refers to the Angelic intelligence that governs, as an overseer, individual
humans through the higher genius.
Rosicrucian: An Esoteric Order whose teachings are based in Qabala,
Gnosticism, Hermeticism, Neo-Platonics, Mystic Christianity and in some
cases The Ancient Mysteries of Egypt. It was originally a secret society whose
modern beginnings were in the 17th century.
Fraternity: Brotherhood. Usually refers to a esoteric society which studied
occult knowledge and often in secret. Re: Esoteric or Occult Order. Is used in
the same vein as ‘Monastic Order’ and has a similar meaning.
Qabala: The Secret Tradition (occult) of the ancient Semites.
Alchemy: Refers to an ancient sacred form of chemistry and a form of
Freemasonry: A ceremonial Order that teaches a system of morals through
ritual and symbolism.
Ceremonial: Re: Magick and Orders. In the Western Tradition a ceremonial
Order is one that marks the beginning of each of its Grades (or levels of
achievement) with ritual dramas designed to explain esoteric principles.
Mysteries: Re: Ancient Mysteries. A complex Science of occult knowledge
taught both dramatically (ceremonially) and verbally (and written) in the
Temples and Colleges of the Ancient (pre-Christian) World.
Hermetic: A Tradition of occult knowledge that was said to be founded by the
Pharaoh Thoth (Hermes) approximately 8,500 years BC and forms the basis
of the modern Western Mystery Tradition.
Golden Dawn: The Hermetic Order of the. One of the most famous modern
Mystery schools in the Western Tradition. (G:,D:.)
Gnosis: Derives from Gnostic Christianity. Gnosis: the direct perception of a
Soul: The soul is considered in two degrees of development. The higher soul,
which Qabalists call Neschamah and represents the part of us which thrusts
after divine things, and the lower soul which Qabalists call Nephesch and is
called the animal soul, which is subjective and instinctual.
Spirit: The spirit is known as the Ruach by Qabalists. It is the rational and
Probationers Lesson 2
Preservation of Esoteric Ideas
” … that the secret might not be lost, but rather continued and preserved to
posterity, they expounded it most faithfully, both in their writings and in oral
teaching to their faithful disciples, for the benefit of posterity; nevertheless they
so clothed and concealed the truth in allegorical language that even now only
very few are able to understand their instruction and turn it to practical account.”
(Anon – The Sophic Hydrolith)
In the past ages of the history of esoteric fraternities two things, almost
exclusively, have played the major role in the maintenance of the secret
sciences, and that is the production and preservation of esoteric literature and
a secret oral tradition4. When we talk about esoteric literature we specifically
refer to serious, deep and often very technical records of occult philosophy,
practice and experience. We do not refer to pop occultism, which has often
become popular because it has lost its link to the oral tradition. The oldest
occult books that have survived to modern times are of a complex esoteric
nature. When we study these ancient records we can see a definite parallel
between the universal science, say, 4000 years ago, and that which we have
inherited and developed today.
What we know of the secret Magickal practices and theory of the ancient
Mages we have learned largely from the written word they have bequeathed
to us. When lines of transmission collapse and a traditional view is in danger
of folding, sometimes the only thing that ensures the lineage is not completely
lost is the records that conscientious adepti of the tradition maintained and
Accurate and workable esoteric literature falls roughly (for our present
purpose) into two broad groups. That produced by individuals outside of an
Established School and that produced by individuals working within Occult
Schools. The former is often published work, but not always. The latter is
often rarely seen by persons outside of the occult fraternities whose archives
they rest in. External publications are numerous and often abound with error.
Nevertheless there are noble exceptions. Some of the archives preserved
within Esoteric Orders hold vast numbers of very old and even ancient
manuscript records, instructions and symbolic diagrams attesting to the
thousands of years experiment with meditation, ritual and Alchemy, for
Oral tradition: refers to the passing on of a body of knowledge that held the keys to the understanding
of more common or published esoteric traditions. This oral tradition was composed of a set knowledge
and a body of knowledge gathered from experience. The loss of the oral tradition in any branch of
esoteric transmission is nearly always the primary cause of the corruption of that branch and its lack of
fruit bearing activity.
example, and the successes and failures of thousands of highly trained
meticulous practitioners of occult science.
Such a collection and production of documents is a monument to the great
knowledge and understanding that is offered to the student of esoteric science
in the framework of formal training. Much fine adjustment has been made to
every aspect of theory and practice in 6000 years evolvement of occult
science. In every generation a new wave of esoteric literature is produced
which is designed to present the ageless universal science in contemporary
Therefore a very important aspect of occult training is the collection and study
of esoteric literature. At this time in history we find the bookshelves of occult
bookshops overflowing with material on every aspect of occult interest. The
trained student who has a good familiarity with the western mystery tradition
will quickly tell you that much of that which one can buy today, in the way of
esoteric literature, is of little or no value to the serious student undergoing
formal training. Therefore, whether you have a limited budget or can spend
freely on books for your personal library, it is important that you save yourself
time and frustration by knowing which literature is best to give priority to.
The basic rules, when searching for new reading material, for students
studying our system, are quite simple:
(1) Look for books that you know are written by initiates, and preferably ones
who have been initiated into some school belonging to the same stream
we follow, i.e. the Masonic-Golden Dawn tradition and its offshoots.
One of the first hurdles to overcome in occult training is the learning of the
‘lingo’. Just as higher mathematics, physics or astronomy, for example, have
their own languages in which the more complex subjects of their concern are
understood and conversed in, so too does every system of occultism have a
‘lingo esoterica’ in which its deeper teachings can be discussed and
understood. Many western systems use the same basic occult language,
which we call Hermetic, but every school (almost) varies in the details of what
they believe certain words mean and in the interpretation of certain symbols.
When reading books written by authors who belong to these various schools
of thought the first problem to overcome is an understanding of the meaning
of the terminology they use. This can become quite confusing, more so when
you add to your reading schedule books written by non-initiates or initiates
outside the main stream who use their own personal lingo, or who have
twisted an established esoteric language.
The idea, then, is to stick to just one school of thought, at first, until you have
mastered its basics. Then branch out into other allied systems and then onto
more obscure material as you go. Otherwise if you try to manage everything
and anything from the beginning then all you will probably do is succeed in
confusing yourself and never get past the first post.
Often one of the results of such a hotch potch approach is that the student
ends up in believing that basically everyone, including advanced adepti, make
up their understanding as they go, because there is no ‘science’ to the
subject. This in fact is quite wrong. An accurate science and understanding
does exist. It simply has become distorted in the public arena over the ages.
So why choose books written by Masonic-Golden Dawn (G:.D:.) initiates?
Firstly, because we use their terminology (language) in our system. We use it
because our system developed out of the Masonic-G:.D:. tradition, and
because it is accepted by many, many occultists today as having set a
standard in the communication of western esoteric ideas. Secondly, because
it is agreed that the published material of G:.D:. Initiates is of a high standard
(generally) and covers every subject (excepting to a greater degree Alchemy)
that is of interest to the beginner and journeyman alike.
(2) When choosing books published by G:.D:. Initiates (or individuals who
follow the G:.D:. stream) there are a number of outstanding authors which
should form the basis of any personal library:
Paul Foster Case
We have listed these authors in a rough ‘best first’ arrangement. Lets begin
with Israel Regardie.
Israel (Francis) Regardie was the one time student of Aleister Crowley.
Regardie joined a Stella Matutina Temple of the G:.D:. stream eventually and
studied the system in England and later in the USA. Regardie’s claim to fame
is that he was the individual who first published the once secret G:.D:. study
material in a fashion which made it accessible to the mass popular occult
market. This act brought him both great acclaim and a good deal of abuse. It
should be remembered that he had to break his oath in order to publicise the
material. So many feel no matter what his reasons for doing this they cannot
be justified. The publication that caused all of the uproar was a three or four
volume set called ‘The Golden Dawn’. Later the four volumes were complied
into one paperback volume and then re-arranged and re-edited into a large
hardback called ‘The Complete Golden Dawn’. The work contains about 80%
of the Orders original official teachings and is still the primary source of
information on the subject. Regardie produced several publications that are
worth buying or reading. Below is a selection of his works that may be helpful
to one of our students in formal training:
What you should know about the Golden Dawn (formally ‘My
Rosicrucian Adventure’) – An excellent introduction to the history and
workings of the Order.
The Tree of Life – One of his early works that gives a very detailed
description of the Arte Magick.
The Garden of Pomegranates – A good prima on Qabala.
The Middle Pillar – Primarily a discourse on the psychology of Magick
that rotates around a base of the Middle Pillar meditation.
The Philosophers Stone – Another excellent psychology of Magick but
from an alchemical point of view.
Twelve Steps to Enlightenment – A step by step introduction to
helpful exercises in Magickal development
Crowleys Apprentice – Regardie’s biography (By Gerald Shuster)
Second in line to Regardie must come Dion Fortune. She was a one time
member of the Stella Matutina Temple run by McGregor Mathers (one of the
originators of the G:.D:. system) widow. Fortune was eventually expelled
(through Mrs Mathers jealousy of her abilities) and started her own Order
called the ‘The Society of Inner Light’. Her school took the basis of the G:.D:.
system and moved in Celtic and Egyptian directions. The ‘Inner Light’ gave
birth to a number of other later Orders and societies that are of note. Dion
Fortunes’ occult publications are very much in a similar vein to Regardies (in
our mind), giving direct easily understood fundamental instruction in occult
training as it is understood from a main stream G:.D:. point of view. Dion also
wrote a number of occult novels that are based on sound esoteric practice
and theory. We can recommend all of her works:
Aspects of Occultism
Esoteric Orders and their Work
Esoteric Philosophy of Love and Marriage
Practical Occultism in Daily Life
The Training and Work of an Initiate
Through the Gates of Death
The Goat Foot God
The Sea Priestess
The Winged Bull
The Magical Life of Dion Fortune, by Alan Richardson
Search for Dion Fortune, by Janine Chapman
It should be understood that Dion Fortune’s novels are not simply interesting
stories with which one might whittle away the hours. They are an attempt to
present actual occult dynamics as they may appear in the lives of true adepti.
Therefore they are full of important lessons and technical clues.
In the popular mind the next most well known individual after Regardie and
Fortune has to be Aleister Crowley. To many people today Crowley has
assumed an almost (if not entirely) prophet like stature. His history is complex
and quite strange. He joined the G:.D:. early in life and rose through its ranks
quite quickly. He was a very well educated man and very intelligent.
Before he entered the higher Grades in the Order he had a falling out with
some of its governing members and eventually left claiming to have taken
over the autocratic Government of the Order himself. At that time he founded
his own version of the Golden Dawn called the Argentum Astrum (A:.A:.) and
later transferred his focus into another Masonic based Order called the Order
of the Temple of the Orient (O:.T:.O:.).
In our opinion Crowley’s greatest offering to the tradition was his ability to
scientifically examine, experiment with and quantify every aspect of occult
practice (except Alchemy). He established some very important laws and
standards and had much of value to say concerning the difficulties of studying
Magick and of the arte Magick itself. On the other hand he has been accused
of being the most evil man alive, of being insane and/or deluded, a drug
addict and sexual pervert . . . not without cause. All the same, that he and his
aims were quite misunderstood by even the most adept occultists there is no
doubt. We advise reading Crowley but caution heavily against putting any of
his teachings into practice. His best works for our purposes are:
Magick Without Tears – A compilation of letters of instruction to one of
his students covering every aspect of training.
Magick in Theory and Practice – A starter manual in Magickal
Liber Aleph – Crowley’s most heart held theories on Magick and its
philosophy and life.
Gems of the Equinox (by Regardie) – A collection of the best parts of
Crowley’s huge work ‘Equinox of the Gods’.
The Confessions of Aleister Crowley – His autobiography.
The Great Beast (by John Symonds) – A Crowley biography.
Next on our list is Gareth Knight. He was a one-time pupil of Dion Fortune. He
is a well-known and respected occultist in England and has published one or
two very good books. His best are definitely:
A Practical Guide to Qabalistic Symbolism (2 Vols) – This work was
designed to finish what Fortune had begun in her ‘Mystical Qabala’.
The Secret Tradition in Arthurian Legend – One of the best works on
Next in line is A.E.Waite. He joined the G:.D:. in its early years. When it split
in the early 1900’s Waite created his own Order called ‘The Holy Order of the
G:.D:.’. Waite strongly disliked Magick so his Order had stripped all
references to Magick from its ceremony and instruction in order to follow a
more Christian Mystic path.
Waite was the inspiration behind the Rider-Waite Tarot deck that was, in its
day, one of the most popular decks around. He was an avid Freemason and a
learned Qabalist and published many scholarly books in his time. Many
contemporary and later authors deride his works as being too flowery
mouthed, but we feel this is petty quivelling, for the quality of information is
The Hidden Church of the Holy Grail – One of the better works on the
Selected Masonic Papers – A collection of very interesting lectures on
many aspects of Freemasonry.
The Holy Qabala – For a long time one of only two English expositions
on the Zohar.
The last author on our list was Paul Foster Case. He was an American G:.D:.
man who rose to high office in the US Order and then decided to abandon it
for his own version of its teachings. He founded his own school called the
‘Builders of the Adytum’ (B:.O:.T:.A:.) which centred its teachings around
Qabala and more importantly the Tarot. Case was also not a fan of traditional
medieval Magick so watered down the G:.D:. instruction on the subject to,
practically, mere mentions of the system. His approach is primarily
contemplative and meditative. He published a couple of interesting works of
which we can recommend two:
The True and Invisible Rosicrucian Order – A very interesting look at
modern Rosicrucianism from a G:.D:. type aspect.
The Tarot – Wisdom of the Ages – A very good basic instruction in his
Orders version of Tarot which is very G:.D:. in basis.
Besides these primary authors there are a number of others worth giving a
good deal of consideration, foremost are those authors who have written on
Frater Albertus – ‘The Alchemists Handbook’ and ‘Alchemist of the
Manifred Junius – ‘Plant Alchemy’
Fulcanelli – ‘Mysteries of the Cathedrals’, ‘Dwellings of the
Basil Valentine – ‘The Triumphal Chariot of Antimony’
Anonymous – ‘Collectanea Chemica’
Also worth a read are the authors:
Simeon Halevi – ‘Adam and the Qabalistic Tree’, ‘School of the
Soul’, ‘Kabbalah and Psychology’, ‘The Anatomy of Fate’ and ‘The
Eliphas Levi – ‘Transcendental Magic’
Aidian Kelly – ‘Crafting the Art of Magick (Wicca)’
W.E.Butler – ‘Apprenticed to Magic’ and ‘The Magician – his
Training and Work’.
Franz Bardon – ‘Initiation into Hermetics’
Probationers Lesson 3
Egregores and Group Psychology
“Much has been said about the life and functions of that interesting Magickal
entity known as the egregore, but little is generally known. The birth, life and
death of any esoteric group is intimately tied to its egregore, therefore ignorance
of the nature of this class of entity causes the group to be battered by the winds
of fate upon every turn of the path, subject to disaster at every turn. Therefore
the knowledgeable head of an esoteric group will be needfully strict in the act of
cutting off any decaying branch, least the tree be wholly corrupted.”
(Frater Aben – Spring Equinox 1991)
One of the most important ideas to consider when examining the motives for
occult study within organised fraternities (or other types of group) is the
Magickal concept of the dynamic of group psychology. In order to elucidate on
this subject here we must begin by explaining the basics of the structure and
function of the human mind.
Our psyche is basically divided into three fields or areas of activity. First we
have the unconscious mind that is considered, metaphorically, to be below
normal consciousness. It is that place where we sink into each night as we
enter sleep. The unconscious mind’s most important function is to store
memory of, digest and regurgitate, the conclusions of our experiences. The
experiences of the unconscious are, greatly, subjective.
Above, metaphorically speaking, the unconscious mind we have the
conscious or waking mind. The primary function of this part of the psyche is to
observe and assess the environment that our physical body lives in. The
conscious mind judges and plans.
Between, again – metaphorically speaking, the unconscious and conscious
minds is the subconscious mind. Its functions are borrowed partly from the
unconscious and partly from the conscious minds. For example, when I am
daydreaming I am in a subconscious state that is very close to consciousness.
Therefore, in this state I still have a reasonable access to my ability to make
judgements concerning my reality. On the other hand, when I am so deeply
relaxed that I am just about to fall into unconscious sleep I am at the deepest
level of the subconscious with little access, if any, to my conscious mind’s
The subconscious is that twilight zone where conscious dreaming takes place.
Where pathworking, creative visualisation and meditation takes place.
In the subconscious we can remember events in our physical lives by
imagining or visualising them. We call this recall or remembering. In the
subconscious we can also, by using the faculty of our imagination, ‘see’ the
functions of our unconscious mind working away. These self-initiated
experiences are called dreams, but also can be experienced deliberately in
certain types of meditation.
Within the unconscious, as we have said, we store our memories. These
include our beliefs, plans and wishes and hopes. All of the psychological
‘mechanisms’ that drive us live in the unconscious. The part of our mind that
controls our eating and digestion, for example, is a quite distinct personality
that rises into our conscious mind from its home in the unconscious, every
time we get hungry. In the same way, when we finish breakfast in the morning
and get into our car to drive to work the ‘eater’ personality sinks back into the
unconscious and the ‘driver’ pops up ready and willing to operate your vehicle.
The most interesting thing about all of this is that the secret territory of the
unconscious can be visualised in the subconscious as a kind of world, not
unlike the world of every day life. At the same time each ‘sub-personality’ (the
‘eater’, ‘driver’, ‘thinker’, etc.) can be visualised as actual people living in this
imaginary world. In this way we can develop a skill that allows us to
communicate with our inner selves.
So what does all of this have to do with group psychology? Well we might
imagine, for the purposes of this discussion, that our subconscious mind is
like a bubble that surrounds our physical body. Within this bubble exist all the
ideas we hold onto and, for example, all of the things we are interested in.
Now if we had the ability to look into people’s psychological bubbles and see
what is going on in them we would notice some very interesting things –
especially where groups of people are concerned.
Let us say, for argument’s sake, that we are looking at a room full of
individuals who are attending an occult instruction course. If we could see
each persons psyche-bubble we would notice that besides all of the different
ideas, beliefs, attitudes, etc. that they each have, everyone in the room shares
a common idea/subject – that of an interest in occult things.
Now, what happens when everyone arrives at the meeting is that their
‘bubbles’ are all separate and self contained. As the meeting starts and each
individual at the meeting begins to communicate and share ideas and
practical exercises those portions of their subconscious mind’s which share an
affinity externalise themselves and join together to form a new unconscious
bubble whose ‘body’ is found in every person in the group. This is called a
group mind. This collective unconscious bubble holds within it all of the
commonly held ideas and beliefs in the group. Every person in the group
affects the group mind, its growth, developments and eventual decay. In turn,
the group mind affects the whole group. Such group behaviour can be seen
working most effectively at sports matches, rock concerts and riots for
At the end of the night as each member leaves the group the collective
psyche begins to dismantle itself. As their minds turn away from the group and
onto other things than their collective interests, the ‘stuff’ that held the group
mind together, dissipates. Nevertheless, if the group deliberately cultivates the
group mind by concentrating on maintaining its integrity then it can be
encouraged to stay whole (integrated) over a long period of time including the
time between meetings. We see such a process put into action where
patriotism is concerned and within large religious communities. Every group
has a group mind, the repository of its commonly held beliefs. This means
towns, entire countries or cultures, political parties, knitting circles, every club
and society has its own collective mind. The bigger the group the longer the
groups mind will remain intact.
Next we must consider that such psychological entities are born, live, evolve
and die just like any sentient life form. The mind of a group evolves as the
group evolves. As the group pulls together, forms a solid core of committed
members so too does the group mind form a solid entity in the collective
unconscious. At a certain point in this process the collective conscious of the
group not only accepts input from each member of the group and feeds back
the sum of the input to each, but it starts to gently draw on the group. These
collective entities are referred to as egregores, a name that was coined within
European esoteric circles. At such a stage the egregore assumes somewhat
of an independent evolution. It no longer relies entirely on the group’s input
but starts to develop that input into new avenues that did not before exist
within the minds of the members of the group.
This point in a groups evolution is most important for it is a sign that the group
has matured to a point of relative stability. At such a time it is not unusual,
within esoteric circles, that this degree of maturity is recognised by the
guardians of our Tradition who dwell on the inner planes, and thereafter the
group is watched and guided and nurtured more carefully from ‘within’.
Now, occultists have for ages known about egregores and have deliberately
nurtured the collective minds of their secret colleges. The master of each
group has the job of watching carefully how each new addition to his group
reacts to the psychology of the group and is quick to ‘prune’ off any decaying
wood that might infect the rest of the tree. For it is true that it only takes one
strong personality to alter the entire dynamics of a group and, possibly,
corrupt the group mind. It is for this reason that it is most important that
access to an occult group is restricted if it wants to survive. And it is for this
reason that Magickal oaths and secrecy are still as important today as they
were in the past.
Insistence on every member joining an occult group taking a Magickal oath
builds a safety mechanism into the egregore. If this institution is adhered to
religiously and upheld strictly then the ability for the egregore to ‘reject’ bad
fruit is enhanced. This mechanism can become so effective that the egregore
will reject members because of what it feels developing in their minds before
they are themselves aware of their misdirection. This is the true meaning of an
‘activation’ of a Magickal oath. Subsequently, once the group member is
rejected by the egregore it is not unusual for him to feel a massive loss of
energy and direction as the groups collective resources are cut off from him.
The other side of the productive effect that an egregore has on a group is that
once it is stable and growing it can provide the new member with an added
boost of enthusiasm, direction and awareness. New members to an occult
group begin the process of connecting to the group’s egregore by repeating
practices that are novel to the group, entering into conversations that are
focused on the group’s best interests and by sharing in group activities. Of
course this only happens if the individual happily accepts the groups
teachings and practices. Any resistance to the exterior functions of a group
impact on the interior (psychological) functions as well.
Probation, and graded instruction in general, therefore serves the purpose of
protecting the group mind of the individuals who are involved in maintaining
the integrity of the group. By passing through Probation, for example, each
student either discovers they have no desire to get involved in our course of
instruction before they are ‘officially’ accepted to serious study, or they ‘feel’
an empathy with our path and happily go about the process of being accepted
by our egregore through the process of instruction. Such empathy is, really,
not to the letter of the word given in our lessons; it is more an empathy
between minds – their mind and the group mind.
In this way we afford ourselves the kind of protection against outside
antagonism that would make serious study difficult and developed group work
near impossible. For every time a group has a major upheaval that results in
the establishment of factions or in key individuals leaving, the group mind
undergoes a great shock from which, if it is serious enough, it may not
survive. Under such circumstances the group will fold.
We might also see the reasoning behind occult fraternities establishing lodges
or temples with limited numbers of members. These small groups act like cells
in a greater organism, each having its own egregore that has a link with the
overall egregore of the fraternity. If, under these circumstances, one group
flounders and falls apart the negative effect this has can be isolated from the
rest of the fraternity thereby increasing its ability to survive.
Probationers Lesson 4
“The end should be the application of all tradition, experience, and knowledge to
the perfection of the human state and estate. The Great Work was the perfect
adjustment of human purpose with the divine plan, through the understanding of
the laws of Nature and the practice of an enlightened code based upon the
threefold foundation of philosophy, science and religion.”
(Manly P Hall – Orders of Universal Reformation)
Here we begin to consider the aim or goal of study within esoteric fraternities.
Human beings are by nature social creatures. Ever since the first occultists
(and shamans, mystics, etc.) began to develop their skills they have often
been rejected by society at large to some degree, and have, naturally, sought
out solace in like-minded company. This was very likely the first impetus
towards the formation of esoteric groups.
One of the benefits of study within an esoteric fraternity is that it gives each
individual an opportunity to sublimate (develop) their social instinct. Social
contact within an esoteric group is usually of a more evolved type than is
experienced in common society. This is because the conversation, group
activities, eating habits, morals, learning and general behaviour of members
within occult fraternities revolve around spiritual ideas and are controlled by
spiritual discipline. This is often a very satisfying situation for the individual
who has felt alone in his spiritual search and rejected by his non-occult
orientated family, friends and acquaintances.
Esoteric fraternities in general agree that such elevated social dynamics are
the future of the greater part of humanity. Occultists of all ages dreamed of a
time when humanity in general would evolve into a state where it enjoyed and
encouraged more advanced behaviour. Where creativity and occult science
would be commonly understood and accepted aspects of society. Such a
society is termed a spiritual utopia.
Esoteric fraternities with utopian vision see the process of each individual
members esoteric training as a precursor to the task of establishing such ideal
societies. For each individual who manages to succeed in the Great Work, the
process of attaining enlightenment has a marked impact on the collective
unconscious of humanity.
This is a very important factor in occult training that is often not considered by
the novice student. The collective unconscious is like a huge pool of instinct
that drives humanity forward. All ideas, inspiration and motivation arise out of
the collective unconscious. At the same time the collective unconscious
absorbs and stores every activity, both organic and psychological, that every
creature is involved in. The collective unconscious absorbs all of this
information, digests it, and then feeds it back into our minds as ideas and
drive. This, of course, is a gross simplification of the process, but serves our
purpose, we hope, in pointing out where occult education fits into the picture.
For every individual who succeeds in the Great Work has a massive impact
on the collective unconscious … whether they like it, or, are aware of it, or not.
The psyche of every advanced occultist is like an elixir to the racial mind. The
ideas accessed, developed and fed back into the collective by every
advanced occultist affect every human being to a greater or lesser degree.
Slowly, in this way, over ages, the human race evolves towards the utopian
society esoteric fraternities dream of.
In this way each successful occultist repays the debt he owes the Great Spirit
for his or her own training. This is what we call ‘service’ in its real sense. It
should therefore be considered at the outset that esoteric training is very self-
centred. The philosophy behind this deep self-concern is that if the individual
does not take proper care of himself he will not be a fit channel through which
to help the collective.
There is another side to this coin too. There are some occultists who never
develop past the initial stages of training, who never complete the ‘lesser
work’, and who therefore are tempted, either deliberately or through
ignorance, to use the little knowledge they have for evil (retrogressive)
purposes. These individuals are technically practising black Magick. But we
do not consider them as true black Magi for they are too ignorant of the effects
of their actions to be truly evil. For lack of a definite label in the western
mystery tradition in our school we refer to such individuals as ‘petty tyrants’ or
‘Makutu’ (mar-koo-too) a label used by native New Zealand Magi (Tohungas –
toe-hong-ah’s). Such individuals poison the collective unconscious by opening
doorways into devolving psychological mechanisms that belong to our past
Now, it is suggested by tradition that this whole process, the establishment
and guidance of occult schools and their students, is guided from the inner
levels by a type of secret – spiritual – government. Tradition has referred to this
government, which it tells us is formed of advanced individuals who have
succeeded in the Great Work, by various names. The most popular title, in
past times, given to this elite group of individuals, was ‘The Great White
Brotherhood’ (G.W.B.). The ‘white’ referring to the type of Magick they practice
not their racial origin. The Order of the Golden Dawn referred to certain
individuals within the ranks of the G.W.B. as ‘The Secret Chiefs’, and asserted
that these chiefs had the ability to step in and out of physical reality at will and
were in possession of awesome occult powers. In the eastern schools these
individuals are referred to as Bodhisattvas. Their primary task, we are told, is
the establishment and encouragement of productive occult groups to succeed
in the Great Work, and thereby the advancement of humanity, towards utopia.
We are told that this secret government was first established at the beginning
of humanities sentience and has guided our races evolution from that day to
this. Although various methods and channels have been used to effect this
steady soul growth in humanity the mystery school tradition is the main organ
of the organization of such effort in the physical realm.
The conclusion that we draw from the preceding ideas is this. Firstly, that
training in occult fraternities is divided into three levels of activity. (1) the
training of novices, (2) the development of skill, and (3) partaking consciously
in the development of utopia. The first level of activity we call ‘apprenticeship’.
The second we call ‘adeptship’. The last we label ‘mastery’.
Secondly, when considering whether or not the above plan has any basis in
fact we must consider at least one question: ‘is it acceptable that the individual
develops Magickal skill for his own ends only?’ Or, would it be more
honourable to aid the divine in carrying out its Will?
Thirdly, if attainment of Magickal power – of any kind – has a marked effect on
the collective (racial) unconscious, and thereby on humanity in general, is it
not logical to assume that any individual who gains such power is going to be
a matter for concern by those powers that guide our evolution?
If so, then no matter what we consider ‘good’ or ‘bad’ behaviour (Magickally
speaking) the powers that be will deal with us according to their own plan. If
we are going to perform acts that will set human development back then we
will be stopped or retarded. If we have the ability to advance human evolution
then every aid will be given unto us. Therefore, of course, knowledge of what
is considered actual productive behaviour and what is considered
unproductive is a great concern to us as students of the mysteries.
Consider this carefully. And if you intend on carrying on to formal training – act
accordingly – for your own safety.
The idea of a social utopia was interestingly described in the classic work by
Francis Bacon called ‘The new Atlantis’, which we hope you will take time to
read, for it is suggested that this work was based on the ideals of an old
esoteric society in Europe.
Probationers Lesson 5
“The Red Lion was used as a symbol by the Alchemists to express the highest
powers of the Adept. The whiteness of purity having been attained, the heat
must be violently increased, until the redness of perfect strength manifests
itself. Head 2. Now the danger which attends our labours arises from attempting
to exercise this will power, before we have purged ourselves of ignorance and
(S.L. MacGregor Mathers – Ritual Magic of the Golden Dawn)
Each fifth study session in this course is a review lesson. A review study night
requires of you to compile and send in an email message to your tutor a
complete copy of your Magickal journal (to date), including any extra notes,
comments or questions you wish to ask about the last four lessons before you
begin the next block and a new subject area.
It is required that you have completed your reading assignment for the last
lesson block also. Therefore part of your review email to your tutor should
include at least a 500-word essay on the contents of your reading assignment.
This essay should be saved as a text file and added to the review email as an
attachment. This essay should include the following subject material:
(1) A brief review of the entire book.
(2) Your opinion about the subject matter contained in the book and the
author’s view of that subject.
(3) Questions about any material covered in the book that you did not
understand and would like to know more about.
(4) An explanation of how important, or not, the book itself and its subject
material is in the scheme of our study course.
If you have not completed the reading assignment before the fifth study
session you should still write your essay, but include a preface explaining
where you are up to in the book and why you feel you have not yet completed
it by the due date.
All of the above must be completed and emailed to your tutor before this study
session is over. There will be no reminder at reviews 10, 15 and 20
concerning the instructions given here. You are expected to take responsibility
for completing each block during its review just as you are instructed to do
Note: Please mark in your journal the exact place where you were up to for
this review so that you do not send the same entries again in the next review
to your tutor. The same should be done for each review.
Probationers Lesson 6
Discipline and Morality
“Freemasonry is a benevolent Order, instituted by virtuous men, for the
praiseworthy purpose of spreading the blessings of morality and science
amongst all ranks and descriptions of men.”
(George Oliver – The Book of the Lodge)
Two primary concerns for those who study, and who are in positions of
authority within schools of occult training are the maintenance of discipline
and a high moral standard. As the above quote suggests, Freemasonry, the
font of the modern western mystery tradition, has as its first foundation the
insistence that morality is our greatest tool in climbing the spiritual ladder.
The process of mastering Magick is one that, necessarily, involves the serious
alteration of our personal psychology. In order to master Magick we must
undergo extreme changes in belief, attitude, orientation, behaviour and such-
like. All of these changes are changes in the foundation of our personal being
… our mind. If we lose control over the foundation of our present reality our
entire life will fall apart. Such ideas are not too difficult to understand and
accept and we cannot do enough to impress the importance of these
statements. The problem is, how can we ensure that we maintain stability and
productive control of our lives when faced with such dramatic change?
The answer is simple to describe. It sounds logical. But in practice it is not so
easy to carry out. The powers in the universe whose intention it is to thwart
our desire to master Magick, for such powers do exist, will make use of every
opportunity that arises in order to remove us from the path altogether.
Our first and best line of defence against the pressures of occult training is
Most of us have very little real discipline in our lives. Often we are only
impelled to perform certain acts because they are pleasurable, because the
legal consequences of acting otherwise are more than we are willing to suffer,
or because it is a matter of survival. The problem with Magick is, firstly, that
the early stages of training often involve the performance of tasks which do
not on the outside seem to be pleasurable, which we have no legal
responsibility to carry out, and which do not seem absolutely (or sometimes
even remotely) necessary for our survival.
When a student is faced regularly with the hardships of learning he will begin
to question the necessity of the work he is involved in. He will begin to play a
game with himself the point of which, really, is to encourage his mind to come
up with what he accepts as reasonable excuses to stop training. Those parts
of our lives that feel threatened by occult training are, of course, more than
willing to provide such excuses … no matter how unreasonable they may
From the outset, then, while our heads are clear and we know what we want,
we must accept the inevitability of a conflict between our desire to master
Magick and our fear of attainment of that goal. Nobody escapes this conflict. It
is a natural part of the path. Those who do not accept this fact are doomed
to fall into its trap and lose their way upon the path. Once we have
accepted that there will be times when we will try to trick ourselves into being
distracted from the goal we must then accept that only a maintenance of strict
discipline in our training and lives will help us overcome the temptation of
With all of this in mind it should be understood that formal training has built
into it a series of exercises and mechanisms that are designed to give you
guidelines to, and tools for, maintaining an effective regime of personal
Your tutor cannot force you to behave in a manner that will ensure that
training is both safe and productive. He cannot force you to stick with your
training through thick and thin. Because of this, right from the start, the day
you sign your probationer’s obligation/contract, it is you who must assume
ultimate responsibility for your success or failure where training is concerned.
Each aspect of the training process in probation, for example, is most
important. If any part of the work outline is neglected the entire process
suffers. Every portion of probation involves exercising some small degree of
discipline in order to both keep up its practice and to perform such tasks in a
productive manner. This whole process begins with the probationers contract.
The contract outlines the boundaries within which we ourselves must ensure
we stay if we are to have a chance at reaching formal training.
The next step, and a complementary one with discipline, is morality. Because
your tutor, ultimately, cannot force you to maintain discipline, in the end, it is
your own desire to maintain personal integrity that will force you to be
disciplined. If you do not care about keeping your contract, if you allow
yourself to believe that you know more than those who designed our training
course, and those who laid down the rules of occult training from times of old,
which our system adheres to, then you will discover that you have no check
on your ability to maintain personal discipline when the temptation to give up
or undermine the effectiveness of the process arises.
It is necessary when agreeing to the probationer’s obligation to assure
yourself that (1) you acknowledge the rules as being acceptable. (2) That as
long as you remain part of our training regime it is your duty to abide by the
rules imposed on you by it. (3) That to change your mind about keeping the
contract and not inform your tutor is dishonourable. It is a deliberate
deception. (4) That honour is important above all else as the last line of
defence against being lost from the path.
If you cannot maintain a sense of honour you will bend the rules. It’s as simple
as that. Bending the rules is a sign of weakening discipline. Once discipline is
lost training becomes either unproductive and/or unsafe. This is the bottom
Honour is an aspect of morality. Both a strong moral character and sense of
honour, in their turn, rely in knowledge of what is right and what is wrong. It is
easy, for example, to say that your honour is intact when you are messing
with the rules, if you believe it is right to do so. So lastly, let us look at the
Guilds Rule concerning right and wrong, good and evil.
The Mage’s Ethic
The Difference Between Black and White Magick
There is an ultimate Truth that guides and sustains everything in
To act outside of that Truth is Black Magick (counter productive).
In order to practice White Magick one must seek the Truth in
order to know the Truth.
Our only access to the Truth is through our Higher Genius.
The first goal of all White Magick is to learn how to access ones
Higher Genius, and thereby to discover the Truth expressed
through it. This is the proper Work for an Apprentice Mage.
The Second Goal of all White Magick is to put into practice the
knowledge gained during Apprenticeship in order to experience
this Truth. This is the proper work of the Adept Mage.
The Third Goal of all White Magick is to act in accordance with
the Truth. This is the proper Work of the Master Mage.
Any interference by one individual in another’s, or by one’s self in
ones own, ability to conform to the Path described in articles 5,6
and 7 is Black Magick.
We suggest, if you desire to succeed in our training course, that you print a
copy of ‘The Mage’s Ethic’ and study it carefully until the essence of its
meaning is remembered … then understood. The motive for all of the actions
of an Initiate into our formal training are based on this ethic. To read the ethic
and then to give it no further real consideration is the beginning of failure in
our school. If you decide that you desire to apply for formal training at the end
of this course of tuition your tutor, the other students in formal training and
your superiors in the Guild will automatically expect you to conduct your life
according to this ethic. For us, who have gone before you through the
threshold of the temple, and who have accepted the discipline of a life-times
commitment to the path, we insist that an individual who does not accept the
ethic as a Rule to live by, through his or her actions automatically
demonstrates a desire to remain Homo Normalis … a non-initiate. Accepting
the Mage’s ethic as a rule to live by is the first act that sets us apart from the
common herd and dedicates our life to the search for liberation from the
slavery of Ignorance. Without the ethic there is no guideline, no boundary, no
definition of ‘Initiate’ by which we may steer the vessel of our self-discovery.
So let us, here, recapitulate all of the preceding ideas.
(1) Success and safety in training relies on unwavering self-discipline.
(2) The first sign of a loss of discipline is often the deliberate undermining
of the effort required – in training – and the boundaries set by the rules
(3) The exercise of effective self-discipline often relies on a strong
personal moral code and a sense of honour.
(4) The Mage’s ethic is the foundation of the Mage’s sense of honour and
his moral code.
It should be understood that what an Mage sees as being good and evil are,
necessarily, different than what the average person chooses to accept. What
you as a probationer should work to understand is that an Initiate into the
ancient mysteries has accepted, that by crossing the threshold into long-term
formal training, s/he embraces a very different moral and ethical code by
which to live. Our path can only be understood and lived under the conditions
of this code. To try to live by the average mans ethic and to practice Magick is
to court failure and/or disaster.
The entire Magickal ethic is itself based on Article 1. Not accepting this article
undermines the whole field of occult training … as presented in our school.
If we cannot accept that there is an order underlying creation and that aligning
ourselves with that order is the key to success then to continue in formal
training, in our system at least, is futile.
Probationers Lesson 7
“In reality, Magick is a sacred science, it is in a very true sense the sum total of
all knowledge because it teaches how to know and utilise the sovereign rules.”
(Franz Bardon – Initiation into Hermetics)
Magick In this discourse we focus solely on the subject of Magick itself. There
are a number of definitions about just what Magick is. For a start we should
make a clear distinction between stage magic or illusionism, the type of thing
we see on television, and high Magick, the arte of causing change to happen
in conformity with ones will-power. You will notice that we adhere to a modern
convention of spelling Magick, the occult arte, with a ‘k’ on the end in order to
define it from mere dramatic stage performance or pseudo-magic of pop
occultism. When discussing Magick (and Alchemy) we also use the terms arte
(with a ‘e’) and science. We mean by arte a discipline that requires a certain
knack or skill and design in order to produce workable results. In this way we
should understand that Magick, like music or painting, requires a certain
inherent flair on the part of the practitioner. We use the term science in exactly
the same manner as it is used to describe biology or physics today. Magick
(and Alchemy) are not religious superstitions. They are founded on hard
esoteric science, are developed and maintained through the understanding of
complex laws and are both intellectually and emotionally very demanding
studies. That is, the study of Magick, when attended to properly, is no less
demanding than the study of any other modern science at university level.
At past times in history it is very likely that the avid student of Magick
practised a combination of illusionism and high Magick. Today, though, the
two fields of practice are quite separate.
The exact origins of Magick are veiled by the mist of time. There is one school
of thought that suggests that Magick began as a type of shamanism during
the early history of humanity. These Shaman, we are told, were either natural
occultists, i.e. they were born with psychic faculties, or they stumbled upon
mystic experiences through, say, the use of natural narcotics. Thus, over time,
complex systems of Magick evolved which at certain times in history became
very organised and powerful.
This version of the history of Magick, it seems, is a favourite of systems like
wicca (modern witchcraft) who thrive on the belief that they have preserved
such early traditions.
A second school of thought states that before the dawn of recorded history
there have been other, possibly many, high civilisations which, before our
time, have been lost to the ravages of the ages. That always where high
culture has existed primitive cultures have also co-existed. The same being
true today in our world, societies existing in Stone Age type lifestyles live
within reach of huge metropolitan centres.
This same tradition asserts that mankind did not gradually learn Magick in a
hit and miss or Darwinian type evolution, but instead, that it inherited the
science complete from a more advanced non-human culture that, in
prehistoric times, had an interaction with humanity.
Ancient cultures, like the Egyptians, Babylonians and Semites, themselves
assert that the latter process is the one which accurately described the origins
not only of Magick but of agriculture, war and civilisation itself.
For example, modern science tells us that the Egyptian culture began about
3500 BC when a Warrior-king, named Menes, united the primitive tribes of the
upper and lower Nile into one culture. What modern science cannot explain is
how this, so-called, Stone Age culture managed to have a fully developed
complex writing and religious system hundreds or even thousands of years in
advance of its time.
The ancient Egyptians themselves had a quite different story about their
origins. They tell us that Egypt had been ruled over by 49 Pharaohs before the
time of Menes. That some of these Pharaohs were God-like and Demi-God
like beings who had lived for thousands and hundreds of years in some cases.
The earliest of these Kings, we are told, were responsible for the cultivation of
humanity from the beginning. Eventually these Pharaohs lived for shorter and
shorter lengths of time until their bloodline was so diluted by inter-breeding
with humanity that well before the time of Menes all trace of their powers had
been lost and the government of Egypt had passed into the hands of humans
whereby it fell into relative corruption.
The language and magio-religious tradition that is known to have existed,
intact, at the time of Menes, was, then, according to tradition, a remnant of a
vastly more ancient, and some suggest – more advanced, culture than today’s.
But there has passed over 5000 years of human history since that time. The
conflicts that have arisen as a consequence of human society have caused
some cultures, some isolated or repressed groups, to lose connection with the
original mystery tradition brought over from beyond the beginning of modern
history. As a result some such societies have had their occult knowledge
reduced to a bare minimum, corrupted, or alternatively, lost it altogether and
had to eventually re-access the knowledge themselves. Shamanism, we
suggest, was the result of such conditions, not once in early history but
repeatedly down through the ages.
Magick, originally, was a craft like any other, such as war, agriculture,
architecture, or politics. Magickians were employed by Kings in stable
societies or supported by the community in small social groups. They were
healers, and were expected to ensure communal livelihood and success in
war. Because of this the aims and focus of ancient Magi were quite different
than they are today. The student of the occult arts in past ages was expected
to develop certain definite skills through the use of special tools. There was
pressure to perform brought on the Mage from both his community and the
state. The focus was often on the control of people and situations and the
acquisition of such control lead many to cross the boundaries of white into
Today the Mage has no accepted role in common western society. His
position has been usurped by the scientist in this technical age. Because of
this the focus of modern occultism is not in the attainment of ‘knacks’ that
provide the ability to manipulate people and situations, but rather to the
attainment of personal liberation from ignorance and corruption. The modern
Mage does still, upon his path to liberation, find need now and then for the
manipulation of reality in order to smooth his progress. But he now
concentrates in obtaining Truth before anything else and power over himself
rather than external objects and situations. This is what is referred to by the
use of the term The Great Work. It is the obtaining of power over the self,
emancipation from ignorance of Truth and the alignment of ones personal will
with the Divine Will.
There are, of course, those individuals, and schools, who would disagree with
this assessment. They would claim that Magick is primarily the acquisition of
skill in manipulating reality. That the attainment of enlightenment, of freedom
from ignorance, is in fact something else altogether outside the realm of
Our tradition, our school of thought, does not accept this latter explanation at
all. Our intention is not the acquisition of power for powers sake, or for the
illusionary belief that one’s personal stature is enlarged by the study of the
sacred sciences. But instead, we insist, that the attainment of Wisdom for the
purpose of aiding human evolution is the only true motive for the study and
mastery of the occult sciences.
Now that we have taken a brief look at the origin of Magick, historically, as an
arte, we will consider just what Magick is technically.
The entire practice of Magick rests on the belief that our physical universe
relies for its existence on a more subtle type of matter which medieval Mages
called the sidereal universe, and which we today commonly refer to as the
astral universe or plane(s). Magickians assert that the forces and matter of the
astral universe are, likewise, susceptible to manipulation by the human mind,
for the astral is composed of mind stuff. Under these conditions, with the use
of purpose built tools, the accomplished Mage has the ability to govern,
control and alter physical reality at every level.
This is the crux of Magick. Therefore there are two areas of interest for the
(1) The accumulated, and accumulation of, knowledge concerning the
physics of the astral universe. We might suggest that this largely
involves the intellectual pursuit of knowledge gained by thousands of
years of trial and error exploration of the astral by skilled magi. This
knowledge, as we have previously mentioned, has been recorded by
the adepti and masters of our tradition down through the ages in their
(2) The second area of interest is found in the practical application of this
knowledge. The Magick writings of the past ages were, necessarily,
often written in cypher or allegory. This means that unless one
belonged to a school which already possessed the keys to such codes,
one had to, by trial and error, rediscover the truths recorded in these
books oneself in order to produce practical results in Magick.
This was often a very difficult task, a task that produced much superstition,
error and bold lies. It has also, in our opinion, been the main contributing
cause in the steady move away from serious practical Magick with tangible
results, towards the heavy intellectualisation of Magick that we see today. In
some ages even to speak of the mysteries to a non-initiate invoked a death
penalty. In other times there has been no such restriction, as we find at the
present (generally). But the keys to success in the arte are often hidden so
deeply in the past that no amount of access to books, manuscripts and secret
processes provides us with working, reliable results of the same calibre
described by historians and practitioners of classic and ancient times. In fact,
today, the practical application of Magick has been so undermined that critics
and pseudo-occultists tend to attribute such historical claims to exaggeration,
metaphor or deliberate lies.
The Guild, however, insists that any truly accomplished Mage has developed
the ability to manifest his Magick in a very tangible manner, at will. He is not
an intellectual sophist, although he must necessarily have an intelligent
approach to his vocation. He takes no pride in simple scholarly mastery of
Magick, so called arm-chair theurgy, but also does not mistake the mere
acquiring of Magickal impedimenta and the recitation of invocation during the
rote practice of ritual as being the sign of an accomplished Mage either. The
master of Magick, we insist, has an extremely accurate, penetrating and
reliable clairvoyant and telepathic ability. He has the skill of affecting the
fundamental properties of matter quickly, reliably and tangibly. He has access
to knowledge that he has never before studied. Can heal, preferably unaided,
almost any disease. Without these skills, at least, we insist that a Mage is still
only a student, somewhat adept though he may be.
By this time in history we can see that many different versions of the original
mystery tradition exist. There are all kinds of trinkets, props, incantations,
rituals and meditation methods available, each promising some degree of
success in the Great work. No matter which tools one is introduced to, or has
preference for, in the end they all only aid in one thing – the ability to move the
astral light with the intention of manipulating physical reality. This is the
definition of Magick. Anyone, therefore, who claims to be a skilled Mage must,
by this definition, have the ability to change reality at will by means of a skilful
manipulation of astral substance. At first this skill is raw and involves an ability
to draw in or avoid certain objects or situations in the environment of daily life.
Later this skill is enhanced to the point that this power of attraction and
repulsion has almost immediate results. Full accomplishment sees the
maestro with the ability to break down matter and to re-arrange it in new
forms, maybe on new levels, without destroying the principle of life.
Finally, we shall point out again, that all of this begins with the ability to enter
into and understand astral physics. The first stage of this we present as a
series of pathworking-like exercises that we call trancework. Later these
simple exercises are approached from a different point of view, which allows
the student to grasp how he may develop the ability to use trancework to bring
forth, direct and manipulate the fundamental energy of the universe so that he
or she can sculpt his present environment into a vessel within which Magick
may manifest both automatically and at will.
Probationers Lesson 8
The Psychology of Magick
“Men are used to thinking of themselves only as men, and woman think of
themselves as woman, but the psychological facts indicate that every human
being is androgynous … The ancient Alchemists agreed: ‘Our Adamic
Hermaphrodite, though he appears in masculine form, nevertheless carries
about with him Eve, or his feminine part, hidden in his body.”
(John Sanford – The Invisible Partners)
In the previous lesson we talked about where Magick evolved from and
touched a little on how Magick works. In this lesson we will define the ‘how it
works’ idea in more detail. We described how Magick is based on a belief in
the existence of the astral universe and that it was the Mages ability to
manipulate the physical through the astral that constituted his arte.
Let us now take this idea one step further and point out that what we refer to,
as occultists, as the astral universe, the psychologist calls either the
unconscious and/or the subconscious minds. The implications of this
understanding are quite far reaching then.
For a start, if Magick is based on the existence of, and ability to, manipulate
the astral light, and the astral light is actually ‘mind stuff’ then this leads us to
the conclusion that Magick is a species of advanced psychology. On the other
hand we could say that the science of modern psychology is an attempt to
learn and control astral physics. Whichever view we take the point we desire
to impress on you all is that before anything thing else ‘Magick is a species of
This becomes even more apparent when we consider that the astral light, the
substance or ‘matter’ which provides the basis for form in the astral, can only
be ‘moved’ by a Mage using his will and his imagination. As we pointed out in
lesson 6 discipline is designed to exercise the student’s will. We can further
this statement now and add that it is the degree of will power that we have
that decides how long and how well we can concentrate or focus. The astral
light cannot be moved productively by a mind that is distracted. So without the
ability to focus on one subject for at least 30 minutes at a time without
distraction no serious Magickal effects are possible.
For this reason many simple little exercises, which often pass unnoticed, or
which are under-estimated their value, are built into occult training in order to,
step by step, grade by grade, exercise the will like a muscle until it is capable
of sustained focus. Much of these exercises can be found in the intricate
details of ritualistic behaviour that Magick teaches. How candles are lit and
snuffed out, how robing-up for ritual should be performed, times of silence and
self-control that must be observed, the maintenance of the observation of
small invocations, meditations, journal keeping, etc.
At the same time we set out to train the will we also introduce exercises to
develop the imagination. Imagination is the second key to success in Magick.
It should be understood that imagination is not merely the ability to ‘image’ in
the mind. We also imagine smells, sounds, tastes, etc. In fact we can imagine
sensations that originate with all five of our external senses.
For most people three of these sensory channels are most prominent when it
comes to recording information about our environment. We each have a bias
for either (1) visual input, (2) audio (sound) input, or (3) what is referred to as
kinaesthetic input (i.e. feeling – either tactile or emotional).
A individual who is primarily a visually orientated person will display certain
very obvious behaviours in their speech and recall body-language. The same
is demonstrable for kinaesthetic and auditory bias persons. One of the ways
we can tell if a person is in an altered state, (e.g. in an astral state of
awareness), is that he accesses information from one of the other two primary
sensory channels besides the one he uses in his normal waking state. Our
point here is that imagination, which revolves around the re-creation of
sensory input, does not necessarily have to be prominently visual – which is
what many people expect. It can be primarily auditory or kinaesthetic. Here is
an interesting ‘knack’ to learning astral projection.
Mastering Magick, then, where the use of imagination is concerned, has a lot
to do with understanding how you perceive the astral (sound, sight or touch)
primarily and then learning to use that bias to function more effectively in that
environment. Here is a key to overcoming one of the greatest obstacles in
Besides the inclusion of exercises to sharpen the will in the process of occult
training, then, we also find exercises that develop ones ability to understand,
enter into and act within the astral universe. In past times the type of exercise
that was used in this area was very limited. Today we understand much more
about the unconscious and subconscious minds and how we might make use
of their structure and dynamics. During formal training an exhaustive
instruction in the basics of psychology, occult psychology, allows each student
to learn about the functions of the mind and how they inter-relate. In past time
this area of knowledge has been deliberately obscured in occult schools and
writings, so great a secret, so great a key, was it considered to be – and rightly
so. Other Schools have neglected to teach anything of occult psychology at
all, and we can recognise these systems by their lack of success or the
frequent misadventure that arises from the use of their methods without
understanding. We also notice the slow corruption and fall into misuse of
Magickal systems that have lost the keys to occult psychology.
If we understand and accept the preceding view of Magick then it is strange to
find that very few occultists have any understanding of conventional
psychology at all – let alone the esoteric view of the machinery of the mind. In
fact, it seems as if psychology, where the role of Magick is concerned, was
not given due consideration until the establishment of the Order of the Golden
Dawn. For it is in the writings of Aleister Crowley, Dion Fortune and Israel
Regardie that we see some of the first references to the relationship between
the two fields of science. Regardie himself was, I am sure, the first Mage to
bluntly suggest that it was each occultist’s personal responsibility to seek
psychoanalysis, if they were involved in serious formal training. Without such
a serious approach to occult study, Regardie asserted, the student would
either fail to see the process through because of the interference Magick
would cause with his personal psychology, or alternatively, he could lose his
grip on sanity.
For this reason the formal training course that we offer has carefully integrated
into its occult instruction a full regime of practical and intellectual psychology.
We have done this for a number of reasons. So that students will not need to
go outside the formal training situation to seek psychoanalysis, primarily. One
of the problems the average student might have with seeking outside help in
this area is that it is likely that when discussing his personal life with a
conventional psychologist difficulties and misunderstandings are bound to
arise when it becomes necessary to mention ones interest in the occult to the
therapist. Another reason for our training students in the field of psychology is
that we believe that the effectiveness of training is vastly enhanced if the
student has a good grounding in the subject.
If the student understands the mechanism of personal psychology it is bound
to be easier for him to recognise a problem as it arises and put preventative
measures into action. Where Magick is concerned, as problems arise,
prevention of serious dysfunction is much preferable to cure.
With an understanding of psychology the student in formal training can be a
more productive member of the group. For as we have mentioned in lesson 3
the success or failure, to a degree, of the group mind that the student works
within depends on each individuals input to the group.
When it comes to gaining a good education is personal psychology, from an
esoteric point of view, there are really only a few helpful sources of
information. The first and most obvious are those works on Jungian
psychology. Carl Jung, one of the Fathers of modern psychology, had a very
spiritual approach to the subject. He was the first modern researcher to re-
discover the importance of the psychological archetypes and their dwelling,
the unconscious. He also recognised and worked towards a deeper
understanding of the transcendental levels of the mind, those areas that we
seek to ‘know’ as part of the goal of our serious training.
There are many very good modern works on Jungian psychology and we
advise each student to familiarise themselves with the general area covered
by Jung. Most public libraries these days have a good supply of such works.
The other sources of such works on psychology that are helpful to our
concerns are written by occultists themselves. Of primary importance are
Israel Regardie’s two works ‘The Philosophers Stone’, and ‘The Middle Pillar’,
where he gives an excellent detailed overview of psychology from an
occultist’s point of view. Shimeon Halevi has also published an excellent book
called ‘Kabbalah and Psychology’ which is a good introduction to the
Qabalists point of view of the development of the human mind. Dion Fortune,
the ex-Golden Dawn initiate, has produced a number of simple works on
Magick nearly all of which include important hints and clear descriptions of
Occult Psychology. One work in particular ‘The Machinery of the Mind’ is a
basic manual on psychology for the occultist. But we recommend a good
reading of all her novels for the best ‘working’ knowledge of occult psychology.
So we shall sum up the main points again. Firstly, Magick itself, as an entire
discipline, should be approached with the understanding that it is a form of
psychology. This is because Magick is the ability to manipulate mental forces
in order to create changes in physical reality.
Secondly, the two primary mental ‘mechanisms’ which are responsible for the
ability to effect Magick are will and imagination.
Thirdly, that in order to gain success in Magick it is necessary to actively seek
out a good education in psychology, particularly that form taught by Carl Jung.
Probationers Lesson 9
The Philosophy of Magick
“Occult Philosophy seems to have been the nurse or god-mother of all
intellectual forces, the key to all divine obscurities and the absolute queen of
society in those ages when it was reserved exclusively for the education of
priests and of kings.”
(Eliphas Levi – Transcendental Magick)
The motive for the existence of the ‘arte Magick’ is based on a certain
philosophy about reality, and how to deal with that reality. In this lesson we
will look at the philosophy that gives life and structure to Magick.
Every Magickal system is based on the idea that the physical environment
that we are all aware of is not the only ‘reality’ we have access to. This we
may say is a standard belief. There is no general consensus, though, as to the
exact nature of this other reality. Some systems speak of another world or
universe that exists behind, beyond, parallel to or outside of our physical
reality. Their concept is this simple. Some systems divide that other reality into
a few or many levels or layers or ‘planes’ of existence giving, sometimes, very
elaborate names to these differing existences and their various landmarks.
Whatever system one is attracted to it will be generally noticed that all accept
that this ‘other world’ is the ‘reality’ that makes Magick possible. It is the
source of all Magickal manifestations. It is also generally agreed that this other
reality has some kind of link with our own physical environment. If this were
not so then it would be impossible for the Magick of the other world to affect
Another belief held in common by most Magickal systems is that this other
world is populated by non-physical sentient beings. Again, some systems
speak about these other beings in very simple terms; some have very
complex descriptions of the nature and hierarchy of these other beings. An
important aspect of a Mage’s career in most Magickal systems is, therefore,
his ability to communicate and co-operate with these beings.
Besides the varying specifics in belief any particular Magickal system holds
we might say that the idea of a non-physical world populated with non-
physical intelligences that can be communicated with is the basis of all
In the western mystery tradition we find this other world most often referred to
as the astral plane. The name evolved from an older term ‘Sidereal Universe’,
and both have a similar meaning that refers to their association with ‘Stars’.
These stars are not the solar entities of interstellar astronomy but instead refer
to the inner stars or astral bodies of living creatures. Magickians also call the
astral plane the ‘Magickal Universe’ for reasons before mentioned.
Now, the western mystery tradition goes further than suggesting that there is a
doorway between the Magickal universe and the physical world. We are
taught, and can eventually prove for ourselves, that the Magickal universe is
the basis of, or blueprint for, the physical universe. The ‘matter’ of the
Magickal universe, the ‘astral light’ of which Eliphas Levi speaks, is like clay
that is modelled by the power of thought. This is one of the greatest secrets of
Magick. The ultimate conclusion of this idea, for our present concerns, is that
the physical reality we are so familiar with is created by our thoughts and can,
therefore be manipulated by thought.
Magick, then, it follows, is the ability to use your mind to create change in the
astral which will in turn manifest in the physical. It is asserted that the more
understanding one has about how this process might be carried out the
greater the change and more dramatic the ‘Magickal’ effects that he might
These are the simple ideas, the base philosophy, upon which the entire field
of Magickal practice is founded. Once the ancient Mages knew about the
existence of the Magickal universe and its relationship with the physical
universe then they developed a vast body of knowledge based on a series of
conclusions that were reached.
Most of these conclusions are common sense, but an understanding of them
leads to an understanding of the development and state of the arte today.
If the Magickal universe exists and if it is the foundation of physical reality then
in order to master Magick one must:
(1) Find the doorway between the worlds.
(2) Learn how to safely and reliably cross over between the worlds.
(3) Gather and understand as much as possible about the other world –
and its relationship to the physical world.
(4) Develop a series of tools that will enable one to affect the astral and
thereby affect Magick.
The ancients, then, did just that. They developed different techniques to get
them to the doorway between the worlds and they became very skilled at
passing in and out. Once this was accomplished they explored very carefully
every corner of that universe that they had the ability to reach. From these
activities three fields of knowledge developed:
(1) Training: A series of exercises that would enable students to access
the Magickal universe, travel therein and learn there from.
(2) Sidereal Cartography: a detailed map of the astral universe.
(3) Magick: Knowledge of how one could effect the physical universe
profoundly through ones activities in or upon the astral.
From these early researches, most of which were completed well before the
4th millennium BCE, the grand philosophies of Magick were constructed.
Today there are only two or three serious and ancient schools of thought
centred on Magickal philosophy. Of these the Egyptian and Hebrew Qabalistic
systems are by far the most detailed and far reaching in the western tradition.
There is a problem with the Egyptian in that it is so complex and so ancient
and has undergone a number of transformations that we have misplaced most
of the details that would allow us to once again develop from it a deep, reliable
working system of Magick. This leaves us, finally, with the Qabalistic system
of which we know the most, have the greatest access to, and which is,
relatively speaking, complete and unmolested by the ravages of politics and
religion with which it has mingled in the last 3000 years.
In the Qabala, then, we find a very detailed analysis of the structure of the
sidereal universe and of its inhabitants. We may read about the understanding
the ancients had about the physical reality because of what they knew existed
behind it. Traditional Qabalistic works describe in great detail a philosophy
concerning the nature of God and his relationship with both man and the
universe. From such understandings the institution of occult Initiation arose
and a desire to speed the maturation of the human soul to a state whereby he
may become partaker in the sublime mysteries of the evolution of his race and
The Tarot, it is said, was one of these organised knowledge and training
systems. Originally the Tarot, we are told, was invented as a repository for
Hermetic knowledge. It is designed as a Mutus Liber, or ‘Book without Words’.
It spoke directly to the unconscious in its own language – symbolism. Over
time the original use for the Tarot was lost or obscured, until the latter 18th
century when certain French occultists began to investigate its esoteric origins
and structure. Most prominent amongst these gentlemen were Eliphas Levi
It is very likely though, that the original Tarot was an experimental attempt at
trying to devise a non-text format tutory tool. There is little or no evidence that
a serious esoteric tradition existed behind the first tarot decks. There was
almost no conformity in the size of the earliest decks and the subject matter
and images on the cards varied from deck to deck. It is likely that the well
organised and greatly standardised esoteric decks that are available today are
an evolution of the original idea of Tarot and not a re-discovery of some
original secret system that had been all but lost.
The occult (esoteric) Tarot system we have today is not really seen as a
vehicle for divination, although this is one of its uses. The mainstream occult
Tarot systems see the deck as (1) a book of occult instruction, and (2) and
method of occult training.
The occult instruction encoded into Tarot teaches us the ‘philosophy’ of
Magick. It enumerates the various steps and phases that the aspirant passes
through on his path to higher knowledge. It describes the occult structure,
Man, God and the Universe, upon which these processes act and react.
But the Tarot is not just a form of intellectual information. It is also a tool for
higher development. The symbols arranged on each of the cards speak as
potent language to the unconscious. The information encoded into the Tarot
informs the unconscious concerning how it should unfold itself. The Tarot,
then, is a set of instructions that activate this unfolding process when a
combination of intellectual understanding of and meditation on the cards is
The first French occultists to expose these ideas had made a major jump in
the evolution of Tarot. But they had not perfected the system anywhere as
much as it needed to be in order for it to gain the respect it deserved. That did
not happen until the Golden Dawn was established and it was eventually
revealed that their ceremonial held information about the correct arrangement
and astrological attribution of each card in the deck. The Golden Dawn
revelation concerning Tarot was then carried to its present high and extreme
by one Paul Foster Case who is undoubtedly the greatest authority on the
system in modern time. In fact his system is so complex and far reaching, that
in order to preserve the knowledge he developed Case founded an occult
fraternity, out of the crumbling remains of the old G:.D:., through which to
teach his Tarot system.
The Guild does not teach Tarot as part of its official formal training.
Nevertheless some instruction may be given privately to those students who
desire it, with an understanding that the Guild asserts that while the tarot is an
interesting toy it is considered to be of little value in aiding the techniques the
Guild uses to effect mental and spiritual change.
Probationers Lesson 10
“The fourth abstract core is the full brunt of the spirit’s descent,” he went on.
“The fourth abstract core is an act of revelation. The spirit reveals itself to us.
Sorcerers describe it as the spirit lying in ambush and then descending on us,
its prey. Sorcerers say that the spirit’s descent is always shrouded. It happens,
and yet it seems not to have happened at all.”
(Don Juan – The Power of Silence, Carlos Castaneda)
(1) Full journal record
(2) Catch up on reading progress
(3) Trancework assessment
Probationers Lesson 11
The Training Process
” Although they (Alchemists) never departed from the simple ways of Nature,
they have something to teach us, which we, in these more sophisticated times,
still need to learn, because we have applied ourselves to what we have
regarded as the advanced branches of knowledge, and despise the study of so
‘simple’ a thing as natural generation.”
(Michael Sendivogious – The New Chemical Light)
Here we are, then, at the beginning of block 3, which covers, primarily, the
subject of Alchemy. Firstly, it should be understood that because the Guild’s
focus is mainly in this area a good deal of the tuition concentrates on this
subject in the advanced training. Any individual who is, therefore, considering
beginning formal training should not fail to remember this.
There are two aspects to Alchemy. One is what most refers to as the practical
work – laboratory Alchemy – and the other is what is often called spiritual
Alchemy – a form of esoteric psychology. In our system, and from now on, we
shall refer to the practical work as ‘operative’ Alchemy and the psychological
work as ‘speculative’ Alchemy.
It should, firstly, be understood that an Alchemist who desires to be successful
in his endeavours would practice both forms of Alchemy.
In classic times one adept or master generally taught Alchemy to one student.
Because of the nature of the work very often the Alchemist would require his
student to live-in. In an age where there were no electric elements for heating
flasks an around-the-clock vigil over the Alchemists athanor (oven or fire) was
necessary sometimes day and night for months on end. While the Adept had
his sleep the novice would sit up tending the fire, so it was important that the
apprentice was both reliable and had skill with maintaining a certain degree of
heat in the athanor. Should he fall asleep, let the fire die away too much or
place too much fuel on the fire, the work, which may have taken years to
reach its present stage, would be ruined. It is not hard to imagine that many a
hapless apprentice was thrashed to within an inch of his life by an angry
Alchemist who’s Great Work was spoiled.
The relationship between the adept and the apprentice would have been one
that was very carefully cultivated by the elder. Once he had learned he could
trust his student, only then would he move from teaching the fundamentals to
allowing the novice to aid him in the Great Work. Such instruction would, very
likely, have been a learn-as-you-watch type of situation.
As the primary method of instruction this one-on-one teacher-student process
ensured that the arte was keep very much underground for centuries. Most of
the instruction was practical and oral on-the-spot. The average adept
eventually passing away with nothing to leave behind but the legacy of
knowledge he gifted to his apprentice and possibly some tools and chemicals.
The second method of instruction, in antique times, was carried out under the
banner of secret occult fraternities. Alchemical fraternities, though, were rare
in the west. German and French Rosicrucian schools being really the only
example of note. Solo Alchemists working within such fraternities, esoteric
and often monastic, and influencing their closest brethren was a more usual
predicament. The primary benefit of fraternal instruction in Alchemy was that
such an institution could finance large-scale experiments and thereby
advance knowledge and experience in the arte very quickly. Orders of this
kind would maintain records of their successes and the longer they were
operative the greater their chances were of succeeding in discovering the
Great Secret. We can, therefore, imagine that some of the very long term
Orders attained much wealth and discovered the secrets of extending their
adept’s life expectancies to extreme limits through use of the philosophers
stone and the elixir of life.
By the end of the 18th century we see that large scale organised alchemical
experiments and instruction had all but disappeared. Once again instruction
went underground and the line of transmission narrowed to very small
informal groups or one-on-one tuition.
Today, it might be said, in general, that modern operative alchemical work in
the western tradition stems largely from those methods taught by a certain
Frater Albertus during the 1960’s and 1970’s. Frater Albertus began his career
as an alchemical tutor with the occult Fraternity known as the Ancient and
Mystical Order Rosae Crucis (AMORC) in the USA. Eventually he left
AMORC, after some tuition problems arose, to found his own school that he
called the Paracelsus Research Society (PRS) – later the Paracelsus College.
Albertus, through the Paracelsus College, taught a seven-year course in
laboratory Alchemy, Astrology and his own version of Qabala. I would be
accurate to say that Albertus was the first man in modern times to teach the
operative tradition openly to non-initiates on a relatively large scale.
Today much of the information we have access to, in the western tradition,
through books, schools, and experienced Alchemists derives either directly or
indirectly from the methods taught by Albertus. The exceptions are few and far
Albertus taught that proper training in operative Alchemy consisted of three
stages in the past. The first stage was the learning of the fundamentals of the
arte through mastering the process of making alchemical medicines from
herbs. This was called the ‘prima’ or herbal work. The second stage was the
application of the knowledge gained in the prima to the animal kingdom.
Because of a modern desire not to harm animals, as was a concern for a few
Alchemists in the past, the animal work was limited to a few simple
experiments with hen’s eggs (mainly). The third stage involved work in the
mineral and metallic realms. Frater Albertus taught the prima in the first year
of his seven-year course. The second year moved straight into basic work
with minerals and steadily became more complex over the remaining five
years. During the mineral lessons the animal work was discussed and some
experiments shown as examples.
As far as the speculative work in Alchemy is concerned Albertus taught almost
nothing of note. There were basic meditation exercises and, as we have said,
a form of Qabala and some Astrology. But the focus was primarily intellectual
and not really internal-practical (speculative). In later years many of Albertus’
students looked for the other half of their alchemical interests in other systems
such as the Golden Dawn, AMORC, and Freemasonry. Frater Albertus died in
1984, and the PRS, in its home base in Utah, folded soon after. A branch of
the work in Europe is said to still exist today (the 1990’s).
It is not surprising, then, to see that the next school to rise and fill the place of
the PRS was a combination of the operative alchemical teachings of Albertus
and the Magick of the Golden Dawn – a French school that became known as
the Philosophers of Nature. It is interesting to note that the Golden Dawn
itself, which never had any real alchemical instruction in its system, then, in
some places, adopted the more simple practices of Albertus.
The Philosophers of Nature (PON) was started by a Frenchman called Jean
Dubuis. Dubuis, we are told, was also a one-time member of the AMORC. He
was also, it was rumoured, an active member of a French Golden Dawn
Temple. Eventually he dropped the Golden Dawn tradition and put together a
correspondence course that was a combination of PRS style operative
Alchemy and Golden Dawn teachings on Qabala. Like the PRS training
Dubuis’ course was originally designed to cover seven years. It is a true
modern school in that it has no fraternal structure, demands no obligations
from its students, and sells its knowledge to any who can afford it.
There are western laboratory alchemical practices outside of the Albertus
tradition (if we may call it that). But they are isolated and it is not easy to find
out exactly what such individuals are practising. There are some western
Alchemists who are practising eastern (largely Ayurvedic) methods of
Alchemy also, but these are not strictly speaking part of our tradition.
It is understood by Alchemists that very few students of the occult are
interested in operative Alchemy. Therefore the Guild does not require all of its
students to practice the laboratory work. Nevertheless every student is
expected to make the maximum effort possible to gain a deep intellectual
understanding of the methods, philosophy and aims of the operative
Students who are considering taking up the operative work must first consider
the laws of the country they are living in. It is necessary to establish a small
private laboratory and to buy scientific glassware. The distillation of alcohol is
also a necessary part of the practice. Civil law in some countries forbids
private individuals being involved in such activities, while other countries have
no such bans at all.
The study of good classic literature on the subject is a necessary part of
Alchemy, therefore those who follow this path will need to access as many
helpful books as possible. Such reading is often quite tiresome and very
difficult to make head or tail of because of the cryptic manner in which it is
written. But it should be understood that much of the value that can be gained
from Alchemy is had through the contemplation of the processes seen in the
flasks compared with nature’s processes and what the classic Alchemists
wrote about them.
On the other side of the coin speculative Alchemy is taught to every student in
formal training and for the present we might say that that work largely involves
the deep understanding and practice of trancework exercises similar to those
you are probably already familiar with. The speculative work can be
understood with little or no knowledge of the details of the operative work. But
it is our contention that little real headway can be made in the psychological
side of Alchemy if the student does not have a deep understanding of natural
law. Such an understanding is best had, for our purposes, from ‘knowing’ the
Probationers Lesson 12
Astral Influences – Astrology
“The Great Art of medicine has its cornerstone in the art of astronomy, as does
the disease of man, his health, and his death. Whoever heeds this not is in
error. For the physician who does not understand astronomy cannot be called a
complete physician, because more than half of all diseases are governed by the
(Paracelsus – Astronoma Magna)
There are, we might say, three schools of thought in the realm of Alchemy.
The first school believes or behaves as if the only thing that matters in
Alchemy is the physical laboratory practice. Some of the members of this
school of thought openly assert their stance, while others are not aware that
their approach is largely a physical one, denying the speculative practice.
The second school is diametrically opposed to the first in that it believes that
Alchemy is largely a spiritual (sic: astral) or psychological discipline. Within
this school we find individuals who strongly believe that there was never any
validity to the operative discipline, while others simply have no interest in the
operative – valid or not. We often hear the former of this kind saying: “Alchemy
was always a spiritual discipline but some misguided souls thought the
chemical usages in classic texts were literal.” Of course it is not difficult to
assume that none of the persons who adhere to this view have actually
practised the operative aspect.
The third school of thought stands between these two and includes persons
who either work both in the operative and speculative traditions or who accept
both as being valid even if they only have access to one or other. In other
words they walk ‘the middle way’.
Because it can be seen that both the operative and the speculative are
productive in their own areas and towards each other it is the Guild’s assertion
that both are not only valid fields of activity but necessary to real success in
one or other. We see that the speculative Alchemists, concerned primarily
with psychological Alchemy, would not have a practice if it were not for the
findings of the operative Alchemist. For it is well known that psychological
Alchemy was derived from the early chymical texts. The opposite is also true.
Many chymical texts are filled with allusions to psychological workings. Also
much of what the operative Alchemist was able to discover in his arte was
obtainable only through his ability to use the extended functions of his psyche.
In this lesson we would like, therefore, to take a closer look at how the
psychological side of Alchemy, specifically the astral, interplays with the
The first and most obvious area we find this is in the field of astrology.
Astrology is the science of measuring the cycles, and relationships between
cycles, of various astral forces.
Picture a situation, if you will, where there is a room empty except for 23
different coloured fields of force. Each field interpenetrates the others and so
by just looking into the room one cannot discern one field from another clearly.
Nevertheless there are 23 different types of force in this room.
Now each of these force fields has periods when they are very strong and
others when they are very weak. That is, they exist in a never-ending series of
cycles. No two forces in the room have the same wavelength and therefore
they all have different cycles. Some are short cycles of only a couple of days;
others have cycles that take up to half a century to go from weakness to
strength only once.
This is a picture, in the form of a simple analogy, of what the astral world is
like at a certain level. So let us say that looking into this room at this level, and
watching the peak and flow of the different forces, is like looking into the astral
at ‘force field’ level. Now let us imagine that you are shifting your ‘vision’ into
the physical level of this room. Once your eyes are accustomed to the new
environment you notice the coloured fields are gone and now you are looking
into a region of interstellar space. In the centre of this room you see our solar
system with the Sun at its centre. Round the walls of the room, in a circular
belt-like formation, you can see the various constellations that make up the
signs of the zodiac.
For simplicity sake we will ignore the outer planets, those beyond Saturn, in
our solar system, and the other astronomical objects, because the ancients
did not include these in their basic considerations. Now if we consider that
there are 12 signs in the zodiac, seven sacred planets, and four elements
from which everything is composed we find we have 12+7+4 = 23. Roughly
speaking the zodiacal signs, the planets, and the elements are the primary
‘astral’ components that go into calculating an astrology chart.
Now comes the tricky bit. To compare what is happening in the physical with
what is happening on the astral. There is a direct relationship between the
state of the cycles of the astral forces and the positions of the planets in
relation to the signs of the zodiac and each other. Let us imagine that the
zodiac is like a huge belt of constellations and that the planets circle round the
sun inside the boundary of this belt on the same plane – which in fact is what
happens. The whole could be visualised as a machine, then. Let us imagine,
in order to understand this whole process, that this astronomical ‘machine’ can
be compared to a Sun dial – that is, it tells us what the ‘time’ is in the astral.
Just as the physical Sun casts a shadow on a Sundial in a Garden so we can
read the time of a series of demarcations about its circumference, in the same
manner, the signs of the zodiac and the planets are the shadow cast by the
astral forces. This shadow is our means of knowing what is happening with
these forces in the astral.
Now Alchemists are aware that physical phenomena are the symptoms of
astral forces at work. For example, the seasons of the year are the product of
the condition of the astral ‘elements’ at various times during the solar cycle.
Alchemists learned that some of the materials that they needed in their
laboratory work could only be found at certain times of the year, or were only
in good condition at certain times. Therefore, in order to be able to calculate
these cycles more accurately, they used astrology. It was further considered
that certain operations they were performing in the laboratory would only bear
fruit if they were worked when particular astral forces were in certain states of
flux or calm, etc. Astrology, again, was their means of calculating these times.
Taking all of this into consideration we must point out that astrology, as we
know it today, is a greatly corrupted science. Much of the knowledge that the
pre-Christian masters of astrology, the Babylonians and Egyptians, had about
the arte has been lost to us. Therefore we must accept that no matter how
valid astrology is in essence, in practice there is much to be recovered. For
this reason the Guild does not include instruction in astrology as part of its
Also, for this reason many Alchemists do not use astrology as a means of
timing operations or the collection of materials. Instead they might instead
rely, for example, on their knowledge of seasons and ignore the remaining
considerations that they cannot calculate. When all is said and done, today,
the successes and failures of both those who use astrology and those who
don’t are probably equal.
The only other approach we have to this subject is the use of clairvoyance,
that is, of the apprehension of astral conditions ‘first hand’. This latter method
we, in the Guild, place most promise in. Therefore we teach all our students,
both alchemical and Magickal, the use of astral vision for the discovery of
accurate knowledge from the Magickal universe that allows us to choose the
right time and place to ‘act’ – when such becomes necessary.
Astral vision, the direct apprehension of astral conditions, also plays another
important role in Alchemy. The Alchemist does not, essentially, recognise a
division between mind and matter in his laboratory work. He knows, if he can
‘see’, that within the flasks and retorts of his laboratory that not only are there
physical substances, animal, vegetable and mineral, but that there are also
elemental life forms. The clairvoyant Alchemist has the ability to see that
these ‘elementals’ (i.e. the creatures that live in the astral elements we call
earth, water, air and fire), evolve with the process of the alchemical work. He
can see that as the matter in his flasks evolves so do the creatures that live, in
the astral, within the matter. The benefit of this ability is primarily singular.
That by watching and communicating with such creatures the Alchemist can
learn more about natural law, and the laws that govern Magick, than by almost
any other method.
Now, all of this is good and fine for those who desire to become involved with
laboratory Alchemy, but what of those who do not? It is our contention that
those who do not desire to become involved in the operative tradition should,
none the less, seek out tutors, during formal tuition, who have a laboratory
and spend some time in their company learning what they can second hand.
The Alchemist’s laboratory provides a situation to see things and experience
things that it is very difficult to find anywhere else. The experienced Alchemist,
for example, has the ability to demonstrate the relationship between the astral
and the physical like no other esoteric practitioner can.
A good instruction in the relationship between the astral world and this one
can only improve the student’s skill in mastering himself and his environment.
Let us the quickly recapitulate the main points of this lecture.
Firstly, laboratory Alchemy is not just a process involving the manipulation of
chemicals for some Magickal purpose. That the Alchemist recognises an
astral/life component to his work.
Secondly, that traditionally the average Alchemist used astrology in an
attempt to calculate astral tides for the purpose of discovering the correct time
to perform certain tasks or collect certain materials (animal, vegetable, or
Thirdly, that psychically advanced Alchemists have recourse to the use of
clairvoyance in order to assess the state of astral currents and the astral state
Lastly, that our instruction, in Formal Training, does not include, as part of its
official study course, tuition in astrology. Nevertheless, it is advised that every
student seek out some degree of understanding of the details of astrology
from amongst the many popular books that are published on the subject.
Probationers Lesson 13
“To appreciate and understand these Adepts’ visions it is necessary to trace to
some extent the history of their cult.”
(Archibald Cockren – Alchemy rediscovered and restored)
This lesson focuses on Alchemy in general. As we have said previously we
divide the arte into two disciplines – one chemical whose work is performed in
nature and in the laboratory, and one psychological – whose work is carried
out in the astral of the individual and collective psyches. The former is
operative and the latter speculative in our system.
It is difficult to say, as far as past times are concerned, just how the average
Alchemist viewed the speculative side of his arte. We could assume that the
religious preferences of their respective cultures had a major influence on
their spiritual (psychic) outlook. At the same time it is considered that many
Alchemists working under the yoke of Christianity only included Christian
trappings in their writings and behaviours in order to avoid persecution. It is,
nevertheless, unlikely that all ‘Christian Alchemists’ had this view of
Christianity because some Alchemists revealed to us that, indeed, the Bible,
Old and New Testaments alike, include many alchemical allegories and very
clear descriptions of operative processes.
There is much evidence, though, that leads us to accept that a small number
of Alchemists had advanced clairvoyant faculties, and that these individuals
had a more universal and non-sectarian view of psychic phenomena. Many of
these individuals were primarily speculative in their approach, such as the
famous alchemical Mystic Jacob Boheme, but they definitely had access to
the operative discipline. It is from these individuals that we find the most far-
reaching and in-depth descriptions of spiritual reality and alchemical
philosophy; the most respectful attitude towards occult knowledge, the
deepest admiration for the tradition.
The chymical or operative side of Alchemy is quite a different story. No matter
what anybody, today or in the past, might believe Alchemy ‘is’ it cannot be
denied, once we have studied all that is known about the arte, that the
chymical tradition is the most enduring and oldest aspect of the Tradition.
Besides this, the image of an Alchemist, in the popular and educated mind
alike, is that of an old man toiling over flasks and retorts in his laboratory, not
a meditating mystic.
We know that the ancient Egyptians were involved in Alchemy and we can
only guess at the miracles in metallurgy they achieved, for little has remained
in record of their approach to our arte.
The oldest alchemical text that has survived is of Greek origin, by the
Alchemist Zosimos of Panopolis. The text is a mixture of chymistry and
spiritual/alchemical allegory. Which says a lot about the classic Greek
Alchemists concerns. Many medieval texts have survived which are a mixture
of the religion of their authors and chymistry. A good percentage are straight
forward chymistry only. The 16th, 17th and 18th centuries see the greatest
production of alchemical texts and engravings. Most of what we know about
traditional operative Alchemy today derives from this renaissance. In fact the
core operative practices of later 20th century Alchemy are sometimes referred
to as having originated with French renaissance Alchemy.
Alchemy itself, both speculative and operative is sometimes, mostly by
Alchemists themselves, called the touchstone of all art and science. A
touchstone, for those who are not aware, is an implement a jeweller or
assayer used to use in order to test precious metals. In other words it is a
stone whose purpose is the exact identification of other (precious) stones.
This is one of the most important tasks of Alchemy itself. Through the
laboratory practice an experienced Alchemist has the ability of proving the
kinds of ideas that are often only theories in other spiritual disciplines. For
example, it is the Alchemist’s boon that he can not only separate out and
contain the astral body of any animal, vegetable or mineral, but he can also
demonstrate the mechanics, laws and principles inherent in such a subtle
So we might say that the Truth about Nature is hidden within her creations,
and it is the vocation of the Alchemist to reveal that Truth.
Thousands of years of development in the occult tradition have seen many
false ideas; practices and beliefs adhere to the original pure science. Politics
and religion, ignorance and deliberate deception have left their stain. Today
much of this superfluous garbage is recognised for what it is. Nevertheless
there is much that remains unrecognised. For this reason there are many
schools, tutors and students involved in the preservation and dissemination of
ideas and practices which are totally unproductive, sometimes dangerous and
often simply distracting from the real goals of occultism.
One of the primary reasons for the Guild building alchemical instruction into its
formal training course is that experience in this arte gives each student the
ability of proving spiritual principles, taught by us, for themselves. We accept
nothing that cannot be put to the test of both time and alchemical proof. We
teach nothing that cannot be demonstrated in the laboratory and which
adheres to the most tried and true ancient lore.
On-going research in the laboratory and in the realm of trance work also
provides us with new insights into proven methods, deeper understanding of
the words of the ancient sages. Occasionally it allows us to enhance on
processes finding more efficient methods and applications.
Because Alchemy plays such an important role in the correction of outworn or
false information or practices, ensuring that that which we pass on is
preserved in a good, clean, accurate order – the Guild’s founders have placed
Alchemy at the head of its greatest concerns. It is for this reason, almost
entirely, that our founders chose the name ‘Alchemist’s Guild’ for the outer
manifestation of our work. In New Zealand, where our school originated, the
Alchemist’s Guild is, in fact, one of two sole repositories for accurate
information concerning the ancient western alchemical tradition. The first of
these two repositories is to be found in the person and possessions of the
tutor who taught the founders of the Guild. This person, before the
establishment of the Guild, was the only practising and experienced Alchemist
in our small country. The Guild was founded, originally, as a repository in
perpetuum for the information and experience this original tutor had
Before those of you who are not overly concerned with the operative discipline
become concerned about this focus we will point out that our founders also
knew that few of our students would follow the laboratory path. For this reason
much of the knowledge were have inherited and developed from alchemical
sources is expressed through the format of our Magickal (internal alchemical)
training – the greater part of the corpus of our tuition for most of our students.
In the day-to-day work of Formal students within our system not much is
actually discussed concerning Alchemy – in fact. For those who desire it tutors
will always elaborate, orally or with the aid of literary resources, concerning
the Alchemist’s view or understanding of any principles we teach. But for the
most part only those few who choose to follow the operative path will obtain
full instruction in this area.
Finally, let us quickly sum up with a brief description of just what Alchemy and
Alchemy is both an arte and a science. A body of knowledge built up by
individuals who carefully physically and psychically observed, in the earth,
rivers, seas, forests and skies above our heads the processes and laws of
nature – both outer and hidden.
From these observations Alchemists deduced certain facts about our reality.
These facts enabled them to understand, most importantly, where mankind
and his world have come from, what ‘actual’ state they presently exist in, and
what they are evolving towards. Further, through his intimate knowledge of
natural process the Alchemist has learned both how to assist and how to
master and surpass Nature in the attainment of the ends to which our creator
has devised for us.
In order to carry out the ‘Great Work’ of helping individuals, and thereby
humanity, to attain their spiritual heritage the Alchemist applies his knowledge
in the realms of pharmacology and psychology – primarily.
Probationers Lesson 14
The Philosophy of Alchemy
“beware impatience do not cause thee through an itch of mind for to be bold, In
this thy work to transgress Nature’s Laws for no man errs sooner through heat
or cold than he who through impatience of mind cannot expect it time which he
(Eirenaeus Philalethes – The Marrow of Alchemy)
The basic philosophy of the arte of Alchemy is not a difficult one to delineate.
It is the same philosophy today as it was 5000 years ago. Alchemists know
that man, like matter, was created in a state of purity and innocence. At some
point in his early existence, as a pure spiritual being, man accepted or initiated
an action which began the process which took him, eventually, down into the
realm of incarnation. This is the process that has been called ‘The Fall’ of
This fall into the cycle of incarnation took aeons of time. At this stage of man’s
evolution (or as some would say de-volution), man took on grosser vehicles of
expression and grosser mechanisms of mind. In this way when man appeared
on the physical plane he possessed both a physical body and a physical form
of mentation. Nevertheless hidden within the mind and body of incarnate man
is both the pure matter and mind he was originally endowed with.
Roughly speaking, if we were to take the average human body and separate
the pure matter it contained from that impure substance which has adhered to
it as a consequence of the fall we would find that the impurities out numbered
the pure by about 31 parts to 1.
Alchemical philosophy asserts (as does all true occult philosophy), that there
is a direct relationship between mind and body. Further, it asserts that the
impurities in the human body attract to them impure mental functions. By
certain occult processes, varying depending on which kind of school you look
at, it is possible, the Alchemist will tell us, to raise the vibrations in the body in
order to throw off these impurities and to develop more refined building blocks
of flesh and bone through which a more pure mentation is possible.
We might say that this understanding is the foundation of much of the
motivation behind Formal occult Training in general. We may attain the
purification of our physical bodies, as we have said, through various methods.
Some schools focus on physical exercise (as in yoga), some concentrate on
diet, others on creative visualisation or breathing techniques. Whichever path
one might take, the goal for all, almost, is the same. A more pure body that
may act as a clear lens through which to focus pure consciousness.
The traditional Alchemist of past ages (and probably today as well) primarily
hoped to raise the vibration of the molecules that composed his physical body
by the ingestion of very pure vegetable, animal and mineral substances. We
speak here, of course, of the alchemical medicines (or remedies) that the
Alchemist spends so much of his time labouring in his laboratory to prepare.
Down through the ages Alchemists searched every department of nature in
order to find those substances that when prepared spagyrically would provide
the greatest source of purifying power. In the course of their investigations
they discovered a small number of special substances in the three kingdoms
that contained such Magickal powers. These substances were so effective at
purifying the human body that they could, if prepared properly and used
properly, maintain the length of a person’s life indefinitely.
The most famous and most sort after of these secret preparations is the so-
called elixir of life. There are many lesser elixirs with life restoring and flesh
regenerating properties that are noted amongst Alchemists but there was
really only one fully reliable elixir of life. This substance was extracted from
the mineral realm for in minerals is concentrated the most pure and abundant
of natures life forces. The remedy itself was so revered not only because of its
ability to extend life expectancy and cure every disease but because it is a by-
product in the process of confecting the philosopher’s stone.
The elixir of life and the philosophers stone are often confused in the mind of
the lay-person. The two substances are often spoken about in the same
breath. But in fact the elixir is a lesser product produced one stage before the
end of the process that completes the philosopher’s stone. The difference
between these two substances is that the elixir is a medicine, a universal
panacea, and the philosopher’s stone is a metallic catalyst that brings about
the purification or ripening of base metals. One provides health and the other
This now brings us to the second aspect of the philosophy of Alchemy. If the
stone of the wise is only used to produce gold what place has this
achievement in the realm of spiritual development? The answer is twofold.
Firstly the action that the great stone effects is a living demonstrable proof of
one of the most important initiatory principles. The stone is itself made of the
pure matter contained in the mineral kingdom and it has the ability to
transmute matter into a higher more perfect state. The Alchemists therefore
assert that according to the law of analogy what is possible in the mineral
realm is also possible in the animal/human and vegetable realms. That is, if
man can separate the pure from the impure in this own body and discard the
impurities then he will transmute himself into a more perfect being.
The second reason for the necessity of producing the Stone is explained like
this. The arte itself demands so much of the Alchemist’s time and expenses
that without good reliable funding he would hardly be able to complete his
work. The production of gold synthetically (i.e. alchemically) provides the
Alchemist with the financial means to support further research and the
production of medicines and Initiatory remedies to further his own and others
In the past, in this way, we can take it for granted, that it fell upon the
shoulders of the Alchemists to finance the secret activities of esoteric
fraternities. Indeed in the Rosicrucian manifestos of 1614 and 1615 we read
that the brotherhood supported many of its activities from the production not
only of alchemical gold but of alchemical gems as well.
Coming back to the subject of alchemical remedies for a moment, we might
point out that these medicines were never really designed to be manufactured
for the mass healing of the mundane populace. Any intelligent student
involved in the study of alchemical products, manuscripts and books will
notice quickly that almost no information at all is provided on the safe dosage
for these remedies. Only the Alchemist, wise in his learning and experienced
in the arte will ‘see’ what amount of any medicine is safe to take at any time.
Nevertheless most Alchemists at one time or other have healed a great many
people of serious diseases with their spagyric remedies. Alchemical remedies
are really designed to be used as aids to spiritual development. For not all of
the benefit of these products is to be found in the final pure substances
themselves but more in the seeing and understanding of the process by which
they are produced. For the alchemical operation itself is a super-natural
process which reveals to the Alchemist some of nature’s greatest secrets.
This is the last of the probationer’s lectures on Alchemy, so we shall close
here, on this subject, by pointing out how the purification process is applied
The Guild’s approach to meditation, active imagination or trancework as we
prefer to call it, is that through its aid we can, without the aide of Spagyric
remedies, effect the purification of the body through the purification of the
mind. Initiation and advancement, in our system at least, is largely a matter of
psychology. Our particular brand of psychology is alchemical in nature. This
means that we apply the natural laws we have observed in the laboratory
within the realm of the mind. By the process of analogy we transcribe the laws
of alchemical physics/chemistry into psychological processes and we see very
quickly that the two worlds operate in the same manner. That means that a
single underlying law/process governs the fall and resurrection of both mind
Over time the process is facilitated by the fact that sooner or later alchemical
symbolism begins to superimpose itself on the random symbols of mundane
life in both dreams and trancework. This improves our ability to both
understand the unconscious’ attempts at communicating with us and to decide
what methods we might best use in order to bring about productive change in
our lives (both inner and outer).
The study of Alchemy is the least easy of all occult sciences. But it is exactly
this difficulty that makes it the most effective medium for change. For this
reason we can easily recommend to all students who will graduate to formal
training to take up the study of this arte seriously if at all inclined in that
Probationers Lesson 15
“All Brethren know the word ‘lodge’ has at least three meanings: it is a place –
abuilding or a room – in which freemasons meet; it is a society, or body, of
freemasons that meets there; it is the actual meeting of that body. When we
think of the lodge all three meanings often coalesce.”
(Bernard Jones – A Compendium of Freemasonry)
Preparation for Lodge
(4) Full journal record
(5) Instruction in lodge protocol
(6) Inform lodge Guardian of progress
Probationers Lesson 16
(Initiation and Advancement)
The Teacher-Pupil Relationship
“The tutor-pupil relationship in esoteric training is the focus of successful
outcome. At some point, whether we like it or not, or accept the fact or not, we
will all require aid in our journey – for there are periods where a total lack of
ability to be objective about ourselves is a bar to any further significant
(Frater C.H.A. – Instruction to a student)
Here, in the opening lesson on Qabala, we would like to discuss the
importance of the traditional aspects of the tutor-pupil relationship in an
esoteric education. The term Qabala (car-bar-la) is Hebrew in origin and
refers loosely to the passing on of an oral esoteric tradition. In past times this
Qabala referred to a very specific oral tradition which largely embodied a
secret knowledge of the true import, the occult meaning, of the books in the
Old Testament, especially the first five books which the Hebrews call the
Torah (law). With the advent of Christianity orthodox Hebrew Qabala evolved
a branch that catered for a Christian perspective – a Qabala that has rightly
become known as the Judaeo-Christian Qabala – or simply – the Christian
Qabala. From this school of esoteric thought evolved a Qabalistic stream that
is the most non-sectarian development of this secret knowledge so far that we
today refer to as the Anglo or Hermetic Qabala.
For our purposes we might take a moment here to just point out that Qabala is
essentially a philosophy. To simplify matters for the novice we can say the
Qabala provides us with a framework upon which to build our system of
Training. Several millennium of investigation into the Mysteries of existence
have provided us with certain conclusions about our spiritual past and present
from which we can make accurate calculations about the direction, spiritually,
that we, collectively and individually, should be taking in our future.
These conclusions and these calculations form the basis of the essential, root,
One further area is covered by Qabala. A series of opinions about the
methods that we might, or should, be using in order to obtain the goals of
spiritual growth. The most prominent, literal and outward method orthodox
Qabala describes is a religious one. The next most important method (which
together with the last is in no way orthodox) is essentially a mystical,
contemplative, process that is founded in an ancient system called Merkabah
(mer-car-bah – chariot/astral body) Mysticism. The most secret and
controversial method is the Qabalistic-Magickal approach to the attainment of
our Spiritual goals.
Now that we have explained a little about just what Qabala is let us return to
the subject of this lesson that is the tutor-pupil relationship during the process
of Initiation and Advancement. Qabala is a tradition. It is a tradition of the oral
(firstly and then latter written and oral) transmission of a specific brand of
occult knowledge. This tradition is rooted in the dynamic of an ancient
unbroken lineage of teacher-pupil instruction. From the very beginnings of
Qabala in its pre-Hebrew proto-state in ancient Babylon, and before, down
through the ages to the present time, the tradition itself has found many and
various vehicles for its expression. The different cultures and mindsets that
have been exposed to its central Truth have found a multitude of ways of
presenting its wisdom. But behind and supporting it all is the teacher-pupil
Now it is essential that we understand the dynamic of this very special
relationship if we are to successfully take our part, to play our role, in the
ageless drama of the maturation of our soul and the preservation and
dissemination of this mystery tradition. While a certain amount has been said
about this relationship in eastern mystical writings very little has been
mentioned in western occultism about the details of this subject. Here, then,
we will provide you with an in-depth explanation of the Guilds attitude towards
this matter that we hope you will give deep consideration … deep
In the western mysteries there have been, primarily, two methods of passing
occult information on from adept to novice and two degrees of such
knowledge. The first method is the most common and most popular – that of
instruction in colleges. These colleges have taken many forms down through
the ages, some secret – some open, but we shall not enter into such details
here at this time. The important point to make is that this form of instruction is
The second method involves a personal one-on-one tutor-pupil instruction.
The two degrees of knowledge are, firstly, the common book learned type or
outer occult knowledge, and secondly, the oral and inner instruction.
The former degree of knowledge is most often found in the college type
situation. It also forms part of the one-on-one instruction but this latter kind of
instruction eventually develops into an oral or more personal transmission of
knowledge. In the college situation it is more often only the more gifted
students who are singled out for personal tuition and the reception of the oral
tradition that accompanies it. This is because to pass on such a personal
instruction takes a great deal of time, patience and trust.
Here, then, we come to the first point we would like to make concerning this
subject and our formal training. The degree of attention which is paid to our
students during formal training …. the depth of instruction they receive, is
directly related to the amount of effort which they put in to their work. Those
who try the hardest, who show the greatest respect for the tradition, for our
system and for their tutors, will be the first to be considered for the reception
of the more detailed, more personal, deeper and more difficult oral instruction.
Each tutor in our formal training system specialises in one or two areas of
expertise. It is only possible for these persons to provide one or two
individuals with the highest degree of instruction at any one time. Therefore
they will, at any one time, be inclined to choose those who show the most
The nature of this kind of very serious instruction is, and always has been,
quite unusual and therefore requires certain skills on both the part of the
student and of the tutor. By unusual we mean to point out that when one is
engaged in this kind of instruction it is not difficult for the student to see that
the teaching methods and the knowledge themselves are of quite a different
quality, altogether, than the more general tuition. For example the student will
experience, in the earlier stages, very often, a complete inability to see any
order or logic in the Training Method or in their progress. As the tutor is going
through the paces of testing the water and constantly trying to keep the boat,
so to say, turned into the wind, the student who knows little of the detailed
methods of navigating the deeper waters of the path of soul maturation will
find himself torn between wanting to resist further progress (in fear of being in
a situation which is unknown to him), and needing to trust his guide faithfully if
he desires to continue. This, it has been found, is one of the first most difficult
dynamics to come to grips with in the more serious levels of the occult tutor-
It is not unusual to find the student who has reached this cross roads resisting
the process but trying to continue both at the same time. This illusion that one
can avoid the demands of the path but still move forward is a very frustrating
situation for both student and tutor. The situation is further hindered by the
fact that the tutor often cannot himself click the student out of this impasse,
but must wait for his pupil to either retire from training through lack of ability to
call up the understanding and courage necessary to correct his approach – or
to find the required degree of trust in his guide to continue to the point where
he receives a revelation of his own concerning the nature of this part of his
There comes a time when it is very difficult, if not initially impossible, for the
tutor to provide the student with an acceptable explanation for every direction
he gives out. Some things just cannot be explained to those who have not
experienced them. Some explanations are so likely to be misunderstood it is
more productive, in most such cases, not to give them until the student has
developed to a level where internal understanding is possible. At other stages
there simply is not time to debate the pro’s and cons of a certain approach to
a problem. Occasionally, with some students, their ability to keep on top of the
situation, with everything that is going on, is so minimised that even clear
logical explanations cannot be understood.
A good analogy of this situation might be found in the image of a Captain and
his crew upon a ship exploring uncharted territory. In order for the voyage to
be safe and completed in a timely fashion the crew must have faith in their
Captains ability and carry out his instructions without question. If the Captain
were forced to not make a move until every member of his crew had been
consulted (including those who know nothing about navigating a ship) then
little would be gained except confusion, argument and eventually mutiny. The
tutor is like the Captain in our process. The crew are all those various sub-
personalities existing in the vessel of the student’s primary personality, which
the tutor must bring to order, through discipline, and direct on a journey
towards a definite goal – enlightenment.
Such scenarios are very difficult to deal with and, on the part of the student, to
accept. Nevertheless they are the rule rather than the exception and therefore
are unavoidable. The ease with which they are dealt with depends, largely, on
the maturity of the aspirant’s soul, his desire to succeed in the process, his
self-honesty and his trust in both the tutor and the system of training.
Because we know by experience that this situation exists for nearly every one
of us at some point during advanced training as tutors we are careful to hand
pick those students to take through the process who have consistently
displayed the appropriate personality traits. The first of these is discipline. We
hearken here back to ‘lesson 6’ and the Mages ethic. We also refer to the
need for students to display, not just speak of, a deep respect for their tutor’s
role, their superiors in the training hierarchy and for the training system itself.
This is a very difficult issue nowadays when both exoterically and esoterically
there is a growing movement towards distrust of, and disrespect for, authority.
Nevertheless we know from experience that the kind of advanced training we
are speaking of cannot succeed without such trust and respect. Therefore, let
it be understood, that the Guild insists that it would fold and discontinue occult
tuition rather that fall victim to tuition mediocrity because it cannot find fertile
ground on which to sow the seeds of higher knowledge through the process of
It is the tutor’s responsibility, then, to set the boundaries for the student. To
describe the rules and regulations, the behaviours and the conditions that are
most conducive to the most successful outcome – which initially is intimate
knowledge of and conversation with ones higher self. Because of a
degradation in such standards overall in the esoteric community we must
labour continually to drive home these ideas. This often means constant
repetition of rules, remarks concerning attitude and the odd rebuke at times in
order to re-enforce the seriousness of this task. It is the student’s
responsibility at such times to see his tutor’s actions as not being personal
attacks or opinions but instead the demands of the journey itself. The process
is often one of trying constantly to maintain an equilibrium with students
between the kind of friendship which nurtures trust and a business-like
relationship that will allow familiarity without a loss of respect for authority.
The student’s responsibilities in this drama are often not exercised to the
degree that they should be. He should approach Tuition from the knowledge
that it is very likely that when he believes he knows what is required of him,
and in what direction he should be striving, that in fact he is more likely to
have it wrong. This is an extremely important point, for the fact is that this is
most often what happens. The student who has fallen into the trap of believing
that he knows what is best for him in a situation that is all but completely
foreign to him is a student that most tutors rue the day they ever became
involved with. They are endless trouble, for their attitude is one where they
consider, consciously or unconsciously, that their ability to navigate is superior
to their tutor’s. When the fact is, if this were true, then why did the student
decide that he needed a tutor in the first place?
The student may insist, for example, often secretly at first, that they should
tamper … ever so gently … with the explicit instructions of their tutor. Using
the excuse, while they do, that they are better off or safer for these alterations
in the instructions. The most common form this kind of tampering takes at the
outset of this problem is the withholding of information by the student that he
knows or strongly feels may have an important impact on the success or
failure of any present training campaign. Such tampering seems to the student
relatively impotent at the outset, but quickly, it is noticed, develops into a
monster that is out of control. Without accurate knowledge of the internal and
external changes and motivations of the student the tutor cannot navigate the
treacherous reefs of the occult sea.
What the student does not understand, often, in this situation, is that the tutor
has developed his own ‘knack’ of guiding his students through the vast ocean
of soul maturation. Once the student decides to leave the path that the tutor
has become so familiar with he actually removes responsibility for his safety
out of the experienced hands of his guide and assumes it for himself … in a
land he is not at all familiar with. This is a very dangerous situation that is
very, very, easy to fall into. Of course, because the import of this misguided
interference is often not recognised by the student, when confusion begins to
develop, as a result of such tampering, he is quick to blame the tutor for the
mess he himself has subtly engineered, and further endangers his position
rather than attending to his mental safety first.
The only cure for this problem is honesty and openness. This, then, brings us
to the issue of just how much should a student share with his tutor about his
personal life and just how much has the tutor a right to inquire about or
interfere with in that area? This is, of course, a very sensitive area to broach.
Most occult fraternities stand by the general rule that they have no right at all
to interfere in their member’s personal lives. On the surface this seems like a
very logical, practical and safe approach to the problem. To compound the
difficulties of the problem the average student is relieved that their chosen
fraternity is not going to know what goes on in their private lives, or that their
private lives will remain reliably unchanged as they move through the training
As we have said ‘on the surface’ this seems like a very good approach to the
problem. But as occultists we are not to be fooled by surface appearances. If
we think seriously about the above approach it has a very obvious and
fundamental fault. The results of occult training are not something that only
manifest in lodge rooms or at chosen times when we might feel like ‘playing’
with them. Real Spiritual change affects the whole of the aspirant’s life. Every
attitude and belief that a successful student holds dear when they enter
Training at some point may be, and likely will be, overturned. The important
changes we create in our lives because of the training process will therefore
effect every major and most minor decisions we make in our lives. Every little
corner of our reality in some way is affected by the process. If this were not so
then how could we claim at the end of the day that we are completely
changed and are masters of our entire reality?
Taking this for granted, then, we can see that if Magick is going to effect our
entire lives then at some point anything and everything we are may become a
subject for consideration between ourselves and our tutor. Natural laws that
govern every department of the outer world must also be applied to every
area of our own lives if we are to be successful in our endeavour. Our
personal attitudes about ourselves, our philosophy of life, our financial
situation, our social lives, our intimate relationships, our careers, our hobbies,
thoughts, feelings, attitudes and beliefs must all be brought within the exalting
influence of higher law.
Subjecting these ideas to the degree of contemplation they deserve you might
then come to understand why we demand that trust and honesty, respect and
a strict regime of rules to ensure our personal safety and privacy are our
greatest concerns as a fraternal body involved in the execution of the process
of soul maturation.
Such trust, honesty and respect must come from both the tutor and the
student. Where the pupil is concerned, for example, the tutor is not going to
respect his approach to the work if he does not display due respect to the
process, the system which embodies the process and the tutor who is the
system’s representative. If his student displays a predisposition towards not
discussing important issues that are affected by training with enough care and
depth then the tutor is going to want to stop, as soon as possible, his students
further exposure to what is becoming a potential danger.
Lastly, we wish to make the point that this discourse is designed to enlighten
the student about his (or her) responsibilities where serious training is
concerned. That he should not make the mistake of being passive about the
need to be on guard concerning the condition of his attitude and the demands
training makes on him. He should maintain a constant awareness of the fact
that training is an interactive – give and take -relationship between two people
– tutor and student. That it is foolishness to think he might be able to just take
the knowledge the Guilds formal tuition offers and use it as he will thinking he
has the capability to calculate properly the condition of his progress. Or worse,
that no real danger can arise if he approaches tuition with such superficial
stupidity. Success in Training almost always relies on the health of the tutor-
pupil dynamic and it is almost always (in our experience) the student who fails
to uphold his end of the bargain where the most serious issues arise.
We advise those of you who desire to advance into formal training to give the
material presented in this document good consideration not only now but a
number of times before the end of this course of tuition.
Probationers Lesson 17
Astral Influences in Initiation
(Ritual and Ceremonial)
“The rite is so constructed that the iMages which are built in the minds of the
participants correspond to the ancient and archetypal iMages in the mind, and
these iMages, charged with power, are brought nearer to the surface of the
personality and powerfully affect it.”
(W.E.Butler – Apprenticed to Magic)
As we pointed out in the previous lesson, Qabala is that philosophy that
presents the direction we should take in our aspiration towards improving
ourselves spiritually, based on certain conclusions arrived at by the past
masters of our arte. It also suggests the best methods for reaching our
esoteric goals. Taking this into consideration we can easily suggest that one
of the primary focuses for Qabala is the process of initiation and
advancement. This process we refer to as the maturation of the soul. More
specifically the deliberate or forced maturation of the soul.
One of the things those past Masters discovered about the human condition is
that nature only has the ability to move us along the path of soul advancement
so far and then no more. Once we reach that critical point where nature has
lost the ability to take us further we require a shock from outside of ourselves
to help us jump the gap into the next stage of our growth. The recognition of
the need for such a shock is the motive for organised occult training and the
teacher-pupil relationship. According to these criteria those individuals who
think that they do not need a tutor at some point, therefore, can be assessed
as either not having reached the ‘shock point’, or are resisting serious change.
In the western tradition one of the tools used for creating such change is ritual.
There are mixed reactions to the practice of occult ritual by students of the
hidden artes. Some take to it immediately, possibly feeling comfortable in
such a situation because of their experiences in this realm in other lives.
Others do not like to be involved in ritual because they harbour beliefs about
the practice that make them uncomfortable. It is common in the popular mind
to associate ritual with black Magick or witches orgiastic sabbats, for example.
Some individuals simply do not have an affinity with organised ritual or have
advanced so much that they have grown past the need for such stimulation.
Many occultists practice this arte without really knowing the mechanics behind
it and many others avoid it for the same reason. So in this lesson we present
some basic ideas about Magickal ritual and ceremonial in order to throw some
light on the subject. We desire to ensure that each of you who wish to rise to
the challenge of formal training have a good understanding of this subject
because it forms an important role in our later work.
Ritual is designed to take advantage of certain functions of the unconscious
and subconscious minds. We know, for example, that these mental faculties
are very habitual in nature. Ritual is a form of habit and therefore speaks to
the un/subconscious on their own terms. Through ritual we seek, by calling on
the aid of the subconscious, to habitualise certain thoughts, beliefs and
activities that are not necessarily part of the ritual themselves. The
subconscious speaks the language of the unconscious – which is symbolism,
and the conscious mind – which is verbal. It is therefore the perfect medium of
communication between the physical (concrete) world and the deep
psychological (abstract) world.
In a ritual we seek to emulate and stimulate the conditions that exist in the
subconscious. One of the primary functions of the subconscious is dreaming.
The average dream is a mocked up drama whose images and events are
constructed from bits and pieces of our past. Each of these ‘bits’ of our past is
a symbol, that is, it is chosen for the specific meaning we have imbued it with.
The face of an old adversary conjures up ‘fear’, and that of an old girlfriend or
boyfriend the desire to experience love – for example. A dream is, therefore,
an attempt, on the part of the unconscious, at trying to communicate with the
conscious mind. This communication takes the format of a mental drama that
is pieced together from carefully selected bits of memory, each of which is a
word in the language of a dynamic symbolism.
A dream is therefore not unlike a stage play. The play, overall, has a story or
plot. Behind the plot there is an underlying message. During the process of
the play we notice that the script is full of subtle innuendo. Each player is not
just a character in a story but he also symbolises an idea, attitude or belief
that is demonstrated or played out during the course of the drama. The
various locations in the play/dream are not just nice looking stage sets – they
also have subtle symbolic meanings. The shapes of objects, their colours and
their position-relationships to other dream object-symbols is also symbolic.
Everything is pregnant with meaning. This is the language of the unconscious
as it is expressed through the medium of the subconscious/dream state.
Ritual, as we begun to point out, is an attempt to emulate this process. Every
true occult ritual is full of symbolism and therefore meaning. The stage is set
in the ritual Lodge or Temple. The Lodge is painted (or curtained) in a
particular colour, is populated with special furniture that holds, in design, a
very definite meaning. The ritualist wears clothing and jewellery that in shape
and colour express certain specific ideas. The spoken words, the invocations,
performed in the ritual are full of well-chosen analogy, metaphor and poetic
meaning. Particular incense is burnt because of its subtle relationship with the
meaning of the rite. In short every sense of the Mage is bombarded with
stimulus and no object or idea is present that does not conform with the
intention of the rite. All of these things are synchronised together in the format
of a dramatic ritual in order to powerfully focus and impress an idea onto the
unconscious and therefore to stimulate it to react in a certain direction.
The Mage, then, through the use of ritual, is attempting to speak to the
unconscious in its own language. The true ‘Language of the Angels’ as it is
often referred to. This process of effecting a communication between the
conscious and unconscious minds works immediately but takes a little time to
manifest obvious effects. The unconscious, who has been using an arbitrary
symbol system developed from bits of our life’s experiences learns quickly
that the Mages Qabala, his symbol system, is another dialect of its own
language and slowly, during tuition, begins to feed these new symbols back to
the aspirant. They are most often found appearing first, for the average
student, in meditation. Eventually they trickle into the dream life of the initiate –
a sign that the unconscious has become saturated to a very deep level with
the new dialect.
This, then, is the first part of the process of ritual – repeating over and over
instructions to the unconscious, through the format of living symbolism
(dramatic occult ritual), which outline a plan for higher development. It is like
acting out a manual of instructions that provide very accurate guidelines for
the maturation of the Soul. This process is seen in a very general way in
group ceremony. The types of ritual that make up both the cycle of ceremonial
initiation and advancement and the cycle of seasonal rites. One is a
microcosmic, the other a macrocosmic dramatisation of occult formulae.
The other form of ritual is that type which is carried out by an individual, two or
three persons, for some more specific purpose. We might liken this type of
ritual to the taking of a single instruction, from the previously mentioned
metaphoric manual, and intensifying the directions given on a specific point.
Such a ritual usually involves the invocation of a single definite force, rather
than the more general array of forces called upon in initiation, advancement or
The second level of this process, that of attempting to initiate a
communication with the unconscious mind, is to learn to ‘read’ the
communications which come back in dreams and in trancework or meditation
from the unconscious. This is by far the most difficult but most rewarding part
of the process. The unconscious’ primary concern is with our spiritual
development and therefore is constantly trying to provide us with hints about
the best actions to take in order to perfect our being. Ritual, and the Qabala
which is its basis, is the first and best method of effecting such a necessary
and productive communication.
With all of this under consideration the past masters of the arte of initiation,
when considering and building the fundamental structures of the early mystery
colleges, wove into the fabric of esoteric training a cycle of rituals. These
rituals together completed a dramatic history of the souls journey upon the
path of soul maturation. Many of the ancient mystery play cycles had three
‘acts’, one for each primary grade of advancement. Often these mystery
dramas told the story of some spiritual hero, such as Osiris, Mithras or Hiram
Abiff, who had struggled with the process of seeking enlightenment. The
hero’s true life story, then, became the platform around which was built a
more elaborate tale, told in the traditional symbology of the system it resided
in, of the archetypal soul journey from ignorance to wisdom.
over a period of about 3000 years the original ancient mystery dramas have
been expanded and elaborated upon as each new school of esoteric wisdom
in various different cultures established its own particular way of telling the
original story of the journey. In more recent times, particularly in the last 500
years, these mystery dramas have become very elaborate, until, as we see
today in the likes of Freemasonry and the Hermetic Order of the Golden
Dawn, the dramas are no longer confined to three acts or degrees or grades
in the cycle, but can amount to a dozen or even as much as 33 or 99
individual aspects of a whole drama.
It should be understood that it was not the purpose of these dramas, in which
the candidate was to take the central role, was not simply to tell a story. The
way in which the ritual enactments of these stories were constructed and
presented allowed the school to have a powerful psychological effect on the
candidate. This is where the ideal of initiation, the ability of an adept Mage or
group of Mages to change the spiritual condition of an aspirant quickly and in
one action, is most potently focused by the modern seeker. It is believed or
considered today that the primary purpose of the initiatory drama should have
the effect of spiritually awakening the aspirant for whom the rite was being
worked. In ancient and classic times such effects were very likely the exact
intention of these dramas. Historical records describing such events certainly
would have us believe this. Today, though, sadly, if such a candidate is
affected in this manner by the usual ceremonial initiations given in mainstream
Orders he or she would be most fortunate indeed. While it is not unusual to
feel powerful currents of energy invoked during such rites it is very rare for a
candidate to be spiritually altered by such a drama. This does not, though,
negate the need or complete rationale for using such rites. As the need to
mark the degrees of a spiritual journey and to impress important ideas on the
mind is still productive.
On top of this it can be seen that some of these mystery dramas, or rituals,
are no longer simply concerned with the telling of the story of some hero’s bid
for enlightenment, but often specialise in describing strange esoteric histories,
details about occult secrets, or the dramatic presentation of morals, rules or
laws. All of this is done keeping the idea in mind that the mystery drama, an
elaborate ritual of music, colour, poetry and motion, all tied up in a package of
symbolism, is one sure way of making a strong impression on the prepared
mind of the candidate.
Today, while there are still a number of esoteric colleges or Orders that make
extensive use of initiation ceremonies, there is an increasing trend within the
main stream of the occult community to downplay, ignore or abolish altogether
this ancient form of tuition and Magickal technique. We understand that this is
not so much because the method is no longer effective, as some would have
it. Or that it has simply gone out of fashion, for fashion has never been a
concern of occult training. Rather it seems that the present trend towards the
belief that training can be successfully and completely effected alone without
the aid of tutor or fraternity has created a condition of self delusion that has
breed a kind of distaste for any area of training where commitment and
reliability are required.
The Guild itself has made use of solo ritual and ritual initiation in the past, and
still does at the present time when conditions allow it. It does so for simple
reasons. The dramas themselves provide key points of instruction that are
effectively driven home when taken under the condition of a rite of entrance or
advancement. They help to complete and round-out the instruction given in
other areas, so as to ensure that the process is more organic, and not so
burdened by intellectual concerns. This aspect of our work should be given
due consideration for if you have no stomach for the persistence and
discipline that the completing ritual cycles demands our process of training is
not one you should begin.
Probationers Lesson 18
Initiation and Alchemy
“… there are many who have a stiff neck, void of ingenuity in every
perscrutation; and who can scarcely understand common speech, and likewise
with difficulty learn works vulgarly common. Besides these we also find many
who have a soul easily opinionating every phantasie; but what they believe they
have found true, is all phantastick, deviating from reason, full of error, and
remote from natural principles: Because their brain, repleat with many
fumosities, cannot receive the true intention of natural things..”
(Gerber – Of the Sum of Perfection)
In the previous lesson we spoke of the idea that the process of ritual was
likened to acting out instructions from a manual to the unconscious mind. We
mentioned that the instructions in this manual were a type of formulæ used for
the maturation of the Soul. In this lesson we shall look at how that formulæ
was discovered in the past and how we might re-discover it for ourselves,
The first idea to explore here is that the process of initiation and advancement
is not some make-it-up-as-you-go series of events. We do not stumble into
that point in our soul growth where we find ourselves introduced to a reliable
tutor or system which has the ability to prepare us for the true Initiation of our
soul into the mysteries of being. On the contrary, our entire progress is
mapped by a cosmic process that we, in the Guild, refer to as the formula of
‘Light Dawning in Darkness’ (LDD).
There are, initially, certain concerns about this idea – we agree. The first that
comes to mind for most is an objection to the idea that our life is already
mapped by some predestined fate. The argument as to whether or not
predestination exists is a long and complex one that we do not intend to enter
into at this stage (see here for more detail). We will, however, explain the
Guild’s understanding of this matter. Predestination presupposes an
underlying order to things. A plan that has a starting point, a journey and a
goal. A lack of such an underlying order suggests that life is based on chaos.
A set of random events with no purpose. To believe in the latter ideal is to
undermine the entire point of initiation and advancement. For that process is
one that is designed to guide the Soul through a serious of experiences that
point towards the real-isation of a definite goal.
There is, we should point out, the idea that through the chaotic progress of
life, that eventually, through the laws of probability, a proper mature state for
the Soul will be attained. This is not true chaos though – for it presupposes
that behind the chaos there is intention, a plan to reach a desired end.
There is also the ideal that there is no point at all to existence. That we simply
‘are’ and will continue to be so infinitely, or not, depending on ones point of
view. If this were true, though, why bother to bring things into order at all
then? If chaos, a lack of destination or planning, is the primary underlying law
of the universe then to attempt to establish order is contradictory to this
primary law and therefore doomed to failure.
Taking this into consideration the Guild suggests that the primary, omnipotent
law that governs every structure and interaction in the universe is one of
Order. That is, that there is a reason for the universe’s existence and for the
existence of everything in creation. This ‘reason’ we assert, is the primary
motivation behind every activity in creation – no matter how un-obvious it is.
Now, the reason for our pursuing this thread of ideas is to point out that if we
were to accept the idea of underlying order in the universe then by knowing
this order we would be a long way towards mastering our reality. This is one
of the primary motives behind initiation and advancement. The logic
explaining the necessity of occult training – effective occult training. For it goes
without saying that if we do not know the reason for our existence, which 99%
of humanity do not, then it is far more difficult to attain constructive goals.
The point to formal esoteric training is, then, to provide the student with the
tools necessary to know that order which exists behind creation. By knowing
this order one can then take one’s part in the greater plan. Being enabled to
act thus we align ourselves with the greatest force in the universe – the Will of
the Creator. Success in this venture therefore, logically, manifests knowledge
that one has purpose and that knowledge invites a greater happiness,
healthiness and enthusiasm for life and the ability to attain that that previously
So how do we discover the nature of that order which exists behind creation?
The key to the Guilds approach to this problem is to be found in the idea that
this order pervades every aspect of creation. If all-that-is exists only because
of this underlying plan, that which we call ‘The Will of God’, then it is
reasonable that we should be able to find clues to this ‘order’ in anything and
everything we can grasp with our hands or our minds! In other words all things
in the universe are holographic representations of the greater universe itself.
This is the meaning behind the well-known Hermetic axiom taken from the
Emerald Tablet … ‘as above … so below’.
Here, then, was the primary motivation for the establishment of the
alchemical, the operative alchemical, tradition. It is the rationale of the
Alchemist that if we remove all that is superfluous from ‘matter’ and take hold
of that which is most permanent, homogeneous and pure in matter, that we
would have a substance that contained in its physics the simplest, most
radical laws of nature. By studying this pure radical substance we should, by
the process of analogy, be able to ascertain the most fundamental laws, the
primal ‘formulæ’ contained in creation.
As it turned out their rationale was correct. Nature’s most fundamental laws do
exist in all departments of nature. That means we can find them all within the
realm of chemistry – al-chemistry that is. Through their analysis of matter the
Alchemists discovered and catalogued the most important knowledge we
have about the nature of our reality. It is important for a number of reasons,
but the most significant is that the Alchemists, having discovered such, can
demonstrate these laws in a manner that is most appealing to reason. All of
the true ideals, practices, principles and lore’s of Magick and Mysticism can
be demonstrated by the Alchemist, for all to see, under laboratory conditions.
The most important of these laws is that which we began our discourse upon.
The formulæ of light dawning in darkness. That process which takes corrupted
(fallen) substance or idea and transmutes it into its opposite. For the
Alchemist this process is Alchemy itself. This process is described in the
traditional alchemical literature as:
Separation – Purification – Cohobation
These three principles are the basis of all evolutionary processes and nothing
in nature is unaffected by them. All matter is at any point in time under the
direct influence of one of these three operations. Through the dissection of
matter in their laboratories, and by carefully contemplating other greater
natural dynamics in the world about them, Alchemists learned all of the details
concerning these universal operations. They took what they saw in nature and
perfected it. Improved upon the process and watched each layer of activity
unfold in the microcosm of their hidden laboratories. Later, as the
consequences of their knowledge was understood they applied what they had
learned to other departments of nature – most importantly that of the human
mind and soul.
The Alchemist, in this manner, created a complete science of the soul which
gave Initiates the ability to effectively and quickly mature his or her own
spiritual nature … thereby awakening the souls latent potential. It is through
their knowledge, which we in the Alchemist’s Guild have inherited, that we
understand the analogical relationship that exists between esoteric
physics/chemistry (operative Alchemy) and esoteric psychology (Magick) and
can reap the benefits that such knowledge provides.
Now when considering the Guild’s ability to accurately assess and pass on
knowledge concerning the hidden laws of nature, and thereby to affect the
process of initiation, we must make this point quite clear. All that we now know
has been learned, firstly, through the application processes, and secondly,
through comparing the results of experience with the findings recorded by the
Alchemists and Magickians of earlier ages. The first process involved learning
the details of mental structure and dynamics (that is of the laws governing the
astral universe) and how to manipulate astral (psychological) material. The
second process involved the discovery of natural process through the
methods of laboratory Alchemy. What our founders discovered in the
laboratory they applied to the mind through a process of analogy, in the same
manner that the ancient sages had. Thus wise did the Guild manage to create
a quite novel (in our times) system of initiation and advancement, effecting its
goals so quickly and effectively!
Probationers Lesson 19
“The workings of the Merkava should not be taught even individually, except to
one who is wise, understanding with his own knowledge.”
(Rabbi Yochanan Ben Zakkai – 1st century)
Qabala is primarily a philosophy that outlines the motives supporting and
processes involved in the maturation of the human soul. This is the core idea,
as far as the Guild is concerned, that one should hold in mind when
contemplating the role Qabala plays in the field of higher human endeavour.
We also point out that along with a philosophy concerning the occult
worldview the Qabala presents a number of methods whereby the goals of
this philosophy might be attained.
The focus which the Mages of the Qabala have put on a favoured method for
attaining the goals which this philosophy delineates have changed a number
of times in 4000, or so, years of its use. The Babylonian Magi, whom history
recognises as the ancient originators of Hebrew Qabala were partial to the
use of Magick. In fact the terms Magick and magus were coined to describe
the arte of the ancient Babylonian priests. In later times Qabala was used to
support popular religious movements in both Egypt and the Semitic nations.
The pre-Christian Qabalistic Rabbi (a sub-sect of Rabbinic Judaism) were
more inclined toward a Mystical approach to Qabala’s aims. This form of
mysticism, often said to be the proto-type of the modern Orthodox Hebrew
Qabala, was called Merkabah (mer-car-bah) Mysticism. In Modern times both
the mystical and the Magickal techniques are wide spread, with, we believe, a
great emphasis on the latter in more recent times.
The Guild’s approach to practical Qabala could not be said to be wholly
mystical, in that it does not seek to teach its students to reject the physical
realm in preference for unity with Godhead in some abstract spiritual reality.
Neither can it be said to be wholly Magickal, in that we do not make much use
of the sundry archaic medieval Magickal practices of the type touted in the
Magickal grimoire’s (books) of the classic ages. It is not that we do not see
any value in either of these paths. The mystical approach to attainment of
Qabala’s aims has its place – under certain circumstances – specifically, for
example, the monastic life. But we are not advocating a traditional monastic
approach to soul maturation and we do not aim at teaching those who would
seek such a path. The medieval Qabalistic Magickal tradition has its benefits
too, but we feel that much corruption and garbage has adhered to that system
in the intervening years between its inception and our age that it is time that a
Magickal system that takes advantage of the present stage of human soul
maturity in scientific knowledge was formulated.
Qabala has evolved over thousands of years into quite a different discipline
than that which it was at its conception. In our time the greatest alteration to
the proto-Qabala that we have to contend with is the massive pollution with
religious material it has undergone in the last 2500 (and more) years.
Much of this unnecessary religious overwriting was applied during that long
period in which the Qabala was in the hands of the early Jewish Rabbi’s. Of
course the Qabala has also undergone some Christian pollution as well, but,
compared to the adhering Judaic overtones, the Christian flavour is a much
smaller, later, addition. The point we wish to make here is that Qabala, at
least as far as it appears to the eyes of the novice, seems to be a wholly
Hebrew/Jewish invention. Its outer language is Hebrew and the eternal and
universal spiritual concepts it presents are veiled in the garb of Judaism. But it
is important for the novice to understand that this is only the outer
manifestation of the Qabala. A more scholarly investigation of its works
reveals that there is also much Chaldean (ancient Babylonian) in its makeup.
That many important concepts, some legends and one or two important
individuals mentioned in Qabala have been taken directly from early
Babylonian sources. That Moses himself, the ‘modern’ father of the Qabala
was, very likely, an Egyptian – Initiated into the ancient mysteries within the
hallowed halls of the temple system of that culture.
In this way, once we become more familiar with Qabala, we see that in fact it
is a very ancient universal system that was adopted by the Sumerians,
Egyptians and the Semites previous to 2500 BCE. That it belonged to none of
these cultures originally, but instead was inherited from a culture that predated
these three by some extra thousands of years.
We have mentioned the fact that Qabala is a philosophy, but as yet we have
not gone into any detail concerning this matter. So let us now take a brief look
at just what Qabala tells us about the nature of our reality.
Firstly Qabala recognises that the Universe, creation itself, had its origin
outside of creation. In some unknowable, eternal, unlimited source-state.
Within this unknowable source-state, we are told, is some form of divine
intelligence. Qabalists believe this because they assert that something within
the source-state must have been responsible for launching the process of the
creation of the universe. This divine intelligence, this motivation to create, they
refer to as the ultimate, all encompassing, omnipotent power/consciousness in
the universe. It is the Qabalist’s ultimate God if you like. The real nature of this
deity is not debated, for, it is recognised, that attempts to attain knowledge of
this ultimate deity in past ages have always failed. It is simply stated as being
So here we have the first important concept in Qabala, belief in a Supreme
Being which exists outside of the universe and which is responsible for its
creation and maintenance.
The second important subject in Qabala is the creation itself. What we might
call the universe or macrocosm – the manifestation of God’s Will. The third
important concept is man, the microcosm. We often read that the work of
Qabala is to delineate the proper relationship between God, Man and the
Although it is done in a very cryptic manner the teachings of the classic
Qabala present this relationship in such a way that we can see that both God,
Man and the Universe share, analogically, the same structure and dynamic.
The ancient Qabalists who knew this in detail also knew that a clear
explanation of the facts of this analogical relationship allowed, too easily, a
comprehension of some astounding knowledge concerning the nature of
reality. Knowledge that could be used for extreme evil or good. Therefore they
presented the entire story on three levels, revealing certain parts when
describing the nature of God, other parts when describing the nature of man,
and the remainder when speaking of the nature of the universe.
It was left to the serious student to, firstly, discover that the entire story was
divided up thus. Then to collect together the relevant important portions of the
story from the three levels of understanding, and piece them back together in
a format agreeable to all. This reconstitution of the original message provides
a clear understanding to the adept of the true relationship between Man, God
and the Universe … that is, of the true nature of reality.
An important part of this unified theory about reality is the doctrine of the
tripartite structure of the human subtle constitution. That is … of the psyche or
Soul. The Qabala tells us that as far as mans higher evolution is concerned
there are three portions of the soul which play the most important role. One of
these portions is transcendent, that is, it survives death and rebirth. It is called
the Neschamah (nee-sha-mah) or Life Breath. Its function might be
understood as both higher intuition (‘knowing’) and love (the force that
reconciles opposites). In Qabalistic terminology she is the Divine Mother or
‘Aima’. As far as esoteric science is concerned she is the manifestation or
presence of the Higher Self – the spark of God in man. The Higher Self,
because it lives in a state of equilibrium, cannot manifest itself in its pure
state, therefore it uses the Neschamah as its vehicle. We could therefore say
that when considering the average occultists relationship with his highest
functions he is most likely to commune through his Neschamah when
communicating with his Higher Self or ‘Yechidah’ (yee-key-dah).
Therefore the Neschamah might be considered an interceder between man
and his Godlike self.
The remaining two of the three primary aspects of the soul the Qabala calls
Ruach (roo-are-k) or Spirit, and Nephesch (knee-feh-sch) or animal soul. The
Ruach is to a degree the equivalent of the Jungian Animus (masculine
psychological functions) and the Nephesch is, in a similar way, is the
equivalent of the anima (or feminine psychological functions).
Both of these parts of the human psyche/Soul are temporal in nature, that is,
they are constructed at the outset of every incarnation anew, and decompose
at the end of every incarnation. These two parts of the human mind are in
constant conflict with each other in the average individual. It is the
psychological tension between these two states of mind that creates and
maintains an individuals human personality.
The key to the psychological health and the higher development of the Soul is
to be found in the interplay between these three psychological archetypes,
then. In the Zohar, a very old Qabalistic text, we are informed that the occultist
must establish and maintain a link with the Neschamah (the reconciler
between opposites), if he is to ensure that he does not lose his way or
become the target of evil. It is the presence of the Neschamah alone, within
the field of personal psychology, which calms and equilibrates the two fighters
who live in our bodies, the Ruach and Nephesch.
This, at least in the simple form we have presented here, is the key to the
Guilds formal training. It conceals the formula of initiation and advancement. it
is our philosophy, our aim and our practice all in one.
We have said in the past that we base our system on Magick, Alchemy and
Qabala. Now we might elaborate on this by suggesting that Qabala provides
us with a plan and a motive and postulates a goal for the Great Work –
attainment of enlightenment. Magick, through the channel of trancework, is
the means of accessing and manipulating the media we require to carry out
our Work. Alchemy provides us both with a measuring stick and a method of
inspiration to round off the corners and extend the fundamental possibilities
provided in the basic plan learned through Qabala. The school is the work
place. It is the laboratory wherein we find the tools and expertise through
which we access the macrocosmic forces we require to Initiate, advance and
complete the work. It is an important source of research material, advice,
support and a vehicle through which we may give back some of what we have
gained through its assistance.
All of this is organised according to a Qabalistic plan. Qabala provides the
blueprint through which we can find our way in the labyrinth of occult
education. It is that mechanism which pulls together all the various resources
we need in order to succeed in our quest. That it is one of the greatest gifts
the ancient seers have left us there is no doubt.
Edited by Brother AMB
Probationers Lesson 21
Towards Formal Training
“Silence, secrecy, and calmness of temper, are the unmistakable marks of a
true Mason. He who incessantly boasts of his knowledge may be set down as
an empty chatterer. Noise is not Wisdom. Those who ostentatiously proclaim
their own merits, may, for a time, enjoy the satisfaction of deceit; yet, in the end,
their pretensions are sure to be exposed .”
(George Oliver – The Book of the Lodge )
We now begin the last lesson in probationary tuition. This last lesson is
designed to sum up all that we have said previously on the subject of occult
education and the Hermetic tradition – especially where it relates to the
Guild’s approach. These final comments, then, are our last opportunity to
have our say before you make the choice as to whether you would like to
continue onto formal tuition or resign from further progress here. It is also your
last opportunity, with your tutor, to question and discuss the subjects covered
in probation and the choices that are now facing you.
We urge you, therefore, to take your time with the following material and
ensure yourself that you have covered it carefully, and with the degree of
contemplation to which it is due. For those who desire to stop here and go no
further with our training course we thank you for your patience and point out
that the information which follows is presented with the graduate who intends
to continue on to formal training in mind.
The Alchemist’s Guild is a fraternal institution, a brotherhood, composed of
one noviciate Grade, probation, and three Grades of formal instruction,
entered apprentice, adept and master. The noviciate Grade is designed to
present to you:
(1) Some basic information about Hermeticism in general,
(2) Some of the Guild’s fundamental points of view concerning
training and occultism,
(3) Various exercises that form the basis of study discipline, and
(4) An opportunity for you and your tutor to get to know each other.
It is expected that by this point in your probationary tuition you have gained at
least some rudimentary insight into the worldview of Hermeticism and
therefore can decide for yourself as to whether you agree with such a
At the same time some of the Guild’s attitudes, beliefs and their expectations
have been presented and you should be aware of whether you accept these
or not and whether you can accommodate the basic demands of study in your
More importantly, you should now, after having communicated with your tutor
for some months, be ready to consider whether you are ready to accept this
person as an authoritative source of the Guild’s training and that you are
willing to obey where matters of instruction are concerned. This subject
deserves much consideration, for, it is very likely, at some point during formal
training, that you are going to be given instructions that you either can’t
understand or feel you can’t agree with, or desire to resist carrying out … for
When we consider that alchemy, whether it involves working with chemical
substances or with the substance of the individual psyche, is an enterprise
that involves a certain degree of risk, you need to be aware that the Guild
recognises and accepts this risk factor and is willing to quickly and effectively
act upon any breach of any rule of practice in order to reduce potential
disasters. For this reason we insist that a student who has accepted an
invitation to begin formal tuition also accepts his portion of the responsibility of
taking due care to safety by agreeing to obey the instructions of his tutor.
Any student who is under the illusion that the Guild will not act quickly in the
subject of a breach of obedience towards an instruction given to him by a
superior will not last long in training.
Taking this into consideration it is a good idea that we explain here from
where a tutor derives his authority.
Firstly, each tutor in the Guild is appointed by the Master of the lodge to that
he belongs. Such a decision is based on the conclusions of a discussion held
between the members of the management group of the lodge in question. The
management group itself is composed of those members of the lodge who
both individually and collectively have the greatest interest in, and experience
with, the teachings of the Guild. In this way the choice of whether or not to
appoint a tutor is made with consideration for the Guild’s standards for training
requirements and whether or not the proposed tutor can meet such standards.
In this way any act of defiance against the instructions of a tutor, who is
appointed by his lodge master upon the recommendation of the most
knowledgeable members of his lodge, is in fact an act of defiance against the
integrity of the lodge itself, and against the Guild as a whole, which supports
the lodges right to function.
To put it simply, then, it is considered quite appropriate to question tutors
instructions, but it is considered grounds for expulsion should a student defy a
direct request to obey an instruction issued by a tutor concerning tuition,
especially where safety is an issue.
Now, while any student has the right to defy a request to obey an instruction, if
he does so the Guild does not question the rule that such defiance betrays the
student’s unsuitability for further instruction. Safety cannot be compromised.
So we have established that the tutor is chosen by his lodge master for his
ability to maintain the standards for tuition laid down by the Guild itself.
Nevertheless it is likely at some point that the student will question the
compatibility of these standards with his needs. Therefore when we talk about
the Guild’s standards for training what exactly do we mean?
The Guild’s training course was designed with a number of important
requirements in mind:
(1) The system is designed to aid the student in obtaining an advanced
degree of enlightenment, which we see as being the result of
combining the powers of the unconscious and conscious minds.
(2) That the system be as simple to teach and to learn as possible, in
order to decrease down time from study and increase progress through
(3) That progress can be made as quickly as nature will allow.
(4) That the process is workable within the confines of the demands
imposed on the individual living modern western society.
(5) That the process must take into consideration the individual needs of
Individual lodges, and the Guild as a whole, through the research and work
carried out within their core groups, are in a constant process of adjusting and
renovating the training system in order to more effectively align it with these
five basic requirements.
After accepting the authority of the tutor, the next situation that the graduate
into formal training must consider is the study program itself. There are three
habits that we have tried to instil in you during the course of this introductory
(1) The necessity of regular study nights that are ritually adhered to.
(2) The necessity of regular and formal communication with your tutor.
(3) The necessity of keeping a detailed journal record of your progress.
(4) The benefits of ongoing reading.
As soon as your formal training begins the way in which study is dealt with will
change. You will be given certain assignments to complete within a definite
time period, but you will not be pushed to maintain all of the study habits we
have listed above. How you complete the work required of you is, then, up to
you now (generally speaking.) If you feel you have a more productive way to
carry out your assignments you are now at your liberty to alter your study
process to suit your needs. Self-motivation is the key phrase here. It is not
your tutor’s job to harass you to study. Only those who desire success
strongly enough to be pro-active about their tuition will succeed. If your tutor is
reduced to pushing you to meet deadlines then success is obviously not
Your tutor’s job is to offer advice, primarily, advice that is designed to speed
you forward as quickly and as easily as nature will allow as safely as possible.
Your job is to ensure you read all instructions carefully, abide by the rules that
govern your tuition and to meet deadlines. You are also required to advise
your tutor immediately if you are having, or predict, trouble with any aspect of
training. Prevention is the far better option than cure and our training process
is designed with this in mind. To believe you can fix problems once they are
big trouble is foolish.
Honesty is your next care. You must always endeavour to answer you tutor’s
questions as truthfully as you can. When giving you advice you tutor must
make judgements based on all available information. A big part of this task
revolves around conversations you have with your tutor. If you are confused,
are predisposed towards wanting to keep certain things to yourself or have an
urge to falsify information or give the wrong impression in any way your tutor
may give you advice which is dangerous. This is particularly important when
difficult situations are being dealt with.
The urge to lie or to tailor information is strong in most students during the
crisis stages of the process. Refusal to cease such unproductive habits is the
most common reason, next to laziness, for students being asked to resign
from training. Therefore we warn you loudly that if you prefer to keep certain
things private to yourself that might crop up in training, then rather than
modifying the information you return to your tutor, in order to conceal things,
tell him that you prefer not to discuss the issue. In this way your tutor can take
into consideration, when organising advice, that he does not have all the facts.
This issue is so important to the success of the process of occult initiation that
the Guild has cautions its tutors never to allow the types of game playing that
average people in mundane society play with each other in order to get by
with the minimum responsibility for their behaviour. A Guild tutor has
undergone some unusual changes in his understanding of human nature in
the course of his training. These changes have taught him the value of
honesty with self even if not with others. Therefore you should understand that
if your behaviour encroaches over the boundary of acceptable and safe then
you will be warned clearly and without malice. If you do not choose to alter
your course at the first warning there will be no risk taken with further
misconduct and the privilege of tuition, for you, will be brought officially into
question. Under such circumstances the individuals who are responsible for
judging your situation will prefer greatly, to err on the side of caution rather
than risk and further difficulty.
It is our intention to provide everyone who works hard with the opportunity to
succeed here. But we will not compromise safety or effectiveness in order to
save embarrassment or a messy scene. This having been said understand
that we expect everyone to fall on occasion. But at the same time we expect a
polite warning to he heeded immediately. Help is always at hand for the
individual who is struggling with his behaviour so do not hesitate to admit you
are having trouble controlling your passions if that turns out to be the case. In
fact, this, as you will see, is a greater portion of the focus of training.
While we are discussing personal discipline and the need to be self-
responsible with study and behaviour, we will say a few words about the
judicial process within the Guild.
There are three sources fir authoritative rulings within the Guild. In other
words there are three places where rules are established for the governing of
your tuition relationship with your tutor and with the Guild itself.
The first source of rules are the various obligations you accept, in the manner
of a set of oaths, before the start of each stage of training. You have already
accepted the first of these obligations, that of probation, and the next, that of
apprentice, will be given to you before you advance, if you accept an invitation
to enter formal training. Each successive obligation you take is binding on
you, none are cancelled out by those proceeding. The obligation is the binding
contract you have with the Guild in general.
The second source of rules is your lodges ‘regula’. This is a form of by-laws
that each student must accept before entering the Guild proper. You will also
have a chance to look this over before making any choice to advance. The
regula is the contract you have with your lodge specifically.
The third source of authority in your training is your tutor. … Acceptance of
your tutor’s authority is the rule that governs the actual tuition process itself.
Before making any decision to request advance into formal training we insist
that you carefully consider the conditions of the apprentices contract of
The Alchemists Guild
Apprentice’s Contact of Obligation
(1) As an Apprentice student and member of the Alchemist’s Guild, I do
agree that: I have carefully read, and understood to the best of my
ability, and accept the conditions described in this document.
(2) To continue to abide by the obligation I accepted as a probationer and
apply the same principles to this grade.
(3) To unconditionally demonstrate obedience towards the authority of my
tutor, of the Guardian and of the Master of my lodge, in matters
concerning the lodge and/or my tuition.
(4) That the purpose of the Alchemist’s Guild is research, preservation and
training in Hermetic science, and that if I fail to actively and productively
labour in one of these areas within the Guild, then it is my duty to
forward my resignation in writing, to my lodge, politely and with haste.
(5) That the light of wisdom being founded in truth I understand that I must
at all time endeavour to be strictly honest with myself and in my
dealings with other Guild members.
(6) That because the Guild is a fraternity I am expected to partake with
zeal in all fraternal (lodge) activities, and not avoid my responsibilities
as a member of this brotherhood.
(7) I accept that I am not at liberty to discuss any detail concerning any
Alchemist Guild’s lodge meeting I am invited to attend, with any person
who was not themselves in attendance at the same meeting, without
written permission from a superior in the Guild.
(8) After having informed my tutor, in the presence of a witness, that I have
read and accepted this oath, I accept that it will be taken for granted by
each member of the Alchemist’s Guild that I intend to do my best to
abide by each and every clause of this my obligation to this fraternity.
We now begin the last stage of probationary tuition. For some of you this last
stage will mean informing your tutor that you no longer wish to continue on
into formal training and that you wish to be excused from any further work. If
this is you desire we caution that resignation from training at any point
removes the possibility of reapplying again in the future.
If you choose to not continue we hope that this probationary process has
been of some help to you and that your journey from this point is fruitful and
leads you toward the goal of your desire.
The remaining information is intended for those students who desire to
continue to advance into formal training within the Alchemist’s Guild.
The final stage of probation for these students is the probationer’s entrance
examination. Each degree of study in the Guild, from this point, culminates
with an examination that takes the form of a thesis composed of at least 2000
words describing your understanding of the subject material.
If you intend continuing on to formal training, therefore, you should inform your
tutor now, if you have not already, that you intend sitting the entrance
examination. Once you have informed your tutor of this intention you have 14
days to complete your thesis on the probation study material.
This thesis should include the following material:
(1) Your initial impressions of the study course (before beginning).
(2) A report on how you coped with the magick journal exercise.
(3) Your opinions, thoughts and concerns about the trancework.
(4) A consideration of those pieces of information in the course that you
feel are likely to be of vital importance to the formal student.
(5) An in-depth personal criticism about your performance as a
(6) What you hope for from formal training if you are accepted.
(7) Any further information you feel may be of interest to your tutor or the
Guild examiner who marks your thesis.
This thesis should not include:
(1) Excessive quoting from the lessons (any such quotes will not be
included in the final word count)
(2) Excessive quoting from books.
(3) Excessive intellectualisations, especially those based on other peoples
(4) Off subject material.
The entire point in this thesis is for you to help your tutor and the examiner to
understand what you have got out of the probationers study course. They
want to see what think about the course, how your feel it may or may not have
effected you. Your opinions on the subject material, therefore, are very
The thesis is not examined on the basis of scholarship, grammar, spelling,
etc. This is not high school or university. Its not the intelligent and learned
format that the thesis takes that matters to us, but rather your ability to get
your feelings, thoughts and opinions across clearly to your tutor. Honesty and
depth are also very important. Superficial skimming over important aspects of
the subject material will be treated as non-existent content.
What should be foremost in your mind while composing your theses is that the
quality of the communication you can provide your tutor about your
experiences and thoughts is of the utmost importance in a personal tuition
relationship. The quality of the service your tutor can provide for you lies
heavily on the effectiveness of the communication you are both engaged in.
While you are in the process of working on your thesis and while it is at the
examiners you should continue to meet your tutor for study sessions as
Once the thesis is complete you should arrange to send it to your tutor as
soon as possible. Whether or not you are invited to continue on to formal
training will not rely totally on this entrance examination. Your entire
performance during probation will be taken into consideration. The Guild is a
fraternity, and therefore you past and present willingness to share fraternally
with other Guild students will be given great consideration. Largely the Guild is
not interested in catering for individuals who desire to remain aloof and distant
from the general activities of his lodge.
An important factor in success in the alchemical journey is the development of
character and the demonstration of goodness. This cannot be done alone, but
instead these faculties are the product of a social interaction.
Completion for graduation
(7) Examination complete and marked
(8) Witness to obligation
(9) Motto list
Ars Imperium Mens
Edited by Brother AMB
Caution: Do not attempt these exercises until instructed by your tutor.
Probationers Trancework Exercise 1
Wilderness of Ignorance
” Existence and the ordinary turmoil of life, the struggle and confusion which
sooner or later binds consciousness by manifold links to an unevolved infantile
and emotional attitude towards life, create anxiety and deep-seated fears …
Fear and anxiety give rise in early life to automatisms and compulsive
behaviour, to what might be called a shrinkage of the sphere of consciousness.”
(Israel Regardie – The Philosophers Stone)
The activity we refer to as trancework is one of the most important processes
in our system of formal training. Many systems of occult development
consider it an extra bonus if their practitioners develop a good working
knowledge of what has been called ‘active imagination’ by Jungians, ‘skrying
the astral’ by medieval magi, and ‘pathworking’ or ‘guided meditation’ by new
age adherents. But they often give little deep instruction in the matter. Rather,
due to the great lack of experience in this realm, it has become, to the
detriment of these systems, a much neglected arte.
The strange fact of this state of affairs is that it is well known, by those who
care to seriously master the secret forces of nature, that the ability to work
Magick consists (as far as western Mages are concerned), of the development
and mastery of two forces only (1) imagination, and (2) will-power. Through a
combination of, and intimate experience with, these two functions only can the
Mage control every force in nature.
Taking this as the rule of thumb in these matters it seems unusual that one
finds it quite difficult to meet, amongst ones many and various occult
acquaintances, any individual with even the slightest adequate knowledge of
the function and development of the imagination. With a degree of experience
in that Magickal other-world that can be classed as adept – we might say. Do
not get us wrong though. There are, it is warranted, a good number of
individuals who have had regular self-willed conscious astral experiences. Our
assertion is that few of these individuals have any idea of just how powerful
that medium is through which they travel in their mind. Nor do many
understand, technically, the substance and dynamic of that secret universe,
nor the great importance of mastering that medium. There is little wonder in it
though, for detailed knowledge of the sidereal universe (as the astral was
once referred to) was carefully kept from the uninitiated as a most dangerous
secret to reveal. As Eliphas Levi said, the astral light is the ‘Great Magickal
Agent’ through which all control of the mundane universe is acquired. What
one is, or can be, then, is truly only limited by one’s imagination!
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