THE RATIONALE OF MAGIC

By DION FORTUNE

 

Originally published in London Forum, Volume 60, September 1934, pages 175 to 181

This contribution is the third of a series devoted to a consideration of Occultism from the Inside.  In dealing with the Rationale of Magic, Dion Fortune puts forward some challenging views, not only in connection with her definition of the subject, but also in regard to the relation of Magic to the subconscious self.

Part III

OCCULTISM can be divided into two aspects, the philosophical and the practical. The philosophical aspect consists of a body of doctrine relating to the nature, origin and development of the invisible reality behind appearances, and of an ethic based on that philosophy. The practical aspect consists of an empirical technique based upon a working hypothesis derived from this philosophy.

The theory, reduced to first principles and robbed of all verbiage, may be summarized as follows: that appearances, as we know them on the material plane, are the outward and visible signs of the activities of an inward and spiritual force, too subtle to be appreciated by our relatively obtuse physical senses; that matter is, to put it briefly, solidified spirit, and that, if we want to understand all the manifold appearances and activities of this physical world, we must seek the key in an understanding of the subtle realm of causation which emanates and conditions it.

This subtle world, in its turn, has its gradations, and the philosophical occultist does not conceive of spirit as emanating from matter in one stride, but of a development taking place by successive phases, the end result being matter as we know it. Neither does he conceive of the whole of the evolving substance as evolving en bloc, but as existing in all stages of development, from the simplest and most mutable, to the densest and most complex, and he believes that substance in all these different states of development goes to make up our earth, and the bodies and souls of the creatures upon it.

He has deduced and observed many laws concerning the nature and workings of manifesting existence that go far beyond the orthodox theories based on a materialistic, or at best a mathematical, method of approach. Upon these laws and theories are based a body of practice worked out in the light of experience, and by no manner of means all hocus pocus, so far as my observation has extended. This body of practice we will call by the general name of magic, for that is the name by which it is known throughout the tradition, both among the initiated and among the general public. I take leave, however, in applying the term magic to this body of practice and developed technique, to explain it and define it in my own way, which gives it a psychological interpretation, and in this I believe that I differ from the generally established definitions and understanding.

Eliphas Levi explains magic as the power to avail oneself of the properties of the subtle aether; Madame Blavatsky regards it as based upon a knowledge of the subtle properties of material objects and their relationship with certain active invisible forces. These two explanations have much in common, and may owe something to each other; but in any case they posit a hypothetical substance akin to the hypothetical ether of the physicist; and the only proof they can offer for the existence of this subtle substance is that phenomena occur "as if" it existed and possessed the properties they attribute to it.

Now this is a rather risky begging of the question. Both aether and ether may be useful working hypotheses, as a king of philosophical scaffolding that enables us to raise the arch of exact knowledge and hold it supported over space until the keystone is dropped into place, and all locked home by force of its own weight; but we must not that that either aether or ether has actual existence or is a proven fact; and material science is giving the occult philosopher an important lead in this respect, for, having used his ether to build up a physics which would have been impossible without the start it was enabled to make with the help of the etheric hypothesis, he is now discarding the ladder by which he climbed, and reducing ether to a mathematical conception of energy.  Reasoning by analogy, the presumption is that the occult philosopher will do the same with his aether when he knows a little more about it; but, learning from other peopleís experience, which is the royal road to knowledge, we shall feel justified in pushing the hypothesis of the subtle, magnetic aether to its utmost logical limits in order to make a start with the practical work of occultism, which will alone enable us to supply ourselves with the necessary body of experience and observation to enable us to draw conclusions and formulate general laws by inductive means.

But we are still, after this digression, without a satisfactory definition of magic; for in the light of what we have learnt by digressing, we see that both Eliphas Levi and Mme. Blavatsky are too naïve for our acceptance as guides and philosophers. Let us therefore consider what another writer on the subject has said.  Aleister Crowley has defined magic as the art of causing changes to occur in accordance with will.

This is a perfectly correct definition, only it is too comprehensive; for all the purposive activities of living creatures aim at causing changes to occur in accordance with will, and the fact that in this wicked world they all too often meet with disappointment does not invalidate the definition.  The amoeba that begins to project its viscid self in long processes towards some animalcule, is endeavouring to cause the change known as being eaten to occur in that animalcule in accordance with its will to have a meal.  The rigger of the market, who tries to bull the Stock Exchange, is endeavouring to cause changes to occur in accordance with his will; and the fact that the bears may have the best of it, and put him into bankruptcy, does not invalidate the argument, as immediately appears if he can obtain more capital, or even more credit.

Mr. Crowleyís definition sounds very philosophical to the unlettered, but it will not stand up under critical examination.

The general aim of magic (as far as I can gather from observations of what magicians do, and actions speak louder than words) is to cause changes to occur by means of the will alone over circumstances upon which the would-be magician has no direct means of control. That is to say, magic is intended to supply the missing link in a chain of cause and effect. For instance, a magician desires to injure or benefit a certain person; he has no means of access to that person, and could not do anything to him or for him if he had. So he performs a magical operation in the hope that that person will find himself either injured or benefited according to the nature of the operation.

Or the magician may desire to cause changes to occur in his own environment, which he believes will be beneficial to him. He has neither power nor authority to cause such changes to occur; he has not the slightest idea how they can be induced to occur, save by attributing various hypothetical powers to the already hypothetical aether; but he goes to work in a magical manner, using a technique which tradition, if not experience, affirms to be suitable to the occasion, and lo and behold, such changes sometimes occur-but more often, according to my observation, they do not. This leads us to believe that he is working with a definite and genuine force, the nature of which he does not understand. For after all, magic is a very ancient and universal art, and if it were always and altogether bunkum, as the enlightened world would have us believe, it would have been flung on the rubbish heap by disillusioned mankind before now. But when, having been driven out of the door as witchcraft, it flies in at the window as spiritualism, we must accept the fact that there cannot be quite so much smoke without some fire.

We must discard Mr. Crowleyís definition of magic, therefore, on the grounds that it is not sufficiently carefully drawn, but not on the ground that it is incorrect.  Magic is the art of causing changes to occur in accordance with the will; but how? And to what?

That is the question we have to answer in these pages.  How do the changes occur, and in what do they occur? These are the law and the prophets. In these we have the keys to the whole of occultism.

There are two ways of presenting an argument.  One can give oneís data, and then state one's conclusion, or one can state one's conclusion, and then proceed to explain and prove it. The former is the orthodox method, employed by all the best expositors; but I myself have a preference for the other method because I think that one can grasp the significance of a manís argument better if one knows what he is driving at, instead of having to wait until he has arrayed all his facts; for one is apt to miss their significance, through not appreciating their bearing on the argument. I am, in fact, one of those people who, in reading any book on philosophy, always turn to the last chapter first, and then start on the book; and I believe that there are many more like me than is generally suspected. Therefore in these pages I will reverse the established order of things, and give my conclusion first, and then proceed to explain it.

I define magic as the art of causing changes to take place in consciousness in accordance with will; and anyone who has any insight into their own states of mind will know that that is not nearly such a simple thing as it sounds; and anyone who can see beyond their own nose must see that such changes can have very far-reaching consequences.

Having defined magic to my own satisfaction, it is now necessary that I should answer the two questions which are posited as being the key to the whole situation.

So far as I can see, the will does not work directly upon circumstances and happenings, but indirectly. I have never seen direct and immediate objective results from magic, but I have seen a great many indirect and delayed results.

In the matter of results obtained from magic, we are confronted by a question of fact. What are the actual facts? What is the evidence? How has it been verified? This is a question to which it is exceedingly hard to obtain a satisfactory answer. I have never known magic to be done under test conditions, therefore the results alleged to be obtained cannot be accepted at their face value. Moreover, I have heard so many stories which, when examined by a few cursory questions, turned out to be the experiences of a friend of a friend, that I do not care to put forward any magical data, either of the East or the West, save what I have myself experienced.

The paucity of this material may be explained by the fact that I am a poor practitioner of magic, and that a better magician would get better results. I expect that all rival magicians in this city, so rich in strange gods, will declare that they get incomparably better results than I do; that they get the kind of results one reads about in Maria Edgeworthís highly coloured stories, but that, being of a very high grade of initiation, they are pledged to secrecy. Be that as it may. An ounce of evidence that one can examine is more useful than a pound of evidence that is wrapped in occult secrecy, though Heaven alone knows why it should be, if it can stand up to investigation. I am going to say a very nasty thing to my fellow occultists. It is my belief that any phenomena that could stand up to investigation would be trumpeted from the house-tops, and that they are the best judges of what had better not be exposed to the critical light of day.

It is my belief, after having worn out two pairs of ceremonial slippers in treading magical circles, that ceremonial magic works exceedingly powerfully upon the subconscious mind, and upon nothing else. In making that statement, have I supplied the enemies of occultism with as useful a piece of ammunition as anyone could desire? No, I have not; unless my statement is picked from its context in an illegitimate manner, for I am going to proceed forthwith to qualify it.  The subconscious mind possesses powers we little dream of, and these are released by working upon the imagination and heightening the emotion by means of the operations of ceremonial magic, which are expressly designed to that end.

And what are these subconscious powers of which we are so little aware? The simplest and commonest of them is telepathy. We are all telepathic to some extent, for we are all in varying degree sensitive to the moods of others, even without word spoken. We are also sensitive to the atmosphere left behind in rooms by the emotions and characters of their previous occupants. Consider what it would mean were this sensitivity greatly heightened and concentrated at will. Would not new worlds open up to us? This is one of the things that ceremonial magic does, and I will show how it is done in another article.

Then again, let us take the analogy of the physical body; it is made up of water and various chemicals, obtained from the food we eat, and if any of them be missing, it suffers from deficiency diseases, such as scurvy and rickets, which are immediately cured by supplementing the diet with what is lacking. So it is with the soul. Modern psychology teaches us that the mind of man is not all of one piece, but is made up of various levels of consciousness, with barriers between them. Deep down at the root of consciousness, there is the level of primitive mentation, which different schools of psychology call by different names.  But whatever they may call it, they all agree that it is the level of elemental energy. If the soul is cut off from any aspect of this elemental energy, it suffers from deficiency disease; being in varying degree incapacitated, it cannot adapt itself to life, and so finds life very difficult. Ceremonial magic aims, by means which I have already promised to discuss on a future page, at getting into touch with the different aspects of this archaic level of the mind or will, not merely piercing the barrier and permitting a chaotic uprush, as in psycho-analysis. It will readily be seen that if elemental energy, powerful but controlled, be released from consciousness at will, how the corresponding aspect of consciousness will be energized and stimulated into unaccustomed activity. It does not need very much imagination to see the far-reaching results of such a release of elemental energy, especially if it can be released selectively into channels prepared to receive it. It is the technique of ceremonial magic to do this, and I will explain presently how it is done.

The effects of such an influx of energy upon life and fate and circumstance cannot fail to be other than marked. This, in my opinion, is how magic works.  Thus, and not otherwise. How far-reaching these results are; how they can be controlled and directed, and what is the clear-cut distinction between "white" and "black" magic, I will endeavour to show upon another occasion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dion Fortune and her Inner Plane contacts: Intermediaries in the Western Mystery Tradition

 

The above is the title of John Selby's Doctoral Thesis, 2008. This thesis comprises a detailed discussion of Dion Fortune's Inner Plane 'contacts' or guides, sometimes known as the 'Masters.' It  contains a great deal of fascinating information not available elsewhere and makes for a very interesting and informative read.

We are sure that all those who follow in DF"s footsteps will find much of interest in this comprehensive study. We are pleased to be able to provide Dr Selby's own abstract of his thesis below, and the full thesis can be accessed as a PDF at https://ore.exeter.ac.uk/repository/handle/10036/41936

or by typing 'John Selby Dion Fortune', or the title of the thesis, into your computer's search engine. 

 

 

Abstract

Whereas occultists of the standing of H. P. Blavatsky, Annie Besant, C. W. Leadbeater, and especially Aleister Crowley have been well served by academic enquiry and by published accounts of their lives and work, Violet Evans, neé Firth (aka ‘Dion Fortune’), has suffered comparative neglect, as has her concept of the ‘Masters’ who inspired and informed her work. These factors, alongside the longevity of her Society of the Inner Light (still flourishing), are the catalysts for my embarking on this thesis. 

Chapter 1 discusses the method of approach, covers Fortune’s definitions of frequent occult terms, and compares observations of her work by fellow occultists and outside observers. 

Chapter 2 is a comprehensive review of mainly recent academic research into the role of intermediaries in magic and religion from ancient times, and serves as a background to Fortune’s own esoteric philosophy, showing that she was heir to a tradition with a long history. 

Chapter 3 reviews those features of her early history relevant to her occult involvement to and her literary output and training, with special reference to her teachers and collaborators. The composition and content of the Inner Worlds is contained in Fortune’s understanding of the Kabbalah and the glyph of the Tree of Life, which served as a most important framework for classifying the range of beings said to inhabit the invisible worlds. 

Chapter 4 therefore clarifies her contribution to Western Esoteric Kabbalah by comparing it with the work of others, showing how she consolidated and added to existing knowledge, producing what was acknowledged as a groundbreaking exegesis in its day. 

Chapter 5 compares Fortune’s viewpoint with that of major British occultists concerning the identity, nature and tasks of the Masters of Wisdom, leading into 

Chapter 6, which investigates techniques and methods that Fortune and others have found favourable for contacting them. 

Chapter 7 concludes by emphasising once again the relative neglect of Fortune’s work in contrast to that of Helena Blavatsky, and the major role in occultism that both Fortune and the Masters played.

John Selby

 

EXTRACTS FROM COMMUNICATIONS RECEIVED

 

 

April 29th 1936

I want to talk to you first about the work in general and then about its Christian aspect in particular. Because it is only by considering the work in general that we can see the place of its Christian aspect. I want you all to have the scheme clearly in your minds, and then you will be able to see the part played by each aspect in relation to the whole, because each one of you has a partial aspect of the work to fulfil, and by your various contributions the whole is made up. No man can do another`s work: each is a part: none is the whole.

This work, as you know, is a pendant of the Greater Mysteries, wherein all these partial aspects are summed up and united into a single cohesive whole. When you come to the Greater Mysteries there is neither pagan nor Christian as you understand them, for the Greater Mysteries lie beyond the partial expression of things. Therefore the symbolism of the Greater Mysteries is neither pagan nor Christian but purely abstract.

To understand this, you must understand the nature of the Christ. The Christ is the redemptive force that harmonises the pairs of opposites in the Cosmos, and in the individual unites the pairs of opposites – the higher and lower nature. In other words, it is the exaltation of consciousness. The illuminating power of the Christ is not a person, but a potency – the aspect of the One God aptly called the Son.

The Christ is represented symbolically in Tiphareth – the illuminating aspect. The Redeemers and Saviours of all faiths are represented symbolically as Sun gods in Tiphareth.

Each of the great cultures have their Christs, their Avatars, who are incarnations of this force. There is one Jesus, but many Christs, and in the Greater Mysteries the Christ force is not the person of Jesus, nor Osiris, nor Apollo, but the Tiphareth potency manifested by the Redeemer and Saviour bringing Illumination.

And this is the key to the Lesser Mysteries. The three Paths of the Lesser Mysteries prepare the personality for union with the Higher Self. And these three paths are three modes of discipline – three ways of dealing with human souls, and souls must needs be approached by the door that is open. And with some it is by means of devotion that they rise into the higher consciousness, and some can only approach realisation by reason, and some are exalted by beauty. And these three paths meet in the Greater Mysteries. And there are these three paths because the needs of man are various, not because there are three Gods. 

Therefore we must take each man as we find him and deal with him according to his needs. And let us perfect each path after its kind, in no wise modifying a path, because each is true in its own way – each an aspect of the truth.

And you will find that the younger and less evolved souls are more extreme in type and less able to attain realisation outside their own limitations. And more highly evolved souls are more able to sympathise and understand the other aspects, but all aim at the same end – redemption and illumination.

The Redeemer is the equilibrator of the personality, harmonising it within itself. The Illuminator is the unifier of the Lower and Higher selves; and Adepthood unifies the macrocosm with the microcosm. Therefore remember, you keep each path true to type. But as they rise higher, they are made on in the Greater Mysteries. Therefore the Hermetic or central say must be kept free from Pagan or Christian symbolism or influence, it is purely intellectual.

Upon the Pagan aspect in the lower ranges are the Elemental forces – the Nature gods, and it rises through the Culture gods to the Greater ones. These are purer and of a more abstract nature and lead those who follow this path to the realisation of the One, passing through the Elemental forces, through Beauty, to Devotion. 

Equally with the Christian – in the lower rangers you have the ethical and moral teaching. You will find there are souls of a certain type who are drawn towards the central pillar of the Christian path which gives a broader range, and they will receive illumination through philosophical understanding of the significance of the Sacrament. Then again, you will have souls of a purely devotional type, who will aspire through love of service. Others, in whom the beauty aspect predominates, and they require the poetical aspect to give wings to their soul. 

And you get these three aspects on all three Rays, in their own manner.

This evening, however, as we are considering the Christian only, we see we have those who are at the level where they need devotional service. They do not want a profound philosophy, but a way of life to inspire their ideals. And on either hand are those that need something deeper. On the one side the philosophy of Christianity that approximates with the Hermetic and needs a deeper understanding of the significance of the Sacraments, and on the other those that love Beauty, and they find this in the ancient traditions of the Christian faith in these islands. And these three aspects are gathered up in the Graal ideal, which contains a way of life and aspires to the ideal symbolised by the Cup.

Therefore in the Guild of the Master Jesus you concentrate not upon the personality of the Master, but upon the Graal, because this represents a higher and more mystical symbolism than the incarnated personality. The person of the Master is the object of devotion of those who are purely devotional and ethical, who go by the way of the good life; but there are the other two aspects of the Christian, and these three can meet in the Graal.

For some people the cult of the Master Jesus is a way they can understand, but behind the Master shines the Light of the Graal, and the Master brings us the Graal, and the symbolism of the Graal is the cult of the Illuminati. Therefore take for your symbol – for your concentration – the Graal, which enshrines the Christian power -  and then shall come the fuller illumination.

The Graal is the Cup into which the power of the Holy Ghost is drawn, and in the Graal symbolism you find the esoteric significance of Christianity. And as you will remember, when you first designed your symbol, it was the symbol of the Cup.

 

September 25th, 1936

I have invited you to meet me tonight in order that we may discuss the development of the Guild of the Master Jesus.

There are certain things you want to bear in mind when developing this aspect of our work. You want to realise its significance and relationship to the work as a whole. First, you must realise that the keynote is given by the old Rabbis who said of God: “One is He, and His permutations are One.” All religions are different modes of presentation of the One – are permutations of the One. Whatever nomenclature employed, whatever symbols employed, it all amounts to the same thing in the end. They are various adaptations to men`s temperaments and circumstances; and their end is to bring men to God, they are not ends in themselves. Therefore remember that the Christian faith is one of the paths – not the only path, and men come to God by the path on which they find themselves.

Very well then, the Christian religion is for those to whom it is temperamentally suited – other paths for other temperaments. But as it is the faith of this land, the vast majority will find they are temperamentally suited to one or another of its presentations. And there are many ways of presenting it. The basic concept is common to all faiths, but the presentation can be adapted to a wide range of temperaments. You cannot approach that wide range within the confines of one sheep-fold, and we have our work to do in the Guild and it is highly specialised work, and there is no one else can do what we have to do, and it is not our task to do what is being done effectively by other people.

The Guild, then, is concerned with initiation by the Way of the Cross. That is to say, those persons who seek initiation and whose Master is the Master Jesus, are suitable for the discipline of the Guild; but behind the Guild is something bigger. Just as the Greater Mysteries are behind the Lesser Mysteries, so behind the Guild of the Master Jesus is the Church of the Graal. You have in the Guild and the Graal an exact analogy of the Lesser and Greater Mysteries. The Lesser Mysteries are concerned with the personality and the Greater with the higher self and the Cosmos. I do not propose at the moment to deal with the Lesser Mysteries and the Guild, but rather with the Greater Mystery aspect of the Church of the Graal.

Now the Guild and the Lesser Mysteries are concerned with the redemption of the personality, but the Greater Mystery aspect of the Christian tradition – the Church of the Graal – is concerned with the descent of the Pentecostal power of the Holy Ghost, and the object of adoration in the Church of the Graal is the Third Person of the Trinity, and its sacred symbol is not the Cross but the Cup.

So you get the two aspects of antithesis – the pairs of opposites – wanting one particular aspect, but the equilibrium is found in the soul of the initiate – the perfected man. For the aim here is the same as in the Hermetic mysteries – the perfection of man, but we approach that goal after another manner.

The Cross is the symbol of sacrifice and it is only be sacrifice that power is generated. It is an extremely important symbol, but if you meditate on it too much you bring destruction. We destroy ourselves by over-much sacrifice, and that is the bane of the Christian religion.

The Cup is the symbol of receptivity. We lift the Cup to receive the wine – the down-pouring of the Holy Spirit. In the symbol of the Cross adoration is to the Second Person of the Trinity; and we have to realise there is not power without sacrifice, and in devotion to the Master Jesus the personality is sacrificed to free the individuality. But that aspect alone is too negative; we must also have the Graal aspect of adoration to the Third Person of the Trinity – the lifting of the Cup for inspiration.

The Crucifixion is only completed with the Resurrection and Ascension and the coming of the Holy Spirit. That completes the Christian cycle. But in the exoteric church, the cycle is completed with the Ascension – the withdrawal, and we are left to await the Second Coming, which ever recedes into the distance like the horizon.

The real key, then, to the Guild is in the Graal and the object of meditation should be the Graal and not the Cross; the descent of the Holy Spirit and not the historical Jesus; the present, not the past nor the future. If you train your students to meditate on the Cross you will bring them to suffering – too much suffering – if they meditate on that alone. The Cross is an important symbol and one cannot experience the higher aspect of the Ascension without it, but one can have too much of it, my children. The focus and nucleus of your work should be the Graal – the adoration of the Third Person, not the Second.

For this purpose there should be a meditation system, and this should start where the exoteric teaching ends. It should start with the Resurrection and Ascension and the descent of the Holy Spirit as a wind that bloweth where it listeth – and tongues of fire conferring power, and the bringing of the Graal to these Islands. And it should develop through all the Graal Mysteries – the removal of the Cup into the care of the Fisher King – and its Quest and Vision.

Therefore teach in your inner group of the Guild the Graal and not the Cross, for from the Graal comes illumination.

And I am particularly anxious that the art of prayer and meditation should be most carefully taught in the Guild. Doctrine matters little. Teach them how to approach the light and they will learn by themselves. Train most carefully, just as carefully as for the Lodge. There should be no distinction in the training. It is most important. There should be a regular system of the visualising of symbol pictures just as in the Lodge and there should be group meditation to build the atmosphere, (and now that you have certain members drawn from the Lodge to form the diaconate of the Guild, they will put the power into it. Gather these persons together in group meditation. Those of your Guild members who are suitable can be admitted to this circle and trained therein. Thus you will make the Guild into a potent thing). Remember, ceremonies are magical, they are more than congregational worship. They are the link between the seen and the unseen, and the ceremonies of the Guild should be worked in the same magical way as those of the Lodge. Then they will be a channel of power from God to man.

 

In answer to question re meditation and training:

Commence with the Annunciation – the Angelic contacts.

The Birth in the stable.

The visit of the wise men.

The Flight into Egypt.

The Child Jesus in the Temple.

The withdrawal to the Essenes.

The return and the Baptism by John.

The Temptation in the Wilderness.

 The Mission.

The teaching on the Mount.

The Transfiguration.

The passing on to Gethsemene.

The Crucifixion.

The holy women at the foot of the Cross.

The Resurrection.

The Ascension.

The Descent of the Holy Spirit.

Take all the events right through. It is the Master Jesus who prepares character. Without His influence something is lacking, but go on to the coming of Power. Do not take your Guild on to meditation on the Crucifixion. It is too profound.

We have covered much this year and everything is coming together into shape.

 

EXTRACTS FROM COMMUNICATIONS RECEIVED

 

 

These two communications concerning the work of the Guild of the Master Jesus were received by Dion Fortune during 1936

 

April 29th 1936

I want to talk to you first about the work in general and then about its Christian aspect in particular. Because it is only by considering the work in general that we can see the place of its Christian aspect. I want you all to have the scheme clearly in your minds, and then you will be able to see the part played by each aspect in relation to the whole, because each one of you has a partial aspect of the work to fulfil, and by your various contributions the whole is made up. No man can do another`s work: each is a part: none is the whole.

This work, as you know, is a pendant of the Greater Mysteries, wherein all these partial aspects are summed up and united into a single cohesive whole. When you come to the Greater Mysteries there is neither pagan nor Christian as you understand them, for the Greater Mysteries lie beyond the partial expression of things. Therefore the symbolism of the Greater Mysteries is neither pagan nor Christian but purely abstract.

To understand this, you must understand the nature of the Christ. The Christ is the redemptive force that harmonises the pairs of opposites in the Cosmos, and in the individual unites the pairs of opposites – the higher and lower nature. In other words, it is the exaltation of consciousness. The illuminating power of the Christ is not a person, but a potency – the aspect of the One God aptly called the Son.

The Christ is represented symbolically in Tiphareth – the illuminating aspect. The Redeemers and Saviours of all faiths are represented symbolically as Sun gods in Tiphareth.

Each of the great cultures have their Christs, their Avatars, who are incarnations of this force. There is one Jesus, but many Christs, and in the Greater Mysteries the Christ force is not the person of Jesus, nor Osiris, nor Apollo, but the Tiphareth potency manifested by the Redeemer and Saviour bringing Illumination.

And this is the key to the Lesser Mysteries. The three Paths of the Lesser Mysteries prepare the personality for union with the Higher Self. And these three paths are three modes of discipline – three ways of dealing with human souls, and souls must needs be approached by the door that is open. And with some it is by means of devotion that they rise into the higher consciousness, and some can only approach realisation by reason, and some are exalted by beauty. And these three paths meet in the Greater Mysteries. And there are these three paths because the needs of man are various, not because there are three Gods. 

Therefore we must take each man as we find him and deal with him according to his needs. And let us perfect each path after its kind, in no wise modifying a path, because each is true in its own way – each an aspect of the truth.

And you will find that the younger and less evolved souls are more extreme in type and less able to attain realisation outside their own limitations. And more highly evolved souls are more able to sympathise and understand the other aspects, but all aim at the same end – redemption and illumination.

The Redeemer is the equilibrator of the personality, harmonising it within itself. The Illuminator is the unifier of the Lower and Higher selves; and Adepthood unifies the macrocosm with the microcosm. Therefore remember, you keep each path true to type. But as they rise higher, they are made on in the Greater Mysteries. Therefore the Hermetic or central say must be kept free from Pagan or Christian symbolism or influence, it is purely intellectual.

Upon the Pagan aspect in the lower ranges are the Elemental forces – the Nature gods, and it rises through the Culture gods to the Greater ones. These are purer and of a more abstract nature and lead those who follow this path to the realisation of the One, passing through the Elemental forces, through Beauty, to Devotion. 

Equally with the Christian – in the lower rangers you have the ethical and moral teaching. You will find there are souls of a certain type who are drawn towards the central pillar of the Christian path which gives a broader range, and they will receive illumination through philosophical understanding of the significance of the Sacrament. Then again, you will have souls of a purely devotional type, who will aspire through love of service. Others, in whom the beauty aspect predominates, and they require the poetical aspect to give wings to their soul. 

And you get these three aspects on all three Rays, in their own manner.

This evening, however, as we are considering the Christian only, we see we have those who are at the level where they need devotional service. They do not want a profound philosophy, but a way of life to inspire their ideals. And on either hand are those that need something deeper. On the one side the philosophy of Christianity that approximates with the Hermetic and needs a deeper understanding of the significance of the Sacraments, and on the other those that love Beauty, and they find this in the ancient traditions of the Christian faith in these islands. And these three aspects are gathered up in the Graal ideal, which contains a way of life and aspires to the ideal symbolised by the Cup.

Therefore in the Guild of the Master Jesus you concentrate not upon the personality of the Master, but upon the Graal, because this represents a higher and more mystical symbolism than the incarnated personality. The person of the Master is the object of devotion of those who are purely devotional and ethical, who go by the way of the good life; but there are the other two aspects of the Christian, and these three can meet in the Graal.

For some people the cult of the Master Jesus is a way they can understand, but behind the Master shines the Light of the Graal, and the Master brings us the Graal, and the symbolism of the Graal is the cult of the Illuminati. Therefore take for your symbol – for your concentration – the Graal, which enshrines the Christian power -  and then shall come the fuller illumination.

The Graal is the Cup into which the power of the Holy Ghost is drawn, and in the Graal symbolism you find the esoteric significance of Christianity. And as you will remember, when you first designed your symbol, it was the symbol of the Cup.

 

September 25th, 1936

I have invited you to meet me tonight in order that we may discuss the development of the Guild of the Master Jesus.

There are certain things you want to bear in mind when developing this aspect of our work. You want to realise its significance and relationship to the work as a whole. First, you must realise that the keynote is given by the old Rabbis who said of God: “One is He, and His permutations are One.” All religions are different modes of presentation of the One – are permutations of the One. Whatever nomenclature employed, whatever symbols employed, it all amounts to the same thing in the end. They are various adaptations to men`s temperaments and circumstances; and their end is to bring men to God, they are not ends in themselves. Therefore remember that the Christian faith is one of the paths – not the only path, and men come to God by the path on which they find themselves.

Very well then, the Christian religion is for those to whom it is temperamentally suited – other paths for other temperaments. But as it is the faith of this land, the vast majority will find they are temperamentally suited to one or another of its presentations. And there are many ways of presenting it. The basic concept is common to all faiths, but the presentation can be adapted to a wide range of temperaments. You cannot approach that wide range within the confines of one sheep-fold, and we have our work to do in the Guild and it is highly specialised work, and there is no one else can do what we have to do, and it is not our task to do what is being done effectively by other people.

The Guild, then, is concerned with initiation by the Way of the Cross. That is to say, those persons who seek initiation and whose Master is the Master Jesus, are suitable for the discipline of the Guild; but behind the Guild is something bigger. Just as the Greater Mysteries are behind the Lesser Mysteries, so behind the Guild of the Master Jesus is the Church of the Graal. You have in the Guild and the Graal an exact analogy of the Lesser and Greater Mysteries. The Lesser Mysteries are concerned with the personality and the Greater with the higher self and the Cosmos. I do not propose at the moment to deal with the Lesser Mysteries and the Guild, but rather with the Greater Mystery aspect of the Church of the Graal.

Now the Guild and the Lesser Mysteries are concerned with the redemption of the personality, but the Greater Mystery aspect of the Christian tradition – the Church of the Graal – is concerned with the descent of the Pentecostal power of the Holy Ghost, and the object of adoration in the Church of the Graal is the Third Person of the Trinity, and its sacred symbol is not the Cross but the Cup.

So you get the two aspects of antithesis – the pairs of opposites – wanting one particular aspect, but the equilibrium is found in the soul of the initiate – the perfected man. For the aim here is the same as in the Hermetic mysteries – the perfection of man, but we approach that goal after another manner.

The Cross is the symbol of sacrifice and it is only be sacrifice that power is generated. It is an extremely important symbol, but if you meditate on it too much you bring destruction. We destroy ourselves by over-much sacrifice, and that is the bane of the Christian religion.

The Cup is the symbol of receptivity. We lift the Cup to receive the wine – the down-pouring of the Holy Spirit. In the symbol of the Cross adoration is to the Second Person of the Trinity; and we have to realise there is not power without sacrifice, and in devotion to the Master Jesus the personality is sacrificed to free the individuality. But that aspect alone is too negative; we must also have the Graal aspect of adoration to the Third Person of the Trinity – the lifting of the Cup for inspiration.

The Crucifixion is only completed with the Resurrection and Ascension and the coming of the Holy Spirit. That completes the Christian cycle. But in the exoteric church, the cycle is completed with the Ascension – the withdrawal, and we are left to await the Second Coming, which ever recedes into the distance like the horizon.

The real key, then, to the Guild is in the Graal and the object of meditation should be the Graal and not the Cross; the descent of the Holy Spirit and not the historical Jesus; the present, not the past nor the future. If you train your students to meditate on the Cross you will bring them to suffering – too much suffering – if they meditate on that alone. The Cross is an important symbol and one cannot experience the higher aspect of the Ascension without it, but one can have too much of it, my children. The focus and nucleus of your work should be the Graal – the adoration of the Third Person, not the Second.

For this purpose there should be a meditation system, and this should start where the exoteric teaching ends. It should start with the Resurrection and Ascension and the descent of the Holy Spirit as a wind that bloweth where it listeth – and tongues of fire conferring power, and the bringing of the Graal to these Islands. And it should develop through all the Graal Mysteries – the removal of the Cup into the care of the Fisher King – and its Quest and Vision.

Therefore teach in your inner group of the Guild the Graal and not the Cross, for from the Graal comes illumination.

And I am particularly anxious that the art of prayer and meditation should be most carefully taught in the Guild. Doctrine matters little. Teach them how to approach the light and they will learn by themselves. Train most carefully, just as carefully as for the Lodge. There should be no distinction in the training. It is most important. There should be a regular system of the visualising of symbol pictures just as in the Lodge and there should be group meditation to build the atmosphere, (and now that you have certain members drawn from the Lodge to form the diaconate of the Guild, they will put the power into it. Gather these persons together in group meditation. Those of your Guild members who are suitable can be admitted to this circle and trained therein. Thus you will make the Guild into a potent thing). Remember, ceremonies are magical, they are more than congregational worship. They are the link between the seen and the unseen, and the ceremonies of the Guild should be worked in the same magical way as those of the Lodge. Then they will be a channel of power from God to man.

 

In answer to question re meditation and training:

Commence with the Annunciation – the Angelic contacts.

The Birth in the stable.

The visit of the wise men.

The Flight into Egypt.

The Child Jesus in the Temple.

The withdrawal to the Essenes.

The return and the Baptism by John.

The Temptation in the Wilderness.

 The Mission.

The teaching on the Mount.

The Transfiguration.

The passing on to Gethsemene.

The Crucifixion.

The holy women at the foot of the Cross.

The Resurrection.

The Ascension.

The Descent of the Holy Spirit.

Take all the events right through. It is the Master Jesus who prepares character. Without His influence something is lacking, but go on to the coming of Power. Do not take your Guild on to meditation on the Crucifixion. It is too profound.

We have covered much this year and everything is coming together into shape.

 

Instructions on Meditation for the Guild of the Master Jesus

 

The development of mental impressions by means of “Ideal Construction”

Heaven is a field into which the imagination of man throws the seeds”. (Paracelsus)

There is a physical world in which we live and move and have our being. There are also the mental and the spiritual worlds. In them, while still in the flesh, we can also live and move and have our being – consciously”.

 

In the outer court you were taught the power of the human mind and its effect upon man`s life and destiny. You learned that “as a man thinks, so he becomes”. The future is moulded by the thoughts of the present.

In the Guild of the Master Jesus you must learn how to use the technique taught in the outer court. Man is an expression of that Divine Power which is ever pressing out into fuller manifestation. Divine Power can be drawn upon consciously by the trained mind. It is sympathy that completes the circuit of power which starts with the Unmanifested God of God, Light of Light, and which ends, or rather “earths” in the trained member of the Guild.

Clear visualisation by itself is not enough; sympathy by itself is not enough; the two must be combined, until by constant daily practice, adoration is the result. In adoration, subject and object become one. In this identity of the worshipper and the worshipped is that bliss which is often called Nirvana – here and now. It cannot be explained, it can only be experienced.

Trained minds – in and out of incarnation – have built up in the Sanctuary of the Master Jesus a reservoir of spiritual power for the use of all who are able to turn it on consciously, and who have created the vessel which shall contain it.

Adoration turns on this force; the trained and prepared subconscious mind of the worshipper receives and stores up for daily use this divine power. Constant daily use ensures a steady flow from this reservoir into the subconscious mind, and keeps the latter clean and sweet. Unused spiritual power – like water in a cistern with no exit – soon grows stale and profitless.

Remember the mxim: “Do ut des” – “I give that thou mayest give”.  You have got to create an out-flow in order to get some more.

 

Course 1

 

1st Meditation. Building the Astral Sanctuary.   [1 weeks work]

Seated in front of your shrine, with the “central symbol” exposed to your gaze, concentrate upon the sanctuary at H.Q. and build up in your mind`s eye a clear picture of it. In your imagination link your symbol to the altar of the sanctuary with a thread of golden light. Hold the two pictures steady and then draw the influence of the Master Jesus into your sanctuary and then into yourself. This will make your private sanctuary a centre of power.

At least a week should be spent on this exercise. It is the foundation of all the work that comes after. The student is advised to return to it again and again at intervals. A sound plan would be to use this meditation every Monday morning in order to strengthen the link forged by the Sunday service and by the Communion.

 

2nd Meditation. Invoking the Divine Master of Love and Compassion into this sanctuary.   [1 weeks work]

Visualise the sanctuary at H.Q. but this time see the Risen Christ standing behind and above the altar. Build the figure life-size. Formulate this so clearly that the eyes come to life and look into your eyes. Meditate upon the ideas of: The joy of the Risen One. Life`s labours well finished.  Well done, thou good and faithful servant.  The Master hath need of thee.

 

Notes on Meditations 1 and 2.

Meditation 2 should take at least 7 days.

Next, for one week, use Meditations 1 and 2 on alternate days.

Then, for a week, combine 1 and 2, so that you have not only built the Divine Master and His Shrine, but also the Shrine filled with the power of the Master Jesus.

 

Meditation 3. Building the Image of the High Priest of the Sanctuary.   [2 weeks work]

Read all you can about Melchizedek the King of Salem.

Visualise as clearly as you can the country he lived in, his dress etc., and what we know of his work.

Visualise the Priest of the Most High God. Seek for that of which he is the symbol.

Visualise him as the High-priest of your shrine.

Invoke him into it and venerate him as the prototype of our great High-priest – eternal in the heavens.

Visualise yourself as the priest or priestess serving under him.

Relate him to the Master Jesus through Psalm 110, and Hebrews, chapters 5, 6, 7.

 

Meditation 4. [1 weeks work]

Study the Book of Daniel with the object of seeing Daniel as a great ruler and teacher.

Then visualise him and the surroundings in which he lived, in the same way as that given in Meditation 3. Meditate on how the story of the training of Daniel the teacher might influence you.

 

Meditation 5. [1 weeks work]

Same exercise, but see this great teacher as standing in the room beside your shrine. See yourself sitting at his feet receiving instruction. Work on the lines of Meditation 3.

 

Meditation 6. [2 weeks work]

Visualise the Archangel Gabriel who was Daniel`s teacher. Then meditate upon the fact that he will accept you as a pupil if you are prepared to work for him. Consider his functions. How often is he mentioned in the Bible? Where has this idea come from? 

 

Meditation 7. [2 weeks work]

Visualise the Archangel Michael who was Daniel`s protector. Consider his functions, and read all that you can find out about him.

 

Meditation 8. The Revelation.   [1 months work]

Take the first chapter of the Revelation of St John the Divine as a whole, and build up a mental picture of the happenings described in this chapter. Relate the symbolism to that of the Gospel of St John, and use it to throw light on the functions of the Risen and Living Christ.

 

Meditation 9. The Revelation, continued.

Take each symbol given in this chapter, build it up clearly, and see what meaning you can draw from it as esoteric symbolism. [1 weeks work]

Take these symbols of the Risen Christ and relate them to the work and teaching of Jesus as given in the three Epistles of St John. [3 weeks work]

 

Meditation 10. [about 2 months work]

Revise the nine meditations which have been given you. Spend not less than four days on each. Your object should be to see what progress you have made in the art of Mystical Meditation. 

Finish with three weeks meditation on the “Elder Brethren” and seek to discover how each of us can serve them.

 

 

SKELETON FORM FOR ESSAY ON COURSE 1 OF THE GUILD SYSTEM OF MEDITATION

 

Part 1. General Considerations.

State the reasons why you have joined the Guild of the Master Jesus, and undertaken its system of training.

What effect do you consider its methods of training should have on: 1. The outer life that is led among one`s fellow men?  2. On that inner and concealed life that finds it expression in the sanctuary in your home?

What do you know of the Masters behind the Guild?

 

Part 2.  It has been said:

“There is nothing which approaches in sympathy the Divine, though in the smallest degree, to which the Divine is not immediately present and united.”

“Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”

“The mind touches that which it thinks about.”

 

What bearing have these sayings on the system of religious meditation you have been taught, and on the use of ritual and meditation in the Guild services?

 

Part 3. 

If we examine the writings of the great religious mystics, we can sum up the essence of what they have to tell us concerning the religious life as follows: In religious mysticism, as a practical system of training the soul, the chief task is the realisation of the Presence of God, without – in the world, within – in the soul of man: the Presence of God Imminent and God Transcendent. How has the system you have been taught helped you in “the Practice of the Presence of God?”

Explain what the phrase: “The Practice of the Presence of God” conveys to you. How do you actualise this ancient mystical teaching?

 

Personal. What has this course meant to you?

 

INSTRUCTIONS

This essay is not an examination in knowledge; its object is to discover if you are ready spiritually for the more advanced teaching which is given in Course 2.

Do not hurry over its composition, but meditate carefully on each point before you write about it.

Each part is well worth a week`s steady meditation before you begin to write about it – in the form of notes. Your answers should be built up from your notes.

The length of the essay should be not less than 2000 and not more than 4000 words.

Be tidy in your writing and phrasing.

 

 

MEDITATION INSTRUCTIONS FOR MEMBERS. PART 2.

 

In Part 1 you were taught how to combine visualisation and sympathy in order to induce that frame of mind which is called “Adoration”, and which is designed to enable the trained mind to become receptive to spiritual power.

In Part 2 you will be taught how to use “the Composition of Place”, in order that you may touch for yourself that Divine Power which gives life to the Guild and to its Ministrants and Members. 

Composition of Place should be developed in the following manner:-

 

Select your subject and then read about it until you can form a clear mental picture.

Having got your central event carefully memorised, elaborate the happenings. Get pictures such as those in illustrated Bibles. Examine the faces and then build them into your picture. See them standing there as in a picture.

Now see the characters in your picture move, walk and talk, and watch them doing this until the characters become alive to you – as the spectator.

Take one of the characters. See yourself playing that part.

Be the character instead of playing it. Live it.

 

This is an extremely potent system of mystical training, and it is not desirable that you should choose unhappy subjects, or ones that deal with evil things. The story of Hagar and the Angel (Gen. 16 and again 21) is a simple one with a deep meaning. So also is Moses and the Burning Bush (Ex. 3). These are suitable for the early stages of training.

 

The same scene should be built up day after day until you can absorb into your own soul, as a revelation, the spiritual experience that the story in question conceals.

 

Meditation 1. The Messengers.

Take your Bible (Old Testament only), look up the stories of the appearances of God`s Messengers (i.e. the Angels and Archangels). Select eight of the stories that appeal to you most strongly. Then visualise each selected story for one week. On the last two days of each week, see yourself taking the leading part in that story, and hear yourself talking (in whispers) to that angelic Messenger.

 

The object of this exercise is to get you to live yourself into these stories, and by so doing, to get personal contact with that Entity. [2 months work]

 

Meditation 2. [2 months work]

Taking Chapter 1 of the Book of Ezekiel, read it aloud carefully until the general picture is clear. Then use the composition of place until the picture comes up clearly as a whole to you – as a spectator. [3 weeks work]

Build the individual symbols in their correct colouring until they live and glow before your eyes. [3 weeks work]

Imagine yourself to be Ezekiel and try to see the vision as he saw it, and to feel the emotion that he must have felt. [2 weeks work]

 

Meditation 3. The Children of the Heavenly Hierarchies. [2 months work]

Get the Apocrypha, and turn to “The Song of the Three Holy Children”. Analyse the component parts of the heavenly hierarchies mentioned therein, and meditate on their significance. Use the Tor at Glastonbury and the Sanctuary at Chalice Orchard for the background of your composition of place. You will find that the phenomena mentioned can be grouped under the presidency of the Four Archangels. 

 

Meditation 4. [2 months work]

Take the life of the Master Jesus from the Annunciation to the discourse with Nicodemus, and pick out the four events that appeal most to you. Use the composition of place for meditating upon them. Spend two weeks upon each subject.

 

Meditation 5. [4 months work]

Spend one month on the revision of each of the previous meditations. Be thorough in this revision, for in it lies the key to success. At the end of this period you will be tested practically to see if you have reached the standard required.