What has to be told openly here is that the Book of the Heart Girt with a Serpent can be everything that an Aspirant of the Golden Dawn would ever need, and all the tasks and instructions of our Order are only pale echoes of its verses. A book that at the same time consumes all the meaning of Aspirant’s search, from the Probationer to Adeptus Minor, indexed under the number LXV, is the light to which all Aspirants return equally, and is specifically assigned to the Grade of the Probationer. In fact, this book is not written, for it is remembrance of a light that once appears to the merciful one, it is like a pure LVX, which permuted makes the number of this book, like permuted light, refracted light that portrays a new world with completely new colors, equally false as real. For in the world of the Probationer, the lie is real, and the truth is just an insinuation of a dream.
The connection between the Probationer and Adeptus Minor is so remarkable that all the Grades between are nothing more than the stages of the same dream. And as far as the Probationer is the one who fell asleep, so much Adeptus Minor will be the same one who awakens. The process between is what we will everlastingly talk about. The Aspirant must understand that the Grades are artificial creations; they serve only as our milestones in the endless stellar space of Nuit.
What is the Knowledge and Conversation for an Adept Minor, those are Liber Pyramidos and Liber Cadaveris in our affairs for an Aspirant. Every Knowledge is Pyramidos, as each Conversation is Cadaveris, their mutual reflection always shows that this is the same thing. The Holy Guardian Angel.
In order to know what he would talk about and talk about what he knows, the Aspirant must first build his Pyramid, to lay his body and sink into the darkness of the funeral chamber, passing slowly into the night. In this complex sentence, the process of Pyramidos and Cadaveris is shown in a simple way. Lastly, these two rituals are like two pillars that support the hall where the Great Work is being performed, as Liber Samekh. All these ceremonies merely represent ideas which are sustained by reason so that we can experience them as such, but within themselves, they are exceedingly simpler things.
Before we start a further study of the work before us, this is an excellent moment to show a unique place in this whole act, especially dedicated to the Probationer’s Grade. Precisely in this beautiful and poetic way, the essence of the A∴A∴ is clearly explained. The words sing as follows:
- Let not the failure and the pain turn aside the worshippers. The foundations of the pyramid were hewn in the living rock ere sunset; did the king weep at dawn that the crown of the pyramid was yet unquarried in the distant land?
- There was also an humming-bird that spake unto the horned cerastes, and prayed him for poison. And the great snake of Khem the Holy One, the royal Uræus serpent, answered him and said:
- I sailed over the sky of Nu in the car called Millions-of-Years, and I saw not any creature upon Seb that was equal to me. The venom of my fang is the inheritance of my father, and of my father’s father; and how shall I give it unto thee? Live thou and thy children as I and my fathers have lived, even unto an hundred millions of generations, and it may be that the mercy of the Mighty Ones may bestow upon thy children a drop of the poison of eld.
- Then the humming-bird was afflicted in his spirit, and he flew unto the flowers, and it was as if naught had been spoken between them. Yet in a little while a serpent struck him that he died.
- But an Ibis that meditated upon the bank of Nile the beautiful god listened and heard. And he laid aside his Ibis ways, and became as a serpent, saying Peradventure in an hundred millions of millions of generations of my children, they shall attain to a drop of the poison of the fang of the Exalted One.
- And behold! ere the moon waxed thrice he became an Uræus serpent, and the poison of the fang was established in him and his seed even for ever and for ever.
How exalted is the way of Ibis. Here, in this place, is the heart of the Oath which introduces to our Order. Although Ibis is the protagonist of our saga, some other elements are included as well, in their equally important part for understanding the entire process. We will briefly skip the beginning and deal with the hummingbird and serpent. Their interaction is the opposite of all what Ibis will do with his own will, which is so specific, so authentic and inimitable. Right from the conversation and the relationship between humming-bird and snake, Ibis will awaken his urge. The urge to lay aside his customs. This inexplicable urge, an unbearable impetus to do everything contrary to all laws and pressures of the outside world. From that moment on, Ibis will never be the same again; change will start to work for him and his magnificent name. And while the whole universe will remain the same in all its movement, he will change while staying in place. For change is his second name, this change is the Knowledge and Conversation of the A∴A∴. But the change under Will, by His Will, not by the will of the serpent and the world. Poison, this terrible divine poison appeared in him not because he was asking. The poison is his reward; it is only a consequence of his decision to go with his own way. Each of us is great Him, each has taken his Oath, and each of us has made such a decision. And when we find ourselves in mud, when dark clouds of dissatisfaction and depression overwhelm, let us remember Ibis. For he left everything aside, his royal origins, all earthly jewels, all the gifts, pleasantness and honor, and said: “Perhaps, somewhere far away, poison might flow in my children, or the children of my children, I will break the thread of earthly service and accept some others, some new customs”. New customs of Ibis. This fantastic, insane decision to accept new customs is the Probationer’s Oath. He watched in his silence, made a decision and said. You are silent, you are deciding, and you are saying, this sacred trinity of god Toth is the essence of everyone who enters the A∴A∴. Ibis and serpent are therefore Knowledge and Conversation; Ibis heard the serpent and the humming-bird, and their dialogue forced him to find out and dare. This is the true formula of the Rose and Cross, Ibis and Serpent are like Abraxas and Horus and everything on this earth which is on the path of the Sun and even the Sun itself is that. And that is the A∴A∴.
A more in-depth analysis of this story truly makes a great meditation:
Let not the failure and the pain turn aside the worshippers. The foundations of the pyramid were hewn in the living rock ere sunset; did the king weep at dawn that the crown of the pyramid was yet unquarried in the distant land?
Failure and pain, as projections of Binah. The foundations of the pyramid are the G∴D∴, Paroketh, the living rock is Malkuth and the Grade of the Probationer. The weeping king is the Man of the Earth, while the pyramid and distant land, behind the great ocean, is clearly Binah. Also, the Magister Templi in his highest form.
There was also an humming-bird that spake unto the horned cerastes, and prayed him for poison. And the great snake of Khem the Holy One, the royal Uræus serpent, answered him and said:
The poison is a desire in the Probationer, the snake is Kundalini. The royal Uræus serpent is the Middle Pillar, but also horned planet Mercury and the knowledge which the Probationer seeks. This snake is clearly shown in Atu XXI “Universe.”
I sailed over the sky of Nu in the car called Millions-of-Years, and I saw not any creature upon Seb that was equal to me.
Millions-of-Years, as projections of Binah. There is not a creature in the night of Pan.
The venom of my fang is the inheritance of my father, and of my father’s father; and how shall I give it unto thee? Live thou and thy children as I and my fathers have lived, even unto an hundred millions of generations, and it may be that the mercy of the Mighty Ones may bestow upon thy children a drop of the poison of eld.
The father’s father is an allusion to Chokmah, the poison is the gift of his mouth, in fact, the projection of Logos, as it seems to the unenlightened mind. There is nothing more toxic than the truth of the Magus Word.
Then the humming-bird was afflicted in his spirit, and he flew unto the flowers, and it was as if naught had been spoken between them. Yet in a little while a serpent struck him that he died.
Binah and Malkuth, as the influence of time on the earthly body. The cycle of reincarnations.
But an Ibis that meditated upon the bank of Nile the beautiful god listened and heard. And he laid aside his Ibis ways, and became as a serpent, saying Peradventure in an hundred millions of millions of generations of my children, they shall attain to a drop of the poison of the fang of the Exalted One.
The Ibis is a Probationer, but also a Magister Templi. The Exalted One is Kether. Ibis listened and heard; the attributes of the hearing as the fifth element, who heard the inner call towards the Angel.
And behold! ere the moon waxed thrice he became an Uræus serpent, and the poison of the fang was established in him and his seed even for ever and for ever.
Kundalini which wraps around Muladhara three and a half times.
One of the most important things that the Aspirant of the Order must feel at the very beginning is the feeling by itself; it is the specific morality within our Order, which is so far from morality in the usual sense of the word. This morality is a call which the Aspirant always feels within himself. This is the only real work he has; everything else is more or less valuable exercises only serving to sharpen those devices that he may use at the moment of the Great Work. But nothing will bring him closer to that than the call he constantly feels, continuously, in the form of unbearable pressure that pushes him forward. That pressure, this wondrous breeze that always rides his bark towards the sun is the A∴A∴.
Concerning the concrete work, the Probationer is instructed to learn one chapter by heart. This requires some discussion. The Book of the Heart consists of five chapters, each assigned to one element. Unfortunately, this instruction too often acts like an intoxicating agent of the worst kind and Aspirants, choosing and dedicating themselves to one chapter, neglect all other. This task is nothing more than pointing the Aspirant to determine what he likes at the very beginning and getting him accustomed to the A∴A∴ most important principle, which is to choose what he truly desires. The selected chapter shows the affinity and character of his unconscious nature, thus referring him to his own Angel.
Learning by heart is a mind game that poses constant pressure until saturation, boredom and fear rise. Fear not to fail, not to make a mistake, not to stutter, not to miss a verse. It is upon his Superior to decide how he will evaluate this part of the test, but the real crown of attainment is reflected in choosing of what is His will, and not in the perfect automatic repetition of something that is drawn out of coincidence and haste. The whole book with five chapters is everything that the Aspirant in Golden Dawn will ever need, and the full understanding of this book would point to the attainment of the highest Grades.
Yes, the Probationer is required to learn one chapter by heart, but there is something of at least the same importance. Besides that, the Aspirant chooses a chapter he likes, and the likeness is a younger brother of Will, he will also notice which chapter he dislikes and from which he diverges. Sometimes this is a more direct notice about our nature than things we want. After all, what you want and what you do not want are one and the same thing.
 Aleister Crowley, Liber LXV vel ADNI.