The finest gemstone within our Order is the connection between the Student and his Superior. In this relationship is the basis of the whole of our system; although it possesses a note that is primarily reflected in the maxim “with the method of Science to attain the aim of Religion,” its lies in something much more intimately and simpler – in relation (connection) between two beings that with join forces are trying to reach the same goal. In a humanly, inspired way, complementing themselves, instead of deducting, they advance through the path, travelling each one on their own, yet travelling together. The one who is suitable connects with the other that is suitable, the one that is not suitable is separated from the suitable one, and that is a mechanism which exists from the beginning. For Superior, it is unfortunate and necessary to say more about what he is not, instead of what he is, the fact that the human soul has made perfect defence mechanisms over many years, which will make from the Superior what is the cruellest for us. An excuse for our own failure.
Teaching is the best way of learning. This is such an important observation from all that has to be said about the concept of Superior that I find to be the most valuable insight of all. Its magnificence lies in practical analogy and is fully understood only by those who accept the Superior’s role. Aspirants who took an Oath of Neophyte or beyond can roughly be divided into two groups. Those who work with Students and those who are still working alone. And at the very beginning, we will perceive that there are two main groups of people in our business; those who are turned inward and those who are turned outward. Although the role of Superior reminds us of Bodhisattva’s vow, it has a totally different nature. Superior is just a part of the chain, and by pushing others he pushes himself. Moreover, by pushing himself, he moves others, and with the awakening of True Will, this mechanism gain completely transcendental meaning. It can be said that only at the Grade of Adeptus Minor it is possible to talk about Superior in the true sense of the word. Teaching is the best way of learning.
The role of the Superior is to be a fellow sufferer, a wandering companion, a witness of the sacred act of the Oath which Student undertake, becoming the driving force in the Aspirant’s mind, by no means as a creative potential, which is exclusively and always an Aspirant, that is, the Student. It can be said that the roles of Student and Superior are equally important to each other. It is difficult to think that the achievement of the Superior is complete if there is no Student to take his place. All these claims have a stronghold exclusively in the mind of the Aspirant, to speak of their principled truths is equally vain as to talk about the reason for Oath of the Probationer. There is nothing to lose, and everything to gain. It is the A∴A∴, a map that reveals a treasure by following a signs. Its greatness lies in the fact that it is bigger treasure than it ever could have been shown on the map, the number of those who set off for this adventure is great as the ocean, while the number of those who failed is bigger than the treasure itself. That is why A∴A∴ is a living organism, it is worth dying and living for, once the Oath is given and the Initiation takes place, not a single life is worth more than the goal, and every further living is futile without the A∴A∴. It is a mechanism that poisons the human mind like the worst poison; once poisoned by the truth, painful, or by those of brilliant LVX, the human being will never be the same again. Precisely because it becomes human, in the full sense of this divine word.
The relationship between Student and Superior, therefore, does not represent teaching, but rather associating, like an attempt to explain the smell of rose when Student has never smelled anything of that kind of smell before. So, how would you do that? How to give a suggestion on the scent of the beautiful roses from the garden? Why they are so beautiful, if it is not a visual idea at all? How the rose smells, describe it by your words. By giving him a suggestion that they smell likes what? Is every attempt to do so is equally wrong, diverging him more from the goal? The relation between Student and Superior is therefore in the art of association, not learning. There is nothing to learn what is not already known. Instead, the Superior remains only to show the ideal place where maybe he could find the rose for himself. But only he must pick up and smell the rose. And when Superior asks him what he experienced, the Student will tell him that he met the Angel. The Angel will not be in the rose, on the contrary. He will be hidden in the smell; the rose will serve only as a pointer. And finally, if the Student further attempts to pass what this scent like, he will again encounter the resistance of the Universe to understand what he is describing.
Learning to ride a bicycle somehow describes this condition, where the one who teaches only gently holds the bike from behind, and the one who learns firmly believes that the one who teaches will prevent a fall. And as he turns the pedals in that firm conviction, the one who is teaching has long ceased to hold him; the happiness which follows discovery that the whole thing is going by itself, in fact, is one of the happiest moments in human life.
A Student already knows everything, as Superior has already transmitted everything. Both of them only serve as the mechanism of this transmission, and are equally fake by themselves. There is nothing to learn, as there is nothing to transfer. A complete mechanism within the A∴A∴ is based on awakening and awareness; of course, there are learning processes on the side, but they are not, nor will they ever be a condition for enlightenment. By the very fact that he was born, each Aspirant is assured in two ultimate accomplishments:
a) Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel; and
b) Crossing the Abyss.
When a new park is building in the United Kingdom, designing an ideal walking path represents an art, but also a serious and responsible venture. But they have found a way which perfectly shows where the path should be bricked. At first, they planted grass everywhere without a single feature, letting the people walk their own way. After one season, where the greatest number of stamped traces can be found and where the grass is most embedded, there they simply set the marked path. Superior is not there to make the path for Student, he is there only to pave what the Student has already crossed, reminding him of the length of that path, once the Student tiredly turns back.
Perhaps one of the most brilliant examples of the relationship between the Superior and his Student, in a realistic, most humane way, is shown in the movie “Zorba the Greek”. Not at any other place, I could find in such a sincere and simple, deeply spiritual grip between the hands of two men who are bounded not by their fate but by their freedom and unconditional love. Their dance is nothing more than the dance of God Pan; it is a true adjective and nature of the relationship between Superior and Student at A∴A∴.
Too often and with regret I can hear expressions such as: “did you take him for a Student?” Or worse: “did you accept him for a Student?” This is a completely misleading reference to the nature of our Order. Superior has no more right to accept Student, then right to seek further progress. It is not in him, nor in his assessment will he admit Student. He can clearly refuse, but then this is not a process of thinking and weighing, but pure will. He will simply say no. No. Such a beautiful and rare word. Instead, to produce a period of thinking, reconsideration, delay and expectation in a candidate? For God’s sake, he is not a candidate, Student is a star that is awakening, he is the one whole Universe that is being created, and we want to put things in place. We are witnesses, we almost do not have a role at all, and refusal to act in that way is a strict violation of the principles that are so characteristic for A∴A∴. On the Student is to express goodwill, Superior only channels further and there is nothing else that would better describe the situation.
There is not enough word to suggest that Superior must understand in every way the diversity of the natures and the paths of his Students. And he should treat each one like he would treat to his own God. There are so many different ways of expressing our neuroses, but of course, they are all one same pattern. He has to understand that the variety of experiences and characters are just ornaments of his own Angel, and instead of mocking it, he must admire that creation, every day, every time, constantly, asking himself only one question: “what kind of message is that right to me, right here?” There are only two types of aspirants, roughly speaking. Those who leave the best bite for the end and those who swallow this bite immediately at the beginning. There is no way to declare in advance what is better or more proper, unless beforehand one completely does not understand the nature of the individual. Many of us seek to isolate, while for some silence simply kills to the point that they cannot fall asleep without the TV being turned on. Understanding is the true key of whole this process, only the understanding of others leads to peace with ourselves.
No Superior who walks this earth has the right to refuse the Student’s progress, but rather has an inexpressible obligation to enable him advancing to the next Grade. Everyone has its own natural cycle, the ideal time of maturation and germination, and Superior must find the balance between the mandatory program and Student’s true abilities. The ideal time of germination, for he must not kill (destroy) it, he must not spoil the ideal harvest time. How? By constantly building the self-confidence inside the Student. There is one thing, in addition, on which we must be aware; it is about the essential principle of A∴A∴ which is to select those who are fit and eliminate the unfit. Each aspirant has one Grade through which he passes easily and one in which he stuck. And here we have two schools, that is, two different approaches. The one that forces the talent and the one which is forcing the defect. Sometimes the perfection of mastering one of the Grades is completely different from the perfection of mastering the other, and Superior needs to decide what he will evaluate from Student, and in what way. The big question is whether maintaining a constant inhale for more than two minutes is a virtue for someone who is a professional diver. Or is it sitting in Asana hopeless evil for the one with Arthritis? Although it has already been stated very clearly, each Superior, taking primarily his experience as a measure, should give judgment on this. In our books we find the following:
„Every Member of the A∴A∴ must be armed at all points, and expert with every weapon. The examinations in every Grade are strict and severe; no loose or vague answers are accepted. In intellectual questions, the candidate must display no less mastery of his subject than if he were entered in the “final” for Doctor of Science or Law at a first class University.“
„The natural talents of individual differ very widely. The late Sir Richard Jebb, one of the greatest classical scholars of modern times, was so inferior to the average mediocrity in mathematics, that despite repeated efforts he could not pass the “little go” at Cambridge — which the dullest minds can usually do. He was so deeply esteemed for his classics that a special “Grace” was placeted so as to admit him to matriculation. Similarly a brilliant Exorcist might be an incompetent Diviner. In such a case the A∴A∴ would refuse to swerve from Its system; the Aspirant would be compelled to remain at the Barrier until he succeeded in breaking it down, though a new incarnation were necessary to permit him to do so. But no technical failure of any kind soever could necessarily prevent him from accomplishing the Two Critical Tasks, since the fact of his incarnation itself proves that he has taken the Oath which entitled him to attain to the Knowledge and Conversation of his Holy Guardian Angel, and the annihilation of this Ego. One might therefore be an Adeptus Minor or even a Magister Templi, in essence, though refused official recognition by the A∴A∴ as a Zelator owing to (say) a nervous defect which prevented him from acquiring a Posture which was “steady and easy” as required by the Task of that grade.“
The poison of the worst kind is that Superior chooses the practice which the Probationer will perform for a year. Or even to have the slightest influence on it. Apart from the fact that the Probationer is still too weak to feel at all what the right choice is for him, Superior’s inexperience in leading his aspirant may further complicate this. Therefore, Superior, in this case, can be nothing more than a witness; the witness of Probationer’s diary, Oath and task. He is the one and nobody else who will put sign on the Neophyte’s Oath and so unequivocally show that the Probationer has passed further, only he will be the one who will recognize attainment of his Student, and see in him what he saw in self, many years ago when he was passing the same steps. Therefore, if Superior imposes what he actually thinks Probationer should practice, then it will only be served as a revival of Superior’s path, instead of Student’s will.
It can be said that the selection of practice is the indication about Probationer’s character, and with that in mind, it is very important to work on theory and recommended literature. Prior to Probationer’s Grade, there is also a “Student of Mystery” Grade based precisely on acquaintance with extensive literature in order the choice of practice would be completely left to free and open affinity. Some lineages of our Order apply this rule, some not, therefore it is up to each Superior to decide on this subject. Getting familiar with Student’s affections, talents and drawbacks is an important polygon for each Superior, precisely because from that he draws endless energy for Student’s temptation. It should be remembered that there is not enough good exercise that will retain its passion and freshness during the one year of constant repetitions. Therefore, the emphasis should be put on Probationer to choose whatever he likes; Superior should support his decision by his authority and benevolent advice, without any appeal or condition. The practice with the Probationer is so engaged is not limited to rituals, but also to meditations and various contemplations of any kind, those of Western as well as Eastern spiritual practice. Philosophical, religious, or pure physical exercises should be also taken into consideration. It should be kept in mind that practice should not be changed during Probation, but then again it does not mean that it is forbidden. Everything is possible here and nothing is certain, therefore all the interpretations of the rules are in the hands of the Superior. It can be concluded that the impact on Student’s mind is inevitable, but it is again on Superior who will this anomaly soothe by constant increasing of the student’s self-confidence.
It will be useful that Superior periodically check the Student’s progress, although this check cannot represent any pre-established rule or scheme, the only rudder here is Superior’s feeling and experience. But let him know that he will also be inspected by A∴A∴ many times in such a way that A∴A∴ will actually check the Probationer through him. Let him, therefore, work as he feels because there is no right or wrong way in this place. Also, let the Probationer thinks equally about this, in the way that is given in his Task of the Grade:
„he shall perform any tasks that the A∴A∴ may see fit to lay upon him. Let him be mindful that the word Probationer is no idle term, but that the Brothers will in many a subtle way ‘prove’ him, when he knoweth it not.“
The awareness that the entire course of his Probation must be accompanied by attention, the awareness that the Abyss and the Angel can equally manifest at any moment, thus representing the highest discipline of Jnana Yoga. The Student will have the following sentence repeated in the same way, in every Grade:
„… but that the Brothers will in many a subtle way ‘prove’ him, when he knoweth it not….“
At each moment, every Student is illuminated by the three great lights of the A∴A∴: his Superior who is assigned to him, his Diary which is written by him and his Angel, which is manifested through him. And each of these three forms is actually three projections of the one same hologram. His Superior is, therefore, the balance between two extremes: his Diary, which represents his lower form and his Angel, which represents the higher. The Diary, Superior, and the Angel; this is the Holy Trinity of our entire Order, and all that an Aspirant needs is only to follow these bright lights. It can be said that Superior is the visible resultant of two ultimate forces: his Diary and his Angel. Later, as the Aspirant achieves the ultimate Attainment, he will realize that everything that was written in his Diary and all that the Angel will manifest through Knowledge and Conversation, is perfectly represented by the imprint which Superior is performing on his soul.
There is a Grade which has a special relationship with the Students. Namely, Superiors of all the Grades have the obligation to take care of the Students who are below them. But this does not apply to Adeptus Minor. Because he has only one obligation in all the worlds, which is Knowledge and Conversation with his Holy Guardian Angel. On the other hand, is not the greatest ideal and greatest benefit for the Student to observe someone who is striving for such exalted cause? How sublime is the study about A∴A∴, when the Student observes the one who strives for the Great Work, so directly as Adeptus Minor? The only Grade that does not have a part of the Oath to dedicate to the Students is Adeptus Minor, but this doesn’t mean he does not do so, if he has the will for it.
Superior always gains a Student who suits him, and the contrary, what will say: before Student appears Superior who needs him most. A∴A∴ is a body that takes care of this, there is no need to waste too much time by thinking about it. Simply, the A∴A∴ possess a mechanism of automatic compatibility, and the more you try to understand this, you will be more lost. This automatism is implied in all the Grades, except one, and it can be freely said that its intelligence is completely separate from us and the earthly Order. Therefore, Student should not waste time correcting the other version of Paradise, instead let him adapt to the current one.
There are certain currents within our Order in which the Aspirant are openly encouraged to receive a Probationer as soon as possible. Some are preparing them for later, depending on the lineage. But the most important question which spins the Aspirant’s mind is the question whether to take the role of the Superior, the most intimate question that will ever to be found in A∴A∴: “Am I worthy enough, am I valuable enough to be his Superior? Can I do something wrong?” The answer is that he really can not do anything that the Student has not already earned for himself. Superior must not project himself in the Student. Instead, he should project himself in his Angel.
Each Probationer already knows how to walk his own path, he does not need any guidance than himself, his intuition is his only true guide, and for progress (advancement) in A∴A∴ it is often necessary to follow both with his and other nose. But gathering on this path, it is something completely different. The witness in the journey, his brother’s companion, as we said earlier, is the true significance and meaning of Superior. Everything else is just speculations of our complexes, distorted hopes and needs. Because in the mind of Probationer everything is distorted. Everything what he experience is distorted. Everything that he is passing through is just a distorted picture of Adept’s view of the reality. Everything inside Probationer is distorted. No knowledge is sought, no success is required, he discovers that he knows nothing and that his progress is not relevant. Lastly, the knowledge is not important as much as he thought all the time. And that time, especially distorted is the time, which so terribly influences him through the Binah and the 32nd path of the “Universe”. Exactly that one year will distort everything inside him, but far from it will break anything. He will be so distorted even until he returns to his natural position, he will move hardly on the path to the eternal west, always and only to the west, until he finds himself again from where he started. And then he will realize that neither the west nor the east is somewhere far away. They are here. They are all here and within.
Frater Aureus 273∴
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