If there is something that is so closely connected with our external entity, as much as with our most intimate inner nature, it is our magical Diary. Although it can be assigned as testimony and the presence of our Oath, it has a lot of distinct qualities.
You will be amazed by the fact that writing about a particular act at that moment changes the very act itself. This discovery is especially important for Probationer and Neophyte, and it will keep the aspirant until the farthest corners of the Golden Dawn. Even Adeptus Minor does not find an objection on this claim. Equally, the Diary and Superior have the same function, only with the opposite direction. The most pleasant way is to look at the Diary as your inner Superior. Writing the practice into a Diary is the practice itself and the understanding of this is so valuable for ascending of each aspirant. Right from the beginning, I want to underline that Diary should be the opus of all our senses, thoughts, urges, successes and failures, rises and falls, and not just a mere record of practice and a report on the result. It is very important for the aspirant to write about seemingly irrelevant things for which he will have no insight of their possible impact on anything in the future. Although it will not have anything related to his chosen practice, the aspirant must always think that he is not in any way in the position to assess what is important and what is not. Here everything is crucial, nothing is irrelevant. In all this business you are guards, not generals. One yours mistake, a minute of sleep on the watch, and an entire regiment could be destroyed.
During the Probation, the Angel will, in one moment, in one dream or lost thought, express his nature, but in a way completely incomprehensible to the mind of the Probationer. One of the essential roles of a Diary is to map the inner world in such a way that only after a later analysis this small detail will be revealed. Exactly the higher Grades, such as Philosophus or Dominus Liminis, at the summing of all achieved, encounter a specific test of Ruach, in a very strong sense of being close to their True Will, which in fact they are. And in that fantastic period, by examining the past diaries, finding a right trail can be of priceless value.
This case particularly applies to the Neophyte, which often receives the Vision or hears a Voice. This brief experience, slight moment and glint of Tiphareth is not ultimate, and as he instantly finds himself back in Malkuth, it can be said with certainty that this flash of short-term enlightenment can affect the entire work further into the A∴A∴. This phenomenon of short enlightenment is also known in the East under various names and forms, and we will only mildly mention the experience of Kensho and Dhyana. It rarely comes as a logical reward and a refund of spiritual effort, but as one of two possible cases. The first, as the result of a well-balanced work, in which there is no passion or tendency, but the acceptance of all possible experiences as the simple resultant of the Will, in which enlightenment comes only as the echo of the aspirant’s calmness. The second, and it is a more drastic and more frequent example, which is the result of an unbalanced practice, a state of frustrated struggle and tension in dealing with energies that are difficult or even impossible to control. Although the goal is identical, the second case is far more devastating if the flash of ultimate enlightenment does not occur, which is statistically rare in relation to the high frequency of this case. As before, this especially refers to the Grade of Neophyte, in which the strikingly different experiences in relation to the past way of life and work with the raw energies of the astral plane can be extremely dramatic. It is hard to assume that such a great sacrifice is profitable; this stroke on the psyche and nerves of the aspirant is transmitted through the whole being, and as initially he is dashed and energized, the aspirant can not ground these terrible forces by his weak experience, acting on the magician’s being like the horrible and infernal acid. What remains, if anything remains, will not endure the flame which Philosophus creates inside and around him.
Precisely the Neophyte, on a deeply subconscious level, knows this very well, and like a prayer of the supreme salvation he projects this to himself forward as an experience of Knowledge or Conversation, but in the manner that he, as the aspirant of the Golden Dawn, can understand it well enough to serve him as an additional burning fuel, once when he burned all the fire before time with unbalanced work. How fantastic is the A∴A∴ mechanism, self-sustaining and self-regulatory, which works in advance and always for the aspirant’s change. The way in which this mechanism can serve his being is a fresh reminder that will draw the living awareness from one specific moment. That is why it is essential to record everything which is considered as important. Even that which is extremely irrelevant or ordinary, if it goes beyond the boundaries of irrelevant and ordinary, must also be noted in the Diary for it could serve as a trigger for the supreme experience. Maybe. But I can only regret that I as a Probationer recorded exclusively and only about my practice; although these records were outstanding, with all the results, thoughts and insights, they represent only a small part of the Probation itself. The Diary is about Probationer, not about Probationer’s practices. It has a personality, in the same way the Probationer has. And this personality advances and grows only by diversity. Beside a practice that he will perform daily, Probationer has a duty to write and keep a record of it. The practice of writing a magical Diary is the first true step inside the Golden Dawn, and if I had to reject all meditations and ritual practices, I would do so only if it will be allowed for me to carry my magical Diary. Therefore, before we even look at the practices and possibilities that the Probationer has before him, once he took his Oath, we will study this practice above all practices and discuss the ways in which the Diary can be written.
There are certain things that I want you to consider. The first is to experiment and play with the ways you enter information in the Diary. You have to give a Diary to breathe, to develop, you must never be satisfied with one form because inevitably there will come another which will replace it. Write in the third person view. When you enter a journal entry, try to write about someone else, as if you were writing a biography. Then write in the second person view. Write to Him, instead to Yourself. This is a brilliant exercise that can grow into deep contemplation. Another thing to which I am referring you is one type of pattern, by which you will enter your own experience and which will be universal for all practices. It may look something like this:
1. Type of work
2. The aim of work
3. Time of work
4. Place of work
5. Work plan (plan of work)
6. Essential points of work
7. Physical health
8. Psychological condition
10. Instruments and weapons
11. Possible obstacles
12. Stumbled obstacles
13. Impression before work
14. Impression during work
15. Impression after work
16. Insights and observations
17. Lessons learned
19. Additional notes
20. Rate of work
Keep in mind that our own nature will find ways to replace one lower, expected success, with the other more fascinating failure, just to turn you away from the path of intent. Consider this thought carefully. Therefore, it is important that we know what we do, how we do and, above all, why we do.
There are two types of diaries. The first type, which for many serves as a reminder. And the other, which for few serves as a testimony. This second is a gift of the most precious kind, which makes aspirant sees that every record in the Diary is the one same dialogue between him and his God, each entry is a description of always one and the same thing in countless other languages, and that each event is actually just one of the infinite number of anagrams of the name of his Angel. And from all things that happen to you, or at least you think they happened, and about which you are writing so zealously in your records, you are in fact always thinking about only one thing. Let each Student stumble in this place, thinking about that one single thing which is around all his effort, all his energy and enthusiasm, what is common to all Students, Aspirants and Adepts, what is the circumstance that is the same for each living organism in this and all other universes?
Also, take particular care of your dreams, but in a proper and awake manner. A note in the Diary is not there to admire your phantasmagoria but to dissect them, to measure them, to probe them with the flame of childish intrigue. There are countless models on which the dreams are correctly recorded, and it is up to you to construct the one that suits you. When you record a dream, and it is very important to write it down immediately upon awakening no matter how convinced you are that you will remember it later. It is also crucial that you give a name to your dream. As if it were a movie, try to give the best name to your last night blockbuster. Then find the symbol around which the dream is spinning. It is usually an object or person around whom the whole dream happens, try to discover and name what it is. Your subconscious uses sleep as we use adjectives in order to describe a certain noun, a dream for your unconscious nature is what is delightfully strophes to a poet. Therefore, you need to find what is being adorned by that strophe, what is behind the stylistic figure of your subconscious, what kind of phenomenon that has turned on the mischief behind your closed eyes. Is it a person who exists in real life, maybe someone from the past? Is it an object, or maybe an event, emotion or thought? In any case, it must be one term, not two or three, not more or less, but one and only. Come closer to that term from the state of wakefulness, what does it bring when you think about it? Pleasure or discomfort, is it fear or ignorance, lust or need? Get out from the role of a dreamer; you need to transform the dream into the creative force of your intent, not to remain a passive and random cobweb of your unconsciousness.
It can be said that each Grade cherishes a specific relationship toward Diary, that there is a special thread that binds a Diary with a certain Grade, and that this thread has different nature on each Grade. Writing a Diary has a special, such a sublime boredom that is independent of our own will. Sometimes it can occur, sometimes not, sometimes months can pass or even years of zealous writing, but then simply come to a halt, and this halt cannot overcome by thousands of insights and advancements in the Grade until the thing moves by itself. Sometimes this pause in writing is only a consequence of certain processes that are induced by the Grade itself, sometimes it is a new temptation that needs to be assimilated. Each Grade possesses mechanisms which can be manifested in every aspirant, although it can not be said with certainty for whom, and to what extent.
The Probationer has one special gift, so striking and powerful it can influence his entire passage through the Golden Dawn. This can be a unique feeling, a moment of lucidity, a strange presentiment, a dream, a scent in the house we are entering for the first time which revives in us some ancient sense, a smile on the face we see for the first time in some foreign city, a voice that awakes in us such a vivacious and magnificent sense of association with something as if that voice was sent from the heavens and then disappeared without trace. This feeling needs to be noted in a Diary in the way it fits, indeed in this event could lay the key to our Knowledge and Conversation. In this one brief event, and far too often we are not aware of it throughout whole Probation and even further, is hidden the mechanism of unlocking Our Self, which has locked in a way that thinking about the key actually forms the lock itself. The Probationer’s mind then finds synchronicity and announces that everything fits perfectly, but the truth is miraculously different from his insight. The point is not in the opening of that lock, but turning the key which is in fact Probationer himself. In this movement is hidden Knowledge and Conversation, for this movement gives the meaning to the lock, which would have no purpose without the key. There is nothing special in the lock. True initiation is not the finding of the appropriate key. The whole mystery of the Rose and Cross is in one remarkable fact. That your lock had already been opened by someone much earlier. The lock is not sealed at all. And the Angel is the one who is behind, waiting only for you. He is the one who left you the key to finding him, who made you construct the lock and a door and then made you forget everything so you can discover it. Discover it again, everlasting again. The Diary is a map of all your keys and all locks ever. Each record is an attempt of pairing, and in one record, which is usually some irrelevant one, is a hidden finest guidepost. The route to your Angel. This case especially applies to the Neophyte, which will be more to say later. It is therefore of utmost importance that the Probationer records everything, maps each event, and sketches any thought he considers to even have a bit of chance to be related to the Self. Openly speaking, the perfect Diary would indicate achievement of the Adeptus Exemptus, so the Probationer should not be burdened with the amount of information which he must implement within. He is condemned to failure in advance, but that failed attempt prepares and sharpens his other weapons in most proper and delicate way. The Diary is a weapon that he improves most of all; this weapon will follow him from the first day of his Probation, until final corners of Rose and the Cross.
Indeed the leading question that Probationers ask is what should be written into the Diary, what is important, and what is not. What kind of events are worth and what kind of spiritual encounters are suited to be included in the Diary’s log. Is not every event related to each other and is not every corner of the Universe equally connected to all things? Is not every act a specific relationship of God with your soul? The answer to this question is in the consciousness of what is important at that moment; it can be said that some of the best Diaries do not contain any single practice, and that those which is filled from poor records of the amount of breath, the time frames of the ritual, whether it was raining or not during the Middle Pillar, they all not deserve a single drop of our ink. Always think that writing about act changes the act itself, so it is completely as no preference what you write about, as long as it is the act of your creative love and true devotion.
Diary is not a record of your practice, but a record of your living soul, it is not a reminder of what it was, nor what it will be, but always and only what it is. Every record in your Diary is like a lottery card. Each record and every practice is just one of the combinations, only one combination of all can be a winning combination, and only Great Work will give meaning to everything that is written. Play with the Diary, it must breathe, it must live. The Probationer must be the bridegroom, his Diary must be his bride.
Frater Aureus 273∴
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 In no case the Knowledge and Conversation, this would mean that the aspirant has achieved the Rose and the Cross.