The Robe takes a very special place in the Aspirant’s work, partly because it is present from the first day of his Probation. No other magical aid is used as often as a Robe, and within the plane of the Golden Dawn, no other weapon suggest equally at the Grade and the ultimate goal, which is always and only the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel, as much as the Robe does. Indeed, if we look at each Grade separately, we can notice that the Aspirant within the scope of his tasks approaches to the creation of magical items that are inherent to that Grade, and once constructed, they rarely change. The Robe is modified on each Grade, but it always has the same essence in itself that carries the Aspirant deeper within the Order. As if the Robe is just a veil which is opened by his work, as if it is the only genuine work, the opening of the veil before the LVX itself, until the moment when he attains Knowledge and Conversation. We will say that what prism does with light, the Robe does with the LVX, in that way the Aspirant always gets as much light as he needs to see.
The Probationer’s Robe is actually a large Tau cross, made of white silk with golden edges around the neck and ends of the sleeves. The red pentagram is embroidered on the front, while the blue six-pointed star rest on the back with an upright red and falling blue triangle, in the center of which is the golden letter T. The Robe is without hood because the Probationer is like the newborn Baby, pure and open to all influences; external (to which the hexagram on the back is alluding), as well as internal (as evidenced by the flaming stars on the chest).
But, in addition to its practical use and understanding of the symbolism of form and colour, it is far more important the Aspirant understands the model of thinking that genuinely uses the Robe. Therefore, his mind is the one who dresses it, the Robe is much more than an object of dedication and in fact, has multiple roles.
The first role is in linking the mind to the content of the operation, in a way the as mantra Yoga does. The distress by the goal is always so devastating to the experiment, what we need is a mild pressure of attention, not aggressive concentration. Robe exercises constant pressure on the Aspirant’s attention, yet its appearance is pleasant because of tranquillity that silk or cotton arouse in us. It must be as comfortable as it is concealed. In this way, regardless of the nature of the operation, the Robe binds to only one aim and nothing else. It stimulates our senses to the point that external Ego fails to notice this thief which breaks our censor of reality. Robe stuns us, as if it deliberately imposing the darkness into the circle to better notice the light; it is a haze that scatters LVX.
The second role is a purification, the Robe serves to purify equally physical and spiritual aspect of our being. Its gentle material is pleasing to the whole body, which is naked underneath. This is an allusion to Ovum and Baby in the Egg. But highest Robe is always and only your naked body. Unfortunately, we use our body only in exceptional circumstances and in most cases because of the necessary situation. Let’s just consider how much the naked body is almost always related to sexuality, instead to our stellar nature, and how much we feel that we are in trouble just when we see someone naked. How much of us can really stand naked in front of another person, without feeling uncomfortable? Try to perform the ritual of pentagram completely naked and you will understand that in this subtle feeling of “strange” and “different” than the usual performance is hiding a wonderful clue that you can follow. The naked body is the Robe of the highest kind and as much as any other Robe can radiate with the specific energy of the sphere, so the naked body is the Robe of the true light and the material from which the stars are made. In the end, the body cannot be naked, naked can be only the mind.
The third role is of purely energized character, which the Robe channel through its primal idea. This energy is made up from Robe as much the Robe is made of such energy. Think about it. Physical Robe is only the shell of its true material, which is pure energy. Although in the cases of Golden Dawn it has elemental attributes, essentially it is always and only a solar in nature and as such can serve equally in all operations, which will say, the Robe is not exclusive to certain works. Although, for example, the Robe of Practicus can intensify Qabalistic or Mercurial work, no Robe can exclude or slow down the Success itself, as long as the individual is aware of the Great Work. Aspirant dresses the Robe cleansed by ritual bathing, and this cosy feeling when silk touches the skin is already a preliminary work itself that slightly changes the consciousness to the benefit of the goal. This very brief moment as the Aspirant pull the sacred outfit over his head, beautiful and magnificent, sometimes makes us say that it is more valuable than the work itself, as if it is the only work that could be at that moment.
The fourth role is of the highest rank as it is a true example of a magical link, which always and everywhere associates our being to the Knowledge and Conversation. We are the Conversation, our Robe is Knowledge. One goes with another, and one without another cannot be. As you move, so the Robe moves, it is one movement and one Will, how much the Angel and the Aspirant are One. But you need to think about this just as ideas, it does not mean that your practice has to be done in the Robe. Our mind is our only polygon for work, if we do not understand the essence of the idea we are dealing here, then we did not deserve anything from our Art. It is better to understand the principle that reigns here, even though we never perform anything under the Robe, then to have the most expensive silk embroidered in the Robe of the Adeptus Exemptus, without understanding. And if you truly understand the substance of the Robe, it is completely irrelevant whether you will really wear it in your everyday work.
A model of thinking that truly tailors the Robe, unlike tailor’s needles and threads, is the same one that defines a magician’s circle. If that circle is the vastness of his work, the Robe is the vastness of his senses. It is the last membrane of the magician and represents a mediator between his body which he emergently feels and the universe in which he has no sense at all. The Robe is an interpreter, a transformer between two different worlds, which transmits one same force into two different planes, in the way that it passes what is useful while holding what is incompatible.
The Robe, similar to magician’s circle, describes the Aspirant’s aspiration towards infinity. Look; the circle around the magician determines the field of his action and his security and protection. But isn’t the circle endless? Is there anything “else” around the circle? Your limitation and your fears are pressing the circle, puncture it, piercing it, assault it, making it a symbol of restriction instead of infinity. Is not the true nature of consciousness continuous expansion? As you work and advance, you will also expand your circle. And so your Robe will fall over all things, just like the light of LVX does.
If the Circle around the Magician is the end of his perceptible Universe, then the Probationer is dwelling on the planet Earth, his Circle of work is a starry sky, while his Robe is the atmosphere of that Earth which equally protects him from the influence of the outside at the same time giving him life. The Robe constantly reminds him that there is a subtle body around him and that he, like the head of the onion, has many layers of subtle existences.
Equally, the Motto and the Robe are preparing the Aspirant for different and larger ventures, which is the production of his elemental weapons that he will begin to construct so committed as Neophyte, until he finds himself as a Dominus Liminis. But before the Aspirant, like the knight of the Grail, makes his weapons at all, he must first acquire a brilliant armour and get the title of a knight, which is actually making the Robe and choosing the Motto.
It is important to always remember that Probationer’s Robe is identical with the Robe of Adeptus Minor. In fact, the term identical is quite inconvenient. What we really want to say is that it is the one same Robe and no other. These Robes are not identical, it is the one same Robe all the time, and that is an immense difference. Essentially, the Probationer is the Adept. After all, Adeptus Minor becomes a child, as much as Probationer remains a child. Therein lies the ultimate trick of the mind, which is the main contributor to the construction of the Grades. Although the Robe of Probationer and Adeptus Minor is identical, although it can be concluded that it is a reminder to the first one on his Knowledge and Conversation that he has to accomplish and which is his true urge in the Order, it is actually one much deeper association. That he has nothing new to discover but to wake within himself. The Angel is not above, nor is he within the Aspirant. The Aspirant is the Angel as much as the Angel is an Aspirant, and the Robe of Probationer refers to meditation about this. Thus, the Robe is the highest aspect of Jnana Yoga. It is the symbol of Oneness, it is the Aim, not the Method. Not of One who attains but One which has already been attained.
Frater Aureus 273∴
If you liked this text, feel free to subscribe to my Blog.