Before taking his Oath in the first place, the Probationer chooses his magical Motto or name. There are many ways in which we can realize the magnitude of this endeavor, but neither one can adequately capture the essence better than this: searching for a name is searching for the Self.
The Motto is a metaphor of Will. Choosing the Motto is the Aspirant’s first attempt of the Great Work. Though it is condemned to failure, it will enforce the avalanche of coincidences – the magical links that connect the Aspirant’s mind with the conceptual essence of Adonai, and no matter how this idea is an illusion at its final range, it will slowly begin to materialize in his mind. Even at this moment, no matter how firm your objections are in your conscious, rational mind, it is precisely these words that crush these objections, and right now your thoughts about Adonai are Adonai’s thoughts about you.
Let us begin with a very simple thought; our name is something that is inaccurately associated with ourselves, and despite how devoted we are to that name, it is yet given to us without our blessing. No matter how hard we try to find a link between ourselves and our name, we will find nothing insightful. But a nickname is indeed a different instance altogether. Although some nicknames are just abbreviations of the names, the vast majority of them contain some of our phenomena, mostly physical, and it is not a rare case that a nickname is related to our character.
The Motto goes even further. You can assume the direction we are moving, try now to give yourself a name that best describes what you are. Give yourself a name that you have never heard before; this is a wonderful meditation method that can result in continuous digging into your mind over something which you know very well, but that is yet so distant. You somehow know who it is, but you do not know his name. The essence of Abramelin’s operation is covered identically. In-deed, if you choose your new name, what name would that be? The only condition is that the new name does not exist anywhere. This is a brilliant task, simple as effective.
Each pronunciation of the name is an act of Invocation. Every letter and every instance of naming things, whether known or unknown, is a true conjuration; it is crucial for the Aspirant to understand the model of thinking that initiates this process. The act of responding to advertisements from weekly newspapers is no different from the act of invoking an Angel; the magician must understand that all the principles in the universe are the principles of his own mind and that if he truly understands how one single cogwheel moves, he will understand all things in the Universe.
With a name, you can summon, as much as you can banish. To realize this in more detail, we have to rest for a while and devote ourselves to one other thing. This is one of the basic mechanisms with which the Aspirant is acquainted already at the beginning of his work while practicing the ritual of the pentagram. Sadly, there is so much rambling surrounding this affair that, from such pointless repetition his mind habituated to doing things incorrectly so that one can no longer recognize or feel anything that is truly expressed by the names. Therefore, in the names he perceives what as opposed to who. This can lead one to become tangled in such a terrible mistake in his work over the years that he does not feel any progress at all, does not feel any change and does not feel any reason why he would continue. It is so inconvenient to think that we use all rituals and meditations to develop what we already possess, even though we are endowed by the most wonderful circumstance of all. That of Feeling. For good, bad, right or wrong, success or failure. And most of all, for beauty. Learn to feel everything so you can see beauty in all things. Even the ratio must be felt to be rational. Without the feeling and sensation of the rational truth, there is no rationale to be true. Even the lack of sensation is a sensation, in a certain sense. A sense of emptiness is by no means an emptiness, as much as it is a sense. That mechanism of feeling, which in most supreme way plants within us the truth about a being which feels
, far more than the sum of all feelings that flow through it, is contained within every Oath in the A∴A∴. The Aspirant understands that within himself there is an emphasized idea of the being; he sees that all feelings are nothing more than different aggregate states of that one being. If we could gather in one place all the feelings of the world, we could only distinguish a couple of different ones. Actually, we would arrive what we call the Grades.
Therefore, the Aspirant acts in the following roles, making corres-ponding decisions:
a) the Probationer; to obtain scientific knowledge of the nature and powers of his own being,
b) the Neophyte; to obtain control of the nature and powers of his own being,
c) the Zelator; to obtain control of the foundations of his own being,
d) the Practicus; to obtain control of the vacillations of his own being,
e) the Philosophus; to obtain control of the attractions and repulsions of his own being,
e) the Dominus Liminis; to obtain control of the aspirations of his own being.
By a name we can swear, invite, invoke, evoke or banish, call or recall, but only if we are in contact with that essence which uses such a name as a drive and if we know what the name really is carrying and what nature is hidden behind it. The name must be in balance with the desired force. In the idea of balance lies the key to all our pursuits; indeed it serves the education of our mind to deal appropriately with the forces of nature. All the strategies of wonder are hidden in spending the entirety of available resources for finding the leverage point, never in rising power for the movement itself. When the perfect balance of the forces is found, the thing starts to act on its own. The will of a magician is often a weak thing when it comes to initiating, but it is unbeatable when it comes to accomplishing. Therefore, the knowledge of the correct pronunciation of the name is less valuable than the knowledge of the nature behind the name. This observation particularly refers to the work within the Enochian system. After all, nothing is as efficient as silence itself. The full effect of the ritual commences only after its final word, never during the performance itself; the type of silence when words become mere echo within the mind drained from active desire, and once the Will has already been previously invested in the awareness of the goal. Success is found at the end, as all ends are crowned by silence. What is the common conclusion of all books, stories, poems and fables? It is a dot in the end, and no matter how magnificent the saga is, that dot has more to say than all the letters and words combined. If the dot is the body, then silence which occurs after is the blood of that sacred organism with which we must make our final communion at the end of all lessons, tasks and insights. Without it, any message would be without meaning. This silence is equally in the Knowledge and Conversation, as much as it is in all the Mottos of the Aspirants.
There are two main ways of dealing with names. When you rob the bank, always start from below and never from the top. This is gold-worthy advice; you have to be on good terms with a doorkeeper, or even better with a cleaning lady who will give you the right in-formation in exchange for a kind word regarding her new red shoes, unlike everyone else in the bank who might be mocking her. Flattering to a bank’s executive is meaningless; no matter how high your offer, it will never be enough. Therefore, one way is to use the names through forcefulness, while the other is binding with love. One by cursing, the other by embracing. Both approaches are neither good nor bad, as right or wrong can only be the mind that uses what is given by the gods. To all these things, the Aspirant needs to pay attention to fully understand the principle on which lie the use and purpose of magical names.
The magical Motto is an aphorism of the magician; it is a symbolic direction and a mark of the course on which sails his solar bark. And yet, the choice of magical Motto contains magic as it exists in thunders; just because we understand physical preconditions for creating a phenomenon, it does not diminish the excitement we feel for the upcoming storm. Choosing your own Motto at the very beginning implies: “I am not what I am. For I am what I want to be.” It draws great magic from the fact that the concept of one’s I is changing. Although small and weak in the beginning, its force will spread and grow until it reaches the final corners of spiritual attainment. A magical Motto, in the same way as a Diary, follows the Aspirant to the ultimate frontiers of the Tree of Life and with its change, the Aspirant perceives an exceptional observation. By advancing through the Grades and the shift of magical Mottos, the Aspirant turns to what remains the same. The impersonal and selfless Self, which can be called but does not have to. It chooses its name be-cause it chooses its destiny. It takes the Sphinx upon itself, although it will be born in the City of the Pyramids. Emphasis is not on the name, but on the Self, which is only called by that name. Therefore, it is not what, but who. A remarkable exercise can astonish the Aspirant with its brilliant effect if he closes his eyes and, after a couple of deep pranic breaths, asks himself out loud: “Who am I?“ A moment later, he should begin with careful observation of all impressions in his being provoked by this who. Let the Aspirant repeat “Who am I,” first slowly and then at a faster pace, let him feel which part of his body reacts to this provocation and in what manner. Is that reaction coming from him at all or from something else that is just looks like him; what is it, who is it, what color is it, what smell? What emotion arises, is it angry or resigned, does it appear with melancholy or react with enthusiasm? It is completely irrelevant what is arising, as long as it arises. The Aspirant should induce the reaction of his oblivious nature and to, first of all, feel the difference between what and who He is.
By constructing a Motto, the magician calls upon one of two things: strength or weakness. Regarding what we are or what we yet want to become. Although we can derive a strong consent in the notion that a Motto should be something that is yet to be achieved, we can equally find the truth on the contrary – that the emphasis should be on the current imperfection of the Aspirant. In one way, his aim is an imaginary and unreal achievement, and no matter how high or noble it is, it is still not real. The other way is to stick to the present moment; his relic will be eternal now as he will rely on what he already has. It is precisely in that moment of now, in that achievable distance in relation to the goal which is still further away, the realization that this now is the same now both in tomorrow and yesterday, and that any unenlightened being now, is enlightened in some other present. Each Aspirant should discover his favorable truth, and let it be provoked by any other or all truths in the world conjoined. Let him revive this excellence in the way it suits him and at the expense of his own interest.
Sometimes a single Motto can cover several different Grades; sometimes it can be restored in the same or altered form. The variants are countless; any predefined rules here lead to failure and confusion. The inventiveness of individuals is proportional to the uniqueness of their nature, which is the opposite equivalent to the ingenuity of their magical Mottos.
We will mention examples used by some of our older Brothers and Sisters, within the various Orders.
Julian Baker Causa Scientiae (Latin: “For the sake of knowledge”)
Aleister Crowley Perdurabo (Latin: “I Will endure to the end”)
Aleister Crowley Christeos Luciftias
Florence Farr Sapientia Sapienti Dona Data (Latin: “Wisdom is a gift given to the wise”)
William Wynn Westcott Sapere Aude (Latin: “Dare to Know”)
William Butler Yeats Demon est Deus inversus (Latin: “The demon is the reverse of God”)
Allen Bennett Iehi Aour (Hebrew: “Let there be light”)
Israel Regardie Ad Majoram Adonai Gloriam (Latin: “For the greater glory of the Lord”)
J.F.C. Fuller Per Ardua ad Astra (Latin: “By struggle to the stars”)
Charles Stansfeld Jones Unus In Omnibus (Latin: “One in All”)
Charles Stansfeld Jones Parsival
George Cecil Jones Volo Noscere (Latin: “I Wish to Know”)
Victor Benjamin Neuburg Omnia Vincam (Latin: “I will conquer all”)
Jane Wolfe Estai (Greek έσται: “I will be”)
Leila Waddell Agatha
Karl Germer Saturnus
Grady McMurtry Hymenaeus Alpha
First, you need to start from the fundamentals. Is your name in-deed your own, or the name of what you wish to become? Is it perhaps a Him or a Her, or is it a middle genus? Is it the form, shape, color, or name of an animal or plant? Could it be the name of an angel or a god or goddess? Does it have some other hidden name inside of it? Which is it and why?
Since we are already on this matter, I want to mention an extra-ordinary exercise in which you would attempt to experience yourself with a different face and body. Simply try to fathom yourself with an entirely new face, but not with the one already familiar to you, it must be an entirely distinct face, a face of a complete stranger. Imagine that your body burned down and suddenly you are a person you have never seen before, embodying this new form from now to eternity. It is quite possible that you will feel certain sorrow at that moment, but if you focus on this feeling of grief, you will see that it is changing. Now as you look closer, you will feel that it is not sadness that is changing. You will experience a transition in the self-perception, but more importantly, you will realize that this self has been related purely to the image, and with the change of that image you will arrive at more precise knowledge of your Self. Your awareness grows into a new mold very rapidly, just like water adjusts to the vessel in which it rests. In this movement is presented the full importance of taking the magical names or Mottos. In fact, in changing your name while taking up the magical Motto, you do not change yourself at all. You are not changing yourself; you are coming to yourself. You are altering the entire external reality because now it has to construct a completely different destiny towards you, and in that business, somehow, as if it was surprised. In such relationship lies a wonderful trick of the mind, in this change that is spurred by your intent. By taking on a new perspective of reality, you are not only changing reality and yourself for that matter, but you also realize that this vessel is merely the product of the Self, chosen and modified by the Will. Full understanding of “Who I am” would lead to the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel. This new perspective could lead to attainment even more simply. Try to perform your chosen daily practice while wearing a mask. Make your mask, shape it and color it in the way your Self wishes to do so. Perform the ritual underneath, and you will notice a radical improvement; as you were sheltered under a mask, in fact, what took place is something quite the opposite – you pulled the veil away from yourself. By putting on the mask, you have uncovered the Self – this is a greatly convenient observation that the Aspirant can obtain for his Probation.
The essence of the Motto is indeed not in the technique of construction. Gematric value of the letters only serves to connect the integrity of the Aspirant to what that value refers to. It can be said that finding and constructing deeper gematric currents within the name is a remarkable thing. For example, an Aspirant can take the initial and final letter as the beginning of some completely new value and then develop this new idea further. But that can never replace the feeling of identity with the Motto which is, in fact, always a feeling of unity with the Self. The Motto is a link to that unity and not the goal as such. Of course, the Qabalistic skill of finding a more profound value depends on the creativity of the Aspirant; that skill should develop during the Grades as it will become more than necessary in further work.
Sometimes it is worth to adopt a name which is close to one and to which the Aspirant has already built inner values, and that he is familiar with the mythology or the story that his name carries. But surely, sometimes in a completely unknown meaning lays hidden power that will move the Aspirant forward. In some cases, however, the meaning is created just along the way, while the Aspirant advances through the Grades. Either way, the Aspirant is left to judge by his own nature and instinct.
The adoption of the Motto is not exclusive to the Grade of Probationer. During each Grade you need to define a relationship with that same Motto and see if something has changed, whether the Motto is more or less incorporated into your being, whether it is awakened and in what way. Once a month, within three or six months, you need to ask yourself: “how much of me is in the Motto? What is it inside of my being that rejects it and why is it so uncomfortable for me to embody it? What does it want from me? Does it want me to change something? Does it want to change itself?” All these subtle feelings require coming to the surface, and nothing more remains for us but to be careful, to glance these feelings. You must not be a Motto. You must be Yourself, while the power of that Motto is in the liveliness of such Self. Destroy all links with your fate, tear all ties from your identity. Only in this way, the Motto will ha-ve a wider meaning than a mere number or a name accidentally incised onto your Oath. Only in this way, it will truly pave your way to the Great Work so you can easily embark upon it. And just as you tied your personal name to your personality, as you turn with the feeling of self whenever someone calls out your name, so your Motto is the true Word and the Law of the Universe. Thus it becomes Ariadne’s thread hooked to your Angel, and when you pronounce your Motto, the whole Uni-verse will turn for you.
The Aspirant should at all cost refrain from thinking that the name has an identity. The name is a carrier of emptiness, as the void is a pure content of all identities. Indeed, let the Aspirant speak his name given to him at birth and let him feel where the source of that name is. Let him say aloud “Who am I,” then chasing that divine river of feeling which will bring him to the place of origin of his being. He will realize that this feeling is not anywhere specific, but rather he is this feeling itself. Like the illusion which helps him understand it as the Self; it is just a side effect of the presence of the Universe within him. Once he seizes it, let the Aspirant gently meditate on that feeling; he will perceive that it constantly moves like mercury. But this fantastic sensation, always existing in space from whence the Self observes, tells the Aspirant that it does not exist in space at all. This emptiness is not empty of things; it is empty of time. The Great Work is a phenomenon of time; the Angel is just a name of the present, in as much as the Motto is the nickname of the past.
The Great Work draws its essence from the fact that all these things are incoherent by themselves, and there is no level of cause and consequence between them, as there are no things in which this between could take place. Therefore the relationship between the Motto and the Angel is the same relationship between the Aspirant and the Motto. In every present which continually exists in the same way, the Aspirant, the Motto, and the Angel are one and the same thing. At the moment, that cannot be observed because it just does not exist in the usual sense of the word, the Great Work has already been realized; it is precisely the phenomenon of consciousness that creates an idea of “before” and “after” making the Great Work somehow always hidden in between. So either you notice it too late, or you are too early. Great Work is not achieved, it is constantly being achieved, even now, as you read these words, the Great Work is everpresent in your perception of these letters, while your consciousness is just a subsequent echo of its nature, and the shadow of the already occurring phenomenon. And such consciousness of success is equally illusory as a consciousness of failure; both are reactions of one and the same occurrence.
The second exercise that can be applied by the Aspirant is a continuous repetition of his name or a nickname. There occurs a moment of monotony during the endless repetition of the name out loud, when the Aspirant completely loses the meaning of it all, and where consciousness enters into a specific type of trance. That wonderful moment is well known to children, as this technique is one of the favorite games during childhood. It is necessary to repeat the name out loud in a continuous, monotone manner, maintaining the same tempo, doing so without any expectations, and when this specific state of nonsense appears within the mind, one is to seize the feeling of the Self, keeping it squeezed as it wriggles with all its power. Right then, the Aspirant will gently feel the new sensation that is above all other senses. This specific feeling is something special that will get revealed further in the Grade of a Neophyte, but for now, it remains for us to map this feeling well and note it into the Diary. Not as a success, nor as an isolated experiment, but only as a short statement. And this mild feeling should be forgotten as soon as possible. For it will begin to flow among the unconscious currents of the Aspirant, breaking the course of his mind in a way that he will later, as an Adept, apply it in His Great Work.
The Motto should not be original at all costs; originality is already present in you by virtue of you being born as unique. What is necessary now is to pour out the name from the mold of your nature. The effort towards originality is the blasphemy of the worst kind. Therefore, it is quite an ungrateful event to sit down and to think about what you want to be. Although it is a valid way, ask yourself about the nature of what you already are and then simply name it accordingly; choose a god, an angel, a demon, a color or a number that corresponds to it. You do not need to be something as much as that something needs to be you. This is not the ultimate test; it will improve and become sophisticated through the Grades in the same way the progress through the Grades brings the Aspirant closer to the Angel. Once again, twice, many times over, the Aspirant must know that the adoption of the Motto is his first failure in the Great Work. But as much as it is a failure, it is a misstep in nothing other than the Great Work, and that is the magical link of the most exalted kind.
The Motto is a metaphor of Will. As the Aspirant is onomatopoeia of his Angel.