In addition to understanding its practical use and symbolism of form and color, it is far more important for the Aspirant to realize the model of thinking that genuinely uses the Robe. Therefore, his mind is the one who wears it; the Robe is far more than an object of dedication and, in fact, embodies multiple roles.
The first role has to do with linking the mind to the content of the operation, in a manner that mantra Yoga does. The distraught by the goal is always so devastating to the experiment; what we need is a mild pressure of attention, rather than aggressive concentration. Robe exercises constant tension on the Aspirant’s awareness, yet its appearance is pleasant from tranquillity that silk or cotton arouse within us. It must be as comfortable as it is concealed. In this way, regardless of the nature of the operation, the Robe binds us to one and only aim. It stimulates our senses to the point the external Ego fails to notice this thief who breaks our censor of reality. The Robe stuns us as if it deliberately imposes the darkness into the circle so we can better discern the light; it is a haze that disperses the LVX.
The second role is that of purification; the Robe serves to equally purify both physical and spiritual aspects of our being. Its gentle material is pleasing to the entire body, which is naked underneath; this is an allusion to Ovum and Baby in the Egg. Yet, the highest Robe is always and only your naked body. Unfortunately, we use it only in exceptional circumstances and in most cases due to an unavoidable situation. Let us consider that the naked body is almost always associated with sheer sexuality, rather than our stellar nature, and just how much trouble we feel we are in whenever we are caught gazing into one’s bare form. How many of us can really stand naked in front of another person without feeling discomfort or shame? If you were to attempt to perform the ritual of the pentagram completely naked, you would discover how subtle sense of strangeness and novelty, which emerge in the place of your usual performance, can unveil the most wonderful clue compelling you to keep on following along. The naked body is the Robe of the highest rank; and just as a ritual garment is capable of radiating with specific energy of its corresponding sphere, so the naked body itself becomes the Robe of pure light, fashioned from the very material of which the stars are made. In the end, it is not the body that is naked – but it is the mind itself that is rendered bare.
The third role is purely energetic in character – it is the medium by which the Robe channels its primal idea. This energy is derived from the Robe in as much as the Robe is derived from such energy. Physical Robe is but a shell comprised of its material, which is pure energy. Although it carries elemental attributes within the Golden Dawn symbolism, in essence, it is exclusively and forevermore solar in nature and as such can serve equally well in every operation. That is to say, the Robe is not merely confined to certain specific working. Yet, even though the Robe of Practicus can intensify Qabalistic or Mercurial work, no Robe can bar or slow down Success itself, as long as the individual is aware of the Great Work. The Aspirant, cleansed through a ritual bath, dons the Robe; the sensation of a delicate silk brushing against the skin becomes itself a part of preliminary work, altering his consciousness and priming it to reap the fruits of the goal. This very brief occasion – as the Aspirant pulls the sacred garb over his head, beautiful and magnificent – evokes the notion that such instance is more valuable than the work itself as if it is the only work that could possibly be at that moment.
The fourth role is of the highest rank as it bears witness to a magical link taking place, the one which forevermore associates our being to the Knowledge and Conversation. We are the Conversation, our Robe is the Knowledge. One goes with another, and one without the other cannot be. As you move, so does the Robe move – it is one movement and one Will, inasmuch as the Angel and the Aspirant are One. But you need to consider this just as a conceptual idea, it does not mean that your practice necessarily has to commence while wearing the Robe. Our mind is our only polygon for work; if we fail to understand the essence of the idea that we are dealing with here, then we do not deserve anything from our Art. It is far more important to grasp the governing principles herein, even though we never perform anything under the Robe, than to have the most elaborate ornament embroidered on the Robe of the Adeptus Exemptus, fashioned from the most precious of silks, yet without possessing any true understanding. And if you understand the substance of the Robe, it is completely irrelevant whether you will actually wear it.