There are usually three periods of Probation, such as a standard school composition, that has an introduction, elaboration, and conclusion. However, although true works of art are not subject to generalization, some common indications can be noticed. The first period is framed by happiness and pure joy. Enthusiasm flows into the being of the Probationer, everything is so magical and peaceful, full of divine beauty and all what is being done is done with ease. Progress is visible daily, and the Angel almost knocks on the door. Depending on the eagerness of the Probationer, the brilliance of his mind and his predestination in our art, the time comes when the dark clouds will conceal him. The negative transfer starts to rise, and he will begin to doubt himself, his work and his Superior. Precisely from this tendency to deny the Superior, he sees and feels within him what he sees and feels for himself, he sees in him the source of all suffering and all the evil of this world. The Superior becomes guilty for bad practices that are getting more boring and unsound with each new day. He is guilty of poor understanding of mysteries; his relationship becomes a reflection of the Superior’s complex of lower value. “He is so insolent and rude, always harassing me, I am so alone and poor. Where is my Angel, why did he even assign this lunatic to be my teacher? Just what does he look like when he got projected in such a moral gnome I call the Superior? The Superior? How stupid it sounds to call someone who is not worth to even say hello in the street. The Superior? Well, he is surely not the Superior, he could only be Inferior. How many years he is in the Order, yet his Grade is so low. Well, if I’ve been on the path for so long, I would be at least Adeptus Minor. I will call him tomorrow and tell him everything straight; I will not bypass this, he will get everything directly in his face, I will shoot it right into the center!”
It can be said that if this second period did not come, there was, in fact, no real Probation. Certainly, this does not mean that the Probationer shall not pass validly, of course. On the other hand, we can assume that the complete misery of this period merely changes the form of manifestation and that all other forms are in fact variation of only one process which is: loss of self-confidence. There are only three main positions of the Aspirant which differ from the type of his basic neurosis. At this point, we can widely accept the fact that psycho-analysis is one of the essential tools in the hands of every Aspirant, and especially for the Probationer. The first position is the basic one, and in my opinion, it is the mother of all causes, which is fear. The second position is sadness, while the third is anger or hate. But we indeed realize that each of these positions is the same in complexity and equally natural reaction of our being to something so sublime as opening the door of paradise. All three positions are similarly useful weapons of the Ego, whom the Aspirant primarily perceives as an enemy, not because he is, but because we are deeply cursed, in this ongoing and fictive war against ourselves; miserable war, without light, without love. The enemy, therefore, knows how to withdraw, to hide, to conspire, to plot, all of the deceptions that will give us an excuse for self-preservation in our own defense mechanism. Yet not against the enemy, but in front of oneself. Therefore, the Aspirant will progress further in hatred, sadness, and fear, while the primary position cannot be assumed in advance. Even if by any chance it could be assumed, I would personally never recommend it as it would, even more, empower defense mechanism. In that second period of Probation, once the Aspirant seizes the position that, in fact, is a spin of his Ego, one of the two leading roles takes over. It is an introvert or an extrovert role, that is, depressive or militant. From the study of earlier cases, we have come to an interesting observation that militant roles are much more difficult to overcome during Probation period than depressive ones, although at first glance we may assume the opposite. It seems that this militant, warlike role is predisposed to an explosion in those more desperate and lonely minds; this role appears to be so liberating on the psyche of the Aspirant, even to liberate him from his own aspiration. And finally, instead of finding himself firmly on the ground of Malkuth as a realized Neophyte, he now wanders forever as a fierce fighter for human rights, making a bulletproof armor around him.
Even if the Aspirant endures through Probation, this position is undeniably determined for failure in the period of the Neophyte, when a strong stream of sexuality mixed with an aggressive, warlike position acts like a hurricane to the vulnerable soul of the Aspirant. On the other hand, the second, a more peaceful position but only apparently, gives more chances to the Probationer, but it is difficult to expect anything more than the Zelator, or even the Philosophus in some rare cases. The depressive role seems to create an ideal condition for the alchemical experiment, but unfortunately with an utterly false substance. And instead of mild temperature ideally transforming the quality of the matter, the depressing role now cools that same fire which obstructs Aspirant’s enthusiasm; he begins to condemn himself in what he has not been intended to succeed in the first place. Shame or guilt is just one of the projections that will push the depressive role to complete failure. This position is more easily passing through the Probation, but only because it is being assimilated with suspension and latency. In that case, one year of Probation last differently than usual, and the Aspirant only begins to receive insights and breakthroughs afterward, but Binah is already in its full force: as the master of the matter and the eruption of hidden sexuality. Physical defects and imbalances in the Neophyte create a round for the hell itself. In this case, only the acceptance that he must pass the same way back for the true assimilation of past experiences will be enough, once again, he will touch the earthly principle, but this time clean and prepared for the Great Work.
In short, the Aspirant embarks on a journey, and the only thing that he carries is water and bread. In the first position, he is so hurrying that all the water spills. In the second position, he is so slow that all the bread becomes rotten. In both cases, he will die, either from hunger or thirst. This may be a real picture of what is happening, and in both cases, the Aspirant can do nothing else but to turn back. Which is of course impossible.
Finally, the third period is like screening the sun after a stormy demonic night. It is a day worth living, and there are no words to show the Aspirant the true meaning of that joy and excitement when he passes further. Although this third, and the last period of the Probationer is, in the same place, the rising of the Neophyte, yet one more act is missing. One qualitative leap that will detach him from his whole Probation. He needs his passage through the Ritual of the Pyramid. This jump of faith into something utterly different from everything that he has done so far, the Probationer will project within himself in millions of different ways, in so many ways that it is a too an extensive topic for this book. What is expected is that he awakes on the other side of the ritual; to wake up the next day, knowing that he passed the ritual through the fact that he did it, not that he did it because he passed through it. For everything that he had to pass, he passed long before Liber Pyramidos, and that is the whole meaning of Probation. All past and future times, all of them are before his Pyramid, for only eternal now is left inside. We will have a chance to discuss more the phenomenon of Liber Pyramidos; along with Liber Cadaveris and Liber Samekh, this is all that one will ever need.