“If you’re going through hell, keep going.“ – Winston Churchill
The first step in any endeavor is the hardest one for everyone but the Neophyte, because this step for him is the opposite of what one might expect. His trajectory, and therefore his momentum, is “downward.” The Neophyte requires not strength but courage, and is typically full of expectations and enthusiasm. By the ritual of the Pyramid, the new Oath he took, the new Motto he acquired, his mind is so strikingly affected. He is full of zest and ready to make progress, emboldened by the ease of his beginning because there is neither hurdle nor height to surmount. Rather, he effortlessly descends. His progress is not necessarily represented by climbing to the stars, but by descending deep inside his being. Deep and down, deep and inside; this thought is so precious, as he will learn, that it needs to be cultivated from the very beginning.
The thought of spiritual growth treacherously provokes his urge to strive towards heights, creating a wholly fallacious and hypocritical pantheon of gods based on something alien, remote, and unattainable to the Aspirant. This causes him to spend most of his time correcting himself and adjusting poorly laid out techniques and methods. This misguided effort can even last a lifetime.
Nevertheless, he does not need to aim for the Stars, as he shall learn. His upward trajectory will fail sooner or later. He must look before him, refocus upon the here and now. Moreover, he must look into himself, continually searching for all causes and all mechanisms within his being, setting all the benchmarks and all the rules as parts of an inspired monologue. Yet in all his wanderings, the Neophyte must get lost, and through this way, this method, he must find his path. The only way Out is In.
The path of the Neophyte in the A∴A∴ is perhaps the most fascinating one within the initiatory paradigm of the Golden Dawn; one can say that the aspirant’s efforts are intertwined with completely new aspects of awareness that he has never before experienced, starting from the very formal entry onto the path that so strongly pressed the Probationer, to such a different and unparalleled experiences such as that of astral projection and the awareness of lucid consciousness.
The Neophyte is a newcomer, but not because he gets new experiences. Rather, it is because he gets right experiences – those which will imprint their seal so heavily on his soul, all the way to the extreme limits of Dominus Liminis. Even the illusion, for the Neophyte, is not an unfamiliar field that is dependent on fate, he embraces it not as part of reality but as part of himself.
A Neophyte who knows his imperfection has an advantage over all other Aspirants who just think they are perfect. The Neophyte prepares his being to become Asar Un Nefer, just by embracing his imperfection; he, therefore, embarks on the path of his individuality rather than that of perfection. Yet, there is something we certainly need to discuss here: We genuinely believe that perfecting all possible weapons is our legitimate path within the A∴A∴, but in a major experiment, we ordain an individual to use only those he himself discovers to be necessary. This way of thinking is mainly related to the Adept, who, just moments before taking his Oath, was dedicated to all possible numbers and possibilities. Yet, he was aware that he was just one number and not any other whatsoever. The path of individuation is by no means the path to freedom; he does not aspire to be free because he knows that aspiration tends to enslave more than anything else. He is the way he is and embarks on his own particular training within our great Order. He knows that a free man does not aspire to what he already is – only a prisoner yearns for freedom.
The Neophyte is a newcomer, but he does not pass through uncharted lands. Stepping into the unknown does not mean that he will face anything alien; on the contrary, in that darkness, he will discover familiar shadows and the well-known inhabitants of his very own fantasies. Understanding one’s own nature is almost impossible while at the Neophyte Grade, yet the perfection of the A∴A∴ path is such that while trying to understand the nature of his Grade, the Neophyte is already leaving that Grade itself, moving ever closer to Tiphareth. This is the first Grade in the real sense of that word for there is actually no distinction between the Probationer and the Neophyte. Conceptually they are comparable. The Neophyte is a capable Probationer and nothing more. Each and every Probationer is already a future Neophyte, and now it is only a matter of the Aspirant’s own will to realize his “spark” in the present and thus take on something he merely calls “the Oath.” In fact, every Oath is the Knowledge and Conversation, broken into what are the characteristics of Ruach – time and space, as well as tangible forms of something that is still to come. By the very act of taking the Oath, as the Aspirant will learn, the Knowledge and Conversation has already been “realized.” What he is experiencing now through the Grades is merely an optical illusion of his mind. It is a logical game of his nature that experiences the light first and then hears the sound, just as an unenlightened mind perceives thunder and lightning as separate phenomena. Like a brief twinge of pain that has already passed, it is always an afterthought because that impulse is nothing but an electric spark which, when it finally arises in the mind, only shows that what we inevitably feel at that moment is in fact long overdue. The Neophyte is profoundly aware of this, and his exploration of the Orders indicates a breakdown of reason; he begins to feel higher and more unfathomable realms. He begins to be aware of another self within himself that exists as much as himself, and moving forward he becomes aware that he is the one who ceases to exist, giving way to another – an apparently different self. But this other-self, is really an earlier self rather than a newly discovered one; it is an older self that has not been lived through or perhaps even forgotten. The Neophyte realizes that the new reality he is experiencing is by no means a novelty. All the supposed greatness of his achievement begins to melt and is revealed to be merely a deposit of his unconscious and dormant giant. As previously mentioned, his path is an inward one, not an outward, his method is “Again” and not “Now,” that is to say, “New.” Of course, this is expressed once the Neophyte Oath has been taken, but from the point of view of the A∴A∴ superior, true work is expected from the Neophyte, not the Probationer. The Probationer is just on probation with what is real to the Neophyte. If the Probationer’s path was likened to a comet’s trajectory, the Neophyte’s trajectory is likened to that of a planet; he does not need to burn out but to make a full circle. What is important to the Neophyte is completeness, unlike the Probationer who is cloaked in the quantity and perseverance of the vector – now, for the first time, the Aspirant is getting the quality required. His essence is in the need for the completeness of its nature and its aspiration, and the need for the technique to round out rather than to close off, the importance of the need to give judgment and a personal stamp to the completion of the cycle, rather than to the cycle itself. But let the Neophyte always remember that a full circle implies revolution inasmuch as rotation, and that particular fullness always implies both a micro and a macrocosm – the completeness of the journey around the sun as much as around oneself. It is essential for the Neophyte to learn to dissect aspects of an idea and, for the first time, learn to distinguish realms, to feel elements, not to define them. To feel the Angel, not to have Knowledge and Conversation with Him. This sensation is also one of the most fantastic things that he, as an A∴A∴ Aspirant will ever feel upon his being. That sensation is in fact the chief architect of all the experiences that are yet to be lived through, and it all becomes one sophisticated mind game that his soul will fall into. All that the Aspirant is going to experience, including the interpretation of these words, will reshape and use that sensation, which will manifest the Angel at the same time, somewhere in the distant corridor of time and space. As the Probationer is simply the one who has not yet awakened, so is the Neophyte an Adept who has not slept enough. The same mechanism is actuated in both cases, like an automobile’s transmission placed in drive for the former and in reverse where it pertains to the latter. The Probationer moves forward into waking, while the Neophyte purposefully dreams while yet being awake. It is the same consciousness, but a completely different perspective into which that consciousness is focused. Continuous attention, however, is what we have here, and it is a feature of our great Order.
The Neophyte slowly becomes aware that his Attainment is an Awakening rather than a Revelation, that the Will is to be awakened, not found. These are not two realities, but one, now presented in two opposite elements and in two different circumstances. He discovers that Knowledge and Conversation is not found in new or transcendent knowledge awaiting discovery, but rather something that he has forgotten and already actually has. The Aspirant may desire to be “now,” but learns that “now” is not a “when”. Will is quite a subjective truth, not an objective lie. If the Aspirant meditates carefully on desire, which at first he may not distinguish from Will, he will realize that the desire is an echo of the present. In other words, when you wish for something, that something is what you have already wanted a moment ago, for something that you have yet to get. Will is “now,” whereas desire is memetic. Desire is the compensation of the Will, which is mantled in both Binah and Malkuth in the same way. In fact, it is fair to say that the moment the Will “blows through” Binah, it was at the same “moment” that is to be found in Malkuth. The Aspirant must remind himself that the 32nd path of the “Universe” has a double attribution: it is an earth element, but also an aspect of Saturn and therefore that of Binah. The phenomenon of matter cannot be separated from the phenomenon of time, as it is one and the same phenomenon.
The only true process that happens in your universe is remembrance, because you experience one and the same thing in an infinite number of times. But since time does not actually exist everywhere as you perceive it here and now, what, from the point of view of the true or ultimate reality, is then truly remembered? If yesterday did not actually happen, and if there is no yesterday, how can you recall anything? If you are timeless in endless recalling, then who is the one who recalls at all?
Everything you do, you have done countless times before. Each instance is fundamentally the same – you cannot avoid this apparent repetition of endlessly one and the same experience. Each time is the same time. Regardless of what you are doing, be it meditating, observing the horizon or anything else, the trick is to realize that you are not watching it for the first time, it has not been your choice to watch what you are looking at. And finally, to realize it is not actually you doing what you are doing anyway. What is being done is done through you. When you look, you are not the one watching. What you are mistakenly thinking of as corporeally “you” is merely part of what you are looking at. When you look, you are not the one watching, you are what you are looking at. When you eat, you are not the one who eats, but what you eat. However, the true self is not the food but the act of eating. You are not life but the act of living. When you attain the Angel and when you acquire the Knowledge and Conversation you are not the one who Knows and has Conversation. You are already the Knowledge having Conversation with one who is only able to recall that knowledge to a certain extent.
The Neophyte learns whereas the Adept recalls; this specific relationship is only one of the basic aggregate states of the Knowledge and Conversation that the Adept knows so well, out of all those he experiences from the moment of his Adeptship unto the solitary towers of the Abyss. Every great achievement in our Order is paradoxical in itself, as is essentially every Initiation, every transfer of knowledge, and every mental process of learning; paradox and transcendence is the name and surname of all the work of every true Aspirant. They are the name and surname of the eternal Self – that authenticity which is the only thing we truly seek. Every Invocation of an Angel is Evocation of a Memory. Each experience of the Knowledge is actually a Memory and the Conversation is really a Remembering. A complete understanding of this process is essential for every Aspirant of the Golden Dawn.
Yet how many memories are there? Memory is only one, there is only one event that happens, only one Knowledge and one Conversation. There is just one event which you were born for, just one that is worth remembering and could be memorized – one Angel and one Universe. There is only one success, everything else is a failure. There is only one present from which one remembers and to which one returns. Each recollection is the same mechanism of the Great Work. If the Aspirant could understand this game of Mind, he would immediately experience Knowledge and Conversation. If the Adept lives in the eternal present, never will the Neophyte face tomorrow. Tomorrow is the present, viewed from a different angle, and every angle is anchored in its corner. All the inherent difficulties typical of the Neophyte’s predicament are found in the corner. His problem are corners indeed, since there are as many corners as there are living particles in the Universe. His truth is inhabited by a single frozen frame of the present – the one he cannot penetrate. That petrified reflection of his own self is where his Adeptship lies, which he is not yet able to attain. But, the reflection of that light is not prevented from reaching him. It is not uncommon for Neophytes to be given a hint of the Knowledge or Conversation. Nevertheless, these are always generalizations that are tainted and frankly all wrong – including this one.
Brother Alan Bennett had a lot to say about all of this. He was such a noble soul, and, we can safely say, the person with whom Aleister Crowley had a uniquely special relationship – perhaps one of the few true friends and teachers who had an admirable relationship with the Great Beast, as much as was likely possible with the Aleister. The Dawn of the New Aeon was far from Bennett, who disseminated his achievements throughout the East and imprinted his stamp in Crowley’s soul with his insights in such a way that the movement spawned and shaped by the latter, as if it were the product of some perfect mechanism, is equally beholden to Bennett for its beginnings. Without Bennett, that mechanism would have certainly not function at all. Like Crowley, Bennett suffered from severe asthma and would use a wide variety of drugs to combat it but it would haunt him throughout his entire life. In his late twenties, Bennett would travel to Southeast Asia, primarily in the hope that it would improve his health but also to study Buddhism. He moved to Ceylon (modern Sri Lanka) to study Yoga under Yogi Shri Parananda. Crowley visited him several times during this period and Bennett would introduce Crowley to a number of practices. One of them was the Samasati exercise which is used to teach the mind to think backwards, which, in fact, allows one to break through the barrier posed by the very idea of death. In its essence, the exercise shatters the phenomenon of self-forgetting as the most severe consequence upon any manifested consciousness. From the standpoint of our Order, this practice is one of the most exalted methods of the Liberated (Exempt) Adept, who performs it in a way that even the Adept Major cannot fully comprehend with any of his wisdom and knowledge. It is the Adept Exempt who realizes that, in its essence, every practice, if done properly, is Samasati in itself, and this insight is initiated by the Neophyte in his understanding of the phenomena of time and the phenomena of consciousness, which define the whole measurable universe.
The progress of the Neophyte to the grade of the Zelator takes place in the complete settlement of life “outside” the Earth. He builds his Pentacle, perceives his body as a consequence and not a condition, and gains the experience of the astral plane. He receives the sensation of the higher spheres and allows subtle energies to flow through his body which complements the experiences that pushed him further in the direction of Yesod. The Moon is now closer than Earth, and more force is needed to return than to stop. The movement’s economy tells him that only one path possible is forward and further – ahead to the Tiphareth Sun. Through his inward journey, the Neophyte gains the power to go forward, which will Zelator use as his momentum. Both terms are used by a future Adept when plotting baits from Paroketh’s distance, this inside is no different than forward, but the nature of the Neophyte and the Zelator uses language they understand, so the Angel graciously pulls the strings that match the weight of the Aspirant – strings that if too thick would be chains, and if too thin would snap. The Angel pulls these strings in proportion to how deep the Neophyte dives and how determined the Zelator is to push. Meditating on these principles could bring more insight into the Order than all the exercises combined. After all, the grades are only specific forms of consciousness and the different levels of their energies, exercises, and methods, which confirm and offer self-affirmation and confidence in the process. Each grade can be attained without a single method, as the knowledge of Pranayama is not necessary for breathing. All of these things require only one thing – that you are simply a living and manifested organism. With confidence, we emphatically refuse to believe that there is less holiness in breathing than in Pranayama, as we see the Angel in our daily conversation as much as the Aspirant does during the Great Work.
The Neophyte is necessarily influenced by two forces that equally possess the highest aspects an idea can have – these are the forces of the Moon and the Earth. The Moon actively, albeit with a childlike naiveté, seduces the Neophyte in the form of Yesod, yet simultaneously exhibits the austerity of the High Priestess. Concomitantly, the Earth exhibits the intimate passion of Binah.
Both of these ideas readily point to the Abyss, but in a way for an Aspirant unable to grasp – as if listening to an exotic song performed in an incomprehensible language. Not only will he not be able to fully assimilate the peculiar loveliness of the performance, but it is quite certain that he will be completely unaware of the cultural underpinnings from which evolved the distinct beauty of the singing. Almost involuntarily he will mix the power of Ares with all the mischief of Mercury. Both of these aspects will render the Neophyte as dismissive and insular; forcing him to fall back on the false superiority of his own predilections. Unbeknownst to him, his attitude takes him further from the Abyss. At some point, his Moon will inevitably eclipse the Sun just when he thinks that an awakening has taken place and a shadow will be forcefully cast over the simple truth that is being taught to him at all times leaving him oblivious. Both Earth and Moon are equally capable and guilty of producing said eclipse – the Aspirant’s Tiphareth, however, is the only constant. This remarkable mechanism is entirely responsible for creating both what we call the Abyss and what we refer to as the A∴A∴ path. Yet it would be quite wrong to say that the value of A∴A∴ is limited, since it relies entirely on that very path. Our goal is religion, and our method is science, but this instruction does not guarantee or describe any of that religion, and more importantly, it takes us away from science. Indeed, the Aspirant is in a completely hopeless situation, being afflicted by all the forces that refract their influence so carefully through the being of a Neophyte, and subjected to the near certainty that he will come to nothing. Counterintuitive as it may sound, this is exactly what he needs – failure.
It is quite certain that in almost all things related to his training, the Neophyte will face failure upon failure, and this is a situation that will fortify itself for a long time. He remains within so many borders and incapable of understanding Higher Realms and his astral consciousness, for example. Any attempts to rationalize these will distance him from such experiences. The Neophyte knows all this, yet it is impossible for him not to think about it, not to enviously admire others’ experiences of astral projection, not to daydream about transferring his consciousness to astral physicality and traveling to the Higher Realms. As the Probationer, he at least had a quantitative excuse for repeating the practice, which is the essence of that Grade. But, at this level, in addition to doing things, things now have to be done. If we accept that this Work is something different from anything the Neophyte has done in his life so far, it will be easy to assume the importance of the principle in the A∴A∴ that prohibits work with another initiate, except, of course, the one who introduced him and the other who was introduced through him. Nevertheless, any restriction is indeed most favorable. Think about what is being prohibited. More importantly, ask yourself what, if anything, can really be forbidden in something as great as a flock of star wanderers like the A∴A∴ Order.
It is perhaps most important for the Neophyte to languish, to stand still, to advance so slowly and painfully that progress seems almost impossible. Throughout this process, he will hardly understand what is required of him. His progress will seem so abstract that he will often feel like he is not only standing still but also falling behind. Ironically, it is necessary for him to get this impression in order to deal later with the actual value of the work. If the Probationer’s task is to persevere within his grade, it is the Neophyte’s task to overcome his. These words are much more than a simple instruction, they are more like a finger pointing toward destiny. Indeed, it is equally important for the Neophyte to master his Grade completely, but not in any way to stay too much around, precisely because of the surprise of his Binah and its readiness to retaliate upon him in the cruelest way possible.
The Earth is manifested through the Neophyte, but also the Water in its highest form; its sirens are but reflections of the Great Sea – Binah and the Abyss. Every Neophyte is already in the City of the Pyramids. Yet, it is not the water experienced in the way of the Golden Dawn Aspirant. It is the Great Ocean, which has nothing to do with elemental water. Neither is it a part of a Tetragrammaton far below the Abyss. It is the Terrible Abyss, that dark blue Abyss of the Aspirant’s soul, which is nothing but the Star. This unfathomable depth is neither wet nor cold; its nature is emphatically and exquisitely empty. Despite all immersion in the Self, no Self is found in that Abyss. Nothing is found – nothing “He” can comprehend. Stars float but do not shine. Only the Aspirant’s mind flashes and he still sees the glare of his Angel in them, for the Abyss merely reflects that splendor, making the Aspirant think that LVX is everywhere except in him – just as the stars are spread across Nu’s body. “There is no part of him that does not come from the Gods” is a formula of dissolution rather than aspiration.
Indeed, the phenomenon of time is all that occupies a Neophyte – that fracture of the corridors that Ruach calls time, which is actually an infinitely simpler phenomenon – and is present in each and every aspect of his Grade. From lucid dreaming, where he has so little time to stay in the astral plane and has to make the most of it, all over to this utterly fictitious notion of the flow of time in a lucid dream, to asanas and pranayamas where time so slowly and painfully passes. Even the Pentacle, which is a representation of his universe, cannot be static – change and time must be equally present. Only in this way will that representation of the Pentacle be sufficient to persist. The effect of time is an indisputably integral aspect of the universe represented by such a fragile and tiny object as the Pentacle.
The Probationer and the Neophyte, each in their own way, exhibit a completely different treatment of time; being a Probationer emphasizes the passing of the present, practice that is relentlessly repeating seems to amplify this principle to such an extreme that the Probationer is aware of everything but the present moment. The Neophyte, however, lives in the present. Although he does not experience it, he gets a sense of the Angel, albeit without really knowing him. He may get the Vision or hear the Voice, but it is far from the Knowledge and Conversation. One lives in the passing present, while the other abides in the living present – these are the essential differences between the Pyramidos and the Cadaveris. Yet, both extremes are quite devastating to something as sublime and simple as the Knowledge and Conversation.
We are often completely stunned by a misconception about being a Probationer in the A∴A∴. Surely, being a Probationer is for one year. Probation, however, lasts a lifetime. It is very similar to the fate of the Neophyte. The Neophyte is nothing but an able Probationer. Realistically, the unfit Probationer washes out very quickly, therefore the Neophyte is every Probationer who has resisted the test of Time, which is one of the greatest obstacles that will constantly tempt the Aspirant to concede until the achievement of Magister Templi. If one were to early on attain an accurate realization of the truth of Probation, one would surely transcend the whole idea of the Holy Guardian Angel and, at that very moment, achieve the crossing of the Abyss. Likewise, every Probationer who has passed through Probationer’s temptation has indeed already acquired the achievement of the Neophyte in the innermost sense of that word.
First and foremost, the Neophyte, unlike the Probationer, delves deeper into the meaning of practice and comes to perceive the essence that is only visible through said practice. More than anything, he meditates and dives into the parts of his being, learning new laws and new landscapes deep within as well as beyond himself. Along the way, he accomplishes something with this practice and gains completely new knowledge of which he was previously unaware.
The Neophyte’s natural method is meditation; each of his rites, even the most traditional one merely reflection and contemplation. Regardless of how powerful and effective his dance and his conjurations might be, his true lesson will be found in the silence of the aftermath. By this point the Neophyte clearly knows how to practice the rites and whether he is successful or not, he at least understands what he has to do and what has been omitted from the instructions – that which is clearly indicated in the practices, but also that which is only slightly, or should we say, intuitively visible between the words.
To the Neophyte, in fact, his entire life is one great meditation. He gently begins to understand what Philosophus will fully and finally reveal: the fact that there are actually no fixed practices, just practicing, and the difference is significant. The Probationer has practice, while the Neophyte practices. Each Grade fully understands the basic activities of a being, which are implanted in that being by the very fact of being born in this universe. Every reading of a ritual is as purposeful as its formal performance. And the moment you know you are performing a ritual by reading it, that is exactly what will come to light, even as you read these words which are being imprinted into your mind right now. It is all a trick of the mind, every ritual is nothing but a spark thrown by your attention to illuminate the mind with the light of self-realization. Every ritual is a dance of Pan, and it is the sole motive, specific aim and principle mean of the work. The mind is the engine of energy, and every vibration that is controlled and directed by the mind has results. A directed thought, accompanied by the pleasure of the game and intrigued by the inner mysticism, which in addition is reinforced by the vibration and mumbling that fills that space with holiness, is the only imperative of the ritual, or indeed any enlightened work. A mild and moderate thought is the beginning of a storm, whereas a strong thought, in its turn, is actually a desecration and the beginning of failure. Every effort of his work through which the Neophyte toils already constitutes the Abyss. Every significant success makes that Abyss deeper and more passionate. It is exactly that kind of nonsense that will engrave two extreme opposites into the Neophyte – the Vision of his Angel and the depth of his Abyss. Time itself provides the rendition of these two heightened experiences to the Neophyte. In fact, he is already aware of it, but that “he” is not Here and Now to understand it. Both of these experiences are therefore independent of any method or act – their truth alone is sufficient that if apprehended, the Neophyte would immediately awaken to the Knowledge and Conversation as well as Crossing the Abyss. But it is precisely the effect and influence of Binah that makes him return to the Earth, no matter how enlightening and intense those experiences might be. Every ritual is a dance of Pan, indeed.
In spite of all the practices and experiences he assimilates with his being, there is one idea that is different from everything else that puts so much pressure on his soul, there is one phenomenon of which he has the unbearable impression of knowing it too well, despite being infinitely far-fetched and abstract – the Angel. The Neophyte meets the Angel for the first time, though the Angel meets him always. It is not important what the Neophyte knows or does not know. The point is that he is not able to remember. That is all that matters in the Neophyte Grade; one can say that the entire essence of the Golden Dawn is covered by this dark veil based on specific oblivion. The Aspirant must not attach to this oblivion the epithet of knowledge, for indeed, to be able to forget one does not actually need to know anything other than the characterization of energy. This oblivion is simply the effect of the absence of energy within the universe as the Will flows through it. Like a computer, which, when it loses battery power, turns off it processes to such an extent that it eventually shuts down. However, within its system, there is always one small part that is always lit, and that works in a very primitive way. To be able to persevere, he must forget. It was that oblivion that helped his Angel to convey his name through what we awkwardly call incarnations, and to keep that name intact. Only forgotten will it remain intact.
While in the Grade of the Neophyte, one very often sees the flash of Tiphareth. That is to say, the experience of Knowledge or the experience of Conversation – which can be one particular vision, memory, eureka effect, strange dream, the sense of presence, or the precognition phenomenon of transgression (deja vu). To make it all very specific, that feeling, experience, or event must be unique and authentic. It is very difficult for the rational mind to equate these two diametrical settings, that in this new experience perceive both antiquity and utter nostalgia, such as the revoking not of a past life but of the true life. As abstract as this experience may be, the practical implication is extremely simple. When the time is right, the Aspirant will know perfectly well what is being said here. This phenomenon of short-term enlightenment and catharsis is also known in the East in the special forms of Dhyana, or Kensho. But what is particularly important in these cases is the more surprising that light-apparition is, the more surprising is the return to the claws of mundane reality and slavery afterward. And as much as the light seemed to be washing away the being of the Aspirant, so terrifying is the descent back into the world of illusion. As the glow of that light fades, the darkness of that shadow of Binah’s child Malkuth, into which the Aspirant has fallen, becomes even darker – so dark that he might wish he had never seen any of that light in the first place.
It is not certain if this event is actually a trick which itself creates the Angel afterward, or if it is all part of the same mechanism; giving rise to the consideration that this event could be responsible for creating such a special phenomenon as the Angel. Our program comes across a rather open possibility that the “Angel” is nothing more than a trans-biological-psychological phenomenon of consciousness or time and given this title in a rather naïve way in the three-dimensional world and therefore the network of the human mind.
Know yourself. Better yet, meet yourself. Such a big difference between these similar propositions. Meeting yourself is such a drastically different instruction that the question arises as to whether or not knowing is even truly possible. Because if it were, an indefinite number of us would have already achieved it. It is the true job of the Neophyte to know and to accept, and to open but not to enter the hall of true achievement. The Aspirant knows himself, that is why he is so far from real success.
The Adept, however, meet himself and in that ordinary act, he becomes aware of how fantastic his failures were in all previous Grades – how he erroneously sought light in exceptionalism instead of spontaneity, in the sublime throne of reserved and privileged nirvana instead the unbearable lightness of existence. Success is neither exclusively within nor without. These conceptions are both hopelessly locked into the space-bounded directions of a simple three-dimensional area. Trying to understand them would be like a two-dimensional being attempting to comprehend the noise coming from the pianist from the upper floor. Indeed, there is nothing simpler than human nature, yet nothing more complicated than luring a being to that same nature.
The Aspirant understands that there is an emphasized idea of the being within himself; he sees that all Grades are nothing more than different aggregate states of that one being. If we could gather all the possibilities of the Universe in one place, we could only distinguish a very few. In actuality, we would come to a full comprehension of what we call the Grades. Therefore, the Aspirant acts in the following roles, as:
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.
This is exactly where the Neophyte can find the clue that leads him to a deeper understanding of his own Oath. By going through the Pyramidos, making his Pentacle, working with the Earth Element, the Neophyte gains control over the nature and power of his own being. In particular, with the whisper of the Knowledge and Conversation that the Angel often leaves with the Neophyte, this control acquires a very special power. However, certain questions inevitably arise: Does Neophyte really control anything? What really is the nature of the sense of control that portrays his power? Does he control nature, power, or merely his own being? Is it that his own essential being controls him through the illusion of nature and power?
We learn that each Grade contains these conundrums and that each of the Grades change, in small detail, each of the aspects and the types of control. As the Neophyte learns to control the nature and powers of his own being, so too does the Zelator learn to control the foundations of his own being. Beyond this, the Philosophus likewise has to obtain control of the attractions and repulsions of his own being. One does well to recognize what each of these tasks has in common. This precisely illustrates the concept of “his own being”. It is as if, in some immediate way, the Aspirant is instructed that contact with his own being is an end in itself, and that control is a reward and the natural course of things, once contact has been accomplished. In one fantastic method, the task of control becomes so accursed, that is to say, “restrictive,” that the being falls into its own trap, and is startled to discover something lying completely unexpected within: instead of obtaining a newfound control, there is only the being – tiny and quiet.
What defines this Genius is his authenticity and his exceptionality which exceeds all standards of taste and mediocrity, to the extent that the worst vulgarity in his possession easily becomes an object of the highest divine providence. Every movement of Genius is therefore accompanied by authenticity, from the way of his speech, walking, and even in his seemingly corrupt characteristics such as tics; it appears that the authenticity of Genius is magnificent in things that cause an ordinary man to suffer in the eyes of critics.
We can readily conceive of how the testimony of this Genius is always twofold in much the same way as through knowledge of a person’s full name, we can simultaneously conclude to whom exactly is being referred and from which family he comes. In terms of the dual numerical designations that delineate one grade from another within our system, the first number shows the current level of the path relative to the Aspirant’s starting point, and the other to his current destination. It is a span of a soul between Earth and Heaven, and you can see that it is always indicative of harmony and balance, no matter what level of Achievement to which is being referred. The balance of force is established by the proper setting of the lever (=). The Neophyte realizes that 4=7 is exactly the same as 5=6, except that in 5=6 the Being is presented with and balanced upon a lever that means equality between 5 and 6 and nothing else. However, thinking that this equality is just as precise in 4=7 is nothing but a rough approximation of the apparent space occupied by the living Spirit. Its essence is indeed within the mark of equality, but nowhere else. 4 and 7, as well as 5 and 6, are only the states of the moment chosen by the Spirit for its most favorable manifestation. This authentic being is within the equation, surrounded by a differing range of grades and markings, produced by merely by the process of focusing the lens through which he observes and explores his nature, distancing and approaching this lens so it can finally find focus at one moment. This is the substantial reality of the Grades in our Order. Unlike the Probationer who has the mark but no Grade, the Neophyte has the Grade and receives the equation that is part of the puzzle he must put together until the achievement of the Knowledge and Conversation. He knows that his 1=10 contains the instruction of the highest order, far higher than his own Grade, and he has only to press on further to learn how that same equation will be expressed through him, whenever he realizes himself as the Zelator 2=9, or the Philosophus 4=7 alike. Let the Neophyte consider these apocryphal and blasphemous ideas and let him move on.
We could openly say that the connections between the Grades are nothing more than the stages of the same dream. Just as the Probationer is the one who falls asleep, the Adeptus Minor will be the one who awakens, and we will talk everlastingly about the process in between. The Aspirant must understand that the Grades are artificial creations; they serve only as our milestones in the endless stellar space of Nuit. The Awakening of the Neophyte is one of the most crucial responsibilities of our great Order in the amphitheater of stars; yet it is only one role of many, which await those who attain – individually unique as they may be but always bearing the same message:
“We are Mystics, ever eagerly seeking a solution of unpleasant facts.
We are Men of Science, ever eagerly acquiring pertinent facts.
We are Sceptics, ever eagerly examining those facts.
We are Philosophers, ever eagerly classifying and coordinating those well-criticized facts.
We are Epicureans, ever eagerly enjoying the unification of those facts.
We are Philanthropists, ever eagerly transmitting our knowledge of those facts to others.
Furthermore, we are Syncretists, taking truth from all systems, ancient and modern; and Eclectics, ruthlessly discarding the inessential factors in any one system, however perfect.”
Ultimately, we are all in the light, and we are all the light.