I left Shanghai on the twenty-first of April. On the twenty-second I was sick and stayed in bed all day. I did no regular invocation, but thought over the recent crisis. I dismissed the Shanghai experience as a morbid dream. Reading through the above record at this distance of time, after deliberately avoiding doing so for so long, I feel very uncertain about it; I feel that there was a great deal of genuine communication with the right people and that the Oracle is confused, contradictory and uneven, because of the interference of our personalities.
There was the question of our love affair. I was absolutely in love with Rose in the ordinary sense of the term. My love for Fidelis excluded the material almost entirely. I was very proud of my love for Rose and very happy in it. The one thing I feel sure of is this: that we had a superb opportunity to take up the Great Work together and that we missed it on account of our determination to see things with our own eyes. We were, no doubt, quite ready to put the Great Work first, last and all the time; but we were hampered in doing so by our settled conviction as to what the Great Work might imply. For my part, at least, I know that I was always arguing that such and such a course couldn't be right on general principles, as I had done when Rose herself had told me how to invoke Horus; and I had not learned the lesson that my idea of "general Principles" was not reliable.
The entry of April 24th shows how admirably the gods arrange one's affairs. One may have a perfectly right idea, but as long as one holds to it they will take pains to upset the apple cart: abandon the idea, and they immediately hand it back with a charming compliment. This is the lesson of the Book of Job.
I quote the entry in full, concealing only the name of the Order.
At Kobe. A.'. fair only; though I invoked all these powers of mine. Yet after, by a strong effort of will, I banished my sore throat and my surroundings, and went up in my Body of Light. Reached a room in which a cruciform table was spread, a naked man being nailed thereto. Many venerable men sat around, feasting on his living flesh and quaffing his hot blood. These (I was told) were the adepts, whom I might one day join. This I understood to mean that I should get the power of taking only spiritual nourishment --- but probably it means much more than this.
Next I came into an apparently empty hall, of white ivory worked in
filigree. A square slim altar was in the midst, I was questioned as to what I would sacrifice on that altar. I offered all save my will to know A.'. which I would only change for its own realization. I now became conscious of god-forms of Egypt sitting, so vast that I could only see to their knees. "Would not knowledge of the gods suffice?" "No!" said I. It was then pointed out to me that I was being critical, even rationalistic, and made to see that A.'. was not necessarily fashioned in my image. I asked pardon for my blindness, and knelt at the altar, placing my hands upon it, right over left. Then, one, human, white, self-shining (my idea after all!) came forth and put his hands over mine, saying: "I receive thee into the Order of ---."
I came back to earth in a cradle of flame.
I was thus formally received among the Secret Chiefs of the Third Order on the astral plane. It was the natural sequel to the passage of the Abyss. I was careful not to presume on a mere vision. Superb as the experience was, I would not allow it to turn my head. I am almost morbidly sensitive about my responsibility in such matters. No more fatal mistake can be made than to grasp after a grade. Attainment is an appalling danger if one is not perfectly fitted for it at every point. One must search oneself unsparingly for weak spots; the smallest scratch suffices to admit a germ of disease and one may perish altogether through a moment's carelessness. It is unpardonably foolhardy to take a chance in matters of such serious import.
I took the vision to heart as a lesson.
I next day's entry makes this clear.
Yesterday's vision a real illumination, since it showed me an obvious mistake which I had utterly failed to see. The word in my Kamma work (in Burma) was Augoeides, (a subsequent entry implies that the word was "given" me directly from the unseen world) and the method Invoking Often. Therefore a self-glittering One, whether my conscience approves on not, whether my desires fit or not, is to be my guide. I am to invoke often, not to criticize. Am I to lose my grade of Babe of the Abyss? I cannot go wrong, for I am the chosen one; that is the very postulate of the whole work. This boat carries Caesar and his fortunes.
There is here an implication, perhaps, that I had been compelled to accept the Cairo working. This is confirmed by the entry of April 30th:
(It has struck me --- in connection with reading Blake --- that Aiwass, etc., "Force and Fire" is the very thing I lack. My "conscience" is really an obstacle and a delusion, being a survival of heredity and education. Certainly to rely on it as an abiding principle in itself is wrong. The one really important thing is the fundamental hypothesis: I am the
Chosen one. All methods will do, if I only invoke often and stick to it.)
I resented intensely being told that I was "the Chosen One". It is such an obvious man-trap; it is the commonest delusion of the maniac and, in one form or another, the essence of all delusions. Luckily, there is an answer to this. What can be more really arrogant than assuming that one has been singled out for "strong delusion"? I had received some very remarkable evidence in quite unexpected quarters that I was singled out to accomplish the Great Work of emancipating mankind.
One of these is so intensely interesting on its own accord that I must not omit it, quite apart from its bearing on the question of my destiny. One morning I had sat down to rest and smoke a pipe on the top of a little pass in warm misty weather. Salama came and sat down by my side. I looked at him in amazement. It was an astounding breach of etiquette. I have often wondered if he did it deliberately, as if to say, "I am not your headman: I am a messenger of the gods." He began, however, in a very shamefaced, sheepish way, obviously embarrassed. It was as if he had been thrust by surprise into the position of an ambassador. "Sahib," he said, "last night I had a tamasha." I reproached him laughingly. Tamasha means an entertainment of any kind, and, in the East, frequently implies a certain amount of liveliness, possibly an indulgence in forbidden liquor and flirtation; but he merely meant a dream. The usual words for dream are khwab, roya, wahm. Evidently he wished to imply that his dream was not an ordinary one, that it was a genuine vision. (I forgot to ask him whether he was awake or asleep.)
He proceeded as follows:
I was on the shore of a small lake. It was a wild country and the lake was surrounded by tall reeds, some of them growing in the water. The full moon was high in the sky, but there were clouds and mist. You were standing in front of me, sahib; quite motionless, lost in thought, as you always are, but you seemed to be waiting for someone. Now there was a rustling in the reeds, and out of them came a boat rowed by two beautiful women with long fair hair, and in the front of the boat stood another woman, taller and fairer even than her sisters. The boat came slowly across to you; and then I saw that the woman held in her hands a great sword, long and straight, with a straight crosshilt which was heavy with rubies, emeralds and sapphires. She put this sword into your hands and you took it, but nothing was said. They went away as they had come, into the fringe of reeds across the lake. And that was all I saw.
I remained unable to reply. At this time I was the last man in the world to take anything of the sort seriously; more I was resolved not to do so even
at the cost of restraining the theory of sensory hallucination. What struck me dumb was hearing an old shikari tell the story of Excalibur in language so near to that of Malory as to make no odds. Could one of his sahibs have told him the tale long ago, so that it popped up in this strange fashion with me as the hearer? I had no doubt whatever of the man's sincerity and truthfulness and he had no motive for inventing anything of the sort.
I cannot believe it a coincidence; I really wondered whether the most reasonable hypothesis is not that Aiwass, wanting to remind me that I was chosen to do the Great Work, picked out, on the one hand, Salama as the most unlikely prophet imaginable; on the other, the tale as one which I could not possibly dismiss as trivial. In fact, though I cannot remember making a record of the incident, and indeed probably took pains to avoid doing so as a rebuke to self-importance, it remains as vivid and distinct as almost anything else in my life. I can see the pass, I can almost taste the tobacco: I can see his shy honest weather-beaten old face and hear his timid loyal accents. In the background the coolies, singing and talking, pass over the misty slopes; yet I cannot remember where the place was or even whether it happened on the first or second Himalayan expedition1.
I continued the Invocation of the Augoeides, with occasional additions and progressive intensification, week after week. I rather avoided any other magical work, on the principle of concentrating every particle of my energy on the daily routine. I even refrained, as a rule, from using my astral eyes during the Invocation itself. I might easily have been lured from the Path by getting interested in some of the hosts of angelic forms that habitually appeared.
On May the fourth there is an entry which indicates my attitude to the work itself. It sounds very simple to make an invocation; but when one gets to work, behold! a multitude of points, each of which has to be settled with extreme care. This entry deals with one such:
A.'. very energetic on my part, intensely so, better perhaps than ever before.
However (or perhaps because) there was little vision.
Indeed, this work of A.'. requires the adept to assume the woman's part; to long for the bridegroom, maybe, and to be ever ready to receive his kiss; but not to pursue openly and to use force.
Yet "the Kingdom of Heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force." May it not be, though, that such violence should be used against oneself in order to attain that passive state? And, of course, to shut out all rivals? Help me, thou Holy One, even in this; for all my strength is weak as water, and I am but a dog. Help me. O self-glittering one!
draw nigh to me in sleep and in waking, and let me ever be as a wise virgin and expect thy coming with a lamp of oil of holiness and beauty! Hail, beautiful and strong one! I desire thy kisses more than life or death.
From this it appears that I was still as spiritually adolescent as St. Augustine or St. Teresa. It seems necessary for juvenile souls to represent mystical experience by means of anthropomorphic symbols. The practice naturally follows the lines laid down by the theory. For this reason one's early adventures are accompanied by romantic phenomena and stigmata. Buddhist psychology recognizes this. For instance, the first Jhana is accompanied by Ananda, bliss; but in the second this quality disappears. I think it deplorable that mystic advancement should be expressed by means of such hieroglyphs as "the Bride's Reception"; that is, at least, if any peculiar attribution of a sexual character is implied.
Of course, even above the Abyss, Chokmah and Binah, Chiah and Neschamah are customarily called Father and Mother; considering how lamentably prone humanity is to anthropomorphism, it seems unfortunate. But we cannot deny the justice of the symbolism, and the way to eliminate the disadvantages and dangers of the situation is to extend the connection of the word "love" to include all phenomena of the uniting of opposites, as is done in The Book of the Law. Hardly anything is more important for the aspirant than to get rid of the tendency to make God in his Own image. One should learn to regard the formula of Yod, Hé, Vau as universal, not as generalized from the reproductive process of mammals, but vice versa. That process should be regarded as one particular case of the Law, and that case by no means an important one.
We must be constantly on our guard against egocentric implications; they do not even exalt the ego as they pretend to do, they limit it. We become great just so far as we are able to liberate ourselves from the constriction of our normal conception that we are man. When one has crossed the Abyss, especially, one should be altogether free from the prepossession that one's body and mind are more than inconvenient instruments through which we perceive the universe. To increase our understanding of the cosmos, we must constantly endeavour to counteract the limitations which the fact that our instrument is a human being seeks to impose upon us.
I do not, however, wish to represent the Operation of Abra-Melin which I was now performing as a retrogression; but I had to undertake it in order to fulfil completely the formulae of adeptship. It was necessary to complete the work of he Second Order before I could adequately take up my work in the Third. Again, the mission, in order to carry out which I had incarnated, was a mission to mankind; and this must explain why, pari passu with my personal
progress, I walked continually in the way of the world. My spiritual life itself was now therefore definitely duplex, and this fact must be kept in mind if my subsequent actions are to be properly understood.
Arriving in England on the second of June, I was stunned by the news of my bereavement. I made a point of detaching my mind. In the train from Liverpool to London I continued to chat with my companions on the boat as if nothing had happened. Having got to bed I released the prisoner. There was only one thing to be done: "I solemnly reaffirmed the oath of my obligation to perform the Operation, offering under these terrible circumstances all that yet remained."
I am convinced, by the way, that the unremitting blows of misfortune, of which this bereavement was the first, were caused by the malice of the Abra-Melin demons, but that none of them would have reached me if I had understood and obeyed the Secret Chiefs and the forces behind them in the Shanghai working.
It was really curious the way one form of slight illness after another attacked me. My wife happened to make some remark to this effect to the housekeeper, a real old Sussex product. She nodded her head wisely. "He'll never be better," she said in an oracular tone, "until that baby is born." I found on inquiry that it is a widespread superstition in Sussex that sometimes especially when the husband is unusually devoted to his wife, she escapes the usual inconvenience of pregnancy, while he is constantly ill. The idea is of sympathetic transference.
I became seriously ill. Through everything, surgery and all, I continued the daily work. On July 26th I went to stay with Cecil Jones, who was now an Exempt Adept. (The initials of his motto are D.D.S.) I conferred with him about my operation. The main points are as follows: (I quote Captain J.F.C.Fuller's account.)
|July 27||Here we have a most extraordinary entry, which needs explanation and illustration.
Fra. P. was crucified by Fra. D.D.S. and on that cross made to repeat this oath: "I, P------, a member of the Body of Christ, do hereby solemnly obligate myself, etc., to lead a pure and unselfish life, and will entirely devote myself so to raise, etc., myself to the knowledge of my higher and Divine Genius that I shall be He.
"In witness of which I invoke the great Angel Hua to give me a proof of his existence."
P. transcribe this, and continues: "Complete and perfect visualization of ..." here are hieroglyphics which may mean "Christ as P --- on cross." He goes on: "The low dark hill, the storm, the star." But the Pylon of the Camel (i.e. the path of Gimel)
open, and a ray therein: withal a certain vision of A.'.
|28||Twenty-fifth week of A.'. begins.|
|29||(A.'. continued evidently, for P. writes:)
Perfect the lightning conductor and the flash will come.
|Aug 4||About to try the experiment of daily Aspiration in the Sign of Osiris Slain.
Did this twenty-two minutes, with Invocation as of old.
Cut cross on breast and circle on head.
(Scire) The vow of Poverty is to esteem nothing save A.'..
(Audere) The vow of Chastity is to use the Magical Force only to invoke A.'..
(Velle) The vow of Obedience is to concentrate the will on A.'. alone.
(Tacere) The vow of Silence: so to regulate the whole organism that so vast a miracle as the completion of the Great Work excites therein no commotion.
N.B. To look expectantly always, as if He would instantly appear.
I renewed the Obligation, cutting the cross and circle on my body every week. On August 9th I wrote the Invocation of the Ring; that is, of the symbolical episcopal ring of amethyst, which I wore as an Exempt Adept.
ADONAI! Thou inmost Fire,
....Self-glittering image of my soul,
Strong lover to thy Bride's desire,
....Call me and claim me and control!
I pray thee keep the holy tryst.
Within this ring of Amethyst.
For on mine eyes the golden Sun
....Hath dawned; my vigil slew the Night.
I saw the image of the One:
....I came from darkness into Light.
I pray Thee keep the holy tryst
Within this ring of Amethyst.
I.N.R.I. --- me crucified,
....Me slain, interred, arisen, inspire!
T.A.R.O. --- me glorified,
....Anointed, fill with frenzied Fire!
I pray Thee keep the holy tryst
Within this ring of Amethyst.
I eat my flesh: I drink my blood:
....I gird my loins: I journey far:
For Thou hast shown the Rose, the Rood,
....The Eye, the Sword, the Silver Star.
I pray thee keep the holy tryst
Within this ring of Amethyst.
Prostrate I wait upon thy will,
....Mine Angel, for this grace of union.
O let this Sacrament distil
....Thy conversation and communion.
I pray Thee keep the holy tryst
Within this ring of Amethyst.
I intended to use this Invocation in practice. The amethyst was to be, so to speak, the lens through which the Holy Guardian Angel should manifest. On September 17th I went to Ashdown Park Hotel, Coulsdon, Surrey and recovered my health suddenly and completely. On the twenty-first I had completed thirty-two weeks of the Operation and thirty-one weeks of actual daily invocation. The next day D.D.S. came to see me: we celebrated the Autumnal Equinox and reconstructed the old Neophyte Ritual of the G.'. D.'., eliminating all unnecessary features and quintessentializing the magical formulae.
On the ninth, having prepared a full invocation and ritual, I performed it. I had no expectation, I think, of attaining any special success; but it came. I had performed the Operation of the Sacred Magick of Abra-Melin the Mage.
It is unlawful to speak of the supreme sacrament. It was such, as the following entry shows, that I found it hard to believe that I had been permitted to partake of it. I will confine myself to the description of some of the ancillary phenomena.
|Oct. 9||Tested new ritual and behold it was very good! Thanked gods and sacrificed for --- In the "thanksgiving and sacrifices for ... " I did get rid of everything but the Holy Exalted One, and must have held Him for a minute or two. I did. I am sure I did.|
Such is the fragmentary account1 of what was then the greatest event of Fra. P.'s career. Yet this is an account of the highest trances --- of Shivadarshana itself, as we know from other sources. The "vision" (to use still the name become totally inadequate) appears to have had three main points in its Atmadarshana stage ---
1. The Universal Peacock.
2. The Universe as Ego. "I who am all and made it all, abide its separate lord," i.e. the universe becomes a single and simple being, without quantity, quality or conditions. In this the "I" is immanent, yet the "I" made it, and the "I" is entirely apart from it. (This is the Christian doctrine of the Trinity, or something very like it.)
3. This Trinity is transcended by an impersonal Unity. This is then annihilated by the Opening of the Eye of Shiva. It is absolutely futile to discuss this; it has been tried and failed again and again. Even those with experience of the earlier part of the "vision" in its fullness must find it totally impossible to imagine anything so subversive of the whole base, not only of the ego, but of the absolute behind the ego.
The very next day the enemy struck home below the belt, as described in the previous chapter. The blow could not shake my soul. For over three weeks I bore the stigmata of my Operation physically. I visibly radiated light. People used to turn in the street to look at me; they did not know what it was, but the impression must have been irresistible.
No sooner had this worn off than the enemy struck again at my health. I was obliged to put myself once more in the doctor's hands and go to Bournemouth. I was now thoroughly prepared to take up my Work of initiating mankind, but I was still determined to do it on the old lines.
I had no books of reference at Bournemouth, and it struck me that it would be very convenient if I possessed a volume giving all the correspondences of the Cabbala in a compact form. I spent a week in writing this down from memory and the result is Liber 777. (It is to be noticed that there is no reference to the Cairo working anywhere in this book.)
In the month of December the Secret Chiefs formally invited me, thorough G.R. Frater D.D.S., to take my place officially in the Third Order. I still felt that I was not worthy. Not till three years later did I accept the grade, and then only after having passed ceremonially through the Abyss in the fullest possible measure.
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