Adolescence : Beginnings of Magick.
The Birth of
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Having won freedom, he had the sense not to waste any time in enjoying it. He had been deprived of all English literature but the Bible during the whole of his youth, and he spent his three years at Cambridge in repairing the defect. He was also working for the Diplomatic Service, the late Lord Salisbury and the late Lord Ritchie having taken an interest in his career, and given him nominations. In October, 1897, he was suddenly recalled to his understanding of the evils of the alleged 'existing religion,' and experienced a trance, in which he perceived the utter folly of all human ambition. The fame of an ambassador rarely outlives a century. That of a poet is almost as ephemeral. The earth must one day perish. He must build in some material more lasting. This conception drove him to the study of Alchemy and Magick. He wrote to the author of “The Book of Black Magic and of Pacts,” a pompous American named Arthur Waite, notorious for the affectations and obscurities of his style, and the mealy-mouthed muddle of his mysticism. This nebulous impresario, presenting an asthmatic Isis in the Opera “Bull-Frogs,” had hinted in his preface that he knew certain occult sanctuaries wherein Truth and Wisdom were jealously guarded by a body of Initiates, to be despensed to the postulant who proved himself worthy to partake of their privileges. Mr. Waite recommended him to read a book called “The Cloud on the Sanctuary.”
His taste for mountaineering had become a powerful passion, and he was climbing in Cumberland when he met Oscar Eckenstein, perhaps the greatest of all the mountaineers of his period, with whom he was destined to climb thenceforward until 1902.
In the summer a party was formed to camp on the Schonbuhl Glacier at the foot of the Dent Blanche, with a view to an expedition to the Himalayas later on. During his weeks on the Glacier, where the bad weather was continuous, he studied assiduously the translation by S. L. Mathers of three books which form part of von Rosenroth's “Kabbalah Unveiled.” On one of his decents to Zermatt, he met a distinguished chemist, Julian L. Bater, who had studied Alchemy. He hunted this clue through the valley, and made Baker promise to meet him in London at the end of the sea- son, and introduce him to others who were interested in Occult science. This happened in September; through Baker, he met another chemist named George Cecil Jones, who introduced him to the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. He made rapid progress in this Order, and in the spring of 1900 was its chief in England. The details of this period must be studied in “The Temple of Solomon the King,” where a full account of the Order is given. In the Order he met one, Allan Bennett, Frater Iehi Aour. Jones and Bennett were both Adepts of high standing. The latter came to live with him in his flat, and together they carried out many operations of ceremonial magick. Allan Bennett was constant illhealth, and went to Ceylon at the end of 1899. It was on his entry into this Order that the subject of this history took the motto of “Perdurabo”–'I will endure to the end.'
In July, 1900, he went to Mexico, and devoted his whole time to the continued practice of Magick, in which he obtained extraordinary success. (See Equinox Vol. I, No. III for a condensed account of some of these. It may be here stated summarily that he invoked certain Gods, Goddesses, and Spirits to visible appearance, learnt how to heal physical and moral diseases, how to make himself invisible, how to obtain communications from spiritual sources, how to control other minds, etc., etc.) And then….
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