THE SEER

IT is not to be wondered that the magic strain to which P. had been placed during the last seven months should have long since blossomed into flowers of weird and wonderful beauty. And so we find, as far back as the beginning of November 1899, the commencement of a series of extraordinary visions as wild and involved as many of those of Blake or St. Francis.

But before entering upon these visions, it will be necessary to explain that by a vision we mean as definite a psychological state and as certain and actual a fact to the mental eye, as the view of a landscape is considered to be to the physical eye itself. And so when we have occasion to write "he saw an angel," it is to be taken that we mean by it as absolute a fact as if we had written "he saw a mountain," or "he saw a cow." It, however, is not to be accepted that by this we lay down that either angels or cows exist apart from ourselves, they may or they may not; but it is to be taken that angels, and mountains and cows are ideas of equal value in their own specific spheres: the astral and the material; and that they have their proper place in existence, whatever existence may be, and that every experience, normal, abnormal, subnormal or supernormal, whether treated as an illusion or a fact, is of equal value so {295} long as it is conditioned in Time; and that a dream is of as real a nature as awakenment, but on a different plane in existence, the conditions of which can alone be judged and measured by experimental science.

Science advances by means of accumulating facts and consolidating them, the grand generalisation of which merges into a theory when it has been accepted by universal inference. Thus, I infer that catching a ball is not a necessary sequitur to throwing a ball up in the air; however, if I had never thrown a ball up in my life, and suddenly commenced doing so, and invariably caught it, probably after the nine hundred and ninety-nine billionth time I might be excused if I considered that catching balls was a necessary law of nature. *

* Why is it more probable that all men must die; that lead cannot of itself remain suspended in the air; that fire consumes wood and is extinguished by water; unless it be that these events are found agreeable to the laws of nature, and there is required a violation of these laws, or in other words a miracle, to prevent them?" --- Hume, iv., p. 133.

"It is a miracle that a dead man should come to life, because that has never been observed in any age or country." --- Hume, iv., p. 134.

Yet nevertheless if I did arrive at such a conclusion without being fully conscious that at any moment I might have to recast the whole of these laws, I should be but a bat-headed dogmatist instead of the hawk-eyed man of science who is ever ready to re-see and to reform." *

* If a piece of lead were to remain suspended of itself in the air, the occurrence would be a 'miracle,' in the sense of a wonderful event, indeed; but no one trained in the methods of science would imagine that any law of nature was really violated thereby. He would simply set to work to investigate the conditions under which so highly unexpected an occurrence took place; and thereby enlarge his experience and modify his hitherto unduly narrow conception of the laws of nature." --- Huxley, "Essay on Hume," p. 155.

"A philosopher has declared that he would discredit universal testimony rather than believe in the resurrection of a dead person, but his speech was rash, for it is on the faith of universal testimony that he believed in the impossibility of the resurrection. Supposing such an occurrence was proved, what would follow? Must we deny evidence, or renounce reason? It would be absurd to say so. We should simply infer that we were wrong in supposing resurrection to be impossible." --- E. L‚vi, "The Doctrine of Transcendent Magic," pp. 121, 158, also p. 192. "Also see" Capt. J. F. C. Fuller, "The Star in the West," pp. 273- 284.

{296} Before the birth of Copernicus the sun was universally considered to be a body moving round the earth; it was a FACT, and probably whilst it lasted the most universal fact the mind of man has ever accepted; but since that illuminated sage arose, it has been shown to be a simple fable, a child- like error, a puny optical illusion --- so much for pseudo-scientific dogmatics.

To a child who has never seen a monkey, monkey is outside the circumference of its knowledge; but when once it has seen one it is mere foolishness for other children to say: "Oh no, you didn't really see a monkey; such things as monkeys do not exist, and what proves it beyond all doubt is that we have never seen one ourselves!" This, it will be seen, is the Freethinkers' *

* As opposed to "free thinker."

old, old conclusive argument: There is not a God because "we" have no experience of a God." *

* Not "There is not a God "for us," because we have no experience of a God," which, so long as they had no such experience, would be correct.

... "There is not a South Pole because we have not trudged round it six times and cut our names on it with our pocket-knives!"

Now what is knowledge?

Something is! --- Call it Existence.

What exists?

"I exist!" answers the Idealist, "I and I alone!" {297}

"Oh no, you do not!" cries the Materialist, "you certainly do exist; but not alone, for I am talking to you!"

"Fool!" says the Idealist, "cannot you grasp the simple idea that you and your foolish argument are in fact part of me?"

"But surely," replies the Materialist, "you do not doubt that the world exists, that the Evolution of Man exists, that Judas McCabbage exists and is an actual fact.

"Granted they do exist," sighs the Idealist, "so do the reflections of an ape's face in a looking-glass, yes, they do exist, but not apart from my own mind."

"Yet the world of a blind man," says the Mystic, "is a very different place to the world a deaf man lives in, and both these worlds vary considerably from the world normally constituted man inhabits. Likewise animals, whose sense-organs vary from ours, live in altogether a different world from us. To give an eyeless worm eyes is only comparable to endowing us with a sixth sense. The world to us therefore depends wholly upon the development of our senses; and as they grow and decay so does the world with them, how much more then does the world of those who have out stepped the prison-house of their senses differ from the world of those who have outstepped the prison-house of their senses differ from the world of those who still lie bound therein. It is possible to conceive of a child being born blind (in a race of blind people) obtaining the use of its eyes when an old man, and thereupon entering a new world; why, therefore, should it be impossible to conceive of a man with all his senses perfect obtaining another sense or entering into another dimension. *

* Whatever is intelligible and can be distinctly conceived implies no contradiction, and can never be proved false by any demonstration, argument, or abstract reasoning "a priori." --- Hume, iv., p. 44.

The blind man, if a few minutes after he had {298} obtained possession of his sight were suddenly to return to a state of blindness, would have great difficulty in explaining to his blind brothers the sights he had seen, in fact none would believe him, and his difficulty in explaining in the language of blind-land the wonders of the land of sight would probably be so great that he would find more consolation in silence than in an attempted explanation: this has generally been the case with the true adepts; and those who have tried to explain themselves have been called mad by the "canaille."

"The truth is," continues the Mystic, "both of you have been talking foolishness through your material and idealistic hats. For:

"In the Material World Matter is Existence.

"In the Sensible World Sense is Existence.

"In the Spiritual World Spirit is Existence.

"And though in the Sensible World a cow or an angel exists solely as an idea to us, this does not preclude the possibility of a cow existing as beef in the Material World, or an angel as a spirit in the Spiritual World."

"The fact is," interrupts the Sceptic, "I doubt all three of you; for from the above you all three infer a chain of events --- whether material, sensual, or spiritual, thus postulating the Existence of Causality as a common property of these three worlds. Let us strike out Matter, Sense and Spirit, and what is left? Surely not Time and Space, that twin inference conceived by that Matter, Sense and Spirit we have just put to bed."

"Don't you think," says the Scientific Illuminist, "that instead of dreaming all your lives it would be a good thing to wake up and do a little work? There are four of you, and the {299} Kerubim of Ezekiel might perhaps engage your individual attention."

The truth is, it does not matter one rap by what name you christen the illusions of this life, call them substance, or ideas, or hallucinations, it makes not the slightest difference, for you are in them and they in you whatever you like to call them, and you must get out of them and they out of you, and the less you consider their names the better; for name-changing only creates unnecessary confusion and is a waste of time.

Let us therefore call the world a series of existences and have done with it, for it does not matter a jot what we mean by it so long as we work; very well then; Science is a part of this series, and so is Magic, and so are cows and angels, and so are landscapes, and so are visions; and the difference between these existences is the difference which lies between a cheesemonger and a poet, between a blind man and one who can see. The clearer the view the more perfect the view; the clearer the vision the more perfect the vision. The eyes of a hawk are keener than those of an owl, and so are a poet's keener than those of a cheesemonger, for he can see beauty in a ripe Stilton whilst the latter can only see two-and- sixpence a pound.

A true vision is to awakenment as awakenment is to a dream; and a perfectly clear co-ordinate vision is so nearly perfect a Reality that words cannot be found in which to translate it, yet it must not be forgotten that its truth ceases on the return of the seer to the Material plane.

The Seer is therefore the only judge of his visions, for they belong to a world in which he is absolute King, and to {300} describe them to one who lives in another world is like talking Dutch to a Spaniard. Our business then is, to construct if possible a universal language. This the rituals of the Golden Dawn and the study of the Qabalah did for P., and when we talk of quadrating the circle, of blinding darkness, of silent voices, &ampc. &ampc., those who have learned the alphabet of any magical language will understand; and those who have not, if they wish to read any further with profit, had better do so, as it will help them to master the new magical language and doctrines we here offer them.

The vision of the adept is so much truer than ordinary vision that when once it has been attained to its effect is never relinquished, for it changes the whole life. Blake would have as soon doubted the existence of his wife, his mother or of himself, as that of Urizen, Los, or Luvah.

Dreams are real, hallucinations are real, delirium is real, and so is madness; but for the most part these are Qliphothic realities, unstable, unbalanced, dangerous.

Visions are real, inspirations are real, revelation is real, and so is genius; but these are from Kether, and the highest climber on the mystic mountain is he who will obtain the finest view, and from its summit all things will be shown unto him.

A child learning to play on the violin will not at the outset be mistaken for Sarasate or Paganini; for there will be discord and confusion of sound. So now, as we start upon the first visions of P. we find chaos piled on chaos, much struggling and noise, a roaring of wild waters in the night, and then finally, melody, silence and the communication of the mystic books of V.V.V.V.V. {301}

Let us now trace his progress in search of the Stone of the Philosophers, which is hidden in the Mountain of Abiegnus.

There are eighteen recorded visions *

* Many of these visions were carried out with Frater C. S.

between the commencement of November and the end of December 1898, but as there is not sufficient space to include them all, only six of the most interesting will be given. Being all written in his private hieroglyphic cipher by Frater P., we have been obliged to re-write them completely, and elaborate them.

No. 5. *

* WEH Note: This was experienced on Monday, Nov. 15th, 1889 e.v.

"After fervent prayer I was carried up above the circle *

* A circle was first drawn, as in many invocations, in the centre of which the seer stood.

which I had drawn, through a heavy and foggy atmosphere. Soon, however, the air grew purer, and after a little I found myself in a beautifully clear sky.

"On gazing up into the depths of the blue, I saw dawn immediately above me a great circle; then of a sudden, as I looked away from its centre, there swept out towards me at intolerable speed the form of a shepherd; trembling and not knowing what to say, with faltering voice I asked, 'Why speed ye?' Whereupon the answer came: 'There is haste!' Then a great gloom closed mine eyes, and a horror of defilement encompassed me, and all melted in twilight and became cloaked in the uttermost darkness. And out of the darkness there came a man clothed in blue, whose skin was of the colour of sapphire, and around him glowed a phosphor light, and in his hand he held a sword.

"And on seeing him approach I fell down and besought him to guide me, which without further word he did. {302}

"On turning to the left I saw that near me was a rock door, and then for the first time I became aware that I was clothed in my robes of white. *

* The robes of the Neophyte in the 0 = 0 Ritual of the G.'.D.'..

Passing through the door, I found myself on the face of a high cliff that sank away into the abysms of space below me; and my foot slipping on the slippery stone, I stumbled forward, and would of a certainty have been dashed into that endless gulf, had not the shepherd caught me and held me back.

"Then wings were given me, and diving off from that great rocky cliff like a sea-bird, I winged my course through the still air and was filled with a great joy.

"Now, I had travelled thus but for a short time, when in the distance there appeared before me a silver-moss rugged hill. And on its summit was there built a circular temple, fashioned of burnished silver, domed and surmounted with a crescent. And for some reason unknown to me, the sight of the crescent made me tremble so that I durst not enter; and when my guide, who was still with me, saw that I was seized with a great fear, he comforted me, bidding me be of good courage, so with him I entered. Before us in the very centre of the temple there sat a woman whose countenance was bright as the essence of many moons; and as I beheld her, fear left me, so I stepped towards her and knelt reverently at her feet.

"Then, as I knelt before her, she gave me a branch of olive and myrtle, which I folded to my heart; and as I did so, of a sudden a great pillar of smoke rose from the ground before me and carried her away through the dome of the temple.

"Slowly the pillar loosened itself, and spiral puffs of smoke, creeping away from the mighty column, began to circle round {303} me, at which I stepped back to where my guide was still standing. Then he advanced, and beckoning me to follow him, we entered the great pillar of smoke and were carried through the bright dome of the temple.

"On, on we soared, through regions of cloud and air; on, on, past the stars and many myriads of burning specks of fire, till at length our journey led us to a vast blue sea, upon which was resting like a white swan a ship of silver. And without staying our flight, we made towards the ship, and descending upon it, rested awhile.

"On awaking, we found that we had arrived at a fair island, upon which stood a vast temple built of blocks of silver, square in form, and surrounded by a mighty colonnade. Outside it was there set up an altar upon which a branch had been sacrificed.

"On seeing the altar, I stepped towards it and climbed upon it, and there I sacrificed myself, and the blood that had been my life bubbled from my breast, and trickling over the rough stone, was sucked up by the parched lips of the white sand. ... And behold, as I rose from that altar, I was alone standing upon the flat top of the square temple, and those who had been with me, the shepherd and my guide, had vanished; --- I was alone ... alone.

"And as I stood there, the east became as an amethyst clasped in the arms of the sard, and a great thrill rushed through me; and as I watched, the sard became as a fawn; and as I watched again, the east quivered and the great lion of day crept over the horizon, and seizing the fawn betwixt his gleaming teeth, shook him till the fleecy clouds above were as a ram's skin flecked with blood. {304}

"Then thrill upon thrill rushed through me, and I fell down and knelt upon the flat roof of the temple. And presently as I knelt, I perceived other suns rising around me, one in the North, and one in the South, and one in the West. And the one in the North was as a great bull blowing blood and flame from its nostrils; and the one in the South was as an eagle plucking forth the entrails of a Nubian slave; and the one in the West was as a man swallowing the ocean.

"And whilst I watched these suns rising around me, behold, though I knew it not, a fifth sun had arisen beneath where I was standing, and it was as a great wheel of revolving lightnings. And gazing at the Wonder that flamed at my feet, I partook of its glory and became brilliantly golden, and great wings of flame descended upon me, and as they enrolled me I grew thirty cubits in height --- perhaps more.

"Then the sun upon which I was standing rose above the four other suns, and as it did so I found myself standing before an ancient man with snow- white beard, whose countenance was a-fired with benevolence. And as I looked upon him, a great desire possessed me to stretch forth my hand and touch his beard; and as the desire grew strong, a voice said unto me, 'Touch, it is granted thee.'

"So I stretched forth my hand and gently placed my fingers upon the venerable beard. And as I did so, the ancient man bent forward, and placing his lips to my forehead kissed me. And so sweet was that kiss that I would have lingered; but I was dismissed, for the other four suns had risen to a height equal to mine own.

"And seeing this I stretched out my wings and flew, sinking through innumerable sheets of blinding silver. And presently {305} I opened mine eyes, and all around me was as a dense fog; thus I returned into my body."

The vision being at an end, a thanksgiving was offered.

No. 7. This vision was undertaken by P. for strength to aid his cousin, who was in distress. As in No. 5, it commenced with a prayer, a circle being drawn around the Skryer.

"As I prayed, a feeling of drowsiness possessed me, and I found myself swinging backwards and forwards; then after a little while I grew steady, and speedily ascended. As I soared up through the air, I saw above me a great circle; this I passed through, only to behold another one greater still. As I approached it I perceived an angel coming towards me; therefore I entered the circle and knelt down.

"The angel, seeing me kneeling before him, approached me, and taking me by the hand, raised me up, kissing me as he did so. And having thus greeted me, he bade me tell him what I sought; this I did. And when I had finished speaking, he took me by the right hand and flew obliquely upwards. And as I was carried through the air, I looked down, and felt reluctant at leaving the great circle, which had now become as a point below me. And as I thought of it, of a sudden I found myself standing upon a marble floor, from out of which rushed up into the heavens a great pillar of fire. And as I gazed wonderingly at it, though on account of its brightness I could see no one, I became conscious that many people were worshipping around me. Then slowly, as my eyes became accustomed to the light, I saw that the great pillar of fire was in truth the right leg of an immense figure.

"On becoming aware of this, a great awe filled me, and {306} then did bewilderment possess me, for I found that I was robed in red garments in place of the white in which I had dressed myself. And as I wondered, the angel said to me: 'They have been given thee'; therefore again I knelt, and was endued with a great power.

"And as the great strength coursed through me I stood up and the angel gave me a white wand, placing it in my right hand; then fiery rain fell upon me, bursting into little flames as it touched me.

"Taller and taller did I grow, striving up and upwards to reach the face of the great figure. And as I strove, I emerged from the centre of the crown of mine own head like a white bird; and so great had been my desire that I shot upwards past my skull like an arrow from a bended bow. And swerving down, I played around the head of the great image and kissed it on the lips. But through for many minutes did I fly about that immense head, the countenance thereof was ever cloudy as a mountain seen through a storm of snow; yet nevertheless could I distinguish that the head was like an Assyrian clean-shaven, like a bull, a hawk, an Egyptian and myself.

"Intoxicated with rapture, I fluttered about the lips and then entered the great mouth.

"Up! up! I rise. I am in a chamber with two square pillars and an eye ... I bathe in the light of this eye and the intense brilliancy of the whole room, which swallows me up.

"Bigger and bigger do I grow ... I fill the room ... I emerge from the top of the mighty head, and kissing once again the lips, swerve downwards and unite with the red figure below me. {307)

"I grow great, and my white wand becomes a wand of living fire. Then I perceived that the angel had left me, and that once again fiery rain was falling around me.

"After this I departed, and in the air was surrounded by dark forms, whom I commanded to lead me back to the circle. Then I sank amid a flock of eagles, and, descending, prayed and rejoined my body.

"My body was intensely strengthened; I was filled with a feeling of power and glory. I gave thanks.'

No. 10. "Queen's Hall. During the "andante" of Beethoven's Symphony in C (No. 5) I assume white astral, and fill the entire hall. Then I looked up to God, and impulses of praise and prayer possessed me. Presently I shrink forcibly and re-enter my body."

No. 14. "I draw the circle and recite the 'Lesser Banishing Ritual'; *

* "See" Liber O.

but performed it badly, omitting an important section. *

* WEH Note: Crowley's original vision record identifies the omission as being the central part dealing with the Archangels, "Before ...".

"At first there appeared to me a brightness in the West, and a darkening of the East; and whilst perplexed by this matter, I find I have entered a dirty street, and see near me a young child sitting on the doorstep of a very squalid house.

"I approached the house, and seeing me, the child scrambled to his feet and beckoned me to follow him. Pushing open the rickety door, he pointed out to me a rotten wooden staircase. This I mounted, and entered a room which apparently belonged to a student.

"In the room I found a little old man, but could not see him distinctly, as the blinds were down. {308}

"He asked me my business.

"And I answer I had come to seek of him certain formulae.

"Thereupon he opened a book which was lying on the table before him, and showed me a sigil. After I had looked at it carefully, he explained to me how I should make it, and finished by telling me that it was used to summon 'things of earth.'

Sigil in Book.

"As I looked incredulously at him, he took hold of the sigil, and no sooner had he done so than from out of every crack and seam in the floor there wriggled forth a multitude of rats and other vermin.

"After this, he led me upstairs to another floor, and into a room which in the dim light appeared to be an attic.

Plan of the Adept's Room and the attic above.

"At the west end of this room, lying upon her back, I saw a naked woman. Turning, I challenged the Adept, who at once gave me the 0 = 0 and 1 = 10 signs; but he would not give me 2 = 9. *

* These signs are given in Liber O.

"The Adept then turned from me and said: 'She is in a trance; she is dead; she has been dead long.' And immediately her flesh becoming rotten, fell from her bones.

"Hurriedly I asked for an explanation, but scarcely had my words left my lips than I saw that she was recovering, and that her bones were becoming once again clothed with flesh. Slowly she rose up, and then suddenly rolled round and fell heavily upon her face. For a moment she remained still, and {309} then her glistening skin writhed about her bones as she wriggled over the filthy boards towards the Adept. Having reached him, she embraced his feet and then lewdly climbed and writhed up him.

"'Get to your stye,' he said in a low, commanding voice. At which I felt intensely sorry for her.

"The Adept, noticing my sympathy, turned to me and said: 'She is lust, fresh-fleshed and lovely, but rotten. She would clog the power of a man.'

"I thereupon thanked the Adept. But he, taking no notice of my thanks, pointed out to me a distant star through a hole in the roof, and then said, 'Journey there.'

"This I did, streaming up towards it like a comet, dressed in long white robes, with a flashing scimitar in my hand.

"After much peril, on account of suns and things very hot and glowing, through which I sped, I arrived there safely, on the shore of a lake, upon which was floating a boat in which stood a man.

"On seeing me, he cried out: 'Who art thou?'

"And having explained to him, he brought his boat close enough to the shore to enable me to spring into it. This I did, whereupon he seized the oars and rowed speedily into the darkness beyond.

"'Shall I soon see thy master?' I said to him. At which he glared round at me, so that his eyes looked like beads of glowing amber in the night; then he answered:

"'I who stand in the boat am great; I have a star upon my forehead.'

"I did not reply, not understanding what he meant, and soon we reached the shore and entered a cave, in the mouth {310} of which stood a man-like figure covered with brazen scales, horned and horrible. His colour was of verdigris; but his face was of a blackish tint. In his hand he held a club.

"'What is your name?' I cried, advancing towards him.

"'Joakam,' he answered sullenly.

"'Your sign?' (I here repeated the omitted part of the ritual). He winced, and I could see that he was a coward; nevertheless, though it displeased him, he gave me his sigil.

Jokam's Sigil.

"His name is spelt: HB:Mem-final HB:Koph HB:Yod . Having no further question to ask him, I left him, bidding him sink.

"At the further end of the cave a man whom I had not seen as yet came rushing into my arms; at once I saw that he was being pursued by Jokam. I thereupon interposed, ordering him to make the sign of the Qabalistic Cross, which, however, he could not do.

"'What God do you worship?' I asked.

"'Alas! I have no God.' he answered. Thereupon I allowed Jokam to seize him, and re-entering the cave they sank, uttering most heart-rending yells of agony.

"As I once again approached the lake, a great albatross rose from the water, and as she did so, the star fell away from me, and a multitude of birds surrounded me and took me back to the garret which I first visited.

"For this I was very grateful, and on seeing that I had returned, the Adept came forward and took my hand, saying: 'Go on,' at which words I felt that a great strength had been imparted to me.

"I then asked him about 'Abramelin,' of whose Operation {311} I at this time contemplated the performance; but all he answered was: 'Go on!'

"'Shall I succeed?' I asked.

"'No man can tell another that!' he answered with a smile.

"'Is anything wanting in that book that is necessary to success?' I asked.

"'No!' he answered.

"Then I took my leave of him, and after witnessing a strange fight, returned."

No. 15. This vision was undertaken to obtain rest. It took place in the actual temple built by P., and, as was generally the case, it was commenced by the "Lesser Banishing Ritual."

"Slowly the actual temple in which I was standing became wonderfully beautified, and a white shining film floated in feathers over the surface of the floor on which I was standing, and winding itself about me, formed a great column which carried me up through the roof to a great height. Then I found, as the cloud fell away from me, that I was standing in a fair green field, and by me in great solemnity stood a shining steel-grey-silver figure, unarmed.

"'Welcome,' said the stranger with a cold dignity.

"Then he led me to a blue pool of water, and bade me plunge into it, which I did, half diving and half swimming, sending a million sparkling sapphires of water dancing in the light.

"The water was deliciously cool and refreshing, and as I struck out in it, I soon saw that I must have made a mistake, for the far shore was a great distance from me, and on it I could see shining a silvery palace. {312}

"As I neared it I leapt to the shore, and there I found, as I approached the wonderful building, many beautiful creatures playing about it. But my haste in leaving the blue waters had been ill-advised; for suddenly a great cloud of water enveloped me, and catching me up, carried me to a great height. Then I discovered that I had been changed into a lily, whose white petals were unfolded, and that I was growing in a garden, white with a multitude of the same wonderful flowers.

"Not over long had I been there, when the form of man was again given to me, and I threw my arms above my head and then extended them, forming a cross.

"I was standing in silver-grey garments, and before me was a great white marble temple. At once I prostrated myself, and then entered. Before me I saw that all was white and fine within, and that in the temple stood a cubical altar of silver.

"I knelt before the altar; and as I did so a coldness and moisture seemed to descend upon me, which thrilled me with a delicious freshness like the falling dew. From it a cool stream arose, in the limpid waters of which I bathed my hands. Whilst in this position an angel descended with a green garment and gave it me. At first I was unwilling to wear it, but presently I did so, and after I had worn it a little while, I sacrificed it before me, when at once it became a crown of fire.

"Then a voice said to me: 'Wilt thou be of the guard?' and before I could answer yea, or nay, most lovely maidens surrounded me and armed me in silver armour and a red tabard. {313}

"From where I had been standing I was led to the Northern entrance, where crowded a great concourse of people, and as I approached them they gave way before me. Then a voice whispered to me 'Smite'; thereupon, drawing my sword with fury I smote three times, upon which a great wailing arose.

"Having smitten down many with those three blows, I descended among them, but left my sword behind me. Thinking I had forgotten it, in vain I tried to return, and in my strivings was of a sudden armed with many potent lightnings; then at my feet there fell away a great hollow column of rolling smoke. Seeing it, I approached it and gazing down it, beheld at its furthermost extremity the earth, dark and strong. As I watched it rolling below me, a great desire possessed me to expand my consciousness and include All. This took me a vast time to accomplish, and even then my success was but moderate.

"From the column of smoke I returned to the outside of the temple and re-entered it by the Western door. Finding a gold crown upon my head, I held it up, and in the white vapour it glowed like a white light. Then an angel approached me and pressed it on to my brow, and as this was done, a feeling possessed me as if a cold shower of gold was falling through me. Then of a sudden was I carried upwards, and found myself in a second temple. Here I was conducted to the south, where stood a glittering shrine, and the light which flashed from it pierced me through and through. Blinded by the effulgence, I was led to the North to another shrine (Binah) where my eyes were anointed with cold molten silver, and immediately I saw vaguely before me a female form. {314}

"After this I returned to the central altar, where everything fell from me, and then I returned to earth, assuming my sword and red robe to dominate the astrals. Thus did I return."

No. 18. To see Sappho.

"With bewildering speed I was carried upwards, and in the midst of my flight an angel approached me apparently to aid me, yet I tarried not, but still ascended. On, on I flew, until at length I became surprised at the great distance of my journey.

"Eventually I arrived in a strange land, and after some perplexity assumed a divine figure, which I believe to be that of Diana. Then I called Sappho, and immediately she appeared before me, a small dark woman with a wonderful skin and a copper sheen on her dark hair. Her face was very lovely, but her expression was ablaze with intense desire, and through her wild floating hair could be seen her eyes, in which glittered madness.

"On seeing me, she knelt down before me, and I, trying to comfort her, extended my hands to her, which she in turn kissed. Behind her stood the white astrals of weeping women --- these were her many lovers.

"After a while I brought her into the circle in which I was standing, and raising her up, caressed her upon the forehead. Then I changed to my usual shape, at which she was exceedingly amazed, and only comforted when I told her of my great love for her. Thereupon we rose together, embracing, to a place where angels greeted us. Here we were told to go between the pillars into the temple; which we did, and saw in front of us an immense kneeling figure of some Oriental Deity.{315}

"Before us glared a human face above a human body with arms and feet; but behind it, it was as the body of a lion.

"Sappho then gave me the 0 = 0 sign, which I returned, whereupon the great figure rose and blessed us, and we embraced. Then I knelt before Sappho and said:

"'You have given me of your strength and brought me into this place of blessing; I will now give you of mine.'

"For answer she held my hands in hers, and wonderful tinglings of glory and passion flowed into me like live fire. I raised my head to her bosom, and kissed her passionately, and then I notice that I too was a woman!

"An angel approached me and advised restraint, and so with a great calmness I passed within her body, and at once felt all her passion and longings. A mighty joy and glory encompassed me, and we became a great brown bird taking part in a mystic ceremony, the priest being the great man-lion; then again we rose and re-assumed human shape, but larger than before.

"Now we saw standing before us a venerable, beautiful and kingly figure (Tiphereth), holding a flaming sword of dazzling whiteness. This he extended to us, whilst his attendants, who were angelic figures, sang a low, melodious tune. Then he placed it in our mouth, when at once there rushed from our lips an infinite and intolerable song, which presently ceased, when the sword was returned to the king.

"Then I noticed that the sun was burning below us, so once again assuming the form of the brown bird, we flitted round the sun, bathing in its fiery flames and molten substance.

"Presently I wished to return; but could not separate myself from her, for I was absorbed in Sappho. Becoming {316} desperate, I called thrice unto Acheirah, who soon appeared; whereupon I explained to him my trouble. Seizing his sword, he smote at us, and we were again two human beings, just as when we met, I on the left of Sappho, whose hands were stretched out. We received the influx, and then I noticed our positions, and complained that they were wrong; for I would have been divided, so that Sappho in departing took of my left side. I left my love with her, but my strength belonged to God.

"This I explained to Acheirah, but he told me my idea was wrong, and that we were so divided that I might receive the influx of strength, and she that of mercy.

"So we returned into the temple, conversing, I saying to her: 'Enter with me the temple of the living God!'

"This she did, following me, and then knelt down at the altar, and waving a censer adored the Lord of the Universe.

"After this was at an end, we clasped our hands (1 = 10 grip), kissed, and parted; she promising me that she would dwell in the temple sometimes, and hover about me, and watch me work, and aid me when I called her.

"Then I knelt before the altar, in adoration of the Lord of the Universe; but watched her upward and eastward flight, whilst she looked amorously back at me over her right shoulder, waving her hand to me. Once only did I call her, and then, once again turning to the Lord of the Universe with the sign of the Qabalistic Cross, returned to the body."

Such are some of the early visions of Frater P. They commence as we see in a series of rapidly changing and for the most part unconnected pictures, flying past the observer as the houses of a town seen through the windows of a quickly moving train. The streets which connect them are not noticed, {317} neither always the entire buildings themselves, nor the ground on which then stand, nor the substance of which they are built; and to one who had not travelled in a train before, say a bushman who never wandered far from his native kraal, wonder and astonishment would be his as he watched the extraordinary disorder of the fast-flying view. At first he might be excused if he actually doubted his senses, so suddenly do the apparently moving buildings come, change and vanish --- now a roof, some chimneys --- then a gap --- a tree --- a spire --- a glimpse down a long street --- it is gone; now a high bank --- a cutting --- a tunnel and darkness; and then once again the light and the continual whirling past of countless houses.

Yet the city clerk does not wonder; for he knows well enough --- too well ever to notice it --- that the houses he is speeding by are built of brick and mortar, constructed on geometric and architectural plans, connected by streets and roads, by gas and water pipes, and by drains; each a microcosm in itself, regulated, ruled and ordered by codes, customs and laws, an organized unit only wanting the breath of life for it to rise up complete, and like some colossal giant stride away from before our terror- stricken eyes.

Similarly, the adept will see in these visions a great ordered kingdom, and behind all their apparent chaos rule and law; for he will understand that the sudden changing, the leaping from blue seas to silver temples, and the rushing past fiery pillars, people worshipping, red garments, hawks; and then square pillars, an eye, or a flock of eagles, is not due to disorder in the realm of the vision, but to the want of paraphrase in the mind of the beholder when he, on his return, attempts to interpret what he has seen in rational symbols and words. {318}

A chain of thought is simply a series of vibrations arising from the contact of a sense with a symbol or a series of symbols. "If controlled by the Reasoning Power, and licensed by the Will, such vibrations will be balanced and of equal length. But if uncontrolled by the Lower Will and the Reason they will be unbalanced and inharmonious --- that is, of uneven length." This we find explained in a G.'. D.'. manuscript entitled: "The Secret Wisdom of the Lesser World, or Microcosm which is Man." Further we learn form this manuscript that:

In the case of the drunkard, the equilibrium of the Sphere of Sensations, and consequently of the Nephesch, is disturbed, and the Thought Rays in consequence are shaken at each vibration; so that the sphere of the sensation of the Nephesch is caused to rock and waver at the extremities of the Physical Body, where the Ruach's action is bounded. The thought therefore is dazzled by the Symbols of the Sphere of Sensations in the same way as the eye may be dazzled in front of a mirror if the latter be shaken or waved. The sensation, therefore, then conveyed by the thought is that of the Sphere of sensations oscillating and almost revolving about the physical body, that which translated to the physical body bringeth giddiness, sickness, vertigo, and loss of idea, of place, and position.

The fault as we see therefore lies in the preponderance of the Nephesch over the Ruach, in other words, the Emotion outbalancing the Reason.

In the last vision, NO. 18, we find more exertion on the part of the Ruach than in any of the others, and this is undoubtedly accounted for by the fact that P., in this vision, set out with a definite object before him, namely, to see Sappho. The same might be said of Vision No. 7, but on consideration this will be found not to be the case, for, in No. 7, P. asks for strength to help his cousin, the very asking of which points to weakness; besides it is to be expected that a concrete idea will {319} take a much more definite form than an abstract one. In the former case when Sappho has once appeared, except for a break here and there, the vision is rational enough --- if we can use so bastard a term to express ourselves in; not so the latter, which is particularly vague.

In considering these visions and future ones, it must be remembered that through we now insist on a continuous chain of ideas as proof of their validity, and equally so with such as we may deal with later on, we at present find, above all else, that simplicity is our most certain guide; for we are as yet solely dealing with the visions of a student, who, as such, like a school-boy, is expected to work out all his visions in full as if they were mathematical problems. The master may use algebraical and logarithmic short cuts, if he likes, in the solution of his intricate problems, and we shall also find many of these masterly rights of way are quite as baffling, I am afraid, as the curious mistaken byways of the beginner. Further, it must ever be borne in mind that the deeper we dive into the occult sciences, although the simpler our language often becomes, the less we find our ability to express ourselves in mere words and ordinary phrases; from complex terms we sink to simple paradoxes, and from philosophic and scientific symbols we rise into a land of purely linguistic heiroglyphics --- and thence silence.

The task of consciously classifying and interpreting the phenomena in the Spirit Vision (in contradistinction to optical vision) is one of the chief duties undertaken by the Adeptus Minor, that is to say, of an individual who has passed through the grade of 5 = 6. P. had not as yet accomplished this. And in another part of the manuscript already referred to it is {320} entitled "The Task undertaken by the Adeptus Minor," and is lucidly summarized as follows:

This then is the task undertaken by the Adeptus Minor:

To expel from the Sephiroth of the Nephesch the usurpation of the Evil Sephiroth.

To equally balance the action of the Sephiroth of the Ruach and those of the Nephesch.

To prevent the Lower Will and Human Consciousness from falling into and usurping the place of the Automatic Consciousness.

To render the King of the Body (the Lower Will) obedient and anxious to execute the commands of the Higher Will; so that he be neither a usurper of the faculties of the Higher, nor a Sensual Despot, but an initiated ruler and an anointed King, the Vice-Roy and representative of the Higher Will (because inspired thereby in his Kingdom which is the Man.)

Then shall it happen that the Higher Will, "i.e.," the Lower Genius, shall descend into the Royal Habitation, so that the Higher Will and the Lower Will shall be as one, and the Higher Genius shall descend into the Kether of the Man, bringing with him the tremendous illumination of his Angelic Nature; and the man shall become what was said of Enoch: "And Chanokh made himself to walk for ever close with the essence of the Elohim, and he existed not apart, seeing that the Elohim took possession of his being."

        .     .     .     .     .     .     .

This is also a great mystery which the Adeptus Minor must know:

How the Spiritual Consciousness can act around and beyond the Sphere of Sensation.

"Thought" is a mighty force when projected with all the strength of the Lower Will, under the Guidance of the Reasoning Faculty, and illuminated by the "Higher Will."

Therefore, it is, that in thine occult working thou art advised to invoke the Divine and Angelic Names, so that thy Lower Will may "willingly" receive the influx of the Higher Will, which is also the Lower Genius, behind which are all potent forces.

This, therefore, is the magical manner of operation of the initiate, when "Skrying in the Spirit Vision."

He knowing "thoroughly" through his Arcane Wisdom the disposition and correspondences of the Force of the Microcosmus, selecting not any, but a certain symbol and that balanced with its correlatives, then sendeth he, as before said, a Thought-Ray from his Spiritual Consciousness, illuminated by his Higher Will, directly unto the part of his Sphere of Sensation or M. M. of the U. *

* Magical mirror of the Universe.

which is consonant with the symbol employed. There, as in a mirror, doth he perceive its properties as reflected from the Macrocosmus shining forth into the Infinite Abyss of the Heavens; thence can he follow the Ray of {321} Reflection therefrom, and while "concentrating his united" "consciousness" at that point of his Sphere of Sensation, can receive the "Direct reflection" of the Ray from the Macrocosmus.

But if instead of concentrating at that actual point of the Sphere of Sensation, and thus receiving the "Direct Ray," as then reflected into his thought, and uniting himself with the Ray of his thought, so as to make one continuous ray from the corresponding point of the Macrocosmus unto the centre of his consciousness: if instead of this he shall "retain" the thought-ray only "touching" the Sphere of Sensation at that point, he shall, it is true, perceive the "reflection" of the Macrocosmic ray, answering to that symbol in the Sphere of his consciousness; but he shall receive this reflection, tinctured much by his own nature; and therefore to an extent "untrue." Because his united consciousnesses have not been able to focus along the thought-ray at the circumference of the Sphere of Sensation or M. M. of the U. And this is the reason why there are so many and multifarious errors in untrained Spirit Visions: for the untrained Skryer ("i.e.", Seer) --- even supposing him free from the delusions of Obsession, *

* Or a cutting off of the Higher from the Lower Will.

doth not know or understand how to unite his consciousness: still less what are the correspondences and harmonies between his Sphere of Sensation and the Universe --- the Macrocosmus. ...

The Art of Skrying is further explained in a G.'. D.'. manuscript entitled "Of Travelling in the Spirit Vision," in which this particular form of gaining contact, so to speak, with the Higher Will is explained as follows:

The symbol, place, direction or plane being known whereon it is desired to act, a thought-ray is sent unto the corresponding part of the Sphere of Sensations, and thence by drawing a basis of action from the refined Astral Light of the Sphere of Sensations of the Nephesch, the thought-ray is sent like an arrow from a bow right through the circumference of the Sphere of Sensations direct into the place desired. Arriving here a Sphere of Astral Light is formed by the agency of the Lower Will illuminated by the Higher Will, and, acting through the Spiritual Consciousness, by reflection along the thought-ray, the Sphere of Astral Light is partly drawn from the Nephesch, and partly from the surrounding atmosphere.

This Sphere being formed, a "Simulacrum" of the person of the Skryer is "reflected" into it along the thought-ray, and the united consciousness is then projected therein.

This sphere is therefore a duplicate reflection of the Sphere of Sensations. As it is said:

"Believe thyself to be in a place, and thou art there."

In this Astral projection, however, a certain part of the consciousness must remain {322} in the body to protect the thought-ray beyond the limits of the Sphere of Sensations (as well as the Sphere itself at that point of departure of the thought-ray) from attack by any hostile force, so that the Consciousness in this Projection is not quite so strong as the consciousness when concentrated in the natural body in ordinary life.

The return taketh place by a reversal of this process; and, save to persons whose Nephesch and physical body are exceptionally strong and healthy, the whole operation of "skrying" and travelling in the Spirit Vision is, of course, fatiguing.

Also there is another mode of Astral Projection, which can be used by the more practised and advanced Adept. This consisteth in forming first a Sphere from his own Sphere of Sensations, casting his reflection therein, and then projecting this whole Sphere to the desired place as in the previous method. But this is not easy to be done by any but the practised operator."

In fact if this projection of the Sphere to the desired place can be carried out successfully, the highest illumination may be obtained thereby, supposing the desired place to be God or Kether.

To a beginner this particular method of Attainment will appear very vague and unbalanced, for his astral journeys will consist of a chain of alarms and surprises; and the reason for this is that in almost every case he sets out with no clear idea of the place he is struggling to journey to, or the route he has chosen to adopt. He is like an explorer who sets out on a journey of discovery; the further he travels from his own native land, the more strange and uncommon do the lands appear to him through which he is journeying. Little by little the language of his country changes, melting as it were into another not unlike it but yet different; this in time also changes, and so by degrees do all his surroundings, until he finds himself in a strange country, as different from the one from which he started as an equatorial forest is from the ice-incrusted lands of the Pole.

Sometimes the change of scenery is slight, sometimes vast, {323} according to the powers of attainment, but in all cases these journeys would be of little use unless method were brought into the extraordinary chaos which they at first reveal. And, as in Geography, little information could be obtained of the configuration of the Earth's surface unless explorers set out with a definite object in view, such as Columbus had when he set out on his great journey of discovery, and equipped with definite instruments; so in these Astral journeys, little or no spiritual information can be obtained unless the Skryer project, or at least set out with the intention of projecting, his Sphere to a certain and definite place. This, when applied to travelling to certain paths or places on the Tree of Life, is termed Rising on the Planes, and may lead, as above stated, should the place desired to arrive at be Kether, to the very highest Attainment.

This Rising on the Planes is a definite mystical process, and two initiates setting out to attain the same goal would find the journey, in its essentials, as similar as two ordinary individuals would find a journey from London to Paris.

Karma and environment have in these Risings on the Planes to be reckoned with, just as they would have to be taken into account in the case of the two men journeying to Paris. The one might be travelling third class, and the other first; the one might be travelling by a slow train, the other by an express; the one might see great beauty in the journey, the other little; yet both would know when they got to Dover, both would know when they were on the Channel, and both would in some way, different in detail through it might be, recognise Paris as Paris when they arrived at their destination. {324}

This particular method of Rising on the Planes is an exceptionally interesting one to study, not only because it is most intimately connected with the Eastern methods of Yoga, *

* The whole theory and practice of Raja Yoga is the awakening of a power named the Kundalini, which is coiled up in what is called the sacral plexus, and then forcing this awakened power up a canal called the Sushumna, which runs through the centre of the spinal column. "When the Kundalini is aroused, and enters the canal of the Sushumna, all the perceptions are in the mental space or Chittakasa. When it has reached that end of the canal which opens out into the brain, the objectless perception is in the knowledge space, or Chidakasa." As in the Ascent of the Central Column of the Tree of Life, there are certain centres, such as Malkuth, the Path of Tau, Yesod, the Path of Samech, Tiphereth, the Path of Gimel, Da„th, and Kether; so in the Sushumna are there certain centres or Chakkras, viz., Muladhara, Svadistthana, Manipura, Anahaba, Visuddhi, Ajna, and Sahasara. For further attributions See 777.

but because we have many practical results to hand, many actual facts from which we can generalise and construct a theory. Two of such examples we will give here, the first a poem by Mr. Aleister Crowley called "The Ladder," in which the projection is vertical, that is to say, directed along the central column of the Tree of Life; and in the second, which is called "The Ascent unto Da„th," by V. H. Frater I. A. In the first of these "Risings" the goal of attainment is Kether, and the various headings of the poem point out clearly enough the different stages the Skryer has to pass through. From the darkness of Malkuth he passes the various symbolic colours, which will be discussed in a future chapter, as well as many of the symbols we have described, to arrive eventually at Kether. In the second, Fra. I. A. leads us as far as Da„th, the head of the Old Serpent, the Knower of Good and of Evil. {325}


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