We teach and practice theurgy, which is the operational heart of the otherwise philosophical system called hermeticism. Unlike many other systems or lineages who profess to teach theurgy, our system utilizes virtually no modern authorities. Instead, a great effort has been made both by our current teachers as well as our predecessors in this lineage to preserve the ancient and authentic techniques of mysticism. Even “new” techniques taught in this system are simply ancient techniques that have been simplified for the sake of modern practice, since few people have access to large temples where they may operate in private. This makes our philosophical and practical approach quite antiquated, and it is therefore rather different in appearance from modern systems of the hermetic science. The spiritual essence of all genuine theurgic paths, however, is of course the same, and we claim absolutely no superiority over our brother and sister systems in the world.
Perhaps the most distinguishing factor of our specific lineage of the theurgic tradition is our great emphasis on practice. This system is highly practical in nature, and every student must be thoroughly devoted to the practices. Unlike in many other magical schools or systems, progress in our lineage is not and has never been decided by time or length of membership alone. Instead, each student is examined closely by his teacher. The classes beyond the introductory class are by invitation only, at the behest of the teacher, and it is therefore ensured that only those students who practice regularly will be allowed to continue learning from us. Fortunately this approach has not deterred our students; instead, it serves to inspire them and push them onward. Since they are aware that their teachers can easily see them with their spiritual eyes, and can therefore know whether or not they are practicing, the students are easily inspired to practice more and stay disciplined. The overwhelming majority of active students who take our first introductory class choose to move on to join the school, since the atmosphere of practice and dedication yields greater results for them than they had seen practicing individually for a long time.
Neither is this some sort of “one size fits all” system. Holding strongly to the ancient traditions, we have fervently rejected the commercialized approach to mysticism, which seeks to measure its success by the number of its members, and therefore blankets all students as though each person is the same. Though the general lectures used between the different classes tend to be the same (only changing at the discretion of the teacher), the intimacy with which the teachings are given allows the teacher to thoroughly know all of the students of his particular class. Thus a teacher will often give some students certain exercises, while giving other students a different set of exercises, or even individually prescribing certain extra meditations to help unique problems. The way we are dedicated to teaching, no student will ever be just a number or a file.
This tradition is approximately 3,700 years old, though it has had four major periods of development during that time. To us, the idea of theurgy represents specifically that form of mysticism which arose from the intermingling of the practices of the Egyptian theurgists with those of the pre-Socratic Greek magicians. In our particular line it is believed that the lineage has continued fairly unbroken, though there were many periods in history where any existing schools were completely silent and unknown. Carrying on tradition, though, the details of our lineage are kept silent until the student reaches high degrees of maturity, in order to prevent new students or dabblers from going off and attempting to physically visit certain masters and temples which prefer secrecy.
Following any answer to the question of age, though, we must make something known. There is a common modern belief that older is better when it comes to spirituality, and many Orders and Schools of mysticism exhaust themselves trying to illustrate how ancient they are. Because our school has a doctrine of “fountains,” meaning adepts who appear within the lineage to restore it or add to it, we place little importance on the idea. We also understand that as mankind is advancing to higher levels of evolution as a whole, the masters will appear in physical form to give gradually more advanced techniques. There are also great and ancient systems of spirituality which, by the will of the masters, disappear entirely from earth for centuries or millenia, and then are re-introduced by means of a seer at later times. And again, for another example, the gods themselves will sometimes favor someone especially, and reveal an original form of spirituality to that person. Thus there are any number of ways that a seemingly modern or new system of mysticism can be greatly powerful and effective. Knowing this, we humble our hearts, and make no importance of how old our school may or may not be.
In addition to the older sections of our school, we have incorporated into our beginning training system some of the practices provided by the Czech adept Franz Bardon. We believe that Bardon was given permission by the masters to publish a highly complete training system for the public to use. Since that system is in total accord to the ancient practices of theurgy, and indeed in many places is based upon them, it has been integrated into the starting levels of our practices.
We are asked this question often. Being recipients of true and valid initiation, and a part of an antique but living tradition, our teachers have no need to refer to the teachings of modern schools or sects. Still, we recognize that there are many systems based on that provided by the Golden Dawn today. The overpopulation of schools based on those teachings is, we believe, caused by two factors. Firstly, many people avail themselves of the publications of Israel Regardie or similar authors, and on book knowledge alone they attempt to open a mystery school. Secondly, many aspirants break away from Golden Dawn temples to start their own lineages. Both of these actions we must necessarily oppose, for the right to initiate must be passed down directly from a master, not garnered from reading or philosophical speculation. We are also directly opposed to break-away societies and groups, who usurp the authorities of their designated hierophants for the sake of vain personal glory and imaginary titles. A true initiate always seeks peace and harmony, not discord and division.
The number of valid Golden Dawn groups today is likely few, but to those that are sanctioned or were begun with permission, and can draw a direct initiatic line back to Samuel MacGregor Mathers, we have nothing but the greatest regard. It is a beautiful and intelligent system, and being based on a number of ancient theurgic principles, even shares some commonalities with our own system.
The truth is that our teachers “reject” very few applicants. The only way an application will be disregarded is if it is not in readable English, or it is very apparent that the applicant did not care enough about being accepted to put reasonable effort into the application. It is only an introductory course that you are applying for; it is open and free for all people.
Be that as it may, we only have so many teachers, and we only host the introductory class a few times each year. In order to keep the class quality very high, and ensure great standards of success for all of our students, our class sizes are typically small. For new teachers, a class may only consist of fifteen to twenty students. If the class is being hosted by more experienced teachers it may contain as many as thirty students, but we rarely go beyond that number. Thus if you did not make it into the class that you applied for, the most likely reason is that it was full. Yet on occasion, there are other reasons why an application may be rejected. It almost never has anything to do with the application being of poor quality, but with more general factors that we must take into account as teachers. Here is a brief list:
– Location. We accept many applicants from all over the world into each class, but if a great many people applied from a single country we may choose to pass over some of them in order to allow others the opportunity.
– Experience. If your application was filled with indications of great personal knowledge and experience in spirituality, and most especially if you are clearly already on a different path, we will usually pass over such a person in favor of newer students. The main reason for this is that we do not wish to interfere with a student who already has a clear and straight road to walk, nor one whose cup is clearly already being filled elsewhere. The healthy do not need a physician.
– Language. If there are clear language barriers, we will not accept the application. This is to prevent any possible misinterpretation of the teachings, especially the exercises, which must be fully understood and practiced exactly as taught. Applicants who have a primary language other than English should study and practice their English as thoroughly as possible in order to increase their chances of acceptance.
– Maturity. Sometimes an applicant may truly believe that he is ready to embark on the path of practical spirituality, but to the discerning eyes of a skilled teacher, it may be very clear that it is not time yet. As long as the applicant has a clear sense of self discipline and general maturity of character, there is nothing to be concerned about. However, we will not accept people who are clearly only interested in feeding their pride, or pursuing some idea of magical glory and power.
We believe, as did the ancients, that many magical powers will develop on their own as the student advances naturally on the path towards God. They will make themselves known as the student becomes mature enough to handle them responsibly. In our tradition, these powers are not vehemently denied or demonized once they appear. Instead, the initiate recognizes them but remains inwardly indifferent to their presence. They are put away into his internal arsenal of tools at the disposal of God, should the initiate ever be given a task which requires their use.
It could be said that in this tradition the mystic develops power, nor powers. The aspirant will gradually develop power over the elemental and planetary forces which influence him, in order to master and subsequently rise above them. As a side effect certain powers may develop of their own accord, but this is seen as ultimately inconsequential to the goal of self realization. There are, however, certain “abilities” that are purposely developed to serve as aides in the student’s progress. In our system these are, principally:
– The three main cognitive psychic faculties: clairvoyance, clairaudience, and clairsentience. These are required in order for the student to be absolutely certain that he is operating objectively, and not merely deluded by imagination. It also allows for the clearer communication of ideas between the teachers and the students, since the interaction will take place on an astral and mental level, not just a material one.
– Astral projection. A safe and complete method for astral projection is taught towards the end of the outer level training, since some of the higher training takes place in spiritual worlds and astral temples. The experience of astral travel also completely eliminates all fear and uncertainty about death and the afterlife, which we believe is necessary for the psychology of the student.
– Lucid dreaming. This comes hand-in-hand with astral training, since many students use lucid dreaming as a platform for mental and astral travel. However, it also gives our students the important ability to do their spiritual practices while they sleep, in order to produce faster progress.
We understand that there is a great need for healing in the world, whether it be from disease, mental impairment, demonic possession, hauntings, or any other affliction. Over the years our teachers have worked in the service of many people, healing and helping them however they could. The affair, however, is very time consuming, and highly demanding on the spiritual body of the healer. It leaves little time for personal evolution, which is the goal of all incarnate beings, and keeps the healer working on the lower levels, healing the lower bodies, instead of enlightening the person’s higher bodies. For these reasons we do not currently offer our services to the public, since the students and teachers alike must spend more of their energy pursuing liberation.
However, this path is itself a great panacea, and in time can cure most things. By pursuing the practices of theurgy, or any legitimate system of spirituality, the student can heal himself of most afflictions. It will take time and effort, but eventually the spiritualized energies that he is working with will melt all impairment and negativities off of the spiritual and mental vehicles. The forces of destiny which bestowed those afflictions will be dissolved, and with it, the afflictions themselves.
In theurgy we recognize the only true disease as being the disease of the soul, caused by its apparent separation from God. All other illnesses, troubles, complaints, etc, are merely symptoms of this underlying affliction. Thus, we resolve ourselves to treating that affliction which is foremost amongst humanity.
In the West we are very fixated by “book knowledge.” We imagine that internalized information is equivalent to knowledge, but in theurgy information and knowledge are different. The kind of information one can receive from most books will do nothing to prepare the hopeful aspirant for the path of theurgy. The truth is that there would actually be a greater likelihood that such reading and studying would become a distraction, and would lead the student away from the clear and straight path of experience, down into the murky waters of speculation and information.
This will be a hard pill to swallow for newcomers to mysticism, who want to feel like they are doing something. This urge is actually just the restlessness of the mind, and feeding it will only make your theurgic pursuit more difficult. Instead of reading books, the individual aspiring to one day become an initiate should devote himself to simple mental exercises and personal discipline. Develop the ability to sit in one place for an hour without being bored or having the desire to move and do something else. Practice always living in the moment with a clear mind, concentrating on what you are doing, instead of living in your thoughts. Discover your vices, then work hard to convert them into virtues, ennobling your character. These simple practices, which anyone can figure out and do on their own, will go much further in preparing the student for genuine initiation than any books will. When you have practiced these things to exhaustion, then practice them more.
For students not interested in these classes or with no intentions of acquiring a teacher in the near future, the only suitable book we can recommend is Franz Bardon’s “Initiation into Hermetics.” It gives a basic outline of practices which, if rigorously adhered to, can produce great results. It is one of the only training manuals available to the public, and though it is most ideally practiced with the guidance of a teacher who has completed the system, it can safely be practiced alone.
There is an old saying that a man who tries to ride in two canoes at once across the river of illusion will take seventy times longer to cross it than the man who rides in only one canoe. To travel multiple spiritual paths at once is a difficult endeavor. This is not so much because they conflict, contradict, or any of those other things; in many instances those claims are merely the tools of honest teachers trying their hardest to give their students solid reasons for pursuing only a single path. The actual reasons for pursuing a single path are much more fundamental, and for simplicity, we can consider two of them.
Firstly, a person pursuing multiple paths will always have an internal conflict brewing about who he should listen to. The master of one system will say one thing, and the master of another system will say something else about the same subject. Even though they may both be masters, you may ask the same question and get two totally different or even apparently contradictory answers. This is because each teacher has a different way that he instructs his students, and therefore a different idea of what each student should know and when. Likewise, when there are disagreements, it is always on subtle philosophical issues, or matters of opinion. For example if you ask a Taoist which tradition is greatest, he will likely say Taoism, and give plenty of good reasons. If you ask a Lama he will likely say Buddhism, and give plenty of good reasons. Subtle issues like this are really unimportant to the masters, but the students make a great deal of importance out of them.
The student will, as an initial endeavor, also want to know how best to prioritize his practices. In this instance a teacher will obviously give preference to the techniques of his own system, instead of whatever other systems the student is practicing. Thus, the student will have no clear idea about which practices are, objectively, the best for his development. The reason for this has nothing at all to do with the ego of the teacher, as beginners are apt to think. The truth is simply that, as a person of honor, a spiritual teacher can only safely recommend the system that he knows from personal experience can cause great spiritual evolution.
And again, there is the possible conflict of teachers also. Lets suppose that one teacher commands the discipline to travel to Europe, in order to help spread or establish that line of teachings. But then, another teacher absolutely commands that the student travel to China, to study at this or that place for a few years. A third teacher thrown into the mix then brings the student close one day, and tells him to stay with himself for some years. By honor, and due to the inherent karma of being accepted as a student by a true teacher, the student is bound to meet all of these commands. Obviously, however, he can not. To fail one master is bad, but to fail three simultaneously is a great sin for someone trying to learn what he can.
The student only has so much time in his day. Eventually, should the student pursue a given spiritual path into great advancement, he will be given very time-demanding exercises to perform. Let us say, for example, that in order to continue proceeding in our system you had to be performing eight hours of magical operations every day, followed by three hours of meditation, and reading theurgic scripture four hours each day in addition to this. But then, since you are also trying to pursue a line of Kahuna training in Hawaii, you have to practice building energy specifically in the palms for six hours in order to learn how to reset organs spiritually. Now, in a 24 hour day, you have secured 21 hours for spiritual practice. While the ego may think that this is great, the truth of the matter is that you will begin to destroy yourself, and move backwards. Your teachers, if they are legitimate, will notice that you are not advancing, and that you are in fact digressing. As a result the new, higher exercises you were working so hard for will be put even further beyond your reach.
Any system you pursue will eventually become very intense and time consuming in order to advance to the higher levels. It is only in those exalted grades of the system that the true techniques of the lineage are taught. Thus the student really must choose whether to be a jack of all trades and a master of none, or whether to become an adept. Once you are an adept, feel free to learn as much as you want about the many beautiful systems of spirituality in the world. Until then, stay on the straight and simple path.
Absolutely. As we discussed briefly in the introductory article of the website, it is not necessary to live as a monk, a renunciant, in order to gain the many benefits of theurgy. No matter whether you practice it for hours a day, or just here and there, it will only improve your life. A degree of bliss, no doubt, is welcomed by anyone, no matter how busy he or she may be.
These classes advance at your own pace. There are “checkpoints” along the way, where the student can re-evaluate his own work load and the demands of his life. The teacher, also, may realize by way of journal entries or personal discussion, that the student needs to slow down some and take care of himself better. This is all fine. There is no race to the finish line, and overdoing yourself will only slow you down in the long run. Slow and steady is what wins; a ferocious candle burns out quickly and is thrown away.
The key to maintaining what we see as an essential balance between worldly obligations and spiritual obligations is to get rid of any competitive mindset one may have. Yes, there will be fellow students doing hours and hours of meditation a day. That is fine, it is their allotment from destiny. You will usually notice, though, that these people have simple jobs, few obligations, no families, etc. For those who have taken up honorable obligations, such as providing for a family, it is one’s righteous duty to provide well for that family, pursue education, earn sufficient income, and all other such necessities. A result may be that an hour a day of practice, or even just every now and then, is all you can muster. That too is fine; it is part of your allotment from destiny. Taking care of one’s sworn duties is in itself a form of spiritual practice, and certainly provides spiritual growth.
History is filled with examples of people with great worldly obligations still achieving high degrees of spiritual evolution. The teaching adepts themselves also often instruct their students to maintain a balance between the world and the spirit so long as one still has obligations to the world. There is a reason for all of this, so rest assured that if you are weighed down by duty, you will have your just reward. In the mean time set your mind at ease, and practice as you can.
We may add a word of caution, though. Too often, people with worldly responsibilities use them as an excuse for poor self discipline, which they would have had with or without a family, job, school, etc. The animal mind within the student is always desperately seeking any excuses that it can feed the conscious mind in order to control the student and cease spiritual progress. Finding time for your spiritual practices is supposed to sting a little; it is meant to be difficult. Yes, at the end of a long day of work, picking up and dropping off kids, and other such things, you may feel like relaxing into your couch and vegetating in front of a screen with flashing colors and sounds emerging from it. Every beginning student has things he would “rather be doing” than spiritual practice. Still, what makes a successful student is how he chooses to utilize the time available. Therefore, instead of plugging your mind into the television or the computer, plug it into meditation. Burdensome as the world may be, do not use it as your scapegoat.
We have considered this question at length in the article, “Why Pursue Theurgy.” But to briefly summarize the idea here, we must first humbly accept that the Lord, in great wisdom, has provided systems of evolution suitable for all the people of the world, each one according to his or her own inclinations. So long as a mystical path sticks to the fundamental principles of universal laws, and has historically been able to ferry people across the ocean of material existence into the arms of God, then it is of equal merit to any other system which can do the same thing. For some this path will be faster, for others, another path will be faster. It is the details which make these paths different, and are a matter of preference; the ending place is essentially the same throughout.
It is in those details that some find good reason to pursue theurgy instead of some other path. The foremost of these is usually the familiarity of the Greek language to western people, and the familiarity of Greek culture and mythology, which play large roles in the theurgic tradition. For example, many people reading this will know roughly who Hermes is, but not who Parashara is, from the Vedic tradition. This makes transitioning into the “language” of theurgy easier for people who grew up in the west, which has always been where the theurgic tradition has flourished.
Our system predates the integration of the Otz Chaim (Tree of Life) into the hermetic philosophies. As far as our research has been able to show, this was a fifteenth century innovation, introduced to the hermetic science by Christian occultists trying to make their practices more religiously acceptable by making them more Hebrew. Or, even more likely, simply trying to make their systems appear to be more Hebrew than they really were, for the sake of dodging persecution. Stripped of a handful of Hebrew words and the diagram of the Tree of Life, you will see hermeticism in its form as pure theurgy, uninfluenced by Hebrew practices or theology.
This of course only holds true up until Pico de Mirandolla and mystics after his time, from which point modern and pre-modern occultists spent much more time trying to introduce Hebrew cosmology into the Hermetic frame, even making the mistake of believing that it was this Hebrew element which qualified a hermetic science. There could be no greater misunderstanding, in fact. Having lost sight of the original reasons for introducing the Hebrew religious framework, they allowed themselves to believe that what they were practicing truly was of Hebrew origin. The scheme which had been concocted to deceive the Church had, some centuries later, deceived themselves, like a lie which one eventually comes to truly believe in after being forced to repeat it enough.
In our research of the three main extant versions of the Yetzirah, the two of the Bahir, twenty-two volumes of the Zohar, late-era studies into the teachings of famous rabbi and the Bael Shem Tov, and fellowship with generational rabbi whose families hold Qaballistic secrets, we have been unable to locate anything which could have possibly been source material for the conceptions of the medieval and renaissance occultists teaching this so-called “hermetic” Qabalah. Instead, the arrangement, divine numerology, and archetypal progressions taught in this modern Qabalah, even down to geometric patterns and schemata used in ritual work, have as their abundant sources the works of the ancient Greek philosophers and Roman theurgists. Conspicuously absent in Hebrew manuscripts, and conspicuously present in theurgic philosophical treatise, there is a single clear source for the teachings of “Hermetic” Qaballists, whose science holds nothing more in common with the true Qabalah than a few words and a diagram.
This question is addressed briefly in the introductory article, as well as the article “Theology in Theurgy.” Even still, a brief, and easily accessible answer can only benefit our readers.
Whether or not theurgy can be called a religion depends upon your idea of what a religion is. From a strictly ontological point of view, theurgy is characterized by certain specific beliefs and doctrines, and is supplemented by many more general and non-specific beliefs and sub-sects. Instrumental to this belief system are several key points:
1. God is Good
2. Man is suspended from this goodness
3. God put the seed of divine spirit into man, so that all humans are connected to God.
4. The purpose of life is to learn the nature of the goodness of God, and therefore convolve our life energies inwards upon that goodness, participating in it and expressing it.
5. The entirety of the universe radiated from God, and yet is not separate from God, but instead all things are directly connected back to their source.
6. In the process of creating the universe, God manifested different energies of his essential nature, which can be seen either separately as gods, or jointly as the many faces of one God.
7. Upon all six of the above points rests the salvation of man, and the salvation of man is life’s greatest undertaking.
These seven basic principles would categorize the essential belief system of a theurgist. Still, because they are beliefs, theurgy can be labeled as a religion by those wishing to do so. On the other hand, theurgy does not hold derisive views of other religions, and a theurgist can be a member of any religion in the world as long as that religion does not enforce violence or law-breaking. In this tradition, it is necessary that a theurgist learn that all of the religions of the world are essentially directed towards the same supreme God and his divine attendants, and that only the names and customs differ.
As addressed in the previous question, a theurgist knows that all of the religions in the world, and all the seers and shamans who created them, tap in to the same essential energies, and refer to the same powers. Therefore there is no divisiveness within theurgy, where a student must worship this or that, or must not worship this or that. Even in our own school, teachers who have specialized knowledge of different world religions and cultures will help students seeking knowledge in those areas, or trying to understand theurgy through those particular lens. For example, a student may have a great passion for Nordic or Celtic mythology, and if he desires, a teacher may help him synthesize that system’s beliefs and gods with theurgy. A true mystic is at home in any religion.
On the other hand, a set system and nomenclature is required in order to pass on this tradition smoothly and accurately. The practices and cosmology of theurgy are tightly interwoven with the fables of the ancient Greeks, their gods and their sages. The doctrinal works which serve as the heart of the theurgic tradition, such as those of Plato, used Greek terminology, were written in either Greek or Roman settings, and referred to their mythologies and histories. As such, a working knowledge of what the ancient theurgic sages called the gods, and how they categorized the energies of the universe, is essential in ensuring that our tradition survives accurately, and stays true to the words of its forefathers. If too much liberty were given in this area, it would not longer be possible to identify authentic theurgy from impostors, and people would happily make-up their own ideas, instead of resting in the shade provided by the spiritual giants of antiquity. Therefore, for the sake of maintaining the authenticity of our teachings, as well as having a stable frame of reference for all ideas and practices provided, we use the traditional framework of the Greek gods, fables, and mystics. Be this as it may, this is only given as a framework, because the labor of teaching every student an individualized theology is far too great to be accomplished effectively. Therefore all students learn the same system, but may then, later on, replace whatever names they wish in order to feel comfortable as a theurgist. For students passionately religious early on, specific help can be given in conforming the school’s philosophies to one’s religious tenets.
Veos and Ramose, prior to opening up their teaching efforts to large numbers online, only instructed their personal students in the tradition of theurgy. At that time they publicly championed the works of Franz Bardon, seeing that his book “Initiation into Hermetics” was one of the few comparatively safe training manuals available to the general public. A number of the practices which Bardon taught are drawn from the same tradition which this school teaches, and therefore they both felt comfortable acting as proponents of his system.
That said, this school is not based upon any of the works of Franz Bardon, nor do his books play a role in the general training and progression of our students. Some people in the past, not understanding this, have thought our school to be a guided training program through Bardon’s books, and were disappointed to late discover that this was not the case. Others have even accused the founders of wanting to make money or enhance their recognition and fame by building off of Bardon’s fame, and stealing his techniques. This also could not be further from truth, as even a minimal amount of time as a student would immediately reveal. As a school, we officially recognize Bardon as one of several great adepts of the past few centuries. However, our tradition has been complete in and off itself for centuries, and there is no need to draw upon the works of Bardon, or any other modern/pre-modern adepts. Only two practices were chosen from Initiation into Hermetics by Ramose and Veos for integration into the school: the creation of the soul mirrors, and the accumulation of the vital force. Both of these are universal practices, found in all spiritual traditions, and Bardon’s frame for their practice was chosen for its simplicity. The traditional theurgic parallels, powerful but somewhat complex, were instead reserved for later practice in the system.
This is a fairly common question, through one avenue or another. In our school, there are many opportunities to meet the teachers, as well as the head instructors, and spend considerable time with them. With the occasional exception due to teachers' schedules, our small and humble temple in Florida is always open to visitation on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. We also periodically hold gatherings and retreats at this location where students are invited to spend the night. Furthermore, we allow our students to pay for extended temple stays. This allows them to spend one or two weeks at the temple, housed and fed, for a time of personal retreat. Veos, and his assistant teacher, make it a point to spend time with these visitors when they come. We hold at least one major retreat each year in the mountains, hosting fifty or more people. These retreats are extremely fun and wonderful opportunities for intense practice, transmission, and education. These and other opportunities like them ensure that any student looking for personal guidance can receive it on at least semi-regular intervals. We are collectively working towards having places in the future where dedicated students can come and spend weeks at a time living in the presence of the teachers, but for now, that much is not possible.
Our probationer class is free, and is sufficient for anyone to get a basic gist of what theurgy is about, and what its goals are. It is a great aid to the student who is trying to figure out whether or not this school is a good fit for one’s personal life path.
Beyond this lies the threshold of the school itself, where the student must ask himself a very personal question, “Will I go on?” At this critical moment, we have created a purposeful wall: a $100 entrance fee for the class. At this time, or maybe even just upon hearing about a fee, a good, rational, and well-founded student may find the following questions appearing on the mind:
“What if I’m being tricked?”
“Are these guys frauds?”
“Is this school just a way for some people to make money?”
Many more legitimate (and even quite a few illegitimate) concerns will and should arise in the mind of any potential student. Our school does not recruit people who can not think reasonably for themselves. Instead, we demand hard work, dedication, and the development of a good faculty of mind. This of course has to serve as a safeguard for what must simultaneously be an open heart, ready to receive the universe’s clear signs and messages as to what is best for that person. Sometimes, reason can make us overlook an all-important clue. Other times, it can protect us from a bait and hook.
The truth is that many of these questions can not ever satisfactorily be answered. Superstition is only dispelled by knowledge, fear is only exorcised by experience. As for some of the answers that we could give, we would not, since that would rob the student of a very important question to his own heart. What does he feel? At the end of the day, we have learned a very important thing: no matter how much material is available for or against something, most people will ultimately go with what they feel. In a battle of mind and heart, heart will usually win. If there is wall of text explaining satisfactorily the many reasons why a person should join our school, a feeling that one should not is sufficient to deter anyone. The opposite is just as true – even if mountains of defamation build up around someone or something, some people will always still pursue it because of a feeling. So at the gate of the School, the probationer is forced to do two things: examine the evidence, recall the available facts, and listen to the heart. A vast Experiences and Testimonials section is available to the probationer, containing hundreds of experiences and miracles recorded by fellow students, to assist our students in this choice.
We will, however, answer one very important question. “Where does the money go?”
If we were not building something, if we were not dedicated to creating something huge, the hierophants would not have ever charged for these teachings. But if that were the case, then they also would have never taken on more than a handful of students, and this system would have never been available to people who did not have the precise fate required to lead them to it. Instead, they decided two years before bringing these teachings online that they were going to begin accumulating students in order to move towards creating something that the western world has not had in a long time. The goal was to start with a small personal student base, train them so that they could help govern larger amounts of students, and then begin teaching widely online in order to gather the people necessary to help create such a thing. What is near impossible with just ten dedicated people becomes possible with one hundred truly dedicated people, and easy with a thousand.
This goal is to create a powerful physical school and temple for this lineage in the west, complete with monastic living quarters, living halls for students who want to spend extended lengths of time around the adepts and the hierophants, lecture halls, and retreat options in a pristine mountain paradise ranging hundreds of acres within the mists of the Appalachian Mountain Range. It would be a second home for any student, and a place where they could come for both intensive periods of personal training as well as rest and relaxation. With such an important goal in mind, it is our school’s philosophy that it is the duty of every student benefiting from it to contribute to it and helps it growth. If the school has given something powerful and important to you, then it is your duty to make sure it can give that to others as well. The goal of having an online school that can reach countless people around the world is the only reason that there are monthly dues, and we aim to use this infrastructure to create the beautiful image described above. We have an extremely small monthly fee in the school of $25, and it enables us all to share in this school which we love so much. No one is getting wealthy off of this – in fact, all people with access to the funds live extremely simple lives to ensure as much, and there is an intricate ring of close students involved in making sure nothing is ever questionable. Of course, a single visit to the heads and teachers of the school is normally sufficient for assuring the student of the absolute purity of motive which is had in this regards.
It is believed that it will take us, as a school with continual growth and therefore an ever-increasing revenue, several years to acquire the funds necessary for this massive project. But, with the help of our dedicated students, it is absolutely achievable. When finished, it will be a great monument to the spirituality which is brewing in the West, and it will be an invaluable resource and friend for all mystics and magicians who would avail themselves of it.
This much, then, we can tell all readers to calm their concerns about the financial motivations of our school. As for whether or not we are frauds, charlatans, etc.; your own time and faith will be required to decide those things.
As a general rule, we do not as a school promote or declaim magicians and mystics of other paths, whether their tradition was similar to ours or not. Instead, we seek the middle ground, and encourage students to evaluate for themselves what to think of other authors, mystics, Orders, etc. To do this, there are four basic questions one should ask:
1. Did they appear to have attained gnosis?
2. Are there witnesses, testimonies, or some other credible source of believing they had real attainments?
3. Did they appear to govern themselves after the manner of one who is attached to God?
4. Did they claim initiation into authentic traditions and lineages?
Unfortunately, the average reader will be utterly incapable of accurately answering all of these questions, most especially in the case of someone who has undergone actual mystic initiations. Unless one has clairvoyance, powerful psychic intuition, and insider knowledge of the various signs to look for in the life of a person, it is difficult to tell who is pretending to be a master but is not one, and who is a master but is pretending not to be one. There are many people out there who like to sit stoically on a throne, widen their eyes as if they are peering into the universe, speak in low and ominous tones, and structure their lives with great discipline. Yet for all of this, they may not be genuine initiates, but only playing the part based on their own bias of what an initiate must be.
The hopelessness of discerning these differences for the average person is discussed in many places, but one which will be familiar with most Western students, at least passingly, is the following example from the Gospel of Luke:
“For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and “sinners.”‘ But wisdom is proved right by all her children.”
But who can discern whether or not one truly possesses wisdom? Only one who has received some measure of wisdom, and the aspirant should be careful of ever assigning such an understanding to himself. For this reason faith is sometimes required. Sometimes it burns us and we are wrong, sometimes when all signs seem to the contrary we turn out to be right, and are rewarded. This is the darkness of the seeker. There is no sure way to look at this or that person and clearly say “this is a sage” and “this is a fraud.” In their travels and times with great sages, Ramose and Veos often mention that they have met great beings of inestimable spiritual stature charging absurd quantities of money for small things, appearing to be frauds. And, they have met seemingly compassionate people giving away their teachings for free, who were in fact the greatest of charlatans just looking to amass a large following quickly. They have of course also encountered the opposite, frauds trying to get rich by preying on what people do not know about true initiation, and poor, unknown masters living in sheds. Sometimes a wolf looks like a sheep, but sometimes a sheep looks like a wolf also. Genuine masters will sometimes appear as frauds to scare away those who are not truly dedicated, and frauds will sometimes play a convincing role as a humble master in order to get as many students as possible to feed their own ego.
In all of this, there is no certain answer. Shield yourself with reason, but not to the point of denying faith. Embrace faith, but do not reject warning signs either. The heavens will not blame you for turning away from a genuine master, simply because you lacked the tools to realize that apparent warning signs were only a game and a test. No one in heaven or earth can hold it against the earnest aspirant for following his heart and his mind both, to arrive at what appears to be a safe destination. The ship-captain can not be blamed if, in uncharted territory, the ship runs aground on hidden shoals beneath the water. You may make mistakes, and you may wander from teacher to teacher for some time, until one day you wax in the wisdom required to make a real decision. There is no fault in any of this. There is only fault in condemnation.
To that end, in regards to all mystics and initiates, real or fraudulent, we encourage our readers to pursue the same general rule which we ourselves follow. Unless there is some great evidence to the contrary, never condemn another person based only on appearances. There is no blame from the universe if you choose not to follow someone because reason dictates so, but there is blame if, in your ignorance, you condemn a god-man. Therefore be content in knowing that you do not know, ask the universe for its pardon if you are wrong, and seek wisdom elsewhere. Never assume “this person has no wisdom,” but only “this person has no wisdom for me personally.”
In closing we may briefly address Crowley specifically, since he is such a frequent subject of questions to us. For a long time, Ramose and Veos had no clear answer to this personage either, but had suspected that he was actually a high soul of a martial nature, and being unable to restrain his internal energy, lashed out and behaved voraciously in his younger years. They later learned from one of their teachers that, sometime in his thirties or forties, Crowley had benefitted from genuine initiation into one of the still-existing theurgic orders in the middle east, seemingly in the line of Shams Tabrizi, the preceptor of Rumi. They also learned that the being named Aiwaz that Crowley often spoke of, is also spoken of in other secret traditions in north-western India and the middle east. Then, finally, they discovered that the change in the celestial hierarchy which Crowley loosely spoke of in his “Book of the Law” was an ancient teaching, and that many sects and traditions throughout the world contain similar teachings about our current era and the cycles of human development. This altogether changed their view of Aleister Crowley, and they briefly investigated his personal memoirs in search of certain signs and remarks which may indicate the nature of his initiation, and found that his description of certain meditative experiences aligned perfectly with things seen in gnostic states of meditation. However, he seemed unable to go into those states at will, but instead often required lengthy solitary retreats to tap into them. Thus his attainment was not one of a permanent nature, which allowed him to alternate between good self-government and detachment spiraling down into disconnection with human nature.
The latter is a common problem for people who advance too quickly without proper guidance, or who have a massive amount of planetary energy channeling through them. Their nature becomes so estranged from human thinking that they seem to behave sometimes like an animal, sometimes like an angel, but never any one thing for too long. Veos decided to investigate this more thoroughly, and discovered that in his natal chart, Crowley had three “great spirit” marks from three planets, something which Vedic scripture suggests is nearly incompatible with human nature, due to the amount of energy which it would produce. This would also explain, from the perspective of such great astrologers as Parashara, why the lives of people he came into contact with often fell apart. It would be as if one came too close to a fire burning too hot.
None the less, a number of his actions are inexcusable from a gnostic perspective, and his lifestyle was ultimately incompatible with the attainments which he spent his life pursuing. He is not a role model or an idol, and drug-addicts or the likes today who think they are imitating him are not only doing him an injustice, but are doing themselves one. Whatever Crowley was, he was special. Wherever he went people remembered him, for better or worse. He did more things, broke more records, and pioneered more adventures by the time he was twenty-seven than most people will for their entire lives. His presence in the world of western magic changed it’s figure permanently, and even a tradition like ours, having nothing to do with his teachings, must admit that. Thanks to the chaotic whirlwind which was Crowley’s life, magic is a more understood idea in the west than it has been for a long time, and more people practice it than ever. His life is very far from something to be idolized, but his achievements for the sphere of western occultism are also very far from something to be dismissed. As a school we do not encourage our students to read his writings, nor do we in general recommend anything he has written, since they have little to do with our teachings. None the less as magicians surveying the world of western occultism, we must also acknowledge that he was a fascinating personage, and encourage others to be slow of condemning him entirely.
We recommend “Perdurabo: The Life of Aleister Crowley” by Richard Kaczynski, to those interested in a thorough and voluminous examination of the man’s life. For those who idolize Crowley, it will sober them, and put their feet firmly in the ground. For those who would look down on him, it will cause them to turn their eyes a little higher. Either way, it is one of the most balanced representations we have seen, neither ignoring the good or the bad.