Membership Guidelines for Initiates and Prospective Initiates of
Mountain Temple and Order of the Golden Dawn
by Fra. Petros Xristos Magister (8=3)
These guidelines originally appeared in 1998 as "Lesson 0.1, Private Matters," "Purposes Lesson 1" and "Purposes Lesson 2.” Revised Dec. 2008.
All Initiates of whatever Grade will find their Work (Practice) more effective if the following basic "environmental" matters are properly arranged.
Magickal or Spiritual work requires a certain degree of stability and quiet in one's immediate environment. The ability to set aside some time each day without distractions is important. A separate room exclusively devoted to one's studies and mediations is ideal, but if this is not possible, a corner of a room will do.
a. A personal Altar is a crucial focusing object. Any kind of wooden table or convenient platform will do (even a shelf if necessary.) It should be approx. navel-height for easy use without having to bend over. Some find that two cubical boxes, stacked and covered with a sheet or drape, works well, and is in conformity with esoteric significances revealed during Initiation. Nothing should be placed on top but one's Magickal tools, a devotional symbol or photo if desired, a Lamp or Candle and Incense burner. (Lamp = Divine reaching down; Incense = Self reaching Up). The Altar should be along the Eastern wall of the room if at all possible. (Outdoors or travelling, one may find that a pile of rocks works well as a temporary altar too.)
b. Daily meditation should be arranged. This is best done in front of the Altar. Posture and breathing should be natural, the idea being to keep the body comfortable and stable (motionless) in order to reduce nerve stimuli to a minimum and free the mind to engage in its meditative work. We do not specify nor do we teach any mantrams or other "techniques" of that nature. The purpose of meditation is to discover what's going on "inside." The best meditation (we've found) is simply inquiry -- the silent delving into the depths of Who One Is. For more guidance in the area of meditation consult Petros.
c. Every Initiate should keep a Magickal Diary in which to record one's experiences and practices. This need not be elaborate. A simple notation such as "Performed Banishing ritual" with date and time is enough. This should be kept on or in the Altar. This will eventually become one's "passport" to higher Attainments, and a weapon or shield against inner obstacles such as laziness or dryness. No one else should see this Diary except a superior in the Order, when it is requested.
d. One may feel free to make whatever other adjustments in one's life one feels necessary to add to one's peace and quiet and focus, such as dietary or sexual discipline.
Lesson 1. (From the first two knowledge lectures)
a. Four Elements
b. Twelve Zodiacal signs and related attributions
c. Seven classical planets and related attributions
d. 22 Hebrew letters and numerical values, also Tarot attributions
e. The Tarot and associated attributions
f. 10 Sephiroth with Planets, Grades, and
g. 22 Paths of the Tree of Life
h. Fourfold Breath (pranayama) and Point Meditation
i. Asana, Pranayama, Yama and Niyama
j. Qabalistic Cross and Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram
k. Three Gunas and Five Tattvas
l. Adorations to the Sun (Liber Resh)
Purposes Lesson 1
The GD course of study, if followed through with diligence, prepares one for personal Adeptship. An Adept is by definition one who is proficient at a given course of study, in this case Magick. It is not an attainment that can be completed in "quickie" fashion, but it is also not something that is inaccessible to the practitioner of average talent nor should it be a lifetime endeavor to attain Adeptship. One who practices diligently and regularly ought to be able to attain Adeptship in a matter of three to five years.
By "Adept" here is meant the formal GD grade of Adeptus Minor (AM5.) There have been some disagreements about higher grades in the history of GD organizations, their value and significance. An Initiate need not be concerned with these matters at this point. It may be best to view higher grades (AM6, AE7) as subcategories or specializations of the Adept grade, usually having specific organizational functions rather than extra "magical" powers. An Adept will continue to learn and grow like any Initiate throughout life.
The purpose of the Neophyte and Elemental grades is to carry the magician on the Bridge to Adeptship in an organized fashion. By far the most crucial Grade for us is the Neophyte, as it is where the majority of Initiates spend their time and where most of the teaching will take place. The Elemental grades (Z1, Th2, Pr3, Ph4) are stepping stones to Adeptship. In a sense, the GD system with its three "colleges" or Orders (Outer, Middle and Inner) can be simply viewed as a three-grade system. We could call these grades Neophyte (or just Initiate in the generic sense), Adept, and Master. This is the equivalent of the old craft system of Apprentice, Journeyman, and Master. The majority of magicians will spend most of their life as an Adept (5=6) if they pass through the initial Neophyte period successfully.
The Inner order grades are reserved for those who are committed to actual temple service or administration; they are not given out to inflate the ego-sense of the Initiate, but only conferred if the Chiefs feel that the Initiate is capable of "giving back" more energy to the Universe than he/she takes in. An average of 20 years of diligent and sacrificial magickal work is required to attain to the grade of Master of the Temple (8=3) and this grade requires, as its name implies, that one actually do the work of supporting an independent Temple on one's own. Such support involves all levels of one's life -- physical, financial, and most of all emotional/spiritual. The possibility of failure always exists, and its consequences (physical, mental, and magickal) become progressively more catastrophic as one advances in Grade, and may involve more persons than oneself.
The purpose of all magical (or spiritual) practice and work is to awaken oneself to a conscious recognition of one's true nature as immortal spirit. All other practices and techniques are only valuable as stepping stones to this ultimate goal. This recognition usually does not come all at once or in a stable fashion. One who works diligently will experience hints of its truth here and there, in bits and pieces, unevenly, but more and more stably and certainly as one advances. Indeed, this is the only sure sign of Attainment in the work and one can only know it certainly for oneself when it comes.
"Initiation" means a beginning. To be an Initiate is to have begun a journey, not finished it. One specific sign of advancement is the ability to rely less and less on physical rituals and objects and to work better with "astral" rituals or visualized magical performances. An excellent practice toward this is is the Initiation ceremony itself that you went through (physically or astrally). Study this ritual regularly until one is very, very familiar with it. This may mean going to other sources to look up the meaning of the various symbols and foreign words used therein. Eventually all the symbols should be understood as well as all the keywords, signs, etc. One should then be able to put oneself through the ceremony purely by astral (visualized) means, seeing all the symbols and officers in the appropriate places. Do it over and over again until you can do it smoothly and with confidence and automatically recognize the meaning of the symbols involved. Record any insights you receive, especially the spontaneous appearance of symbols not previously seen or expected.
Higher-grade rituals are no longer technically "secret," of course, and indeed are readily available in various locations. They are always "secret" in the sense that anything is secret to you if you are unable to fully comprehend it or make use of it. However, for the sake of your own advancement, do not spend time studying grade rituals higher than the one you are currently in. Your time is best spent totally focused on your own Grade. This will best aid your own development and indeed speed your progress to the next Grade, at which point you can safely begin to study that Grade.
One should also meditate regularly on the motto/keywords of one's Grade.
As always, record any observations or insights in the Magical Diary.
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