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000. May be.
(00. It has not been possible to construct this bookon a basis of pure
Scepticism. This matters less, as the practice leadsto scepticism, and it
may be through it.)
0. This book is not intended to lead to the supreme attainment.On the
contrary, its results define the separate being of theExempt Adept from the
rest of the Universe, and discover his relation to theUniverse. [1]
1. It is of such importance to the Exempt Adept thatWe cannot overrate it.
Let him in no wise adventure the plunge into the Abyssuntil he has
accomplished this to his most perfect satisfaction.[2]
2. For in the Abyss no effort is anywise possible. TheAbyss is passed by
virtue of the mass of the Adept and his Karma. Two forcesimpel him: (1) the
attraction of Binah, (2) the impulse of his Karma; andthe ease and even the
safety of his passage depend on the strength and directionof the latter.[3]
3. Should one rashly dare the passage, and take the irrevocableOath of the
Abyss, he might be lost therein through Aeons of incalculableagony; he might
even be thrown back upon Chesed, with the terrible Karmaof failure added to
his original imperfection.
4. It is even said that in certain circumstances it ispossible to fall altogether from the Tree of Life and to attain the Towersof the Black Brothers. But We hold that this is not possible for any adeptwho has truly attained his grade, or even for any man who has really soughtto help humanity even for a single second[4], and that although his aspirationhave been impure through vanity or any similar imperfections.
5. Let then the Adept who finds the result of these meditations
unsatisfactory refuse the Oath of the Abyss, and liveso that his Karma gains
strength and direction suitable to the task at some futureperiod.[5]
6. Memory is essential to the individual consciousness;otherwise the mind
were but a blank sheet on which shadows are cast. Butwe see that not only
does the mind retain impressions, but that it is so constitutedthat its
tendency is to retain some more excellently than others.Thus the great
classical scholar, Sir Richard Jebb, was unable to learneven the schoolboy
mathematics required for the preliminary examinationat Cambridge University,
and a special Grace of the authorities was required inorder to admit him.
7. The first method to be described has been detailedin Bhikkhu Ananda
Metteya's "Training of the Mind" (Equinox I, 15, pp.28-59, and especially
pp. 48-57). We have little to alter or to add. Its mostimportant result as
regards the Oath of the Abyss, is the freedom from alldesire or clinging to
anything which it gives. Its second result is to aidthe adept in the second
method, by supplying him with further data for his investigation.[6]
8. The stimulation of memory useful in both practicesis also achieved by
simple meditation (Liber E), in a certain stage of whichold memories arise
unbidden. The adept may then practise this, stoppingat this stage, and
encouraging instead of suppressing the flashes of memory.
9. Zoroaster has said, "Explore the river of the Soul,whence or in what order you have come; so that although you have becomea servant to the body, you may again rise to that Order (the A: A:) fromwhich you descended, joining Works (Kamma) to the Sacred Reason (the Tao)".
10. The Result of the Second Method is to show the Adeptto what end his
powers are destined. When he has passed the Abyss andbecomes Nemo, the
return of the current causes him "to appear in the Heavenof Jupiter as a
morning star or as an evening star"[7] In other wordshe should discover what
may be the nature of his work. Thus Mohammed was a Brotherreflected into
Netzach, Buddha a Brother reflected into Hod, or, assome say, Daath. The
present manifestation of Frater P. to the outer is inTiphereth, to the inner
in the path of Leo.
II. First Method. Let the Exempt Adept first train himselfto think
backwards by external means, as set forth here following.---
(a) Let him learn to write backwards, with either hand.
(b) Let him learn to walk backwards.
(c) Let him constantly watch, if convenient, cinematograph
films, and listen to phonograph records, reversed,
and let him so accustom himself to these that they
appear natural and appreciable as a whole.
(d) Let him practise speaking backwards: thus for "Iam
He" let him say, "Eh ma I".
(e) Let him learn to read backwards. In this it is difficultto
avoid cheating one's self, as an expert reader sees a
a sentence at a glance. Let his disciple read aloud to
him backwards, slowly at first, then more quickly.
(f) Of his own ingenium, let him devise other methods.
12. In this his brain will at first be overwhelmed bya sense of utter
confusion; secondly, it will endeavour to evade the difficultyby a trick.
The brain will pretend to be working backwards when itis merely normal. It is difficult to describe the nature of the trick,but it will be quite obvious to anyone who has done practices(a) and (b)for a day or two. They become quite easy, and he will think that he ismaking progress, an illusion which close analysis will dispel.
13. Having begun to train his brain in this manner andobtained some little
success, let the Exempt Adept, seated in his Asana, thinkfirst of his
present attitude, next of the act of being seated, nextof his entering the
room, next of his robing, etc. exactly as it happened.And let him most
strenuously endeavour to think each act as happeningbackwards. It is not
enough to think, "I am seated here, and before that Iwas standing, and
before that I entered the room", etc. That series isthe trick detected in
the preliminary practices. The series must not run "ghi-def-abc"but
"ihgfedcba": not "horse a is this" but "esroh a si siht".To obtain this
thoroughly well, practice (c) is very useful. The brainwill be found to
struggle constantly to right itself, soon accustomingitself to accept
"esroh" as merely another glyph for "horse". This tendencymust be
constantly combated.
14. In the early stages of this practice, the endeavourshould be to
meticulous minuteness of detail in remembering actions;for the brain's habit
of thinking forward will at first be insuperable. Thinkingof large and
complex actions, then, will give a series which we maysymbolically write
"opqrst-hijklmn-abcdefg". If these be split into detail,we shall have "stu-
pqr-o-mn-kl-hij-fg-cde-ab" which is much nearer to theideal
15. Capacities differ widely, but the Exempt Adept needhave no reason to
be discouraged if after a month's continuous labour hefind that now and
again for a few seconds his brain really works backwards.
16. The Exempt Adept should concentrate his efforts uponobtaining a
perfect picture of five minutes backwards rather thanupon extending the time
covered by his meditation. For this preliminary trainingof the brain is the
Pons Asinorum of the whole process.
17. This five minutes' exercise being satisfactory, theExempt Adept may
extend the same at his discretion to cover an hour, aday, a week, and so on. Difficulties vanish before him as he advances;the extension from a day to the course of his whole life will not proveso difficult as the perfecting of the five minutes.
18. This practice should be repeated at least four timesdaily, and
progress is shown firstly by the ever easier runningof the brain, secondly
by the added memories which arise.
19. It is useful to reflect during this practice, whichin time becomes
almost mechanical, upon the way in which effects springfrom causes. This
aids the mind to link its memories, and prepares theadept for the
preliminary practice of the second method.
20. Having allowed the mind to return for some hundredtimes to the hour of
birth, it should be encouraged to endeavour to penetratebeyond that period.[8]
If it be properly trained to run backwards, there willbe little difficulty
in doing this, although it is one of the distinct stepsin the practice.
21. It may be then that the memory will persuade theadept of some previous
existence. Where this is possible, let it be checkedby an appeal to facts,
as follows: ---
22. It often occurs to men that on visiting a place towhich they have
never been, it appears familiar. This may arise froma confusion of thought
or a slipping of the memory, but it is conceivably afact.
If, then, the adept "remember" that he was in a previouslife in some city,
say Cracow, which he has in this life never visited,let him describe from
memory the appearance of Cracow, and of its inhabitants,setting down their
names. Let him further enter into details of the cityand its customs. And
having done this with great minuteness, let him confirmthe same by
consultation with historians and geographers, or by apersonal visit,
remembering (both to the credit of his memory and itsdiscredit) that
historians, geographers, and himself are alike fallible.But let him not
trust his memory, to assert its conclusions as fact,and act thereupon,
without most adequate confirmation.
23. This process of checking his memory should be practisedwith the earlier memories of childhood and youth by reference to the memoriesand records of others, always reflecting upon the fallibility even of suchsafeguards.
24. All this being perfected, so that the memory reachesback into aeons
incalculably distant, let the Exempt Adept meditate uponthe fruitlessness of
all those years, and upon the fruit thereof, severingthat which is
transitory and worthless from that which is eternal.And it may be that he
being but an Exempt Adept may hold all to be savourlessand full of sorrow.
25. This being so, without reluctance will he swear theOath of the Abyss.
26. Second Method. --- Let the Exempt Adept, fortifiedby the practice of
the first method, enter the preliminary practice of thesecond method.
27. Second Method. --- Preliminary Practices. Let him,seated in his
Asana, consider any event, and trace it to its immediatecauses. And let
this be done very fully and minutely. Here, for example,is a body erect and
motionless. Let the adept consider the many forces whichmaintain it;
firstly, the attraction of the earth, of the sun, ofthe planets, of the
farthest stars, nay of every mote of dust in the room,one of which (could it
be annihilated) would cause that body to move, althoughso imperceptibly.
Also the resistance of the floor, the pressure of theair, and all other
external conditions. Secondly, the internal forces whichsustain it, the
vast and complex machinery of the skeleton, the muscles,the blood, the
lymph, the marrow, all that makes up a man. Thirdly themoral and
intellectual forces involved, the mind, the will, theconsciousness. Let him
continue this with unremitting ardour, searching Nature,leaving nothing out.
28. Next, let him take one of the immediate causes ofhis position, and
trace out its equilibrium. For example, the will. Whatdetermines the will
to aid in holding the body erect and motionless?
29. This being discovered, let him choose one of theforces which
determined his will, and trace out that in similar fashion;and let this
process be continued for many days until the interdependenceof all things is
a truth assimilated in his inmost being.
30. This being accomplished, let him trace his own historywith special
reference to the causes of each event. And in this practicehe may neglect
to some extent the universal forces which at all timesact on all, as for
example, the attraction of masses, and let him concentratehis attention upon
the principal and determining or effective causes.
For instance, he is seated, perhaps, in a country placein Spain. Why?
Because Spain is warm and suitable for meditation, andbecause cities are
noisy and crowded. Why is Spain warm? and why does hewish to meditate?
Why choose warm Spain rather than warm India? To thelast question: Because
Spain is nearer to his home. Then why is his home nearSpain? Because his
parents were Germans. And why did they go to Germany?And so during the
whole meditation.
31. On another day, let him begin with a question ofanother kind, and
every day devise new questions, not concerning his presentsituation, but
also abstract questions. Thus let him connect the prevalenceof water upon
the surface of the globe with its necessity to such lifeas we know, with the
specific gravity and other physical properties of water,and let him perceive
ultimately through all this the necessity and concordof things, not concord
as the schoolmen of old believed, making all things forman's benefit or
convenience, but the essential mechanical concord whosefinal law is inertia.
And in these meditations let him avoid as if it werethe plague any
speculations sentimental or fantastic.
32. Second Method. The Practice Proper. --- Having thenperfected in his
mind these conceptions, let him apply them to his owncareer, forging the
links of memory into the chain of necessity.
And let this be his final question: To what purpose amI fitted? Of what
service can my being prove to the Brothers of the A:A: if I cross the Abyss,
and am admitted to the City of the Pyramids?
33. Now that he may clearly understand the nature ofthis question, and the
method of solution, let him study the reasoning of theanatomist who
reconstructs an animal from a single bone.
To take a simple example. ---
34. Suppose, having lived all my life among savages,a ship is
cast upon the shore and wrecked. Undamaged among thecargo is a "Victoria".
What is its use? The wheels speak of roads, their slimnessof smooth roads,
the brake of hilly roads. The shafts show that it wasmeant to be drawn by
an animal, their height and length suggest an animalof the size of a horse.
That the carriage is open suggests a climate tolerableat any time of the
year. The height of the box suggest crowded streets,or the spirited
character of the animal employed to draw it. The cushionsindicate its use
to convey men rather than merchandise; its hood thatrain sometimes falls, or
that the sun is at times powerful. The springs wouldimply considerable
skill in metals; the varnish much attainment in thatcraft.
35. Similarly, let the adept consider of his own case.How that he is on
the point of plunging into the Abyss a giant Why? confrontshim with uplifted
36. There is no minutest atom of his composition whichcan be withdrawn
without making him some other than he is; no uselessmoment in his past.
Then what is his future? The "Victoria" is not a wagon;it is not intended
for carting hay. It is not a sulky; it is useless introtting races.
37. So the adept has military genius, or much knowledgeof Greek; how do
these attainments help his purpose, or the purpose ofthe Brothers? He was
put to death by Calvin, or stoned by Hezekiah; as a snakehe was killed by a
villager, or as an elephant slain in battle under Hamilcar.How do such
memories help him? Until he have thoroughly masteredthe reason for every
incident in his past, and found a purpose for every itemof his present
equipment,[9] he cannot truly answer even those ThreeQuestion what were first
put to him, even the Three Questions of the Ritual ofthe Pyramid; he is not
ready to swear the Oath of the Abyss.
38. But being thus enlightened, let him swear the Oathof the Abyss; yea,
let him swear the Oath of the Abyss.

[ 1 ]. This book tells how to enquire "Who am I?" "Whatis my relation
with nature?"
2. One must destroy one's false notions about who andwhat one is
before one can find the truth of the matter. One musttherefore understand
those false notions before giving them up. Unless thisbe done
perfectly, one will get the True mixed up with the remainsof the False.
3. One's life has hitherto been guided by those falsenotions. Therefore
on giving them up, one has no standard of control ofthought or action;
and, until the truth is born, one can move only by virtueof one's momentum.
It is jumping off.
4. Those in possession of Liber CLXXXV will note thatin every
grade by one the aspirant is pledged to serve his inferiorsin the Order.
5. Make the Adeptus Exemptus perfect as such before proceeding.
6. The Magical Memory (i.e. of former incarnations) freesone from
desire by shewing how futile and sorrow-breeding allearthly and even
submagical attainment prove.
7. The formula of the Great Work "Solve et Coagula" maybe thus
interpreted. Solve, the dissolution of the self in theInfinite; Coagula,
the presentation of the Infinite, in a concrete form,to the outer. Both are
necessary to the Task of a Master of the Temple. He mayappear in any
other Heaven, according to his general nature, in hismagical mask of
8. Freudian forgetfulness tries to shield one from theshock of death.
One has to brace oneself to face it in other ways, asby risking one's life
9. A brother known to me was repeatedly baffled in thismeditation.
But one day being thrown with his horse over a sheercliff of forty feet,
and escaping without a scratch or a bruse, he was remindedof his many
narrow escapes from death. These proved to be the lastfactors in his
problem, which, thus completed, solved itself in a moment.(O.M.
Chinese Frontier 1905-6.)


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