AE Waite’s “Ceremonial Magic”

The language alone is just fantastic, I’m hoping the rest of the book holds up:

Behind this Open Entrance to the Closed Palace of the King–which is so like the eye of the needle–there is the concealed tradition in and behind the mysticism of Christian Times. About this it is scarcely possible to speak here, and it will require some care not to confuse the image with which I have opened my statement. The Open Entrance of course leads to the Palace, but at a certain point there is found an exceedingly hidden postern and a path beyond, which is absolutely unattainable except through the lawful entrance, because, although the Kingdom of Heaven tolerates a certain quality of enlightened and loving violence, the sanctuary of all its sanctuaries responds only to the violence of that man who knows how to lay hands on himself, so that he may carry none of his extrinsics to the most intrinsecus place in all the world of God. This postern is hidden deeply on the deepest side of tradition, but by what can be traced concerning it, I think that there has been such a going to and fro upon the Ladder of Jacob that something more of the states which are not the term, but are perhaps penultimate thereto, has been brought back by those who have accomplished the next but one to all of the Great Work. I think further that they have gone so far that they have seen with their own eyes some intimacies of the term itself–being the state of those who go in and do not evermore come back.

These are aspects of the Secret Tradition in so far as it has declared itself on the side of God. It remains now to be said that there is a tradition à rebours, and though it may seem very hard to put it so roughly and frankly, I have not taken all the consciousness of the inward man for my province to smooth or reduce any of the distinctions between the loss and gain of the soul. The tradition a rebours is definitely and clearly that of miraculous power in the quest and attainment thereof. It is summarised by the ambition of the Magus in its contrast with the desire of the eyes and the hope which fills the heart of the true mystic. I am not intending to suggest that the Magus as such is of necessity at issue with the decalogue, or that he is under judgment by this sole standard, whether for vengeance or reward. As the position is capable of dogmatic statement, and as such is without any subjection to vicissitude, I will express it in dogma as follows: Whosoever goes inward to find anything but the Divine in his centre is working on the side of his own loss. As there is the height of Kether in Kabalism, so there is the abyss which is below Malkuth, and those who are seeking to exercise the powers of the soul apart from its graces are treading the downward path.

From the Book of Ceremonial Magic. This is one of the more annoying problems with Western (Occidental) thought – there’s really a golden thread in the religious text be it dealing with Sufi Islam or Abrahamic Judaism. In the west, of course, we worship money and consumption. We ignore the sublime and the inspired because we have access to every satisfaction. When we do that two things happen – we lose sight of what is in ourselves versus what is outside of ourselves and we can no longer experience exaltation. As a people, we have lost sight of the idea that every rainstorm is the Great Rite, and every loaf of bread to a starving child is nothing less than communion itself because it nourishes the body just as much as it encourages the soul to go on with life.

And what of the mysteries? How many churches teach esoteric Christianity? Has anyone studied Kabalah outside of the synagogue? Does Christ get mentioned in the mosque except as the scourge of the temple? (Seriously, post in the comments because I’m guessing even people who consider themselves “religious” and attend church weekly don’t study this stuff). Because we no longer dirty our hands in the business of living, we forget the divine inheritance. We, as people, have been given a terrible and divine responsibility: As above, so below. As without, so within. Do we sit here and let our lives pass us by or do we experience the world as it is and reflect on our experience?

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