Our advice to the beginner regarding the Study and Practice of the Occult is based on Patanjali, the Eight Limbs of Yoga. Practical work—yoga and magick—is the third limb of yoga. Practical work cannot be undertaken until the first two limbs of yoga are accomplished! The first two limbs of yoga are the preparations that need to be accomplished before the person assumes the seated posture (asana) and learns how to control their thought (dharana). These are:
- Abstentions: Harmlessness; truthfulness; non-stealing; continence; non-covetousness
- Observances: Cleanliness; contentment; fiery aspiration; self-study; self-surrender
The Abstentions are for Conservation of Energy for the Great Work. It is all about where we place our attention.
The Observances need to be understood:
Cleanliness: We should guard our speech; we must not declare our spiritual intentions to the profane.
Self-study: We must turn our attention inward and away from the worldly.
Contentment: Calmness of mind comes about through organising the mind. This requires placing our attention on studying the right material.
Fiery aspiration: All energy is directed to that which transcends the self.
Self-surrender: This means sticking to the chosen path, putting personal considerations (and objections) to one side, and not deviating or prevaricating.
The accomplishment of the first two limbs of yoga is an essential requirement for those that wish to take up a course of study and practice with us.
Magick and Yoga: Dweller on the Threshold
While it is true that aspirants to any contacted magical Order are tested by what are poetically termed the Lords of Initiation, our students are not asked to take any oath or obligation that would incur a trial by fire. Nonetheless there is something that we call the Dweller on the Threshold. As soon as a foot is placed on the path, the Dweller on the Threshold will appear. The shape or form of this Devil is unique to each individual since it is a phantom produced by the person’s karma. While this deters many from continuing the work they started with such enthusiasm and inner-conviction, it is in fact the first stirring of real Initiation.
Whether Initiation really takes hold or not is determined by the way the person responds to the Dweller on the Threshold. There will be help if that help is recognised for what it is. There will most certainly be hindrance, obstruction and even seduction—the powerfully compelling voices that urge us to give this up as it will do us no good, that we have made the wrong choice or there is a superior discipline further down the road. The Dweller on the Threshold may take the form of some perceived or genuine misfortune, or a general sense of unease or misgiving. It may take the form of a migraine, one of those ‘flu viruses that is hard to shake off, the incessant demands of a spouse, a difficult child, a manipulative mother, a bullying father or boss at work. Money can be a considerable ‘Dweller’—whether there is too little, or too much of it. An outbreak of supernatural phenomena quite often occurs with those that have awakening psychic sensitivity—the ‘things that go bump in the night’. The Initiates are those who persist, that possess the will and the resolve to keep on. Perhaps there is something else too, the “factor infinite and unknown” referred to in the Egyptian Book of the Law, Liber AL vel Legis II: 32. It is said that “many are called but few are chosen”. Paradoxically it is the aspirant that must use their free will to choose in the first place.
One must strive to understand the Dweller on the Threshold. There is a caveat: The Oath and Task of a Magister Templi is “to interpret every phenomenon as a direct dealing of God with my soul”. The New Age movement with its voracious appetite for assimilating and trivialising the threads from all wisdom traditions has tended to encourage its followers to adopt that particular jnanamudra without any training and preparation and without any supporting philosophical basis or structure. To apply such a method at the beginning of the study and work will bring that study and work to a swift conclusion.
 The Sanskrit word karma means “action”. It generally refers to the phenomenon of cause and effect that appears to govern the machinations of the material universe.
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