Enterer of the Threshold: Apprentice

Book for the Student and Apprentice (Probationer): The Enterer of the Threshold. This book has been substantially revised since 2024. This book serves as an introduction to the Hermetic Order of the Star and Snake. It is in every way a concise theoretical and practical guide.

Ordo Astri Books: Apprentice (Probationer): The Enterer of the ThresholdWhile it was not written exclusively for those who seek membership of such an organisation, the foremost aim was to serve the interests of the latter. So far as a wider readership goes, it was always hoped that it might help in some small way to bring clarity to an area that has suffered utmost obfuscation, and not least of all from the many persons who are considered to be experts. Indeed, confusion abounds today on all matters that really belong to the esoteric domain. And for that very reason, this book, and all other books we have written, were never intended for those who are merely curious or that have a passing interest in a subject they are in no way prepared to study with serious intent. Even this modest volume, a sort of handbook or manual, was not written to be a quick digest, so minimising any effort put in by the student; it requires deep thought and contemplation. The subject concerns preparations needful to the person that earnestly pursues the path of initiation, comprising a vast array of topics inclusive of traditional sciences such as magick, astrology, and the science of numbers as well as essential methods for acquiring real knowledge, including ritual and yoga meditation. Of all these, it is concentration of the mind that is foremost, and ‘concentration’ is meant here in the technical sense (dharana), by which real yoga and discriminative knowledge is alone made possible.

Apprentice degree is the most important one in the Order because it lays the foundation for the development of initiatic possibilities. At the very beginning there is the intellectual matter of books, study and thought, which is the work of the Student. This intellectual work continues through all the grades. The ritual circle is next constructed by taking the Great Work from theory into practice.

In ceremonial, the drawing of a circle is the key to all. It must be a true magical vortex—raising about the sphere of the mind an absolute barrier to all extraneous impressions—thus enabling perfect spontaneity.[1]

The Apprentice must define or mark out the circle of the place. ‘Squaring the circle’ implies bringing to form or manifestation all that we are and can ever be. Towards this aim, the Apprentice must practice and understand an elevenfold formula:

0. Intellectual Thought and Study.
1. The Fraternal Name.
2. The Oath and Task.
3. The Holy Obligation.
4. The Powers of the Sphinx.
5. The Keeping of the Record!
6. The Mudra of Horus the Enterer and Silence.
7. Vibration of Words of Power.
8. The Ritual of the Gates of Babalon.
9. Asana and Pranayama.
10. The Sword and Serpent.

From Apprentice to Neophyte

Since we must get away as far as possible from reductionism and psychologisation of the mysteries, we use the traditional term Sacred Science to describe the subject of our interest. The Sacred Science is obviously not the same thing at all as conventional or profane science, and will never be understood by the methods of the latter. With profane science, theories rest on the belief that they can be ‘proved’ by repeated experiments with control conditions. Material science is quantitative while ours is qualitative.

Alchemy involves repeated operations, as demonstrated in a host of anonymously written treatises, but the ‘proving’ is not the same, and these were never meant to be material operations or effects. All experimentation is irrelevant from the metaphysical point of view. The immortal stone of the wise cannot be weighed, measured or otherwise calculated. According to profane sciences, the human soul does not exist for likewise it cannot be weighed or measured. The soul is the basis of our work.

The proving of what might be termed as ‘spiritual alchemy’ is not that of rational persuasion, but is akin to the proving of bread when the action of yeast causes it to rise. Bread thus became a widely used metaphor for the ‘substance’ of the soul, and wine a metaphor for the spirit. Soul and spirit are unknown to material science, for that which is not material in its basis cannot be proven by material experiments or actions; so it shall always be—never the twain shall meet. The Christian Hermeticist Meister Ekhart expressed this in lucid terms when commenting on the book of Matthew, 6: 24, ‘no man can serve two masters’.[2]

The two eyes of the soul of man cannot both perform their work at once: but if the soul shall see with the right eye into eternity, then the left eye must close itself and refrain from working, and be as though it were dead. For if the left eye be fulfilling its office toward outward things, that is holding converse with time and the creatures; then must the right eye be hindered in its working; that is, in its contemplation. Therefore, whosoever will have the one must let the other go; for ‘no man can serve two masters.’


Notes

1. Paraphrased from Golden Dawn Flying Roll lecture XXVII.
2. From Theologia Germanica, Meister Ekhart.

The Enterer of the Threshold: View book on author’s website at Lulu.

See also: Hermetic Astrology (2024 Revised Edition) on this website. Also:
Hermetic Qabalah Foundation—Complete Course

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Books

All books and tarots listed below are by Oliver St. John. Click on the images to view the cover art of the books at full size. We recommend that our students and subscribers buy our books direct by the links on this page. Thank you for supporting Ordo Astri.


Books on practical (or operational) Magick and Ritual
Including Rosicrucianism and Hermetic Studies, Astrology and Tarot Divination

For books on advanced metaphysical studies and Raja Yoga, scroll down or click the anchor here. For forthcoming and soon to be released books click here.


Liber 373 Astrum Draconis (Revised 11th May  2024)

Liber 373 Astrum DraconisThe Way of the Dragon Star: True sight is the perception of that which is invisible to men. Thus do we Awaken from the Dream of Life to the Life in Spirit! This book comprises a unique course in magick that includes knowledge lectures, invocation, rituals, yoga and meditation. The book embraces a special form of devotional (bhakti) yoga, which combines our methods of kriya yoga and devotion to the Shakti with classical Hermetic or occult philosophy, including the invocation of celestial supra-human intelligences for the purpose of obtaining knowledge. Our work is to reach out to the stars. This does not in any way deny the importance of sending roots down into the earth upon which our physical shells have their being. Working with the shape, form and invisible spirit of the place where we live is a key principle in the Tantrik arts. So far as the ‘locality’ of deities is concerned, as we can reach out to any star in the cosmos so we must extend our reach to every corner of the globe.

Contents
Author’s Preface, The Temple, Earth and Stars, Bhakti Yoga, Love, Devotion and Surrender, Ascent of the Celestial Serpent, Awakening from the Dream of Life, Ritual of the Gate of the Moon, Dual Manifestation, Ritual of the Gate of Mercury, Sophia is our Guiding Light, Ritual of the Gate of Venus, That thou art, Ritual of the Gate of the Sun, True Will (Dharma), Ritual of the Gate of Mars, The Wheel of Force, Ritual of the Gate of Jupiter, Self Knowledge, Ritual of the Gate of Saturn, Ritual of the Gates of Babalon, Ritual of Stella Sophia, Egyptian Tantra-yoga, The Rite of Dedication, The Signatures of the Spirits, Sonics: The Formula of Vibration.

Standard perfect bound paperback: Order from the author’s website at Lulu here.


Hermetic Astrology
Revised and Extended Edition

Books: Hermetic AstrologyThe hieroglyphs of the stars are the flaming runes of knowledge that were written in the sky aeons before any human hand cut a stroke with a stylus. The primary aim of this book is to explain astrology in a simple and concise way. The veriest beginner will quickly gain an understanding of their natal horoscope, while those already well-versed in the subject will find here magical applications for the art that do not appear in other books on astrology. This will be very welcome to those who wish to find a key to astrology and even occultism, without psychologisation or meaningless jargon. The intelligent enthusiast has no need for number-crunching arithmetic or reliance on computers for interpretation. Here in one small book is a complete ‘teach yourself’ course in astrology covering chart interpretation, the dignities of signs, houses and planets, aspects and astrological timing. Knowledge includes the Part of Fortune, the Dragon Stars or Nodes of the Moon and Sexual Magick, the Egyptian Ka or double, the Holy Guardian Angel, Evil Genius, Outer Gateways, use of Tarot cards and the natal chart as a Master Key of Life.

Hardbound edition: Linen wrap, blue boards, with endpapers and gold folio stamp on the spine. Order from the author’s website here.

Standard perfect bound paperback: view/order from the author’s website here.


Magical Theurgy—Rituals of the Tarot
Revised Edition

Magical Theurgy—Rituals of the TarotMagical Theurgy is a powerfully compelling grimoire of modern and traditional magick, and comprises a course in ritual magick and Tarot. The book gives the elemental mudras or Godforms and a meditation method, plus simple and advanced magical rituals. Hermetic Tantra-yoga serves as an excellent means of awakening power for those familiar with the Western Mystery Tradition, and who wish to take their knowledge further. The book includes a guide on how to make and charge talismans with illustrations of the Magic Squares (or Kameas) and sigils of planetary spirits. Everything needed by the magician is here placed under one cover including Solomonic magick and planetary hours. The tables of Qabalistic correspondences are inclusive of magical powers, potencies, colours, perfumes, magical weapons, plants, gems, legendary creatures and the vices and virtues. Tarot divination is the means of opening and extending lines of communication between the temporal and the supernatural worlds. A complete method is given here. The core of this book is the Grand Tarot Operation, a thirty-day theurgic operation.

The book’s cover art shown here is from the hardbound edition. The paperback edition has the same design but on a white background.

Hardbound edition (black cover): Linen wrap, blue boards, with endpapers and gold folio stamp on the spine. Order from the author’s website here.

Standard perfect bound paperback (white cover): Order from the author’s website here.


The Enterer of the Threshold
Revised Edition

Books: The Enterer of the Threshold (2024)This book serves as an introduction to the Hermetic Order of the Star and Snake. It is in every way a concise theoretical and practical guide. The aim of our work is to prepare for spiritual realisation. The first real or effective initiation involves psychic regeneration, but that must not be confused with the goal itself; it is only subsidiary to the goal—a further preparation. Full realisation involves final and permanent transformation of all human possibilities to the spiritual order of possibilities, which is entirely outside of and beyond the human domain or sphere of the individuality.

This revised edition includes our Ritual of the Gates of Babalon (a Gnostic variation on the well-known pentagram ritual) and a complete explanation of our Egyptian Yoga method and praxis. The book also includes Key Scale correspondence tables, expanded and corrected. As well as the primary Qabalistic Sephiroth, Gods and Angels, the tables cover everything needed by the practical magician: colours, magical powers, symbolic weapons, perfumes, precious stones, plants, animals and legendary creatures.

Format: trade paperback; perfect binding (6” x 9”)
Order the book here.
Read more about this book here.


Hermetic Qabalah Foundation—Complete Course
Revised Edition

Hermetic Qabalah Foundation—Complete CourseHerein is the key to spiritual alchemy, magick and yoga: the Tree of Life is seeded in the astrosome of the magician so the rituals and practices are a gateway to true knowledge. Awakening the Serpent Power allows the development of possibilities required to transcend the perceptions of the mind and realise true knowledge. The Angel or supranatural power of divinity can assist in the conscious return to the Garden of Eden. The Qabalah is the basis for meditation, magick, astrology and tarot, including the art of gematria, talismans, invocation and evocation, the pentagram and hexagram and symbolic weapons. All this is seamlessly integrated with the one-year practical coursework through ritual meditation. Preliminary work includes the Wisdom of Breath, Ritual Sonics, Assumption of the Godform and a variant form of the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram. The student then moves, step-by-step, towards creation of an astral double by which the individual possibilities are extended.

Format: trade paperback; perfect binding (6” x 9”)
Order the book here.


Ritual Magick—Initiation of the Star and Snake
Revised Edition

Hermetic Order: Ritual Magick—Initiation of the Star and SnakeThe rituals and methods given in this book are drawn from the legacy of the Hermetic Order of the Star and Snake. It is a complete magical system of initiatic grades or degrees, brought to the highest level. Our ritual mandala objectifies the Cosmic Serpent. The winding snakes of the Caduceus are the dual expression of the Occult Force. The lunar and solar forces are invoked simultaneously to raise consciousness in the central column. We orient to the stellar North, the place of greatest power. It marks the ‘imperishable’ or immortal constellations that circle the Polar Axis. In the ritual circle, the North is a gateway for manifestation of the invoked forces of the operation. The sounding of eleven knocks or knells for us signifies the perfect harmonisation of the macrocosm, the ‘six’, and the microcosm, the ‘five’.

Subjects include the Eight Limbs of Yoga, the Circle of the Place, Mudras or signs of the grades, Ritual of the Gates of Babalon, formulation of the Magical Name, Opening and Closing the Temple, Star and Snake Tantra-yoga, (revised) Rituals of the Pentagram and Hexagram, Rising on the Planes, Skrying and Clairvoyance, Consecration of Talismans, the Egyptian Mass, Ritual for Psychic Self-defence, the Holy Guardian Angel, Ritual of the Rosy Cross, Consecration of the Magical Sword, Goetic Evocation, the Ceremony of the Watchtowers and Enochian Magick.

Format: trade paperback; perfect binding (6” x 9”); 284 pages in total.
Order the book here.


Books on Metaphysics and Raja Yoga (advanced studies)

Thunder Perfect Gnosis—Intellectual Flower of Mind

Thunder Perfect Gnosis—Intellectual Fower of MindWe here follow up points of special interest on Gnostic and other texts, including the remarkable Thunder Perfect Mind. Yoga and a science of the mind is implicit in all of them. Our interest is in metaphysical and universal symbolism; we are not overly concerned with factual references, names, dates and places. The surviving fragments of these ancient texts, as with the Yoga-Sutras, have their true origins in times that were already ancient when the Christian Gospels were being composed. The evidence for a yoga practice and science of the mind in those texts will become clear from studying this book. The second part of the book comprises a careful, practical study of the Yoga Sutras attributed to Patanjali and Vyasa. There is no simplification or dilution of the yoga method; yet that method is clearly explained. The goal of yoga remains the same: union with God, immortality and even final liberation for those rare individuals that will renounce the world.

The book is hardbound, with endpapers and gold folio stamp on the spine. It comprises 216 pages in all on white papers and is illustrated throughout.

Order the book from the author’s website here.
Read an article from this book here.


Thirty-two paths of Wisdom
Key to the Hermetic Qabalah: Commentary on the Shining Paths of the Sepher Yetzirah and the Paths of Evil.

Thirty-two paths of Wisdom front cover artThe first section of this book serves as an introduction to the Qabalah inclusive of the Hebraic tradition, from which the latter was developed, as well as the modern Hermetic tradition. There follows a new commentary on the Thirty-two paths of Wisdom from the most important Qabalistic source work, The Sepher Yetzirah or Book of Formation. ‘The Paths of Evil’ concerns the traditional Qliphoth of the first ten paths and those corresponding to the Zodiac. The last section, ‘The Tunnels of Set’, is a critical reappraisal of Kenneth Grant’s Nightside of Eden Part Two, revealing how Aleister Crowley and then Grant and others worked to invert symbolism, effectively removing all spiritual possibilities for those that would follow them. By placing this in the context of the neo-spiritualist and postmodern occult movement it is shown how the decline and intellectual collapse of an entire civilisation towards the final dissolution of our world is being supernaturally accelerated.

The book is hardbound, linen wrap, blue boards, with endpapers and gold folio stamp on the spine. It comprises 128 pages in all on white papers.

Order the book from the author’s website here.


The Way of Knowledge in the Reign of Antichrist

Books: The Way of Knowledge front coverThis book includes five chapters on the Holy Guardian Angel and five chapters on yoga, as well as some unique observations on the True Self and other matters of vital concern to the practitioner. Here we pass beyond the syncretism of occultism to the synthesis of the metaphysical gnosis. The sequel to Nu Hermetica continues the story where the latter left off, but there is greater focus on practicality, as indicated by the title. The metaphysical gnosis is necessarily the view from the ‘centre’, something that may be shown geometrically, for example the three-dimensional cross or Cube of Space. This is also symbolised in various traditions by the ‘holy city’, the summit of a mountain or its centre. In the Age of Kali Yuga there was effected a withdrawal or hiding of knowledge and initiatic rites were thus placed in caves or labyrinths, either symbolically or literally. All true initiatic paths lead to the same goal and only differ from the point of view of the outsider who only sees the appearance. The outward differences of paths owe merely to cultural or other modifications, as necessary, and none of that is of any consequence to initiation at all.

As was stated in bold terms in Nu Hermetica, we must deal with the conditions of the world that we now find ourselves in. While we will not avoid the subject, as is clear by the full title of The Way of Knowledge, it is necessary to point out that the book is not a comment on social conditions or the more or less extraordinary phenomena that is all part of the ‘signs of the times’.

The book is hardbound, with endpapers and gold folio stamp on the spine. It comprises 196 pages in all on white papers and is fully illustrated.

Order book from the author’s website here.


Nu Hermetica—Initiation and Metaphysical Reality

Books: The Way of Knowledge front coverThe voices of the Egyptian neteru are as loud and clear today as they were in ancient history for those who are still able to hear them amidst the noise and tumult of a civilisation that has lost all heart. Nu Hermetica addresses the difficulty of initiation in the twenty-first century—for the Way has not changed but the conditions we work under certainly have. Laws, news, facts and even history are updated, deleted, replaced and rewritten on a daily basis. So-called alternative movements, some of which even claim to be ‘spiritual’, only serve to reinforce profane, anti-spiritual notions. There is a need to pass on real knowledge to those few that are willing and able to receive it.

The book is hardbound, with blue linen boards, endpapers and gold folio stamp on the spine. It comprises 236 pages in all on white papers and is fully illustrated.

View/order book from the author’s website here.

Read an artice from this book here.


Babalon Unveiled! Thelemic Monographs
Second Edition (Revised)

Books: Babalon Unveiled! Thelemic Monographs Cover ArtSecond Edition Revised (8th April 2023): Here is the definitive work on Thelema, magick and the key role of the Shakti. ‘Lapis Philosophorum’ redefines Thelema, liberating it from the accretions of modern and postmodernist obfuscation.

‘Babalon Unveiled’ is the title piece of this collection and is one of seven related studies on the mystery of the Goddess in her various names and forms, including that of the Scarlet Woman. Each shows an aspect of her oracular voice as it has been heard and recorded down the ages. ‘Angels of Sacred Dance, Love and Whoredom’ examines how the divine feminine of pre-religious antiquity was demonised, resulting in the host of ‘fallen angels’ whose identity is yet preserved in traditional texts. The book is dedicated to the memory of Rose Edith Kelly, otherwise known as Rose Crowley or Ouarda the Seer. Rose was the medium for the transmission activated through the Stele of Revealing in the Cairo museum in 1904.

Format: 6 x 9 hardcover, dustjacket; blue linen boards; gold foil stamp lettering on spine; white end papers, 168 pages in all.

Order book from the author’s website here.
Read an article from the Second Edition here.


Books to be Released in 2024: Metamorphosis

Books: MetamorphosisWith this book we continue to look at subjects of Gnostic and Hermetic interest previously left unexplored from the metaphysical point of view. This includes arcane matters such as the Evil Genius, Psychic Residues, and Telesmata and Familiar Spirits. A lengthy chapter is devoted to Alexandrian Gnosticism. Part Two, ‘Yoga Power’, is a continuation of our very practical instruction on the Raja Yoga of Patanjali that took up a large part of Thunder Perfect Gnosis. We now go more deeply into intellective process, devotional practice (bhakti) and concentration of the mind. The advanced levels of Samyama Yoga are now disclosed, revealing an exact traditional science. The book concludes with the Supernormal Powers, of which almost nothing is known in the West, including Knowledge of the Past and Future, Knowledge of the Language of all Beings, Knowledge of Previous States of Existence, How to Read Minds, Invisibility and more.


Books to be Released in 2025: Egyptian Tarot

Egyptian Tarot Book FrontA new publication of this book is expected early 2025. In every true act of divination, in every true act of magick, something of the soul is born into the world. The soul has a tenuous relation with the mind, and cannot do without that relation; the very existence of the soul depends on it. The soul is latent until she brings forth her ‘child’, by which she restores the world to the divine image—which is called a Great Work. It is through such subtle relations that the soul realises the principle by which it is possible to resurrect the whole (integral) individual.

This book focuses on the structure of the Tarot and the Qabalistic correspondences that transform it from a card game or fortune telling device into a vehicle of the highest order. The major arcana cards each have a chapter to describe them; a complete method of divination is provided. In creating the Egyptian Tarot, we have made full use of Ithell Colquhoun’s ingenious interpretation of the Golden Dawn colour correspondences.

Colquhoun, when explaining her Tarot, or TARO, eschewed the notion of divination. Her abstract Surrealist Tarot was designed purely as a yantra for meditation. As ours is a figurative and symbolic Tarot, it lends itself to meditation, ritual or divination. From the book:

The well-known occult association between the Tarot cards and ancient Egypt is by now commonly dismissed. This is because we live in a time where materialism now dominates the minds of the majority to such an extent that they no longer even think of themselves as materialists. All such arguments, based on ‘evidence’ and ‘fact’, miss the mark. It is irrelevant as to whether or not the ancient Egyptians might have used anything like playing cards or Tarot, whether for amusement, fortune telling or divination. The key to the knowledge is in the symbolism, which, even in the first deck printed from woodcuts, the Tarot of Marseille (late 15th or 16th century), is astonishing. Once it is known that Egypt was the source of all learning and civilisation, there is no longer any need to speculate on the origins of the Tarot. We are not speaking here of artefacts, we are speaking of symbolism that points to a timeless wisdom. This owes to a source far older than that even of the 1st Dynasty of Egypt.

Our book insists upon the following: “A word must be heard before it can be uttered.” Technically, and especially from the yogic point of view, hearing and speech are closely related. Space is filled with akasha or ether, which is perceptible through vibration, forming the basis of both sound and light. The Intelligible Light is one expression used by the ancients to denote the divine light, which consciousness may make comprehensible. Symbolism, of which the Tarot is a notable example, is a needful support to spiritual realisation.


Books: Notes

About the Author of these books

All books on this page other than Egyptian Tarot and deck can be ordered direct from the author’s website at Lulu by following the links given here. Proceeds of the sales of our books help to fund Ordo Astri.

Books in preparation: The Flaming Sword Sepher Sephiroth (two volumes); Metamorphosis; The Law of Thelema—Cult of Antichrist.

Subscribe to our monthly Journal, Metamorphosis here. The Journal is free of charge and is delivered by email. Books in preparation are often previewed and sometimes complete articles from our books are published there.

Oliver St. John YouTube Channel.

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