Adepthood is No Mean Task – The Intermediate Mysteries
The passing of the Gates gives the priest both power and wisdom to use it. He becomes able to control the affairs of his life more perfectly than before, and many have been content to merely pass the first three Gates and then sit down and go no further than that, enjoying the benefits that they have found on the preliminary spheres.
We have seen that the Lesser Mysteries of the Inner Planets have much to teach an individual about how to be successful in their mundane lives and to lay secure foundations for the more advanced work they must perform. Indeed, just as the Lesser Mysteries were the basis of the “Outer Orders” of Victorian occultism, we can recognize that they also form the basis of the exoteric and organized practices of Judaism and Christianity. The Protestant Work Ethic in particular, which led to the creation of capitalism, is a product of the lesser mysteries, and the simple lives dictated by such teachings esteemed family, discipline, success in one’s profession, and the ability to win battles successfully as the capstones of life.
But this is Evil, for they are not equipped to deal with the attack from Without that must surely come, and their people will cry unto them for safety, and it will not come forth.
The forces of Universal Chaos that the Ancient Ones represent are natural eventualities that supersede and penetrate “the best laid plans of mice and men”. The profound warning presented in this verse is not fully appreciated by those who imagine that an invasion from the Outside only occurs in a spectacular and fantastic fashion; perhaps in the style depicted in the movie Hellboy. The truth is that the “Ancient Ones” do not need “special effects” to wreak havoc on the world. They break through every day and bring about unspeakable horror through vehicles such as warfare, disease, genocide, rape, and environmental disasters.
During the course of its history, the Roman Church (for Rome and the Christian Church became one force) eliminated all of its open rivals until its absolute dominance over Europe was undisputed. Then came the Mongol invasions and the Plague, called “Scourges of God”, and the church was shown in reality to be impotent to protect Europe from losing a huge proportion of its population. Instead, it convened a horrible inquisition and proclaimed that the end was at hand. The end was at hand, but only of the world as the church envisioned. The world itself went on, and the shocking failure of the church to live up to its word opened the way for both the Protestant Reformation and the Scientific Revolution.
Therefore, set thy face towards the ultimate goal and strive ever onward to the furthest reaches of the stars, though it mean thine own death; for such a death is as a sacrifice to the Gods, and pleasing, that they will not forget their people.
Although both the quality and quantity of life may be enriched, death is a natural eventuality that awaits us all and which we all must make peace with. The goal of a Gatewalker is to conduct one’s life in such a way that regrets and unfinished karmic business will not follow one’s spirit after death, and that with both life and death service to the world and fulfillment of one’s destiny and true will is accomplished. Every life lived in such a way empowers all of the lives surrounding it. It revitalizes the world through restablishing “the Covenant” of Durankia – the Bond of Heaven and Earth.
The Arbatel of Magic calls the next set of Mysteries “Mean”, in the older sense of the word, denoting that which is common or average, rather than cruel. That cruelty came to be associated with the average person is a sad commentary on the history of our species. The degrees of these Intermediate Mysteries are the Adept degrees – Minor, Major, and Exempt respectively, corresponding to the spheres of the Sun, Mars, and Jupiter – a contraction of Jove Pater.
Just like the Lesser Secrets, “The Mean Secrets are likewise seven in number:
1. The first is, the transmutation of Metals, which is vulgarly called Alchemy; which certainly is given to very few, and not but of special grace.
This branch of knowledge included both the arts of ancient Al Khem – the Black Art of the Black Land of Aegypt – as well as the knowledge of modern chemistry. It includes both the means to create alloys and convincing substitutes as well as real and authentic alchemical transmutations, which are accomplished not merely with natural or even artificial means, but with the power of the human spirit and the cooperation of the spirits of the elements.
2. The second is, the curing of diseases with Metals, either by the magnetic virtues of precious stones, or by the use of the Philosophers stone, and the like.
The practice of homeopathy makes use of minute amounts of minerals as well as essences and tinctures of plants and animals. Although western medicine does make use of metals and other minerals in its therapies, the allopathic approach generally overkills with the quantity of the substance, and limits itself to only certain ones which are often used for their reactivity. The spirits of the Necronomicon can help those with interest in this field to rediscover many safe and effective treatments that utilize the minerals surrounding us.
3. The third is, to be able to perform Astronomical and Mathematical miracles, such as are Hydraulic-engines, to administer business by the influence of Heaven, and things which are of the like sort.
All manner of modern technology falls into this category, but the “administration of business by the influence of Heaven” is an interesting corrolary. Its suggests coordination with astrological cycles that are seen as of the same importance and nature of the physical forces of gravity and other cosmic polarities.
4. The fourth is, to perform the works of natural Magick, of what sort soever they be.
“Natural Magic” was the original name of Science, as evidence in John Baptiste’s work on the subject. This field was originally an admixture of folk traditions and experiments with natural forces such as magnetism and static electricity that contained both magical effects and what we would now class as “natural effects”, although magic in itself is a perfectly natural mechanism in the domain of intelligent beings. The first book of Agrippa’s Occult Philosophy focuses on this area, which is also the domain of modern witchcraft and sorcery – medicinal and magical applications of natural substances such as salts, herbs, candle wax, and animal curios.
5. The fifth is, to know all Physical secrets.
The mastery of divination in its many forms allows one to obtain whatever kind of information is required or desired whenever necessary. This may take the form of simple dowsing for water, or the evocation of spirits for information, as outlined in the Book of Calling.
6. The sixth is, to know the foundation of all Arts which are exercised with the hands and offices of the body.
This area would include both martial arts as well as Hatha Yoga and any other discipline in which the physical body becomes the medium of miracles, including gymnastics and other athletic sports.
7. The seventh is, to know the foundation of all Arts which are exercised by the angelical nature of man.
The “angelical nature of man” alludes to several functions of our spirits and minds, including the formation and travel of the astral body, psychic ability, psionics, lucid dreaming, and the prophetic arts. Remember that “angelos” is a translation of the Hebrew “malach” – a messenger being who has surrendered his claims on godhood to the service of a Great God, such as Marduk, Enlil, or the Yahweh. Nebo and Hermes, possibly the same god, were both “swift of winged foot” and the examplars of these abilites and responsabilities, communicating amongst the agents of Heaven and Earth and carrying out the will of the divine council formed therewith.
We can see from this list though that while such abilities and capacities may once have been common amongst magicians and sorcerers in times past, they are actually more rare today in a magical culture that is trying to reinvent the wheel and still wonders about the very reality of spirits and “magical” powers.
Initiates of the Mean Mysteries, in my experience, are much more independant in thought and practice than their younger brothers and sisters on the path. They are beginning to make a name for themselves through personal explanations of a spiritual field of their choosing. With the opening of the Shammash gate, these practitioners begin to work from their hearts and pursue that which is personally relevant and interesting to them, which will depend upon their nature, experience, the karma of past lives, and their current goals and disposition. They are the more educated and erudite authors of occult literature, as opposed to the “witchcrap” authors who rehash the same information again and again and tend to believe they’re the first to rediscover what is essential Spirituality 101. You’ll find these individuals crafting their own ritual supplies, engaging in planned long-term developmental programs, lecturing at conventions and lodge meetings, and sometimes even selling wares and services to those willing to buy. They network extensively with both spirits and humans and enjoy sharing and comparing experiences one on one, over the phone, internet, and in person. Generally there is a lot more honesty with these practitioners and many have gotten burned in spiritual organizations of one flavor or another. Minor Adepts “shine” with the brightness of the Sun and often have a cheerful nature and good sense of humor to buoy them in their spiritual adventures. As Shammash is the Master Exorcist, they gain the power to start to seriously overcome both their own demons and the demons that trouble their fellows.
Major adepts have a seriousness about them that comes from learning to grapple head on with both their fears and their weaknesses. They study the nature of evil, pain, and suffering, and learn to push themselves beyond their old comfort zones to achieve new heights and levels of proficiency in anything they put their minds and bodies to. Nergal teaches us to fight when we must but also know and respect our enemy for who they are and what they stand for – nothing mroe, nothing less. Many if not most of the occultists I have met have trained in at least one martial art for at least a year, and this is an excellent accompaniment to spiritual study that prevents one from becoming too cerebral and helps an initiate to understand, as one sister of mine put it, “the Teachings in Movement and Motion”. Although fear may still come, great bravery is acquired in this stage which helps the initiate to survive and overcome whatever obstacles arise in his or her path.
The term Adeptus Exemptus can be understood in two ways. The first is that these initiates are exemplary examples for their compatriots to follow. They have begun to truly realize their spiritual nobility – the “blue blood” of royalty. This sphere and grade teach what is called Righteous Kingship – how to lead and command both spirits and men, and to organize and manifest a divine kingdom on Earth. The second understanding of Exemptus is that these adepts become exempt from the formal and informal laws and dogmas to which their younger siblings are bound, consciously or unconsciously. These initiates learn to live justly and rightly in a more personal sense, in which the law is “written on their hearts” and understood and executed without narrowness or ritual specifics. This is the beginning of the birth of creativity, in that a written code can be transcended in favor of an intuitive leap. This comes with an understaning of the origin, nature, and spirit of the law, so that lip-service and repeitive ritual become replaced by very meaningful and powerful rites of a personal nature, of which “even the Elder Gods are awed thereby”.
David S. – “Optimystic”