John St. John


Oct. 1.
The First Day

At Eight o'clock I rose from sleep and putting on my Robe, began a little to meditate. For several reasons — the journey and business of the day before, etc., etc., I did not feel fresh. But forcing myself a little I rose and went out to the Café du Dôme where I took coffee and a brioche, after buying an exercise book in which to write this record.

This was about 8.45; and now (10.10) I have written thus far.[1]

I have driven over to the Hammam through the beautiful sunshine, meditating upon the discipline of the Operation.

It seems only necessary to cut off definitely dispersive things, aimless chatter and such; for the Operation itself will guide one, leading to disgust for too much food and so on. If there be upon my limbs any chain that requires a definite effort to break it, perhaps sleep is that chain. But we shall see — solvitur ambulando. If any asceticism be desirable later on, true wariness will soon detect any danger, and devise a means to meet it and overcome it.

Have finished bath and massage, during which I continued steadily but quite gently, "not by a strain laborious and hurtful but with stability void of movement," willing the Presence of Adonai.
I ordered a dozen oysters and a beefsteak, and now (12.10) find myself wishing for an apple chewed and swallowed by deglutition,[2] as the Hatha Yogis do.

The distaste for food has already begun.

Impressions already failing to connect.

I was getting into Asana and thinking "I record this fact," when I saw a jockey being weighed.

I thought of recording my own weight which I had not taken.


12.13. - 12.24.
Pranayama [10 seconds to breathe in, 20 seconds to breathe out, 30 seconds to hold in the breath.] Fairly good; made me sweat again thoroughly. Stopped not from fatigue but from lunch.

[Odd memoranda during lunch.

Insist on pupils writing down their whole day; the play as well as the work. "By this means they will become ashamed, and prate no longer of 'beasts.'"]

I am now well away on the ascetic current, devising all sorts of privations and thoroughly enjoying the idea.

Having finished a most enjoyable lunch, will drink coffee and smoke, and try and get a little sleep. Thus to break up sleep into two shifts.
A nice sleep. Woke refreshed.
Am arrived home, having performed a little business and driven back.

Will sit down and do Asana, etc.

Have started.
7 Pranayama cycles enough. Doubtless the big lunch is a nuisance.

I continue meditating simply.

Asana hurts badly, and I can no longer concentrate at all. Must take 5 minutes' rest and then persevere.
Began again. I shall take "Hua Allahu alazi lailaha illa Hua"[3] for mantra[4] if I want one, or: may Adonai reveal unto me a special mantra to invoke Him!
Broke down again, mantra and all.
3.52 - 4.14.
Went on meditating in "Hanged Man posture"[5] to formulate sacrifice and pain self-inflicted; for I feel such a worm, able only to remain a few minutes at a time in a position long since "conquered." For this reason too I cut again the Cross of Blood; and now a third time will I do it. And I will take out the Magical Knife and sharpen it yet more, so that this body may fear me; for that I am Horus the terrible, the Avenger, the Lord of the Gate of the West.
4.15 - 4.30.
Read Ritual DCLXXI.[6]
I have returned from my shopping. Strange how solemn and dignified so trivial a thing becomes, once one has begun to concentrate!

I bought two pears, half a pound of Garibaldi biscuits, and a packet of Gaufrettes. I had a citron pressé,[7] too, at the Dôme.

At the risk of violating the precepts of Zoroaster 170 and 144 I propose to do a Tarot divination for this Operation.

I should explain first that I write this record for other eyes than mine, since I am now sufficiently sure of myself to attain something or other; but I cannot foretell exactly what form the attainment may take. Just so, if one goes to call upon a friend, he may be walking or riding or sleeping.

Thus, then, is Adonai hidden from me. I know where He lives; I know I shall be welcome if I call; but I do not know whether He will invite me to a banquet or ask me to go out with him for a long journey.

It may be that the Rota will give me some hint.[8]

I am never content with such divinations; trustworthy enough in material concerns, in the things of the Spirit one rarely obtains good results.

The first operation was rather meaningless; but one must allow (a) that it was a new way of dealing those cards for the opening of an operation; (b) that I had had two false starts.

The final operation is certainly most favourable; we shall see if it comes true. I can hardly believe it possible.

Will now go for a stroll, get some milk, and settle down for the evening.
I regret to have to announce that on going across to the Dôme with this laudable intention, Nina brought up that red-headed bundle of mischief, Maryt Waska. This being in a way a "bandobast"[9] (and so inviolable), I took her to dinner, eating an omelette, and some bread and Camembert, and a little milk. Afterwards a cup of coffee, and then two hours of the Vajroli Mudra[10] badly performed.

All this I did with reluctance, I did with reluctance, as an act of self-denial or asceticism, lest my desire to concentrate on the mystic path should run away with me.

Therefore I think it may fairly be counted unto me for righteousness.

I now drink a final coffee and retire, to do I hope a more straightforward type of meditation.

So mote it be.

Naked, Maryt looks like Correggio's Antiope. Her eyes are a strange grey, and her hair a very wonderful reddish gold — a colour I have never seen before and cannot properly describe. She has Jewish blood in her, I fancy; this, and her method of illustrating the axiom "Post coitum animal triste"[11] made me think of Baudelaire's "Une nuit que j'etais près d'une affreuse Juive":[12] and the last line

Obscurcir la splendeur des tres froides prunelles.[13]

and Barbey d'Aurevilly's "Rideau Cramoisi" suggested to me the following poem.[14]

Done! i' th' rough! i' th' rough! Now let me go back to my room, and Work!
Home — undressed — robed — attended to toilet — cut cross of Blood once more to affirm mastery of Body — sat down at 11.49 and ended the day with 10 Pranayamas, which caused me to perspire freely, but were not altogether easy or satisfactory.

[1] Including the Prologue, but not the Preface. — Ed.

[2] The action or process of swallowing.

[3] "He is God and there is no other God than He."

[4] any sacred sentence, whose constant repetition produces many strange effects upon the mind. — Ed.

[5] Legs rossed, arms below head, like the figure of the Hanged Man in the Tarot Cards. — Ed.

[6] The nature of this Ritual is explained later. — Ed.

[7] Lemon juice.

[8] We have omitted the details of this divination. — Ed.

[9] Preparation or an arrangement for dealing with something; or the protection of a person, building, or organization against crime or attack.

[10] Vajroli Mudra is one of the ways in yoga which can help you deal with premature ejaculation and urinary disorders. Advanced practice can lead to one being able to control the ejaculation of semen and even ability to pull back the ejaculated semen.

[11] After coitus the animal is sad.

[12] "One night when I was near a terrible Jew"

[13] Obscure the splendor of very cold eyes

[14] We omit this poem. — Ed.

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