John St. John


The Fourth Day

So therefore begins the fourth day of this my great magical retirement; I bleed from the slashes of the magick knife; I smart from the heat of the Holy Oil; I am bruised by the scourge of Osiris that hath so cruelly smitten me; the perfume yet fills the chamber of Art; — and I?

Oh Adonai my Lord, surely I did invoke Thee with fervour; yet Thou camest not utterly to the tryst. And yet I know that Thou wast there; and it may be that the morning may being rememberance of Thee which this consciousness does not now contain.

But I swear by Thine own glory that I will not be satisfied with this, that I will go on even unto madness and death if it be Thy will — but I will know Thee as Thou art.

It is strange how my cries died down; how I found myself quite involuntarily swinging back to the old mantra that I worked all yesterday.

However, I shall try a little longer in the Position of the Hanged Man, although sleep is again attacking me. I am weary, yet content, as if some great thing had indeed happened. But if I lost consciousness — a thing no man can be positive about from the nature of things — it must have happened so quietly that I never knew. Certainly I should not have thought that I had gone on for 25 minutes, as I did.

But I do indeed ask for a Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel which is not left so much to be inferred from the good results in my life and work; I want the Perfume and the the Vision….

Why am I so materially wallowing in grossness? It matters little; the fact remains that I do wallow. I want that definite experience in the very same sense as Abramelin had it; and what's more, I mean to go on till I get it.

I begin, therefore, in Hanged Man posture, to invoke the Angel, within the Pyramid already duly prepared by DCLXXI.
Alas! in vain have I tried even the supreme ritual of Awaiting the Beloved, although once I thought — Ah! give unto Thy beloved in sleep!

How ashamed I should be, though! For an earthly lover one would be on tiptoe of excitement, trembling at every sound, eager, afraid…

I will, however, rise and open (as for a symbol) the door and the window. Oh that the door of my heart were ever open! For He is always there, and always eager to come in.

I rise and open unto my Beloved.

… May it be granted unto me in the daylight of this day to construct from DCLXXI a perfect ritual of self-initiation, so as to avoid the constant difficulty of assuming various God-forms. Then let that ritual be a constant and perfect link between Us … so that at all times I may be perfect in Thy Knowledge and Conversation, O mine Holy Guardian Angel! to whom I have aspired these ten years past.

And though as it may seem I now compose myself to sleep, I await Thee … I await Thee!
I arise from sleep, mine eyes a little weary, my soul fresh, my heart restored.
Accordingly, I continue in gentle and easy meditation on my Lord Adonai, without fear or violence, quite directly and naturally.

One of the matters that came up last night with Dr. R—d was that of writing rubbish for magazines. He thought that one could do it in the intervals of serious work; but I do not think that one should take the risk. I have spent these many years training my mind to think cleanly and express beautifully. Am I to prostitute myself for a handful of bread?

I swear by Thyself, O Thou who art myself, that I will not write save to glorify Thee, that I will write only in beauty and melody, that I will give unto the world as Thou givest unto me, whether it be a consuming fire, or a cup of the wine of Iacchus, or a glittering dagger, or a disk brighter than the sun. I will starve in the street before I pander to the vileness of the men among whom I live — oh my Lord Adonai, be with me, give me the purest poesy, keep me to this vow! And if I turn aside, even for a moment, I pray Thee, warn me by some signal chastisement, that Thou art a jealous god, and that Thou wilt keep me veiled, cherished, guarded in Thine harem a pure and perfect spouse, like a slender fountain playing in Thy courts of marble and of malachite, of jasper, of topaz, and of lapis lazuli.

And by my magick power I summon all the inhabitants of the ten thousand worlds to witness this mine oath.

I will rise, and break my fast. I think it as well to go on with the mantra, as it started of its own accord.
Arrived at Pantheon, to breakfast on coffee and biroche and a peach.

I shall try and describe Ritual DCLXXI; since its nature is important to this great ceremony of initiation. Those who understand a little about the Path of the Wise may receive some hint of the method of operation of the L.V.X.

And I think that a description will help me to collect myself for the proper adaptation of this Ritual to the purpose of Self- initiation.

Oh, how soft is the air, and how serene the sky, to one who has passed through the black rule of Apophis! How infinitely musical are the voices of Nature, those that are heard and those that are not heard! What Understanding of the Universe, what Love is the prize of him that hath performed all things and endured all things!

The first operation of Ritual DCLXXI is the preparation of the Place.

There are two forces; that of Death and that of Natural Life.

Death begins the Operation by a knock, to which Life answers.

Then Death, banishing all forces external to the operation, declares the Speech in the Silence.

Both officers go from their thrones and form the base of a triangle whose apex is the East. They invoke the Divine Word, and then Death slays with the knife, and embalms with the oil, his sister Life.

Life, thus prepared, invokes, at the summons of Death, the forces necessary to the Operation. The Word takes its station in the East and the officers salute it both by speech and silence in their signs; and they pronounce the secret Word of power that riseth from the Silence and returneth thereunto.

All this they affirm; and in affirming the triangular base of the Pyramid, find that they have mysteriously affirmed the Apex thereof whose name is Ecstasy.

This also is sealed by that secret word; for that Word containeth All.

Into this prepared Pyramid of divine Light there cometh a certain darkling wight, who knoweth not either his own nature, or his origin or destiny, or even the name of that which he desireth. Before he can enter the Pyramid, therefore, four ordeals are required of him.

So, bound and blinded, he stumbles forward, and passes through the wrath of the Four Great Princes of the Evil of the World, whose Terror is about him on every side. Yet since he has followed the voice of the Officer who has prepared him, in this part of the Ritual no longer merely Nature, the great Mother, but Neschamah (his aspiration) and the representative of Adonai, he may pass through all. Yea, in spite of the menace of the Hiereus, whose function is now that of his fear and of his courage, he goes on and enters the Pyramid. But there he is seized and thrown down by both officers as one unworthy to enter. His aspiration purifies him with steel and fire; and there as he lies shattered by the force of the ritual, he hears — even as a corpse that hears the voice of Israfel — the Hegemon that chants a solemn hymn of praise to that glory which is at the Apex, and who invisibly rules and governs the whole Pyramid.

Now then that darkling wight is lifted by the officers and brought to the altar in the centre; and there the Hiereus accuses him of the two and twenty Basenesses, while the Hegemon lifting up his chained arms cries again and again against his enemy that he is under the Shadow of the Eternal Wings of the Holy One. Yet at the end, at the supreme accusation, the Hiereus smites him into death. The same answer avails him, and in its strength he is uplifted by his aspiration — and now he stands upright.

Now then he makes a journey in his new house, and perceives at stated times, each time preceded by a new ordeal and equilibration, the forces that surround him. Death he sees, and the Life of Nature whose name is Sorrow, and the Word that quickeneth these, and his own self — and when he hath recognised these four in their true nature he passes to the altar once more and as the apex of a descending triangle is admitted to the lordship of the Double Kingdom. Thus is he a member of the visible triad that is crossed with the invisible — behold the hexagram of Solomon the King! All this the Hiereus seals with a knock and at the Hegemon's new summons he — to his surprise — finds himself as the Hanged Man of the Tarot.

Each point of the figure thus formed they crown with light, until he glitters with the Flame of the Spirit.

Thus and not otherwise is he made a partaker of the Mysteries, and the Lightning Flash strikes him. The Lord hath descended from heaven with a shout and with the Voice of the Archangel, and the trump of God.

He is installed in the Throne of the Double Kingdom, and he wields the Wand of Double Power by the sings of the grade.

He is recognized an initiate, and the word of Secret Power, and the silent administration of the Sacrament of Sword and Flame, acknowledge him.

Then, the words being duly spoken and the deeds duly done, all is symbolically sealed by the Thirty Voices, and the Word that vibrateth from the Silence to the Speech, and from the Speech again unto the Silence. Then the Pyramid is sealed up, even as it was opened; yet in the sealing thereof the three men partake in a certain mystical manner of the Eucharist of the Four Elements that are consumed for the Perfection of the Oil.

Knox Om Pax.[1]

Having written out this explanation, I will read it through and meditate solemnly thereupon. All this I wrote in the Might of the Secret Ring committed unto me by the Masters; so that all might be absolutely correct.

One thing strikes me as worthy of mention. Last night when I went into the restaurant to speak to R—d, my distaste for food was so intense that the smell of it caused real nausea. To-day, I am perfectly balanced, neither hungry nor nauseated. This is indeed more important than it seems; it is a sure sign when one sees a person take up fads that he is under the black rule of Apophis. In the Kingdom of Osiris there is freedom and light. To-day I shall eat neither with the frank gluttony of Isis nor with the severe asceticism of Apophis. I shall eat as much and as little as I fancy; these violent means are no longer necessary. Like Count Fosco, I shall "go on my way sustained by my sublime confidence, self-balanced by my impenetrable calm."

I have spent half an hour wandering in the Musee du Luxembourg.

I now sit down to meditate on this new ritual.

The following, so it appears, should be the outlines — damn it, I've a good mind to write it straight off — no! I'll be patient and tease the Spirit a little. I will be coquettish as a Spanish catamite.

  1. Death summons Life and clears away all other forces.
  2. The Invocation of the Word. Death consecrates Life, who in her whirling dance invokes that Word.
  3. They salute the Word. The Signs and M—M1 must be a Chorus, if anything.
  4. The Miraculous appearance of Iacchus, uninvoked.
  1. The 3 Questions.
  2. The 4 ordeals. Warning and comfort as an appeal to the Officers.
  3. The Threshold.
    The Chorus of Purification.
    The Hymn "My heart, my mother!" as already written, years ago.
  4. At the altar. The accusation and defence as antiphonies.
  5. The journey. Bar and pass, and the 4 visions even as a mighty music.
  6. The Hanged Man — the descent of Adonai.
  7. The installation — signs, etc.

Sealing as for opening; but insert Sacrament.

During a lunch of 12 oysters, Cêpes Bordelaise, Tarte aux Cérises, Café Noir, dispatched without Yoga or ceremonial, I wrote the Ritual in verse, in the Egyptian Language. I don't think very well. Time must show: also experience. I'd recite Tennyson if I thought it would give Samadhi!

Now more mantra, though by the Lord I'm getting sick of it.

It occurs to me, now that I am seeing my way in the Operation a little more clearly, that one might consider the First Day as Osiris Slain +, the Second as that of the Mourning of Isis L, the third as that of the Triumph of Apophis V, and to-day that of Osiris Risen X; these four days being perfect in themselves as a 5° = 6 operation (or possibly with one or two more to recapitulate L.V.X. Lux, the Light of the Cross). Thence one might proceed to some symbolic passage through the 6° = 5 grade — though of course that grade is really symbolic of this soul-journey, not "vice versa" — and through 7° = 4; so perhaps — if one could only dare to hope it! — to the 8° = 3 attainment. Certainly what little I have done so far pertains no higher than Minor adeptship though I have used higher formulæ in the course of my working.
My Prana is acting in a feverish manner; a mixture of fatigue and energy. This is not good: it probably comes from bolting that big lunch, and may mean that I must sleep to recover equilibrium. I will, however, use the Pentagram ritual on my Anahata Cakkram[2] and see if that steadies me. (P.S. — Yes: instantly). Notice, please, how in this condition of intense magical strain the most trifling things have a great influence. Normally, I can eat anything in any quantity without the slightest effect of any sort; witness my expeditions and debauches; nothing upsets me.

P.S. — But notice, please! Normally half a bottle of Burgundy excites me notably; while doing this magic is like so much water. A "transvaluation of all values!"

Over a citron pressé I have revised the new Ritual. Also I have bought suitable materials for copying it fair; and this I did without solemnity or ceremonial, but quite simply, just as anybody else might buy them. In short, I bought them in a truly Rosicrucian manner, according to the custom of the country. I add a few considerations on the grade of Adeptus Major 6° = 5.

(P.S. — Distinction is to be made between attainment of this grade in the natural and in the spiritual world. The former I long since possessed.)

  1. It may perhaps mean severe asceticism. In case I should be going out on that path I will try and get a real good dinner to fortify myself.
  2. The paths leading to Geburah are from Hod, that of the Hanged Man, and from Tiphereth, that of Justice, both equilibrated aspects of Severity, the one implying Self-Sacrifice, the other involuntary suffering. One is Freewill, the other Karma; and that in a wider sense than that of Suffering.

    The Ritual DCLXXI will still be applicable: indeed, it may be considered sufficient; but of course it must be lived as well as performed.

(I must here complain of serious trouble with fountain pens, and the waste of priceless time fixing them up. They have been wrong throughout the whole operation, a thing that has not happened to me for near eight years. I hope I've got a good one at last — yes, thank God! this one writes decently.)

Somehow or other I have got off the track; have been fooling about with too many odd things, necessary as they may have been. I had better take a solid hour willing the Tryst with Adonai.
Have done all this, and a Work of Kindness. I will again revise the new ritual, dine, return and copy it fair for use.

Let Adonai the Lord oversee the Work, that it be perfect, a sure link with Him, a certain and infallible Conjuration, and Spell, and Working of true Magick Art, that I may invoke Him with success whenever seemeth good unto Him.

Unto Him; not unto Me! Is it not written that Except Adonai build the House, they labour in vain that build it?

Chez Lavenue. Not feeling like revision, will read through this record.

My dinner is to be Bisque d'Ecrevisses, Tournedos Rossini, a Coupe Jack, half a bottle of Meursault, and Coffee. All should now acquit adepts of the charge of not knowing how to do themselves well.

Dinner over, I return the Mantra-Yoga. One may note that I expected the wine to have an excessive effect on me; on the contrary, it has much less effect than usual.

This is rather important. I have purposely abstained from anything that might be called a drug, until now, for fear of confusing the effects.

With my knowledge of hashish-effects, I could very likely have broken up the Apophis-kingdom of yesterday in a moment, and the truth of it would have been 5 per cent. drug and 95 per cent. magic; but nobody would have believed me. Remember that this record is for the British Public, "who may like me yet." God forbid! for I cannot echo Browning's hope. Their greasiness, hypocrisy, and meanness are such that their appreciation could only mean my vileness, not their redemption. Sorry if I seem pessimistic about them! A nasty one for me, by the way, if they suddenly started buying me! I should have, in mere consistency, to cut my throat!

Calm yourself, my friend! There is no danger.

At home again and robed. Am both tired and oppressed, even in my peace; for the day has been, and the evening is, close and hot, with a little fog, and, one may suspect, the air is overcharged with electricity. I will rest quietly with my mantra as Hanged Man, and perhaps sleep for a little.
No sleep — no rest for the wicked! 'Tis curious how totally independent is mantra-yoga of reverie. I can say my mantra vigorously while my thought wanders all over the world; yet I cannot write the simplest sentence without stopping it, unless with a very great effort, and then it is not satisfactory to either party!

Meditation — of the "rational' sort — on this leads me to suggest that active "radiant" thought may be incompatible with the mantra, itself being (?) active. One can read and understand quite easily with the mantra going; one can remember things.

For example, I see my watch chain; I think. "Gold. Au, 196 atomic weight. AuCl3, £3 10s. 0d. an ounce" and so on ad infinitum; but the act of writing down these things stops the mantra. This may be (partly) because I always say under my breath each word as I write it. [P.S. — But I do so, though less possibly, as I read.]

As I am really awake, I may as well do a little Pranayama.
How little I know of magic and the conditions of success! My 17 cycles of breath were not absolutely easy; yet I did them. After a big dinner!!! The sweating was quite suppressed, in spite of the heat of the night and the exercise; and the first symptoms of the Bhuchari-Siddhi — the "jumping about like a frog" — were well marked. I am encouraged to spend a few minutes (still in Asana) reading the Shiva Sanhita.
Asana very painful again. True, I was doing it very strictly.

I notice they give a second stage — trembling of the body — as preliminary to the jumping about like a frog — I had omitted this, as one is so obviously the germ of the other.

The Hindus seem to lack a sense of proportion. When the Yogi, by turning his tongue back for one half-minute, has conquered old age, disease and death; then instead of having good time he patiently (and rather pathetically, I think!) devotes his youthful immortality to trying to "drink the air through the crow-bill" ........ in the hope of curing a consumption of the lungs which he probably never had and which was in any case cured by his former effort!

Have been practising a number of these mudras and asanas.

Concerning the Visuddi Cakkram which is "of brilliant gold or smoke colour and has sixteen petals corresponding to the sixteen vowel sounds," one might make a good mantra of the English vowel sounds, or the Hebrew.

"Curiouser and curiouser!" The Yogis identify the Varana (Ganges) with the Ida-Nadi, the Asi (?) with the Pingala-Nadi, and Benares with the space between them. Like my identification of my throat with the Gate of the cimetiere du Montparnasse.

Well, it requires very considerable discrimination and a good sound foundation of knowledge, if one means to get any sense at all out of these Hindu books.

A little Pranayama, I think.
Can't get steady and easy at all! Will try Hanged Man again.
Not much good. The mantra goes on, but without getting hold of the Chakkram.

'Tis difficult to explain; the best simile I can get is that of a motor running with the clutch out; or of a man cycling on a suspended machine.

There's no grip to it.

The fact of the matter is, I am quite unconcentrated. Evidently the Osiris Risen stage is over; and I think it is a case for violent measures.

If one were to slack off now and hope for the morning, like a shipwrecked Paul, one would probably wake up a mere man of the world.

The Question then arises: What shall I do to be saved?

The only answer — and one which is quite unconnected with the question — is that a Ritual of Adeptus Major should display the Birth of Horus and Slaying of Typhon. Here again Horus and Harpocrates — the twins of the twin signs of 0° = 0 ritual — are the slayers of Typhon. So all the rituals get mixed: the symbols recur, though in a different aspect. Anyway, one wants something a deal better than the path of Pe in 4° = 7 ritual.

I think the postulant should be actually scourged, tortured, branded by fire for his equilibrations at the various "Stations of the Cross" or points upon his mystic journey. He must assuredly drink blood for the sacrament — ah! now I see it all so well! The Initiator must kill him, Osiris; he must rise again as Horus and kill the Initiator, taking his place in the ceremony thence to the end. A bit awkward technically, but 'twill yield to science. They did it of old by a certain lake in Italy!

Well, all this is dog-faced demon, ever seducing me from the Sacred Mysteries. I can't go out and kill anybody at this time o'night! We might make a start, though, with a little scourging, torturing, and branding by fire.…

Anything for a quiet life!

But scourging oneself is not easy with a robe on; and though one could take it off, there is this point to be considered: that one can never (except by a regrettable accident) hurt oneself more than one wants to. In other words, it is impossible thus to inflict pain, and so flagellants have been rightly condemned as mere voluptuaries. The only way to do so would be to inflict some torture whose severity one could not gauge at the time: e.g., one might dip oneself in petroleum and set light to it, as the young lady mystic did — I suppose in Brittany! — the other day. It's not the act that hurts, but the consequences; so, although one knows only roughly what will happen, one can force oneself to the act.

This, then, is a possible form of self-martyrdom. Similarly, mutilations; though it is perhaps just to observe that all these people are mad when they do these things, and their standard of pleasure and pain consequently so different from the sane man's as to be incomprehensible.

Look at my Uncle Tom! who goes about the world bragging of his chastity. The maniac is probably happy — a peacock who is all tail! And squawk. Look at the Vegetarians and Wallaceites and all that crew of lunatics. They are paid in the coin of self-conceit. I shall waste no pity on them!

Rather pity myself, who cannot even make sensible "considerations" for a Ritual of Adeptus Major.

The only thing to do in short is to go steadily on, with a little extra courage and energy — no harm in that! — on the same old lines. The Winding of the Way must necessarily lead me just where it may happen to go. Why deliberately go off to Geburah? Why not aspire direct by the Path of the Moon-Ray unto the Ineffable Crown? Modesty is misplaced here!

Very good. Then how aspire? Who is it that standeth in the Moon-Ray? The Holy Guardian Angel. Aye! O my Lord Adonai, Thou art the Beginning and the End of the Path. For as Thou אתה thou art also 406 = תו Tau the material world, the Omega. And as He הוא Thou art 12, the rays of the Ineffable Crown. (A disaster has occurred; viz., a sudden and violent attack of that which demands a tabloid of Pepsin, Bismuth, and Charcoal — and gets it. On my return, 11.34, I continue.)

And as אני Ani "I" thou art also אין the Negative, that is beyond these on either side!

But this illness is a nuisance. I must have got a little chill somehow. Its imminence would account for my lack of concentration. And I could doubtless go on gloriously, but that another disaster has occurred!

Enter Maryt, sitting and clothed and in her right mind — or comparatively so!

I suppose, then, I must quit the game for a minute or two.
Got rid of her, thank God. I may say in self-defence that I would never have let her in but for the accident of my being outside the room and the door left open, so that she was inside on my return.

Let me get into Asana.


[1] With these mystic words the Mysteries Eleusinian were sealed. — Ed.

[2] the heart; a nerve-centre in Hindu mystical physiology. — Ed.

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