Snake Totem

This morning whilst out playing with the camera I came across this, a recently shed snakeskin.

This is the fourth encounter of a snake in the garden, and it comes, probably, from a snake not long out of hibernation. We also have three slow worms and a salamander. The skin is less than twenty metres from where I am now sat, out on the lawn just uphill of all the blossom.

Snakes and dragons get a bad press from the church.

Having been a child in outback Australia and in Zambia, close encounters of a snake like kind are not new. I very nearly ran over a black mamba with my bicycle. It was crossing the path in front of me, and I missed its tail by inches. In Australia aged 5-9 I used to bring snakeskins which I found in the dry creek or bush home to my mother. This freaked her a little.

Here is something on the snake totem from Animal Speak by Ted Andrews.

Transmutation, Transformation and Transfiguration

There is a human tendency to read things verbatim or dead letter or face value only. The extent to which one has this tendency depends on personal preference and psychological orientation.  To some extent educational training plays a role too. As an INFJ with dominant introverted intuition, I tend to miss the dead letter interpretation on occasion, this is because I am nearly always looking for deeper meaning and a metaphor can provide for me what might take several paragraphs of descriptive text to explain.

It amuses me slightly to image someone working with 20 pounds of antimony in a furnace in his shed. One of the main criticisms people have of the bible stems from an insistence on a dead letter interpretation. People read “the gospel” in a dead letter way. I have speculated that given when it was written the vast majority were illiterate, it is in fact full of metaphors and other narrative devices. People like to argue the toss and nit-pick about their own personal face value interpretation of text.

The Tibetan describes the first three initiations as Transmutation, Transformation and Transfiguration. This is a very alchemical way of explaining. Alchemy to my eyes is not trying to turn base metal into gold, rather it is about transmuting one’s shortcomings into a more helpful set of behaviours. Mares says that the warrior’s path is a path of the three Ts as above. If you look at the degree of change implicit in the language, it starts small and gets bigger.

The alchemical transmutation changes one’s beingness, the transfiguration transfigures which sounds like a whole order of magnitude more radical. Within the scheme of the Tibetan, the third initiation is considered the first “proper” initiation and is indicative of final liberation. After the third it is only a few more lifetimes before the causal vehicle is “blown out”.

Given that human minds are trained in school to compare and contrast, to use ratioing or so-called rational mind we are trained to pick holes in things, to find fault. Searching for holism is discouraged and my even be seen as wishy-washy. We are trained to justify our answers, this tendency for justification has allowed humanity to participate in some truly heinous acts.  

{Everyone is doing it, I was only following orders, there is a precedent.}

I can read alchemical texts from a basis of a degree level understanding of modern {relatively now} chemistry and the periodic table. I don’t imagine myself ever trying some of the frankly dangerous sounding experiments. If one reads Hermetica, attributed to Hermes Trimegistus there is a whole lot of sense in parts. It can be enjoyable to read things and not want to argue the toss and be “right”. Just let it flow over and enjoy someone else’s train of thought.

One of the first things to transmute is to change closed, dogmatic, I am right mind to a more open enquiring and non-concluding mind. There does not have to be a conclusion. This goes against everything we are taught in school. There must be a summing up and a conclusion.


Explain to me why there must be a conclusion, explain to me why there must be a right answer. Justify your answer.

The Philosophical Stone


ed. by A.E. Waite

[1893] at Sacred Texts






Canon of Bridlington:


His Philosophical Accurtations in Making the Philosopher’s Mercury and Elixirs.


The whole work of the composition of the Philosophical Stone of the great elixir and of the first solution of the gross body.

FIRST take thirty pounds weight of sericon, or antimony, which will make twenty-one pounds weight of gum, or near thereabouts, if it be well dissolved and the vinegar is very good; and dissolve each pound thereof in a gallon of twice distilled vinegar. When cold again, and, as it standeth in dissolution in a fit glass vessel, stir it about with a clean stick very often every day, the oftener the better; and when it is well molten to the bottom, then filter over the said liquors three several times, which keep close covered, and cast away the fæces, for that is superfluous filth which must be removed and entereth not into the work, but is called Terra damnata.

The making of our Gum, or Green Lion.

Then put all these cold liquors, thus filled, into a fit glass vessel and set it in Balneo Mariæ to evaporate in a temperate heat; which done, our sericon will be coagulated into a green gum called our Green Lion; which gum dry well, yet beware thou burn not his flowers, nor destroy his greenness.

The extraction of our Menstruum or Blood of our Green Lion.

Then take out the said gum and put it into a strong retort of glass, very well luted, and place it in your furnace, and under that, at the first, make sober fire, and anon you see a white smoke or fume issue. Then put, too, a receiver of glass, which must have a very large belly and the mouth no wider than it may well receive into that the neck of the retort, which close well together, that no fume issue forth of the receiver. Then increase your fire by little and little, till the fume which issueth be reddish; then continue the greater fire, until drops like blood come forth, and no more fume will issue forth; and when that leaveth bleeding, let it cool, or assuage the fire by little and little; and when all things are cold then take away the receiver, and close it fast suddenly, that the spirits vanish not away, for this liquor is called our blessed liquor: which liquor keep close stopped in a glass till hereafter. Then look into the neck of the retort, and therein you will find a white hard rime, as it were the congelation of a frosty vapour, or much like sublimate, which gather with diligence and keep it apart, for therein are contained great secrets which shall be showed hereafter, after the great work is ended.

The Creation of our Basis.

Then take out all the fæces which remain in the retort, and arc blackish like unto soot, which feces are called our Dragon, of which fæces calcine one pound or more at your pleasure in a fervent hot fire, in a potter’s or glass-maker’s furnace, or in a furnace of vent (or a wind furnace), until it become a white calx, as white as snow; which white calx keep well and clean by itself, for it is called the basis and foundation of the work, and is now called Mars, and our White Fixed Earth, or Ferrum Philosophorum.

The Calcination of the Black Fæces, called our Black Dragon.

Then take all the rest of the aforesaid black fæces, or Black Dragon, and spread them somewhat thin upon a clean marble, or other fit stone, and put into the one side thereof a burning coal, and the fire will glide through the fæces within half-an-hour, and calcine them into a citrine colour very glorious to behold.

The Solution of the said Fæces.

Then dissolve those citrine fæces in such distilled vinegar as you did before, and then filter it likewise three times as before, and after make or evaporate it into a gum again, and then draw out of it more of our menstruum, called now Dragon’s Blood, and iterate this work in all points as afore until you have either brought all or the most part of the fæces into our natural and blessed liquor: all which liquor put to the first liquor or menstrue called the Green Lion’s blood, and set that liquor altogether in one vessel of glass fourteen days in putrefication; and after proceed to the separation of elements, for now have you all the fire of the stone in this our blessed liquor, which before lay hidden in the fæces; which secret all the philosophers do marvellously hide.

The Separation of the Elements whereof the first is the Air, and is also counted our Ardent Water and our Water Attractive.

Then put all the said putrefied menstruum into a still of fine Venice glass, fit for the quantity thereof; put on the limbeck, and close it to the still with a fine linen cloth dipped in the white of an egg, and then set it in Balneo Mariæ, put to the receiver, which must be of great length, that the spirit respire not out again; and with a very temperate heat separate the elements one from another, and then the element of air will issue forth first, which is an oil.

Our Ardent Water or Water Attractive is thus made.

When all the first element is distilled, then in another still, fit for it, rectify it: that is to say, distil it over seven several times, and until it will burn a linen cloth clean up that is dipped into it, when it is put to the flame, which is then called our Ardent Water rectified and is also called our Water Attractive; which keep very close stopped, for otherwise the spirit thereof, which is very subtle, will vanish away. By often rectifying the ardent water, there will come air in a white oil swimming above the water, and there will remain behind a yellow oil, which with a stronger fire will also come over. Put sublimate, beaten small, upon a plate of iron, and in the cold it will dissolve into water, and will draw to itself all the mercury in the form of a green oil swimming aloft; which separate and put into a retort, and distil first a water, and afterward will come a green thick oil, which is the oil of mercury.

The Flood or Water of the Stone.

Then draw out the flood or water of the stone by itself in another receptory, which liquor will be somewhat white, and draw it with a very gentle fire of Balneum, until there remain in the bottom of the still a thick oily substance, like unto liquid pitch; keep this water by itself in a fit glass, very close stopped.

NOTE.—When the liquor cometh white you must put on another receiver, for then all that element is come over; two or three drops of this black liquid oil given in spirit of wine cureth all poison taken inwardly.

Our Man’s Blood is thus taken and rectified.

Then put our ardent water upon that matter black and liquid; stir them well together, and let it so stand well covered for three hours; then decant and filter it; put on fresh ardent water, and repeat this operation three times, and then distil it again with a moist lent fire of Balneum; and so do three times, and then it is called Man’s Blood rectified, which the workers in the secrets of Nature do seek, and so thou hast the elements exalted in the virtue of their quintessence, namely, the flood that is water and the air. Let this blood be kept for a season.


Extracted from the Royal Society of Chemistry:

Many wars have been fought over territory, some over pride or love or money. But in the 1600s a long and bitter war was waged over antimony.

What, you might ask, is there to fight about in this apparently unremarkable element, a soft, greyish metal that doesn’t even conduct electricity well enough to qualify as a true metal? It has its uses, but they are mundane: as an alloy component of battery electrodes and of pewter, and as a flame retardant.

But at the heart of the Antimony War, which raged in France and Germany throughout much of the seventeenth century, was a more unlikely use of antimony. Some doctors of that age believed that it was a vital ingredient in medicine. The advocates and opponents of this point of view didn’t actually take up arms: they fought with pen in hand, sometimes denouncing one another in terms far more vitriolic than we’ll find in the academic literature today.

It’s very curious that the subject of this dispute should be antimony, because this element is actually rather toxic, causing liver damage in large enough doses. But pharmaceutical uses of antimony have a long history. In the ancient world it was known primarily in the form of its black sulphide ore, called stibnite, which the Greek physician Dioscorides recommended for skin complaints in the first century AD. The Egyptians, meanwhile, used stibnite as a cosmetic, applying it as a form of mascara. They called it kuhl, meaning ‘eye-paint’, and to the later Islamic alchemical physicians this became al-kohl. From its original meaning of powdered stibnite, this term came to designate any powder, and then a potent extract of any substance. In the early sixteenth century the Swiss alchemical physician Paracelsus called a distilled extract of wine alcool vini, from where we get the modern word alcohol: a long and strange road from eye make-up to intoxicating liquor.

Paracelsus was particularly fond of antimony compounds as medicines. After his death, Paracelsus’s chemical medicine was championed by many doctors in Europe, especially in France, and some of these made antimony their most prized remedy. One, a German salt-maker who wrote under the false persona of a fifteenth-century monk called Basil Valentine, published an entire book advertising antimony remedies in 1604 called The Triumphal Chariot of Antimony. Valentine admitted that antimony was poisonous – in fact he offered an apocryphal explanation for the name, saying that it derives from anti-monachos, meaning ‘anti-monk’ in Latin, because he once unintentionally poisoned several of his fellow monks by adding it secretly to their food in an attempt to improve their health. But he claimed that alchemy could be used to free the metal of its toxic effects and make it “a most salutary Medicine”.

The Paracelsian chemical physicians were opposed by traditionalists who preferred the medical theories of the ancient doctors like Hippocrates, based on the idea that our health is controlled by a balance of four humours. This was partly a battle for academic power, but the rival camps were also split along religious and political lines. So there was a lot riding on the struggle, and for a time it crystallized around the medical value of antimony.

The toxicity of antimony can cause vomiting – but to its supporters, this was seen as a good thing. They would administer the salt antimony tartrate as a so-called emetic, a vomit-inducer that was believed to purge the body of other bad substances.

Some doctors continued to prescribe antimony freely after the inconclusive Antimony War, and it has been suggested that a fondness for antimony remedies was what actually killed Mozart in 1791. By the nineteenth century it had become a favourite slow poison for murderers eager to conceal their crimes – a chemical villain almost as notorious as lead.

The Nature of Magic

We have considered somewhat at length the building of thought forms and have seen that the process pursued by man is analogous to that pursued by the threefold Logos in the creation of the solar system. We are to deal now with that great department in occultism which is usually termed magic. The man who masters the esoteric significance of what is here said will take his place in the ranks of those entitled to call themselves the “Brothers of White Magic.” The subject is too immense to be more than briefly touched upon, for it covers the entire range of endeavor in the field of material construction.

We must deal first with the mental attitude of man as he faces the work of creation, and his ability to bring through, via the mental body, the purpose of the Ego, thereby impressing the building agents on the mental plane with a certain rate of rhythm, and a certain vibratory activity. This is the prime factor which results (on the physical plane) in direct egoic activity. We must also bear in mind, that in the consideration of this matter we are not dealing with the every day work of average man, but are speaking of the organized creative work, under law and rule, of the advanced man. We thereby set a standard and emphasize the ideal towards which occult students should strive.

We must also consider the work of the wise magical student upon the astral plane, whereon, through purified desire and sanctified emotion, he provides those equilibrized conditions and those stable vibrations, which will permit of the transmission without hindrance to the physical plane via the physical brain of the man, of the vibratory activity emanating from the Ego, and of the circulatory action of the higher force. Hence (if a remark of a practical nature may be interpolated for the average student) the cultivation of emotional tranquility is one of the first steps towards the achievement of the needed equipment of the white magician. This tranquility is not to be achieved by an effort of the will which succeeds in strangling all astral vibratory activity, but by the cultivation of response to the Ego, and a negation of all response to the inherent vibration of the astral sheath itself.

We will take up the work of force transmission on the physical plane via the etheric centers and the physical brain, studying somewhat the effect of sound as it is emitted unconsciously in everyday speech, and consciously in the ordered regulated words of the true worker in magic.

“Magic. – The very word Magic bears within itself proof of its high origin. The Latin Magus, the Greek Magos, a magician, gives us all those other words that are so indicative of authority, wisdom, superiority. Then we have magnitude, magnificent, magniloquent, to express greatness in position, in action and in speech. With the termination slightly changed the same words become majesty, implying dominion, and again, we have magistrate, anything that is magisterial which again has been simplified into Master, and finally by the process of word evolution has become plain Mister. But the Latin is only a transmitter of words. We can equally follow up the historical development of this root until we reach the Zend where we find it doing duty as the name for the whole priestly caste. The magi were renowned all over the world for their wisdom and skill in occultism and no doubt our word magic is mostly indebted to that source for its present existence and meaning. That we need not pause even here for back of the Zend “mag,” “looms up the Sanskrit, maha, signifying great.” It is thought by good scholars that maha was originally spelled magha. To be sure, there is in the Sanskrit the word Maga meaning a priest of the Sun, but this was evidently a later borrowing from the Zend which had originally derived its root from its neighbor the Sanskrit.”

In this connection, therefore, owing to the vital practical value of this section, and to the dangers attendant upon a comprehension of these matters by those who are as yet unready for the work of conscious manipulation of force, it is proposed to impart the necessary teaching under the formula of “Rules of Magic,” with certain elucidating comments. In this way, the magical work is fully safeguarded, and at the same time sufficient is imparted to those who have the inner ear attentive, and the eye of wisdom in process of opening.

a. Black Magicians and White

Much is said among occult students these days anent white and black magic, and much that is said is without force, or truth. It has been truly said that between the two types of workers, the line of demarcation is so slight as to be difficult of recognition by those who, as yet, merit not the term “knower.”

Magic. – The art of divine Magic consists in the ability to perceive the essence of things in the light of nature (astral light), and – by using the soul-powers of the Spirit – to produce material things from the unseen universe, and in such operations the Above and the Below must be brought together and made to act harmoniously.

– S. D., II, 538.

Magic is the second of the four Vidyas, and is the great mahaVidya in the Tantric writings. It needs the light of the fourth vidya (atma-vidya) thrown on it in order to be White magic. – S. D., I, 192.

Black Magic is defined by H. P. B. as follows:

Black magic employs the astral light for purposes of deception and seduction, whereas the white magician employs it for purposes of information, and the aiding of evolution. – S. D., I, 274.

Black magic works with opposing poles. The white magician seeks the point of equilibrium or balance, and of synthesis. – S. D., I, 448.

Black magic has for its symbol the inverted 5-pointed star.

White magic uses the same symbol with the point uppermost.

Black magic is mahavidya without the light of atma-vidya.

White magic is mahavidya illumined by atma-vidya. – S. D., I, 592.

Black magic is ruled over by the moon.

White magic is ruled over by the sun.

Black and white magic arose during the great schism which started during the fourth root-race.

– S. D., II, 221, 445, 520.

Black magic is based on the degradation of sex and of the creative function.

White magic is based on the transmutation of the creative faculty into the higher creative thought, the generative organs being neglected by the inner fire, which passes to the throat, the center of creative sound.

Black magic deals with the forces of involution.

White magic works with the powers of evolution.

Black magic is concerned with the form, with matter.

White magic is concerned with the life within the form, with Spirit.

The distinction between the two exists in both motive and method, and might be summed up as follows:

The white magician has for motive that which will be of benefit to the group for whom he is expending his energy and time. The magician of the left hand path ever works alone, or if he at any time cooperates with others, it is with a hidden selfish purpose. The exponent of white magic interests himself in the work of constructive endeavor in order to cooperate in hierarchical plans, and to further the desires of the planetary Logos. The Brother of Darkness occupies himself with that which lies outside the plans of the Hierarchy and with that which is not included in the purpose of the Lord of the planetary Ray.

The white magician, as has been earlier said, works entirely through the greater Deva Builders, and through sound and numbers he blends their work, and thus influences the lesser Builders who form the substance of their bodies, and therefore of all that is. He works through group centers and vital points of energy, and from thence produces, in substance, the desired results. The dark brother works directly with substance itself, and with the lesser builders; He does not cooperate with the forces which emanate from egoic levels. The lesser cohorts of the “Army of the Voice” are his servants, and not the directing Intelligences in the three worlds, and he therefore works primarily on the astral and physical planes, only in rare cases working with the mental forces, and only in a few special cases, hidden in cosmic karma, is a black magician found working on the higher mental levels. Yet the cases which are there to be discovered are the main contributing causes of all manifesting black magic.

The Brother of Light works ever through the inherent force of the second aspect as long as he is functioning in connection with the three lower planes. After the third Initiation, he works increasingly with spiritual energy, or with the force of the first aspect. He impresses the lower substances, and manipulates the lesser building lives with the vibration of love, and the attractive coherency of the Son, and through wisdom the forms are built. He learns to work from the heart, and therefore to manipulate that energy which streams from the “Heart of the Sun” until (when he becomes a Buddha) he can dispense somewhat the force emanating from the “Spiritual Sun.” Therefore, the heart center in the Brother of the right hand path is the transmitting agency for the building force, and the triangle he uses in this work is:

  • The center in the head which corresponds, to the heart.
  • The heart center itself.
  • The throat center.

The Brothers of the left hand path work with the forces of the third aspect entirely, and this it is which gives them so much apparent power, for the second aspect is only in process of reaching its vibratory consummation, whereas the third aspect is at the height of its vibratory activity, being the product of the evolutionary processes of the preceding major solar system. He works from the throat center almost entirely and manipulates primarily the forces of the physical sun. This is the reason why he achieves many of his ends through the method of pranic stimulation or of pranic devitalization, and why, also, most of his effects are carried out on the physical plane. He works, therefore, through:

  • The center in the head corresponding to the throat center.
  • The throat center.
  • The center at the base of the spine.

The white magician works always in cooperation with others, and is himself under the direction of certain group Heads.. For instance, the Brothers of the White Lodge work under the three great Lords and conform to the plans laid down, subordinating Their individual purposes and ideas to the great general scheme. The black magician usually works in an intensely individualistic way, and can be seen carrying out his schemes alone, or with the aid of subordinates. He brooks usually no known superior, but is nevertheless frequently the victim of agents on higher levels of cosmic evil, who use him as he uses his inferior cooperators, that is, he works (as far as the bigger purpose is involved) blindly and unconsciously.

The white magician, as is well known, works on the side of evolution or in connection with the Path of Return. The black brother occupies himself with the forces of involution, or with the Path of Outgoing. They form the great balancing force in evolution, and though they are occupied with the material side of manifestation and the Brother of Light is concerned with the aspect of soul or consciousness, they and their work, under the great law of evolution, contribute to the general purpose of the solar Logos, though (and this is of tremendous occult significance to the illuminated student) not to the individual purpose of the planetary Logos.

Finally, it might be briefly said in connection with the distinctions between magicians that the magician of the Good Law works with the soul of things. His brothers of darkness work with the material aspect.

The white magician works through the force centers, on the first and fourth subplanes of each plane. The black magician works through the permanent atoms, and with the substance and forms concerned. The white magician utilizes in this connection the higher three centers. The black magician uses the energy of the lower three centers (the organs of generation, the spleen, and the solar plexus) synthesizing their energy by an act of the will and directing it to the center at the base of the spine, so that the fourfold energy is thence transmitted to the throat center.

The white magician uses the kundalini force as it is transmitted via the central spinal channel. The black magician uses the inferior channels, dividing the fourfold energy in two units, which mount via the two channels, leaving the central one dormant. Hence it will be apparent that one works with duality and the other with unity. On the planes of duality, therefore, it is apparent why the black magician has so much power. The plane of unity for humanity is the mental plane. The planes of diversity are the astral and the physical. Hence the black magician is of more apparent power than the white brother on the two lower planes in the three worlds.

The white brother works under the Hierarchy, or under the great King, carrying out His planetary purposes. The dark brother works under certain separated Entities, unknown to him, who are connected with the forces of matter itself. Much more could be given in this connection, but what is here imparted suffices for our purpose.

b. The Source of Black Magic

In touching upon this point, we are trespassing into the realms of the mystery and the domain of the inexplicable. Certain statements can, however, be made here which, if pondered upon, may throw a little light upon this dark subject.

First. It should be remembered that the whole subject of planetary evil (and students must distinguish carefully between planetary and cosmic evil) lies hid in the individual life cycles and in the history of the Great Being who is the planetary Logos of the Earth. Therefore, until a man has taken certain initiations and thus achieved a measure of planetary consciousness, it is useless for him to speculate upon that record. H. P. B. has touched, in the Secret Doctrine, (S. D., III, 62; Section 6, page 67.) upon the subject of “the imperfect Gods,” and in these words lies the key to planetary evil.

Second. It might briefly be said that, as far as our humanity is concerned, the terms planetary evil and cosmic evil might be interpreted thus:

Planetary evil arises from certain relations existing between our planetary Logos and another planetary Logos. When this condition of polar opposition is adjusted, then planetary evil will cease. The adjustment will be brought about through the mediation (occultly understood) of a third planetary Logos. These three will eventually form an equilateral triangle, and then planetary evil will cease. Free circulation will ensue; planetary obscuration will become possible, and the “imperfect Gods” will have achieved a relative perfection. Thus will the karma of the manvantara, or secondary cycle, be adjusted, and so much planetary karmic evil be “worked off.” All the above must be interpreted in its esoteric sense and not its exoteric.

Cosmic evil from the standpoint of our planet consists in the relation between that spiritual intelligent Unit or “Rishi of the Superior Constellation” as He is called (who is the informing Life of one of the seven stars of the Great Bear, and our planetary prototype) and one of the forces of the Pleiades. (S. D., II, 579-581.) Students need here to remember that the “seven sisters” are occultly called the “seven wives” of the Rishis, and that the dual forces (resultant from that relationship) converge and play through that one of the planetary Logoi who is the Logos of any particular planet, and is the “reflection” of any specific Rishi. In this relation, at present lacking perfect adjustment, lies hid the mystery of cosmic evil as it makes itself felt in any particular planetary scheme. Again, when the heavenly triangle is duly equilibrated, and the force circulates freely through:

  • One of the stars of the Great Bear,
  • The Pleiad involved,
  • The planetary scheme concerned,

then again cosmic evil will be negated, and a relative perfection achieved. This will mark the attainment of primary perfection, and the consummation of the greater cycle.

Cyclic evil, or tertiary evil, lies hid in the relation between the globes in any particular scheme, two of them ever being in opposition until equilibrized by force emanating from a third. Students will only apprehend the significance of this teaching as they study the pairs of opposites in their own cycles, and the equilibrizing work of the Ego.

A fourth type of evil growing out of the above finds its main expression in the sorrows and troubles of the fourth or human kingdom, and will find its solution in two ways: by the balancing of the forces of the three kingdoms (the spiritual or fifth kingdom, the human, and the animal), and secondly, by the negation of the attractive power of the three lower kingdoms (the mineral, the vegetable, and the animal, who thus form one unit), by the spiritual kingdom, utilizing the fourth or human kingdom. In all these cases, triangles of force are formed which, when balanced, procure the desired end.

Black magic is spoken of as making its appearance upon our planet during the fourth root race. It should be borne in mind here that this means strictly in connection with the fourth kingdom and its conscious use by wrongly developed men. The forces of evil of the planetary and cosmic kind have been present since manifestation set in, being latent in the karma of the planetary Logos, but human beings began consciously to work with these forces and to use them for specified selfish ends in this round during the fourth root race.

Black magicians work under certain great Entities, six in number, who are spoken of, for instance, in the Christian Bible as having the number 666. (Rev. 13:18.) They came in (being cosmic, not systemic) on that stream of force emanating from cosmic mental levels which produced the three worlds of human endeavor. Students should remember here the fact that the three lower planes of our solar system are not considered as embodying a cosmic principle, for they form the dense physical body of the Logos, and the dense physical body is not considered a principle. There is an occult significance in the expression “unprincipled.” These entities are the sumtotal of the substance of the three lower subplanes of the cosmic physical plane (our three lower systemic planes), and it is under them that the black magicians are swept into activity, often unconsciously, but rising to power as they work consciously.

In the early stages of human unfoldment all men are unconscious black magicians, but are not occultly “damned” thereby. As evolution proceeds they come under the force of the second aspect, and the majority respond to it, escaping from the meshes of the black magicians, and coming under the force of a different number. The few who do not do so in this manvantara are the “failures” who have to continue the struggle at a later date. A tiny percentage wilfuly refuse to “pass on,” and they become the true “black magicians.” For them the end is ever the same, first, severance of the Ego from the Monad, entailing a wait for many aeons until another solar system has its being. In the case of the “failures” the Ego severed itself from the personality or lower self, entailing a setback for a lesser period, but still having opportunity within the system. Second, a cycle of existence, spent in unlimited evil, and dependent upon the vitality of the severed egoic body and its innate persistence. These are the ordinary “lost souls” spoken of in the Secret Doctrine.  If students will study these conditions, and will extend the same concept to an earlier and more matured solar system, they will get some light upon the problem of the origin of evil in this solar system.

c. Conditions for White Magic

In considering the factors requiring adjustment prior to undertaking the work of magic, we are dealing with that which is of eminently practical value. Unless students of magic enter upon this pursuit fortified by pure motive, clean bodies, and high aspiration, they are foredoomed to disappointment and even to disaster. All those who seek to work consciously with the forces of manifestation, and who endeavor to control the Energies of all that is seen, need the strong protection of purity. This is a point which cannot be too strongly emphasized and urged, and hence the constant injunctions to self control, comprehension of the nature of man, and devotion to the cause of humanity. The pursuit of magical investigation is dangerous in three ways.

If a man’s bodies are not sufficiently purified and their atomic vibration is not sufficiently high, he is in danger of over-stimulation when brought in contact with the forces of nature, and this inevitably entails the destruction and disintegration of one or other of his bodies. At times it may entail the destruction of two or more, and when this is the case, it involves a definite setback to egoic unfoldment, for it requires, in such cases, a much longer interval between incarnations, owing to the difficulty of assembling the needed materials in the sheaths.

Further, unless a man is strengthened in his endeavor by right motive, he is liable to be led astray by the acquisition of power. Knowledge of the laws of magic puts into the hands of the student powers which enable him to create, to acquire, and to control. Such powers are fraught with menace to the unprepared and unready, for the student can, in this case, turn them to selfish ends, use them for his own temporal material advancement, and acquire in this way that which will feed the desires of the lower nature. He takes, therefore, the first step towards the left hand path, and each life may see him progressing towards it with greater readiness, until (almost unconsciously) he will find himself in the ranks of the black masters. Such a state of affairs can only be offset through the cultivation of altruism, sincere love of man, and a steady negation of all lower desire.

The third danger which menaces the unwary student of magic lies in the fact that when he tampers with these forces and energies he is dealing with that which is akin to his own lower nature. He, therefore, follows the line of least resistance; he augments these energies, thereby increasing their response to the lower and to the material aspects of his nature. This he does at the expense of his higher nature, retarding its unfoldment and delaying his progress. Incidentally also, he attracts the attention of those masters of the left hand path who are ever on the lookout for those who can be bent to their purposes, and he becomes (unwittingly at first), an agent on the side of evil.

It will be apparent, therefore, that the student has need of the following qualities before he undertakes the arduous task of becoming a conscious Master of Magic:

  • Physical Purity. This is a thing not easily to be acquired, but entailing many lives of strenuous effort. Through abstinence, right continence, clean living, vegetarian diet, and rigid self-control, the man gradually raises the vibration of his physical atoms, builds a body of ever greater resistance and strength, and succeeds in “manifesting” forth in a sheath of greater refinement.
  • Etheric Freedom. This term does not convey all that I seek to impart, but it suffices for need of a better. The student of magic who can safely undertake the enterprise, will have constructed an etheric body of such a nature that vitality, or pranic force and energy, can circulate unimpeded; he will have formed an etheric web of such tenuosity that it forms no barrier to consciousness. This is all that can be said on this subject, owing to the danger involved, but it suffices for the conveyance of information to those who are beginning to know.
  • Astral Stability. The student of magic aims, above all, to purify his desires, and so to transmute his emotions that the lower physical purity and the higher mental responsiveness and transmutative power may equally be available. Every magician has to learn the fact that, in this solar system, during the cycle of humanity, the astral body is the pivotal point of endeavor, having a reflex effect on both the other sheaths, the physical and the mental. He, therefore, aims at transmuting (as has often been said) lower desire into aspiration; at changing the lower cruder colors which distinguish the astral body of average man, for the clearer, purer tones of the spiritual man, and of transforming its normal chaotic vibration, and the “stormy sea of life,” for the steady rhythmic response to that which is highest and the center of peace. These things he effects by constant watchfulness, unremitting control, and steady meditation.
  • Mental Poise. These words are used in the occult sense, wherein the mind (as it is commonly understood) becomes the keen steady instrument of the indwelling thinker, and the point from which he can travel onwards to higher realms of comprehension. It is the foundation stone whence the higher expansion can be initiated.

Let not the would-be student of magic proceed in his investigations and his experiments until he has attended to these injunctions, and until the whole bent of his thought is towards their manifestation and their demonstration in his every day life. When he has so worked, ceaselessly and untiringly, and his physical plane life and service bear witness to the inner transmutation, then he can proceed to parallel this life with magical studies and work. Only the solar Angel can do the work of the white magician, and he effects it through the control of the lunar angels and their complete subjugation. They are arrayed against him, until, through meditation, aspiration, and control, he bends them to his will and they become his servants.

This thought brings us to the vital and real distinction between the white brother and the brother of darkness, and in this summation we will conclude the present discussion and proceed with the rules.

The worker in white magic utilizes ever the energy of the Solar Angel to effect his ends. The dark brother works through the inherent force of the lunar lords, which are allied in nature to all that is objective. In an old book of magic, hidden in the caves of learning, guarded by the Masters, are the following conclusive words, which find their place in this Treatise on Fire through their very appropriateness:

    “The Brothers of the Sun, through the force of solar fire, fanned to a flame in the blazing vault of the second Heaven, put out the lower lunar fires, and render naught that lower ‘fire by friction.’

    The Brother of the Moon ignores the sun and solar heat; borrows his fire from all that triply is, and pursues his cycle. The fires of hell await, and lunar fire dies out. Then neither sun nor moon avails him, only the highest heaven awaits the spark electric, seeking vibration synchronous from that which lies beneath. And yet it cometh not.”


Excerpted from:

A Treatise on Cosmic Fire – Section Two – Division D – Thought Elementals and Fire Elementals

By Alice Bailey & Djwhal Khul

Chapter 4 – A Path with Heart

No diagnosis then from Friday’s visit to the hospital, there are a lot of things that have been ruled out and I am feeling a little reassured. This gives me some quiet time to start to elaborate on what I mean by a path with heart. In a sense any path, although we might see it as achieving a goal or ambition, ultimately leads no where, for we all must die and that part of incarnate awareness which is the totality of us, in the words of the Bard, shuffles off the mortal coil. Our form disintegrates or is burned and the atoms of our vehicle are re-cycled and used by the universe for another purpose, our bits might one day end up being a plastic Tesco’s bag; who knows. In any case once the power within has left, it is not that important. The form then becomes the formless. The formless is then reorganised into something else. It is the vis viva that takes the clay of a human being and through the magic of life re-organises it into something else. If the atoms are incorporated in an organic sense then some other consciousness uses them, eventually.

What then is a path with heart? Eric says that this differs for each of us, yet deep down we all know when we are treading a path with heart and when we are not. That is the simplicity of it all. The trouble is that most people lack the honesty and live lives of denial, because they are fearful of change. It takes a great deal of courage and some considerable measure of practice to learn to listen to the heart. The heart is not all fluffy and warm, roses and sentiment. When operating fully it is powerful beyond imagination and can be quite a demanding master. For in one sense the heart, that is an expression of true feeling, is that part of the total being which is most in sync with what the power within has set us up for. In this context the heart is not the muscle which pumps our blood. It is pure feeling.

Eric says that most people get hooked on romance and idealism and use the mind to try to force this romance on the being, to an extent where after compromising the emanations of the heart for so long, it controls. The mind is the master of what he calls the first ring of power whereas the heart transcends this; it operates on the level where true inner tuition takes place. That tuition of the inner being, whether a work in progress or truly listened to, leads one on the path with heart.

Many paths first appear to be a path with heart, the mind hoping above all hope that a given direction in life will be a path with heart. The being then invests a great deal of effort in following these paths, to the point where it will vigorously defend the “fact” that this is a path with heart. Deep down though, everyone knows when they are bullshitting themselves and even those around them. When such a point is finally admitted the reluctance to change can cause all sorts of problems. The heart never lies. It is a shame that human beings do. In a sense many of us get caught up in a trap of our own making.

Consider each path very carefully and ask yourself only this. Is this for me a path with heart? This is really the only question and it is the 64 million dollar one. Everything else is just so much intellectual masturbation. For opening your heart and listening to it renders all else mundane. Eric says that this then is the bottom line. For as we traverse this, the sea of life, whenever we are faced with what appears to be a dilemma, asking this and answering honestly will enable one to gain sufficient clarity to work out what are the next steps that need to be taken.

Like all paths, it leads exactly no where, what it does though is to provide a journey of quite stupendous novelty, variety and excitement. Esoterically the path with heart is linked to the cabalistic glyph of Tiphareth and is associated with choosing between the old and the new. Every day is nascent at dawn, lived to the maximum, dies at the sunset, rests overnight and life starts the next day, fresh. Knowing full well that each day brings change and the being walking the path with heart will not be the same being on the following day. It takes guts to walk such a path.

Eric says that it might be wise to put in another quotation here.

This one is from M.F. Powers


One night I dreamed a dream. I was walking along the beach with my Lord.
Across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life. For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand, one belonging to me and one to my Lord.

When the last scene of my life shot before me I looked back at the footprints in the sand. I noticed that at times along the path there was only one set of footprints. I also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times of my life. This always bothered me and I questioned the Lord about my dilemma.

“Lord, you told me that once I decided to follow You, you would walk with me all the way but I noticed that during the most troublesome times of my life there is only one set of footprints. I don’t understand why, when I needed You most, You would leave me.”

He whispered,

“ My precious child, I love you and would never, never leave you during your times of trial and suffering. When you see only one set of footprints it was then that I carried you. “

This then re-presents a journey through life and in choosing a path with heart, there will be times when the challenges such a choice calls forth can make one feel completely lost and abandoned. If one sticks with it, the power within guides and in a sense carries us, even when the rational mind has packed up, run away and felt very sorry for itself. The power within, leads us to do things which we might not always have the emotional wherewithal to do and makes sure that we make it through to the other side. In doing this it causes us to grow and change. At times we all feel sorry for ourselves and play the martyr.

If we choose to look at our lives for what they really are, hopefully before the last days of our sojourn here, we can always find a purpose for what has happened and if we are lucky the meaning inherent in that purpose. For it is really us, our own power within, which sets up the circumstance for us to learn, blaming others is just stupid and disempowering for everyone concerned.

If we do not take responsibility for ourselves who is going to? Is change then a path with heart?

“Be the change you wish to see in the World.”

Mohandas Gandhi

As far as I can tell most people want some form of change in their lives, yet direct the intention and responsibility for that change towards external sources, hoping that if he (or she) changes, then it would make my life better.

It is a wistful hope that is often forgotten as quickly as it arises, and then so, back to the day to day business of living. Very few people are willing to take responsibility for changing themselves, hoping that someone else will do “it” for them. The changes which they think they seek are perhaps just a tinkering around the edges of life, maybe a better holiday would do the trick…? So here is a question for you are you going to walk this most difficult of paths and see if you can find the extent and wonder of your being-ness by listening to the power within?

True change is not for the fainthearted. It is a matter of bringing the inside out, letting the spirit surface and breathe. The outer form can only present an image of the state of the inner being and true change begins inside. Once a process of change has been initiated it can come at one like a relentless tide, where the sea of change washes before it all that one once held as true.

True change is seldom welcomed with open arms, rather it often comes about because of a moment of clarity when one knows without any doubt that a way of thinking and of being is no longer tenable; that living as one has been, has in some strange way ceased to be an affair of the heart. Such moments can be initiatory of change or alternatively spark a journey of denial in an over expressed need to be right. That over expression of just how great the form side of life is must constantly be verbalised and re-enforced by others to mask the flight which the inner person much deeper down, knows that they are doing. This has consequences.

True change starts slowly as a way of being and behaving is gradually and sometimes painfully eroded. Then the shape and the constituents of a life, are stripped away, allowing a space for a new person to emerge from the chrysalis. What that being is, may bear little or no resemblance to the caterpillar it once thought it was, avariciously feeding on the substance of life and taking from all around.

True change can be said to be transmutative, transformative and perhaps transfigurational. The expense of change is a former life, the gift, a new one, heralding untold wonders of what it is to be alive; bringing with it a new found sense of purpose and meaning. Somehow, setting one apart from the crowd, who may look at you blankly because such a change is beyond the scope of their experience and as such, so very much a part of the unknown and perhaps, because of an unwillingness to change, the unknowable.

In this respect if one really does change, no one may ever notice. Because of the 99% rule which says that 99% of people think only of themselves 99% of the time, many will miss what has been an act of magic, worked at over a great many years.

Eric says that there is only one way to go and that is to walk as gently on the earth as possible, trying to not impose petty wants and desires upon others and taking from the world only what it is that is truly needed. And that life is a journey of learning and of approaching, leaving as few footprints as possible on the rice-paper world whilst having the best impact one can.

This then is a path with a heart, we do not own the world; we can celebrate our incarnation by making our lives an expression of the emanations of our hearts as we dance the pattern of our existence, hand in hand with the power within.