Serpents of Wisdom
La Rochefoucauld in his ‘Maxims’ said that: “The desire of appearing
clever often prevents us from becoming so”. As Students of the
Mysteries we must rid ourselves of the silly habit of pretending to
know so that we can, at last, find out what it was we never did
True freedom lies in real knowledge and is not, as generally
believed, granted to American citizens by the first amendment, which
is only pretend freedom, and need not concern us here.
We have all heard the saying: ‘And the truth shall set you free’,
and so it will if we can determine where we can find it. Can
learn it in school? At your local church, synagogue, or mosque? From
books? From a Tibetan guru? I doubt it.
Listen to Sir Richard Burton
All Faith is false, all Faith is
is the shattered mirror strown
In myriad bits, while each believes his little
bit the whole to own.
Old Omar Khayyam evidently encountered
the same problem, for in his quartrain XXVII he says that ‘although
he frequented both doctor and saint, and heard great argument, he
still came out by the same Door as in he went!’ No wonder he found
solace in the wine bottle!
Even the old Indian,
Sidemeat Cholly, got confused by all the
conflicting theories and had to come up with his own answer to the
question in hand:
“Before he discover th’ earth,
everybody thought he was flat, but this Columbus man, he say th’
worl’s roun’, but now he look like th’ dam thing is crooked.”
Which one of us would care to argue with
this profound observation?
Humanity, the great ignoble vulgus, has never quite been able to see
the trees for the forest (or the forest for the trees); the visible
has always stood in the way of the great invisible, blocking our
view of things as they actually are. Machen, who has been dubbed the
Apostle of Wonder, wondered at length about this perplexing human
“It seems clear that things which
are most clear may yet be most closely hidden for long ages, and
hidden not only from the gross and sensual man, but for the fine
and cultured man. And that being evident, does not the
consequence follow that we who have certainly not attained to
perfection of any kind, may be, nay, almost certainly are, as
blind as those who have gone before us; that we too, gaze at
great wonders, both of the body and the spirit, without
discerning the marvels that are all around us? And again, it
would appear that we may be groping after the perception of
things which we apprehend in a dim and broken and imperfect
“All manner of things may be under the eyes of men through long
ages, and yet be unperceived, undiscerned by them. This is true,
and yet these things are none the less there.”
The reason for this is that our
opinions, intellect and bigotry act as a screen between us and
Illumination. Our own reality, which is nothing but an Illusion,
prevents us from seeing things as they truly ARE, and as long as we
think we see all there is to see, we will remain blind to the Divine
Wisdom hidden directly under our noses.
Since Truth is everlasting and unchangeable, it can only exist in
the equally everlasting and unchangeable Soul, which we must learn
to contact by means of our Higher Minds, our very own Guide and
master. For this reason Truth cannot exist on Earth, for everything
that is given birth here must die and change into something else.
Most people are not even aware of being in possession of a Higher
Mind, but are normally completely ruled by the lower mind with its
earthly and gross appetites. It is therefore easy to sway and
manipulate the masses by appealing to their vanity and greed, which
are characteristics of a ruling lower mind. Promise bovine humanity
earthly riches and power, and they will fall for it every time.
become the leader of such a flock is relatively simple for someone
with a large amount of cunning and a vivid imagination, and we
witness the truth of this fact when we appraise the array of
self-made ‘masters’, preachers, authors and metaphysical teachers.
At times their claims are so shockingly simplistic, even downright
corny, that a person in his right mind would not for a moment
entertain the idea that others may fall for such nonsense, only to
find out at a later date that he had been wrong....... very wrong.
If you tell these covetous lower minds, with great authority and
tongue in cheek, that you have discovered a secret which did not
ancient Atlantis; that this secret can give them unlimited
power, which, in
turn, can be used as a tool for amassing all kinds
of earthly rubbish, and you might discover to your surprise that you
will be believed and recompensed by an army of dolts.
Few people realize that the greatest secret is free and easily
obtained. Eliphas Levi explains:
“Progress is a possibility for the
animal: it can be broken in, tamed and trained; but it is not a
possibility for the fool, because the fool thinks he has nothing
to learn. It is his place to dictate to others and put them
right, and so it is impossible to reason with him. He will laugh
you to scorn in saying that what he does not understand is not a
“Why don’t I understand it, then?”
he asks you, with marvelous impudence.
To tell him it is because he is a fool would only be taken as an
insult, so there is nothing you can say in reply. Everybody else
sees it quite clearly, but he will never realize it.
at the outset, is a potent secret which is inaccessible to the
majority of people; a secret which they will never guess and
which it would be useless to tell them: the secret of their own
And no fools are as difficult to manage
and as frustrating to deal with as those with some brains and a
university degree. A
philosophy degree, for example, does not immediately turn its owner
into a Plato or a Kant; but will, more often than not, turn
uninspired minds with good memories into machines, able to quote
other people’s works endlessly, but without a blood, sweat and tears
understanding, and without the ability to put their enormous
learning to practical use.
We see the same trait in ‘bible-thumpers’ who have managed to learn
the Scriptures by heart, and whom it is of no use to get into a
discussion with, because they will pull out a chapter and a verse
for every occasion. YOU know that they might as well be quoting from
the phone book, for all the understanding they have; but THEY don’t
know, and to tell them would only bring the wrath of the Four Beasts
of the Apocalypse down upon your head.
I suggest that we should be wary of this kind of dogmatist; as weary
as Shakespeare was when he wrote that:
“The Devil can cite Scripture for
But out of all the hair-splitting ‘experts’, the horned crown and
the donkey tail must go to the scientists! For these ruptuaries were
gullible enough to give the atom bomb to the politicians!!! A wise
man would have kept quiet about his discoveries, but then a wise man
has not the vanity of a scientific peacock, out hunting for fame and
glory at the expense of us all.
although some suspect, and others know for certain, that modern
science is founded on a series of absurdities and
contradictions in terms; and a sepulcher of vast proportions would
be needed to house their dead theories, the masses still honours,
and are influenced by these inflated bladders.
Never mind that their chemical putrefactions have put the whole
planet in danger, and that the ozone layer looks more like a
moth-eaten sweater.... let’s take their advice on diet instead!
Let us take time out to wonder with Machen again:
“It is monstrous indeed that
science, shown to be mad in the abstract, should presume to
dictate to us in the concrete. Yet it does. Look at the solemn
diets that are prescribed. I have known people who live - or
think they live, for they are not alive - on nuts, carrots,
bread and dates.
This diet is supposed to be a cure for
rheumatism. I do not know whether a wise man would not prefer to
be rheumatic. But the worst of it is that people who live in
this ridiculous way, who follow the Vague Treatment, as it is
called, affect airs of superiority. They look down on the people
who eat chops and steaks and thank God for them.”
We might all be better served by
‘experts’ like the astrophysicist of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center,
who, with the aid of a z-machine and the 60-inch telescope on Mount
Hopkins (oh, and a research grant, of course) peered out into space
and claimed what he found there was a whole lot of nothing.
As long as these screw-balls find nothing, I feel safe, for nothing
of consequence can come out of nothing. But this was a few years ago
and, by now, he may unfortunately have found something, although I
suspect that something may also be nothing of consequence, as the
most profound vacuum in the Universe could well be found in his
brain. Let us hope that he does not start prescribing diets or we
could well end up with nothing to eat - like ascetics with rice and
water struck from our meal plan. O Woe!
‘Exact science’ and her scientists, like a harlot and her pimps,
rapes the world daily in an orgy of vulgarity, seducing the
superficial masses with honeyed tongues and ostentatious booty,
luring our testosterone poisoned leaders into buying themselves the
largest lingam of them all - the nuclear missile. These odious
transactions can be written off to ‘progress’ or ‘civilization’, but
I have it on good authority that they are not tax free.
Jacques Bergier claimed that the Alchemist Fulcanelli visited him in
his laboratory in 1937, to warn Bergier and his fellow scientists
about their researches into nuclear energy. Fulcanelli said that,
“the work you and your colleagues
are undertaking is appallingly dangerous. It imperils not only
yourself - it is a threat to the whole of humanity. The
liberation of atomic energy is easier than you think, and the
radioactivity produced can poison the atmosphere of the entire
planet in the space of a few years”.
He goes on to tell Bergier that the
Alchemists have known this secret for a long time but that they,
unlike the scientists of today,
“have always taken religious and
moral issues into consideration when carrying out their
researches, while modern physics was born in the eighteenth
century from the spare-time amusements of a few lords and rich
libertines. Science without conscience...... I thought it my
duty to warn a few research workers here and there, but I have
no hope that my warnings will bear fruit. Taking it all in all,
I have no reason to hope.”
Fulcanelli was correct. The scientific
satans did not heed his warning, and in their ungodly arrogance have
gone on to become the Black Magicians of the modern world. Their
dark spell has been cast, and it is up to us to try to cancel its
outcome by sending forth the Light, and by promoting Peace wherever
But here I must sound a warning: Peace within is not the same as
undisturbed tranquility, which is by no means the lot of the genuine
student of the Mysteries. In order to gain sufficient knowledge and
wisdom they have to plunge into the thick of the fray, and overcome
all obstacles: only by such means can they achieve VICTORY. One
cannot win a battle without engaging the enemy! And the enemy of
Peace is dark ignorance, creating tornadoes of turmoil and chaos
wherever it touches down.
There exists an illusory peace as witnessed by those who spend their
lives meditating upon their navels, with vacuous smiles upon their
faces..... while others feed them!
Nor can peace be attained by blotting out feelings. One must learn
to master and subdue the lower emotions, it is true, but one must be
careful not to kill them out, for the emotions are the true steeds
which will one day wing you up to Heaven. But be assured: Peace can
be attained midst the roar of battle!
Peace will not take up residence in an ascetic, for his heart is
cold and chilly, and bereft of generosity. His mind too is narrow
and lacks either material or spiritual vision.
God gave the lush fruits of this lovely earth to man, that he may savour and enjoy their goodness: only when he abuses such gifts with
excesses do these bounties become a yoke and a burden, crushing him
to the ground.
Akbar Khan in his ‘Tasawwuf-i Azim’ says that:
“The only discipline worth while is
that which is achieved in the midst of temptation. A man, who,
like the anchorite, abandons the world and cuts himself off from
temptations and distractions cannot achieve power. For power is
that which is won through being wrested from the midst of
weakness and uncertainty. The ascetic living a wholly monastic
life is deluding himself.”
These ascetics are not necessarily just
the fanatics from Eastern countries, but also those from the western
world who avoid things, thinking in their ignorance that there is
virtue in avoidance.
The worst affect of this is when, a person avoids a thing, thinking
it good to do so, he often begrudges others the very thing he cannot
himself enjoy. A good example of this is the ex-smoker who will
preach tirelessly against the evils of tobacco, boring all smokers
to death with self-righteous sermons. It is as if they are saying to
“If I am miserable, I am going to
make everybody else miserable too.”
Only the few are capable of carrying out
their convictions quietly and on their own - be it the decision to
become an ex-meateater, an ex-smoker, or an ex-anything else in the
world. These ex humans do not seem to feel satisfied until they have
made everyone else feel guilty for not being as ‘noble’ as they
themselves. These are the true communists who think that their
propaganda, like manure, will do no good unless spread.
To all these folks, let us say as the conductor said to the tuba
player who played a loud and wrong note during rehearsals:
“Thank you. And now will you please
pull the chain.”
Should you ever be blessed enough to meet a real Master of the
Mysteries, you would NOT be confronted by an earthly saint (for they
are myths created by dreamers or liars, as the case may be), nor
will his diet consist of bran ( a food fit for rabbits), and neither
will he be living in a dark and damp cave (the home of bats), nor
will he be dressed in a dirty loin cloth and sandals (the attire of
A True Master is filled with luxury: the luxury of the Spirit. His
joy and sense of humour is infectious, giving you a foretaste of a
Higher Realm filled with celebration and poignant jubilation. From
him you will learn to appreciate the perfume of ripely rounded
roses, the lusty odour of a library filled with old, leather bound
books, the taste of vintage wine, the feel to the touch of an
ancient statue, and the sound of heavenly music, and yet he will
teach you how to value these things according to their worth.
He is indifferent to other men’s opinions and hence is above all
blame and praise, for he is FREE, having acquired comfort and
enlightenment from the Soul. He is a warm and magnetic human being
who knows All, yet does not let on that he Knows. He does not boast
or preach, nor does he judge.
To be followed in droves by silly old women and saffron-robed men,
would be abhorrent to him, therefore he works quietly and
among the sick and the needy, the poor and the suffering. His is the
cool hand on troubled brows, the Love that asks no rewards, and the
feathery wings that protect those in his keeping from all harm.
You will not find him giving talks to groups of mystery-mongers and
half-witted new agers; but he will reserve his wisdom and the Holy
Teachings for his chosen few, those he deems teachable. He knows
that talking to a fool is like pouring water into a sieve; once he
has finished talking, not a drop remains in their swiss-cheese
brains. It would be as futile as reading the Secret Doctrine to a
herd of cows, or sending your pet parrot to Mecca for the
Pilgrimage. It may come home screeching “Allahu Akbar!” every couple
of minutes, but it would not comprehend what it was saying. (It
reminds us of a few people we know, don’t you agree?)
At all times there are Masters walking among you, and simple though
they are to know, people know them not, for the material rubbish
that fill their hearts and minds acts as a veil to conceal the
Master’s Light. The majority prefer the showmanship of the false
teacher, for he will pamper their vanity and puff up their pigeon
chests with pride. Verily, I say unto you, they have their reward!
May the Lords of Life and Light bless and keep the Masters, and give
them Peace and a Secret Place to be, safe from the ignorant masses
who cannot bear the Light.
When the experiences of life have tried and tested you until you are
on the brink of despair; and when an indescribable sorrow and an
intense longing for, you know not what, oppresses you; then you will
know that the time has come. But as the old Persian poet said:
“Under the Sun and stars there is no
saying, or no fool or wise man, that is nearer to the Truth than
that now is the appointed time. But it may be the time for
waiting. And it may be the time for patience. When I said to my
Teacher: Tell me what to do now, I will do it...... he went
Stop looking for a quick fix and
cultivate patience, for a patient person is someone who is filled
with trust that their needs will be met; and we all know (or do we?)
that Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of
things not yet seen.
“Trust in God; He will not
nor will persevering patience leave thee
long in affliction.
Patience is the fairest light of man.“
(Four Ancient Books of
The modern world is filled to
overflowing with restless and anxious souls, rushing to and fro and
dealing with ‘reality’, making themselves irritable and weary-worn
in the process. Everything needs to be instant in order to save
money-making time. Even the entertainment has to be short and sharp
in keeping with the attention span which is also short (but not
necessarily sharp). Something similar to shock therapy perhaps?
Assuming that you were careless enough to tell them that you planned
to spend years in search of the Truth, and they would probably
accuse you of being eccentric and irresponsible. Who needs time
wasted on all that mystical mumbo-jumbo when one could be earning
dollars? Or going bowling? Or working out? Yo!
Levi says that,
“Such men will never understand anything of Occult
(occult means ‘hidden’) philosophy; and it is for them alone that it
remains occult. As occult as common sense for the fanatics of the
world; as occult as reason for the truly mad.
“For occultism is the philosophy of
Light, the philosophy of common sense, the philosophy of
exactitude, precise as numbers, as rigorous as the proportions
of geometry, as evident as being, and as infallible as the
mathematics of eternity.
“He is blind who does not see it; but he is all the more blind
who claims to see it by night!
“Never will the stupid and the vulgar comprehend the high wisdom
of the Magi!”
And never should the stupid and vulgar
meddle with the Holy Teachings, but go out and enjoy themselves
And neither should you try to convert them, like some common
Christian missionary, but keep silent about what you know.
But when the Seeker after knowledge comes forward; after he is
tested to discover if he is worthy, he will be spoken to. When a
person is ready to enter the Light, the Higher Powers will lead him
Andrea correctly states that:
“When a disciple is ready to learn,
then he is accepted, acknowledged and recognized. It must be so;
for he has lit his lamp, and it cannot be hidden.”
However, for as long as vanity and pride
rules over the love of Truth, the lamp will be hidden under the
bushel and he will not be considered ready. It takes strength and
courage to walk along the steep and thorny Path of Truth, and he
will only make it who has not brought along the baggage of the vain.
The Masters, and the Path to the Masters, has for too long been seen
in the rosy light commonly associated with the pets of the silver
screen. An aura of mystery, glamour and romance, and rumours of
supernatural manifestations, has drawn the unbalanced and the
deluded to the Occult Mysteries. For these reasons it has been given
a bad name among people with a healthy amount of common sense; and
rightly so, for the main bulk of it, ancient and modern, deserves no
deep investigation and can, without hesitation, be deposited into
the most convenient trash can.
The sooner delusions are shattered, the better; for only then can we
begin our first testing step on the journey to the Light and the
Truth. The first step is an important one, in that it is the
beginning of the journey of a thousand miles we can only go on once
we have decided to take the first step. Nobody can make this journey
on your behalf; you have to travel the road yourself, because only
personal experience will do. To listen to another’s tales of the
marvels he saw and the things he experienced, is not the same as
living through the experience yourself. You may heed another
travelers advice as to the pitfalls on the journey, if you first
make sure that he actually undertook the journey himself, and did
not bring you second-hand information and heresy.
Most so-called mystics have unfortunately taken the accounts of true
Initiates, and with the aid of their delirious imaginations, have
added fictions of their own and subtracted the marrow of Truth, in
an attempt to impress the credulous masses with their hand-me-down
and faded tales.
Any fool can gather knowledge (or have it stuffed down their
throats); but the wisdom which is required to interpret knowledge
and use it, is something that each must learn for himself in the
school of existence. It is life and life experience which is the
What good is a theory when you are confronted by a person who,
through one of life’s circumstances, cries out for help? Only a
person who knows from first-hand experience how relentless and
painful a suffering heart can be, is able to give comfort to a soul
The timid and the faint-hearted who shy away from sounding the
depths of human suffering can never be of help to anyone, and would
probably stumble and fall over the first sharp stone on the Path.
These are the helpless, the feeble and the lukewarm, without faith
and courage, themselves in need of being saved from their miseries.
And you, as a Student and a Servant on the Path, who is going to
comfort you? Your suffering may be more intense than the average
person’s, and at times it may even threaten to overwhelm you, but
yet you will need to stand alone and apart from the crowd; apart
even from friends and family, for they are unable to comfort you. It
is profoundly true that once the Aspirant enters the Path, life will
test him in all experiences, taking him to the limits of his
capabilities, and then some.
So who will tend to your battle-wounds? Only your own soul can do
that - only the Truth from your own soul. From now on the soul will
be your only friend and companion. This may seem like a lonely
proposition to some, and to those who are not in communion with
their souls, it will be just that. They will be far better off
waiting until life’s blows will have woken them up, before entering
on the Sacred Quest.
“To suffer woes which hope
to forgive wrongs darker than death or night;
To defy Power, which seems omnipotent;
To love, and bear; to hope till Hope creates
From its own wreck the thing it contemplates;
Neither to change, nor falter, nor repent;
This, like thy glory, Titan! is to be
Good, great and joyous, beautiful and free;
This is alone Life, Joy, Empire and Victory!”
It is far better not to enter the maze of the Mysteries and try to
solve its riddles, only to backslide halfway through. If, by now,
you feel that the Path holds too many grave responsibilities, tests
and trails, not worth subjecting yourself to, I suggest you do like
the old Wichita Indian who joined the Seven Day Absentists.
You cain’t beat ‘um if you want smooth sailin’.
But if your decision is to stay the course, you cannot do better
than to imprint on yourself the first principles, for they are the
most important. Unless you build on a solid foundation, your castle
will be washed away by the first strong wave, it being
Learn to build like the Master builders of the Great Pyramid and
then not even an earthquake will succeed in toppling you. If you
build in Wisdom, your work will last forever. Truth does not
suddenly come tumbling down; only untruth falls and leaves
you stranded without insurance and compensation. ‘tis a chill wind
that blows at such times; and without Wisdom’s feathery
wings to protect you, where will you turn?
Raymund Andrea, the Grand Master of the Rosicrucian Order of Great
Britain, gave much invaluable advice to the Aspirant in his books
‘The Technique of the Disciple’ and ‘The Technique of the Master’.
“He must suffer, must enjoy or
endure more keenly than other men. - It is indeed a secret cross
which perforce he must carry, and the effects in himself are
often so singular and antagonizing a character that he is apt to
question the usefulness of submitting to it.”
A life not put to the test; a life
without obstacles to overcome, is hardly worth living. Growth is
only possible in adversity; through battles fought and won. The
enemy has to be confronted and overcome. If we get driven to our
knees by the enemy (and by enemy is here meant the lower passions -
the lower mind), we have lost the battle through lack of will power
and Faith. This is cowardice which, out of spiritual laziness,
chooses undisturbed tranquility.
The Occult world is not suited for these prostrated victims, but
strangely enough, these are the ones who often flock to it,
thinking, perhaps, that it is going to, by some supernatural power,
give them magical adeptness without effort on their part. Have not
lurid advertisements told them repeatedly that, for a fee, they can
obtain all that which their little hearts desire?
“When heaven is about to impose an
important office upon a man, it first embitters his heart in its
purpose; it causes him to exert his bones and sinews; it lets
his body suffer hunger; it inflicts upon him want and poverty,
and confounds his undertakings. In this way it stimulates his
heart, steels his nature, and supplies that of which the man
would be incapable.”
There are no short-cuts to the Masters;
the one and only road is long and full of responsibilities and
infinite yearnings. It is a most severe apprenticeship and can only
be undertaken by a Seeker who has questioned his heart and mind and
has arrived at the conclusion that he MUST. He will have to know,
without a doubt, that it is the ONLY PATH.
Maybe you had something quite different in mind? You may have hoped
for a life filled with tables rapping, bells tinkling
dollar bills materializing in your hand, letters delivered by magic,
spirit-writings, and secret hideaways in Tibet - all with which you
could dazzle and impress your friends.
Your idea of a Master may be of someone who, in his spare time,
‘comes through’ from the Astral Realms, or perhaps just the good old
Himalayas, to perform circus tricks for the entertainment of a few
bored metaphysical students.
All this is but childish games of benefit to no one, and who in
their right mind would care if the Masters can do such things!
Let me quote H.P. Blavatsky, who, great though she was, started all
this nonsense in the first place, probably as a trick to get people
to listen to the important things she had to say.
“ In ‘War in Heaven’ is shown, in
one of its significations, to have referred to those terrible
struggles in store for the Candidate for Adeptship - struggles
between himself and his (by magic) personified human passions,
when the enlightened Inner man had to either slay them or fail.
In the former case he became the ‘Dragon slayer’, as having cast
off his old skin and being born in a NEW body, becoming a Son of
Wisdom and Immortality in Eternity.”
This is pure Alchemy; the transmutation
of the lower human passions into the Higher. But we must be careful
not to slay all passions, otherwise we would become inhuman and of
no use to anybody, least of all to ourselves. The Higher human
passions are what turns us into human beings; without them we would
be less than wild animals.
“Mind (as well as metals and
elements) may be
transmuted, from state to state; degree to degree;
condition to condition; pole to pole; vibration to
vibration. True Hermetic Transmutation is a Mental Art.”
This can be done by an exercise of the
Will. Consider the Will as the One Thing of the Sages, without which
the Great Work cannot be done. The Will is absolutely necessary in
order to affect a Mental Transmutation; and if you, by means of the
Will, ‘separate the earth from the fire, the subtle from the gross,
acting prudently and with great judgment’, you will produce pure
But this transmutation cannot be performed by the idle, for it takes
continual effort, great skill, patience, a willingness to recognize
error, and the courage to continue with the great work even when all
The Philosopher’s Stone is given by the Great, Thrice Great Hermes,
to those who have been sorely tested, and who, in unwavering Faith
still continue onward without thought of turning back.
“To him that overcometh will I give
to eat of the hidden Manna, and I will give him a White Stone,
and in the Stone a new name is written, which no man knoweth
saving he that receiveth it.”
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