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Second Madeline Montalban Article

January 30, 2020

First Steps on the Magical Path

by Madeline Montalban     

1. In this article we are still studying the various aspects of Trump Number 0, or 22, in the Tarot (for this card responds to both numbers), and the mysteries of the Magician.

2. As previously explained, one can be either a Fool or an Adept, according to how one begins on the magical path. Remember, too, that the old word “magic” does not necessarily mean “black magic” as so many think. It is a word that embraces the whole idea of understanding the laws of the universe, how they correspond to ourselves, and to everything on all planes, from the material upwards.

3. It is by failing to understand these laws, or by not recognizing that they exist, that this world, and all of us in it, have got ourselves into such a hopeless mess. The study of true occultism offers not only a means to conduct our lives properly; it also helps us to understand the whys and wherefores of where they go wrong.

4. All people interested in the occult wish to learn. Some have to grope around to find even a way to start. This series of articles is designed to teach you how, through the Tarot, the Book of Wisdom itself, you can start on the path of knowledge.

5. By having admitted you know nothing, but wish to learn, you have taken your first step along the path. You have thereby forsaken the path of the fool and are on your way to learning. Now I am asking you to go a step further. To admit that things do not happen by chance, but are all part of a design. That design you cannot fully know, for in all our lives the pattern must be different. But the basic design for us all is the same. If we want to learn, the door to knowledge will open. The first step before the door swings wide, is that of self-knowledge.

The ascent to knowledge

6. To illustrate this point, I have chosen a picture from a very old book which represents the soul (always depicted as a female figure) ascending the steps of learning, carrying a lighted candle to illuminate the way ahead. The steps depict a gradual ascent to knowledge, while the candle represents truth in all its forms.


7. Many ask me where to begin to study the occult. It is a difficult question to answer, since, in the beginning, one must start with oneself. If you feel that there are laws and mysteries behind life and creation that you do not understand but would like to know, you have lit your candle. The first step upwards comes with renouncing folly. One of the bridges to the Land of Folly is believing that everything in your life is pre-ordained. The student in occultism must relinquish that point of view, since occultism holds that, to a very great extent, you ordain things for yourself.

8. People tend to want things without fully analysing whether the things they want could bring them lasting happiness. So you start on the magical path by first defining what it is you want from life. If it is only mundane and material things, then higher occultism is not for you. The reason is that so many of the things we ardently desire would not advance us one step on the soul’s path (which is the path of knowledge) if we got them.

Know what you want

9. It seems cold comfort until you follow the first advice given. “Know your true will, and then do it.” Which does not mean that you should do what you like, but that you should first of all analyse what it is you want from life and then ask yourself what steps you will take to get it.

10. Quite often, in analysing what it would mean to us in the sacrifice of what we have for what we want, we realize that we don’t want the desired thing so much as we thought we did. That is the time to abandon it and to seek within ourselves to know what we do want. All attainment needs sacrifice of some kind.

11. Ambitions and attainments are not forbidden to the magical student, provided that you have within you the powers and ability to work towards them. No good, for instance, wanting or even willing, to become a famous writer (or anything else) if you haven’t the necessary talent, plus originality. Writing is not a matter of copying and re-hashing what other people have done, but originating something for yourself that is quite different.

Subtle change in life

12. So with many other “wants”. Ask yourself first if you believe that, single-handedly, alone, and helped only be the occult powers, you feel you can achieve your aim; being, at the same time, prepared to leave aside all other things to attain this one objective.

13. If you are prepared to do this, you are on your way. Once that decision is taken, and the bargain with your own soul and higher powers made, your life will begin to change subtly, so that you are impelled, imperceptibly, towards your goal.

14. It is a matter for most serious consideration. You cannot have your cake and eat it (though all of us tend to try). Once you will yourself to attain a certain objective, you set in motion certain hidden powers, both within and outside yourself, that move you forward. In doing which you may find yourself gradually shorn of all that is familiar; of all that you have become accustomed to and even, in some cases, find yourself moved, by a series of what seem coincidences, in a certain direction.

Vortex of attraction

15. The fool plays with ideas until the force generated by ideas plus desire (as against will) draws him into a vortex of change. The wise person never plays with any idea that can be dangerous, lest the same thing happens. “Wanting fervently” is just as powerful as “willing fervently”. Wanting is based on emotional feelings and not enough thought of the possible consequences. But to know your true will, or purpose, is to create the vortex that will draw you towards your objective.

16. The first lesson in magic is never to think you have a situation under control. If you are doing something that you know you should not, or playing with dangerous ideas, the force you generate has you under control. The only time you are in control of yourself is when you know what you want and admit that anything else you have can be taken from you so that you may achieve your true purpose.

17. This is where grave thought is needed. Take a lot of time to make your decision. If it is to follow the magical path, be sure you will never want to go back. It will change you and your whole life in a strange, but better, way.

[First published ‘Prediction’, November, 1965]

From → occult tarot

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