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Principle Eleven, Exercise Ten

September 21, 2021

by Tony Willis   

With our examination of the occult significance of the eleventh Trump we reach the half-way point in the Major Arcana. From here onward, the Way of Initiation grows incrementally steeper, metaphorically speaking. The forces of inertia pulling the seeker back into the trammels of everyday life with the intention of distracting the seeker’s mind from the delights and rewards of spiritual life. To inoculate ourselves from these encumbering forces, we will henceforth, at the start of each exercise, create around ourselves a bubble of disinfected space, as it were. And after we have completed the exercise, we will dissolve this spiritualized ambiance so that we can return to the workaday world with our consciousness recalibrated so that it may with ease meaningfully engage in the material concerns caring for our personal hygiene, dressing and feeding ourselves, and such like necessary activities.

To create this invisible sphere of protective energy around you, you will need: A candle set in a candle-holder together with matches or a lighter. Put these items on the table you have in front of you whenever you undertake any of these exercises. Regard this table as your workbench.

Procedure: Stand somewhere in the room where you have plenty of space around you. Hold out your active arm (your right arm if you are right-handed), fingers extended so as to form a small paddle somewhat like a table-tennis bat. Turn slowly in a clockwise direction, sweeping your arm around the room as you go. Make one complete circuit. Do this with the intention of clearing the area around you of unwanted or intrusive energy. As you rotate say, out loud or in your head, “With this action, I release any energies that might restrain, limit or interfere with the magickal operation I am about to embark upon. Let them be carried off by the breeze created by the sweeping gesture that my arm is making.”

That done, light the candle, saying as you do so: “This candle that I light is the visible symbol in the outer world of the Spirit that lives within me. With this act, I commence this exercise, a journey into the Astral World.” Lighting the candle symbolizes a blossoming in your mind of a heightened type of awareness and the awakening of your magickal consciousness. However, a symbol lacks power if it has no parallel in the mind of the occultist using the symbol. To put this in basic terms, no a symbol can have any effect unless it means something to the person employing it. When you light the candle, therefore, pause mentally and “read” the mood or tone present around you in the room. “Feel” a shift in atmosphere occur as you light the candle, as the flame glows and leaps into life, and then burns strong and bright, warm and vital. Until you can feel (or sense) that shift, your action is ineffective.

Then, at the end of the exercise, turn anticlockwise around the room with your active arm extended, making sure you complete a full circuit of three hundred and sixty degrees. Then blow out the candle flame, and earth yourself and write up your notes as usual.

It is not of vital importance that you follow this procedure when undertaking Exercise Ten. But it will be necessary to do so for all the exercises that come after it. That being the case, it might be just as well to treat Exercise Ten as a dummy run so as to make certain that you are thoroughly familiar with the process when you come to engage with it when carrying out Exercise Eleven.

Important note. This exercise cannot be undertaken by anyone who does not have the sword, the cup, and Hecate’s key in their carryall.

Exercise Ten

Begin by mentally clearing the space around you as directed. Next sit, close your eyes, and imagine yourself surrounded by an infinite blackness. Slowly the darkness lightens, becoming a thick, swirling dark mist. The mist turns a lighter shade of gray and attenuates. It grows ever paler and little by little fades away. When the mist has cleared, you see that you are seated on the raft made of tree trunks floating in the middle of the now-familiar lake. Beautifully maintained parkland lies all around you, the sweeping lawns, the stands of linden (basswood) trees and beech trees, and the Temple of Themis with its domed roof almost dead ahead.

The water of the lake is shifting gently, causing the raft to turn slowly, and this circulating motion permits you to view the park from almost every angle. As you revolve on the raft, you notice, in one direction, an ancient oak tree with a thick, gnarled trunk. Its branches are covered in leaves, all vivid green in the glorious sunlight of this summer’s day. Coiled over and around the tree’s lower branches is the body of a massive grey snake. Its head droops, its eyes are shut, its scales are dull. The snake, whose name is Massuraby, is the guardian of the park. It is sick. If it dies, the park will fall rapidly into decay. It is your task to find the medicine that will revivify the snake, to bring the medicine back to the oak tree and get the snake to drink it.

As you sit contemplating your quest, a fish leaps out of the lake right in front of you and splashes back into the water. The appearance of the fish reminds you that your destination lies at the bottom of the lake. That thought in mind, stand up, collect your carryall and step to the edge of the raft. Jump in to the water, feet first, as usual, and begin your descent. Down and down you sink. At first, the water around you is cloudy but gradually the cloudiness clears until at last the water is completely transparent.

You reach the bottom of the lake and can feel an uneven surface underfoot as if you stood in newly plowed field, all ridges and furrows. Walking is difficult on this terrain. As you struggle to move around, you catch sight of a dark opening in a vast wall of rock not far away from you. Giving up the idea of walking to this cave, you push upward into the transparent water and swim there. The mouth of the cave is wide and the inside is illuminated by a soft, pale gold light. The passage tends downwards at an angle. Swim into the cavern and press on with your descent. Little torpedo-shaped silver-grey fish dart to and fro in the tunnel, some going down, others ascending. As you proceed, the light become a little stronger, and the passage widens until at last you enter an open space with a high, arching roof. Looking up, you catch sight of a symbol painted in red up there on the roof of the cavern. It is a circle from which an Mars sigilarrow protrudes – the astrological symbol for the planet Mars. The cavern floor is littered with broken wooden boxes and some old and dust-covered bottles laying on their sides. Among the debris you spy the head of a battle ax severed from its wooden handle and the base of a statue showing the bare feet and legs of some figure but snapped off at the thighs, the other half of the statue nowhere to be seen.

The most striking item in the cavern is a large, grey, metal safe large enough to hold a human being. There is a keyhole in the safe’s door but the safe is bound around with an iron chain. The chain winds around the safe multiple times, going from top to bottom and also all around its middle. The chain is drawn so tight that it would be impossible to open the door to the safe even if the door was unlocked. Take your sword from the carryall and strike the chain with it. Hack at the chain until you have cut through it. This may take several strokes of the sword. Once the chain is severed, loosen it so that you can get at the safe’s door. If the chain cannot be loosened due to the way it has been wound around the safe, cut through the chain again using the sword until you can access the door with ease.

Clear the loose sections of the chain away and exchange your sword for the key of Hecate. Using the key, unlock the safe. Pull open the door and inside the safe you will find a wooden casket such as might be used as a jewelry box. Open the casket and within you will find a single small glass phial containing a sparkling amber liquid. Place the phial and the key in your carryall and make your way back to the entrance to the cave. From there swim upwards and keep on going until you break the surface of lake. Looking around, you see that you are near to land, the vast oak tree not so very far away, with the great grey serpent twined immobile around its lower branches.

Make for the shore and draw yourself up onto the grass that fringes the lake. Walk to the trunk of the oak tree. Lift your cup from your carryall and stand it upright between the roots of the tree. Next take out the phial and pour its amber liquid into your cup. Setting aside the empty phial, offer the cup to the serpent. At first the creature takes no notice of you. Continue holding the cup to its mouth while saying: –

“Great protective spirit, Massuraby:

May you become well; may your spirit stand tall on the Astral.

May the waters of heaven nourish you.

Come, drink of the cup of life

That your body may be made whole again.

May you be healed by the blessing of the waters of heaven.”

Aroused from its torpor by the sound of your voice, the serpent drinks and having drunk transforms, its scales changing color and become green and gold, glowing with vitality. The snake is at once more lively, its eyes bright, alert, its body more agile. Massuraby slithers swiftly into the higher branches of the tree. Your quest accomplished, you put your cup into your carryall, and return to the raft which is waiting for you at the edge of the lake. Seat yourself, ankles together, hands flat on your thighs, your carryall at your side.

The water around your raft swirls, drawing it toward the center of the lake, turning it slowly as it does so. You are afforded a panoramic view of the entire park, seeing it from every angle, the perfectly manicured lawn, the trees, the Temple of Themis, the gentle roll of the hills that seems to hold the lake in a great bowl of greenery infused with natural goodness. Before you can consider the landscape further, a breeze ruffles the surface of the lake disturbing its peace. The breeze then gains in strength and drives a fine white-grey mist across the lawns of the park. The mist grows thicker and darker as it envelops you until you sit in utter darkness. After a moment you realize that the chair on which you are seated is no longer swaying with the motion of the waters of the lake. You are not any more on the chair lashed to the raft. You are seated on your own chair in a room in your own home. Opening your physical eyes, you confirm that this is indeed the truth. Stand up and stamp on the floor as the first stage of your earthing process. To complete the earthing process, have a warm drink or eat something before making a record of everything you experienced on your journey into the Astral World.

If you created sacred space at the beginning of the exercise, be sure to dissolve it now as you were shown at the beginning of this article.

From → occult tarot

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