John St. John


The Eleventh Day

It seems a poor thing to be proud of, merely to be awake. Yet I was flushed with triumph as a boy that wins his first race.

The powers of Asana and Pranayama return. I did 21 Breath-cycles without fatigue.

Energy returns, and Keenness to pursue the Path — all fruits of that one little victory over sleep.

How delicate are these powers, so simple as they seem! Let me be very humble, now and for every more! Surely at least that lesson has been burnt into me.

And how gladly I would give all these powers for the One Power!

Another smart attack of diarrhœa. I take 4 gr. Plumb c. Opio and alter my determination to stay out of bed all night, as chill is doubtless the chief cause.

… It is really extraordinary how the smallest success awakes a monstrous horde of egoistic devils, vain, strutting peacocks, preening and screaming!

This is simply damnable. Egoism is the spur of all energy, in a way; and in this particular case it is the one thing that is not Adonai (whatever else may be) and so the antithesis of the Work. Bricks without straw, Indeed! That's nothing to it. This job is like being asked to judge a Band contest and being told that one may do anything but listen. Only worse! One could form some idea of how they were playing through other senses; in this case " "every" faculty is the enemy of the Work. At first sight the problem seems insoluble. It may be so, for me. At least, I have not solved it. Yet I have come very near it, many a time, of old; have solved it indeed, though in a less important sense than now I seek. I am not to be content with little or with much; but only with the Ultimate Attainment.

Apparently the method is just this; to store up — no matter how — great treasures of energy and purity, until they begin to do the work themselves (in the way that the Hindus call Sukshma). Just so the engineer — five feet six in his boots — and his men build the dam. The snows melt on the mountains, the river rises, and the land is irrigated, in a way that is quite independent of the physical strength of that Five foot Six of engineer. The engineer might even be swept away and drowned by the forces he had himself organized. So also the Kingdom of Heaven.

And now (12.57) John St. John will turn himself to sleep, invoking Adonai.

Can neither sleep nor concentrate.

Instead grotesque "astral" images of a quite base gargoylish type.

I suppose I shall have to pentagram them off like a damned neophyte. Je m'emmerde!

Praise the Lord, I wake! If that can be called waking which is a mere desperate struggle to keep the eyes open.
Pranayama all wrong — very difficult. Rose, washed, drank a few drops of water. (N.B. — To-night have drunk several times, a mouthful at a time; other nights, and days, no. All entries into body recorded duly.)
Have done 10 Breath-Cycles; am quite awake.

It will therefore now be lawful again to sleep.

Awoke at 7.40, read a letter which arrived, and tried quite vainly to concentrate.
Have risen, written a letter. Will break my fast — café croissant — and go a walk with the New Mantra, using my recently invented method of doing Pranayama on the march. The weather is again perfect.
Breakfast — eaten Yogin-wise — at an end. The walk begins.
The walk over. Kept mantra going well enough.

Made also considerations concerning the Nature of the Path.

The upshot is that it does not matter. Acquire full power of Concentration; the rest is only leather and prunella.

Don't worry; work!

I shall now make a pantacle to aid the said faculty of concentration.

The Voice of the Nadi (by the way) is resounding well, and the Chittam is a little better under control. 1.5. Have worked well on the Pantacle, thinking of Adonai. Of course we are now reduced to a "low anthropomorphic conception" — but what odds? Once the Right Thought comes it will transcend any and all conceptions. The objection is as silly as the objection to illustrating Geometry by Diagrams, on the ground that printed lines are thick — and so on.

This is the imbecility of the "Protestant" objection to images.

What fools these mortals be!

The Greeks, too, after exhausting all their sublimest thoughts of Zeus and Hades and Poseidon, found that they could not find a fitting image of the All, the supreme — so they just carved a goat-man, saying: Let this represent Pan!

Also in the holiest place of the most secret temple there is an empty shrine.

But whoso goes there in the first instance thinks; There is no God.

He who goes there at the End, when he has adored all the other deities, knoweth that No God.

So also I go through all the Ritual, and try all the Means; at the End it may be I shall find No rituals and No means, but an act or a silence so simple that it cannot be told or understood.

Lord Adonai, bring me to the End!

After writing above, and adding a few touches to the Pantacle, am ready to go to lunch.
Arrived at Panthéon, with mantra.

Rumpsteak aux pommes soufflées, poire, ½ Evian, and the three Cs.

Was meditating on asceticism. John Tweed once told me that Swami Vivekananda, towards the end of his life, wrote a most pathetic letter deploring that his sanctity forbad his "going on the bust."

What a farce is such sanctity! How much wiser for the man to behave as a man, the God as a God!

This is my real bed-rock objection to the Eastern systems. They decry all manly virtue as dangerous and wicked; and they look upon Nature as evil. True enough, everything is evil relatively to Adonai; for all stain is impurity. A bee's swarm is evil — inside one's clothes. "Dirt is matter in the wrong place." It is dirt to connect sex with statuary, morals with art.

Only Adonai, who is in a sense the True Meaning of everything, cannot defile any idea. This is a hard saying, though true, for nothing of course is dirtier than to try and use Adonai as a fig- leaf for one's shame.

To seduce women under pretence of religion is unutterable foulness; though both adultery and religion are themselves clean.

To mix jam and mustard is a messy mistake.

It also struck me that this Operation is (among other things) an attempt to prove the proposition:

Reward is the direct and immediate consequence of Work.

Of all the holy illuminated Men of God of my acquaintance, I am the only one that holds this opinion.

But I think that this Record, when I have time to go through it, and stand at some distance, to get the perspective, will be proved a conclusive proof of my thesis. I think that every failure will be certainly traceable to my own dam foolishness; every little success to courage, skill, wit, tenacity.

If I had but a little more of these!

I further take this opportunity of asserting my Atheism. I believe that all these phenomena are as explicable as the formation of hoar-frost or of glacier tables.

I believe "Attainment" to be a simple supreme sane state of the human brain. I do not believe in miracles; I do not think that God could cause a monkey, clergyman, or rationalist to attain. I am taking all this trouble of the Record principally in hope that it will show exactly what mental and physical conditions precede, accompany, and follow "attainment" so that others may reproduce, through those conditions, that Result I believe in the Law of Cause and Effect — and I loathe the cant alike of the Superstitionist and the Rationalist.

The Confession of St. Judas McCabbage

I believe in Charles Darwin Almighty, maker of Evolution; and in Ernst Haeckel, his only son our Lord Who for us men and for our salvation came down from Germany: who was conceived of Weissmann, born of Büchner, suffered under du Bois-Raymond, was printed, bound, and shelved: who was raised again into English (of sorts), ascended into the Pantheon of the Literary Guide and sitteth on the right hand of Edward Clodd: whence he shall come to judge the thick in the head.

I believe in Charles Watts; the Rationalist Press Association; the annual dinner at the Trocadero Restaurant; the regularity of subscriptions, the resurrection in a sixpenny edition, and the Book-stall everlasting.


Arrived at Brenner's studio, and went on with the "moulage" of my Asana.
Left the Studio; walk with mantra.
Mantra-march. Pranayama; quick-time. Very bracing and fatiguing, both.

At Dôme to drink a citron pressé.

Reflections have been in my mind upon the grossness of the Theistic conception, as shewn even in such pictures as Raphael's and Fra Angelico's.

How infinitely subtler and nobler is the contemplation of

The Utmost God
Hid i' th' middle o'matter,

the inscrutable mystery of the nature of common things. With what awe does the wise man approach a speck of dust!

And it is this Mystery that I approach!

For Thou, Adonai, art the immanent and essential Soul of Things; not separate from them, or from me; but That which is behind the shadow-show, the Cause of all, the Quintessence of all, the Transcender of all.

And Thee I seek insistently; though Thou hide Thyself in the Heaven, there will I seek Thee out; though Thou wrap Thyself in the Flames of the Abyss, even there will I pursue Thee; Though Thou make Thee a secret place in the Heart of the Rose or at the Arms of the Cross that spanneth all-embracing Space; though Thou be in the inmost part of matter, or behind the Veil of mind; Thee will I follow; Thee will I overtake; Thee will I gather into my being.

So thus as I chase Thee from fastness to fastness of my brain, as Thou throwest out against me Veil after Magic Veil of glory, or of fear, or of despair, or of desire; it matters nothing; at the End I shall attain to Thee — oh my Lord Adonai!

And even as the Capture is delight, is not the Chase also delight? For we are lovers from the Beginning, though it pleasure Thee to play the Syrinx to my Pan. Is it not the springtide, and are these not the Arcadian groves?

At home; settling to strictest meditation upon Adonai my Lord; willing His presence, the Perfume and the Vision, even as it is written in the Book of the Sacred Magick of Abramelin the Mage.
Soon this became a sleep, though the will was eager and concentrated.

The sleep, too, was deep and refreshing. I will go to dinner.

Arrived, with mantra, at the Café de Versailles.
½ doz. Marennes, Rable de Lièvre, citron pressé.

I am now able to concentrate off the Path for a little.

Whether this means that I am simply slipping back into the world, or that I am more balanced on, and master of, the Path, I cannot say.

Have walked home, drunk a citron pressé at the Dôme, and prepare for the night.

As I crossed the boulevard, I looked to the bright moon, high and stately in the east, for a message. And there came to me this passage from the Book of Abramelin:

"And thou wilt begin to inflame thyself in praying" …

It is the sentence which goes on to declare the Result. (P.S. — With this rose that curious feeling of confidence, sure premonition of success, that one gets in most physical tasks, but especially when one is going to get down a long putt or a tricky one. Whether it means more than that perception and execution have got into unison (for once) and know it, I cannot say.)

It is well that thus should close this eleventh day of my Retirement, and the thirty-third year of my life.

Thirty and three years was this temple in building…. It has always been my custom on this night to look back over the year, and to ask: What have I done?

The answer is invariably "Nothing."

Yet of what men count deeds I have done no small share. I have travelled a bit, written a bit … I seem to have been hard at it all the time — and to have got nothing finished or successful.

One Tragedy — one little comedy — two essays — a dozen poems or so — two or three short stories — odds and ends of one sort and another: it's a miserable record, though the Tragedy is good enough to last a life. It marks an epoch in literature, though nobody else will guess it for fifty years yet.

The travel, too, has been rubbish. It's been a petty, peddling year.

The one absolute indication is: on no account live otherwise than alone.

But it is 10.35; these considerations, though in a way pertaining to the Work, are not the Work itself.

Let me "begin to inflame myself in praying!"

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