John St. John


The Eighth Day

Thus the Eighth day, the Second Week, begins. I am in Asana.

For some reason or other, Pranayama is quite easy. Concentrating on Adonai, I was in Kambhakham for a whole minute without distress.

It is true, by the way. I was — and am — in some danger of looking on this Record as a Book; i.e., of emphasising things for their literary effect, and diminishing the importance of others which lend themselves less obviously.

But the answer to this, friend Satan! is that the Canon of Art is Truth, and the Canon of Magic is Truth; my true record will make a good book, and my true book will make a good record.

Ekam evam advaitam! friend Satan! One and not two. Hua allahu alazi lailaha illa Hua!

But what shall by my "considerations" for this week? I am so absolutely become as a pantomorphous Lynx that all things look alike to me; there are just as many pros and cons to Pranayama as to Ceremonial, etc. etc., — and the pros and cons are so numerous and far reaching that I simply dare not start discussing even one. I can see an endless avenue in every case. In short, like the hashish-drunkard in full blast, I am overwhelmed by the multitude of my own magical Images. I have become the great Magician — Mayan, the Maker of Illusion — the Lord of the Brethren of the Left-hand Path.

I don't "wear my iniquity as an aureole, deathless in Spiritual Evil," as Mr. Waite thinks; but it's nearly as bad as that. There seems only one reply to this great question of the Hunchback (I like to symbolize the spirit of Questioning by "?" — a little crooked thing that asks questions) and that is to keep on affirming Adonai, and refusing to be obsessed by any images of discipline or magic.

Of course! but this is just the difficulty — as it was in the Beginning, is now, and every shall be, world without end! My beautiful answer to the question, How will you become a millionaire? is: I will possess a million pounds. The "answer" is not an answer; it is a begging of the question.

What a fool I am! and people think me clever. Ergo, perhaps!

Anyhow I will now (12.37) go quietly to sleep — as I am always saying, and never do when I say it! — in the hope that daylight may bring counsel.

Woke fresh and comfortable. Sleep filled with dreams and broken into short lengths. I ought to observe that this is a very striking result of forging this magic chain; for in my normal life I am one of the soundest sleepers imaginable. Nine solid hours without turning once is my irreducible minimum.
Having done an hour's illumination of the New Ritual, will go and break my fast with coffee and a brioche, and thence proceed to Michael Brenner's studio.
I have spent the morning in modelling Siddhasana — a more difficult task than appeared. Rather like the task!

But I went on with the mantra, and made some Reflections upon Kamma.

I will now have a Yogin coffee and sandwich, and return to my illumination of the Ritual.

In the desert of my soul, where no herb grows, there is yet one little spring. I am still one-pointed, at least in the lower sense that I have no desire or ambition but this of accomplishing the Great Work.

Barren is this soul of mine, in these 3½ years of drought (the 3½ coils of the Kundalini are implied by this) and this Ekagrata is the little cloud like a hand (Yod, the Lingam of great Shiva). And, though I catch up my robe and run before the chariot of the King into Jezreel, it may be that before I reach those gates the whole sky may be one black flame of thundercloud, and the violet swords of the lightning may split asunder its heavy womb, and the rain, laughing like a young child, may dance upon the desert!

The Light beginneth to dawn upon the Path, so that I see a little better where I stand. This whole journey seems under some other formula than IAO — perhaps a Pentagram formula with which I am not clearly acquainted. If I knew the Word of the Grade, I could foretell things: but I don't.

I think I will read through the whole Record to date and see if I can find an Ariadne-clue.

Back, and settled to Ritual-painting.
Finished: bar frontispiece and colophon, which I can design and execute to-morrow.
Took half an hour off, making a silly sketch of a sunset. Will now read through the Record, and Reflect upon it.
"Before I was blind; now I see!" Yesterday I was right up to the Threshold, right enough; but got turned back by the Dweller. I did not see the Dweller till afterwards (8.53 entry) for he was too subtle. I will look carefully back to try and spot him; for if I "knew his Name" I could pass by — i.e., next time I climb up to the Threshold of the Pylon.

I think the entries 1.25 and 3.35 A.M. explain it. "Hugging myself, as it were." How fatally accurate! I wrote it and never saw the hellish snare! I ought to have risen up and prepared myself ceremonially as a bride, and waited in the proper magical manner. Also I was too pleased with the Heralds of my Lord's coming — the vision of Khephra, etc. It was perhaps this subtle self-satisfaction that lost me … so I fell to the shocking abyss of last night!

The Dweller of the Threshold is never visible until after one has fallen; he is a Veiled God and smites like the Evil Knight in Malory, riding and slaying — and no man seeth him. But when you are tumbled headlong into Hell, where he lives, then he unveils his Face, and blasts you with its horror!

Very good, John St. John, now you know! You are plain John St. John and you have to climb right up again through the paths to the Threshold; and remember this time to mortify that self- satisfaction! Go at it more reverently and humbly — oh, you dog, how I loathe you for your Vileness! To have risen so high, and — now — to be thus fallen!

The question arises: how to mortify this self-satisfaction?

Asceticism notoriously fosters egoism; how good am I to go without dinner! Now noble! What renunciation!

On the other hand,the good wine in one says: "A fine fellow I have made my coffin of!"

The answer is simple, the old answer: think not of St. John and his foolishness; think of Adonai! Exactly: the one difficulty!

My best way out will be to concentrate on the New Ritual, learn it perfectly by heart, work it at the right moment….

I will go, with this idea, to have a Citron pressé; thence to my Secret Restaurant, and dine, always learning the Ritual.

I will leave off the mantra, though it is nearly as much part of me as my head by now; and instead repeat over and over again the words of the Ritual so that I can do it in the end with perfect fluency and comprehension. And this time may Adonai build the House!

Instead I met Dr. R—, who kindly offered to teach me how to obtain astral visions! (P.S. — The tone of this entry wrongs me. I sat patiently and reverently, like a chela with his guru, hoping to hear the Word I needed.) Thence I went my long and lonely walk to my Secret Restaurant, learning the Ritual as I went.
Arrived at the Secret Restaurant. Ordered 6 oysters, Rable de Lièvre poivrade purée de marrons, and Glace "Casserole" with a small bottle of Perrier Water.

I know the New Ritual down to the end of the Confession.

It was hard to stop the mantra — the moment my thought wandered, up it popped!

I shall add Café Cognac Cigare to this debauch.

I continue learning the Ritual.

I will return and humble myself before the Lord Adonai. It is near the night of the Full Moon; in my life the Full Moon hath ever been of great augury. But to-night I am too poor in spirit to hope.

Lo! I was travelling on the paths of Lamed and of Mem, of Justice and the Hanged Man, and I fell into both the pitfalls thereof. Instead of the Great Balance firmly held, I found only Libra, the house of Venus and of the exaltation of Saturn; and these evil planets, smiling and frowning, overcame me. And so for the sublime Path of Man; instead of that symbol of the Adept, his foot set firmly upon heaven, his whole figure showing forth the Reconciler with the Invisible, I found but the stagnant and bitter water of selfishness, the Dead Sea of the Soul. For all is Illusion. Who saith "I" denieth Adonai, save only if he mean Adonai. And Daleth the Door of the Pylon, is that Tree whereon the Adept of Man hangeth, and Daleth is Love Supernal, that if it be inserted in the word ANI, "I," giveth ADNI, Adonai.

Subtle art thou and deadly, O Dweller of the Threshold (P.S. — This name is a bad one. "Dweller beside the Pylon" is a better term; for he is not in the straight path, which is simple and easy and open. He is never "overcome"; to meet him is the proof of having strayed. The Key fits the Door perfectly; but he who is drunken on the bad wine of Sense and Thought fumbles thereat.

And of course there is a great deal of door, and very little key- hole), who dost use my very love of Adonai to destroy me!

Yet how shall I approach Him, if not with reverent joy, with a delicious awe? I must wash His feet with my tears; I must die at His gateway; I must … I know not what…

Adonai, be thou tender unto me Thy slave, and keep my footsteps in the Way of Truth! … I will return and humble myself before the Lord Adonai.

Home again; have done odd necessary things, and am ready to work.

I feel slack; and I feel that I have been slack, though probably the Record shows a fair amount of work done. But I am terribly bruised by the Great Fall; these big things leave the body and mind no worse, apparently; but they hurt the Self, and later that is reflected into the lower parts of the man as insanity or death.

I must attain, or … an end of John St. John.

An end of him, one way or the other, then!

Good-bye, John!

Ten minutes wasted in sheer mooning! I'm getting worse every minute.
Fooled away ten minutes more!
Humiliation enough! For though I made the cross with Blood and Flame, I cannot even remain concentrated in humiliation, which yet I feel so acutely. What a wormy worm I am! I tried the new strict Siddhasana, only to find that I had hurt myself so this morning with it that I cannot bear it at all, even with the pillow to support the instep.

I will just try and do a little Pranayama, to see if I can stay doing any one simple thing for ten minutes at a stretch!

Twenty-five Breath-Cycles … But it nearly killed me. I was saying over the Ritual, and did so want to get to the Formulation of the Hexagram at least, if not to the Reception. As it was, I broke down during the Passage of the Pylons, luckily not till I had reached that of Tahuti.

But it is a good rule; when in doubt play Pranayama. For one can no longer worry about the Path: the Question is reduced to the simple problem: Am, I, or am I not, going to burst?

I got all the sweating and trembling of the body that heart could desire; but no "jumping about like a frog" or levitation. A pity!

I shall read for a little in the Yoga-Shastra as a rest. Then for the end of the day and the Beginning of the Ninth Day. Zoroaster (or Pythagoras?) informs us that the number Nine is sacred, and attains the summit of Philosophy. I'm sure I hope so!
I get into Asana … and so endeth the Eighth Lesson.

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