Volume 1; Number 2; Summer 1977

The Macrocosmic Snowflake of the QBL by Frater Achad

Hoc Opus, Hic Labore Est
The Thirty-two Paths of Wisdom of the Sepher Yetzirah
Review: The Psychology of Man's Possible Evolution

Parachemica Contents


(This is Work, this is Labor.)

Too many are inclined to think that as soon as they start on the esoteric path it takes only a simple formula or magic word to attain all the secrets they have set out to obtain. Nothing could be more erroneous. There is no such a thing. There never will be one either. All the esoteric knowledge that one can attain will have to be worked for. It must be acquired. Anyone enpecting to have it dropped into his lap will be sorely disappointed.

Since any attainment requires efforts on behalf of the one who is setting, out towards manifestations it should again, once and for all, he made very clear and plain that only work and effort will produce results on the esoteric path.

It became very evident during the study groups when it was observed where individuals really and sincerely attempted to master the teachings presented. True, for many it was much more to comprehend that they had anticipated to receive. Some of it was was so entirely new, although it was as old as time itself, because the way It was, presented revealed completely new possibilities, yet the definite results obtained in that incredibly short time gave rise to hopes of further and much more profound accomplishments. This is the point to be stressed here. The possibilities that open up for the sincere student are so enormous, that one has to become actively engaged in the work in order to come to a realization. Theory alone will not let it become apparent what can be had by active engagement in the work. In many instances individuals are supplied with books that crowd their shelves. Some of them contain enough light to blind a person. Yet, and this has been proven, those are asking for more light. Ridiculous as it sounds, they hope that one of those works will produce the word or magic formula that will make all this possible to attain where others have spent their entire life, to get initiated into these very secrets. Some praise one another or another because he writes so plainly and gives very definite instructions. At the very same moment those making such statements reveal their ignorance of the underlying motif that escapes them completely. Some, in the course of time, have through cosmic grace been initiated into these things, while others had to depend on teachers or helpers to help them understand. Whatever way it may be, it is essential to be instructed, no matter what source it comes from. Be it from within or without, both will be come in the end the very same. All this has remained unchanged through out all time. Anciently, in the middle ages or presently, the approach varies very little, if at all. Likewise, the teachings are the same. We do not have to go back centuries to prove it.

Annie Besant at one time stated: H.P. Blavatsky defined Occultism as "the study of the Divine Mind in Nature," and it would be difficult to find a nobler definition. All life, all are hidden, and only their effects are patent. The forces by which a jewel is crystallized in the womb of the earth, by which a plant develops from, a seed, by which an animal is evolved from a germ, by, which a man feels and thinks - all these are occult, hidden from the eyes of men, to be studied by scientists only,in the phenomena of of evolution, as, these present themselves while the impelling forces, the nature of "vitality", the invisible, intangible secret springs of all activities, these remain ever hidden.

Moreover, this admirable definition posits Mind behind all the manifestations which we totalise as "Nature". It is these manifestations which are woven into that garment by which we see God ("and weave for God the garment thou see's Him by"). His Mind is revealed in natural phenomena, and by the visible "the invisible things ... are clearly seen". Bruno spoke of natural objects as the divine language; they are the Self-expressions of God. In the divine Mind exist the Ideas which are to be embodied in a future, universe; the world of wind, the "Intelligible World", precedes the material world. So taught the Hebrews; so taught the Greeks; and the teaching is confirmed by our everyday experience. We think, before we embody our thought in an action. Ere a man creates a great picture he must have the idea of the picture in his mind; he "thinks it out" before he paints it on the canvas. It is the world of Ideas, the Intelligible World, which is the realm explored by the Occultist.

He seeks to understand this world whence flow all outer manifestations; to grasp the Ideas which embody themselves in varied forms; to seek the hidden sources of life and to trace their outflow, as the physical scientist seeks and traces of physical types and their evolution. He is the scientist of the invisible, as the ordinary scientist is the scientist of the visible, and his methods are scientific; he observes, he experiments, he verifies, he compares, and he is continually enlarging the boundaries of the known.

The Occultist and the Mystic differ in their methods as well as in their object. The Occultist seeks knowledge of God; the Mystic seeks union with God. The Occultist uses Intellect; the Mystic Emotion. The Occultist watches Ideas embodying themselves in phenomena; the Mystic unfolds the Divine within him that it may expand into the Divinity whose Body is a universe. These sharp-cut definitions are, of course, true, only of abstract types; the concrete individuals shade off into each other and the perfected Occultist finally includes the Mystic, the perfected Mystic finally includes the Occultist. But on the way to perfection, the Occultist must evolve, pari passu, his consciousness and the successive essive. vehicles in' which the consciousness works, while the mystic sinks into the depths of his consciousness and cares naught for the bodies, which he disregards and abandons. To borrow two well-known terms: the occultist tends to become Jivanmukta, the liberated Spirit residing in material bodies; the Mystic tends to become the Videhamukta, the liberated Bodiless one.

The Occultists rise, grade by-grade, through the Hierarchy; the mystics become the Nirmanakays, the Reservoir of Spirituality, from which are drawn the streams which irrigate the worlds. Blessed, holy and necessary are both types, the two Hands of the One LOGOS in His helping of His universe.

Bearing in mind H. P. Blavatsky's definition, we can readily see how the more ordinary view of occultism, that it merely, means the study of the hidden - without defining the hidden - inevitably grows up. The Occultist is to study the Divine Mind in Nature; then he must not only expand his consciousness, so as to enter into the Divine Mind, but must also evolve his subtle bodies and their senses, in order to contact Nature in all the grades of subtlety of her manifestations. This evolution of the subtle senses and the knowledge, gained through them of the phenomena of the subtle, or superphysical, worlds of matter - loom large in eyes of the superficial observer, and he comes to identify Occultism with clairvoyance, clairaudience, travelling in subtle bodies, and the like. It would be as sensible if this same good gentleman, identified, physical science with it apparatus - its microscopes, telescopes, spectroscopes. The subtle senses are merely the apparatus of the Occultist, they are not Occultism. They are the instruments by which he observes the objects, by which escape the normal physical eye. As the ordinary instruments science may have flaws in them and so may distort the physical objects observed, so may the super-physical instruments have flaws in them, and distort the superphysical objects observed. Mal-observation with a defective instrument does not vitiate the scientific conclusions. The same is true as regards observations with ill-evolved superphysical senses; the occult method is scientific and sound, but for the moment the particular conclusions drawn by the Occultist are erroneous. Where then is safety? In repeated observations by many observers - just as in physical science.

Let us examine this a little more closely. A scientific observer finds his observations through his microscope yield him a certain picture; he draws what he sees. Then he puts a high power on his microscope, and again observes the object; he obtains another picture. He compares the two. He finds that certain parts of the object that he thought were isolated from each other are connected with threads so fine that they were invisible under the lower power. His first, observations were accurate but incomplete. One result of such incompleteness is that every scientific man, in giving pictures of objects as seen through the microscope, notes on them the power of the lens through which he observed them. Again, if a young observer, on comparing his drawings with those made by experts and inserted in the text-books, finds that he has inserted something not seen in the others, he will test his lens and repeat his observation. taking another object, identical-with the first, lest some dust, or hair, or other accidental intruder should have presented, its unbidden for his inspection Let us Apply this to the student of Occultism. He has evolved a power of sight beyond the normal he observes some etheric object and puts down his observations; a few years later, having evolved a higher power of sight, he observes the object again, and finds that the two parts of it he thought successive are divided by some intermediate process. I will take an exact instance. Mr. Leadbeater and myself in 1895 observed that the physical atom, being disintegrated, broke up into the coarsest form of astral matter. In 1908 observing the same proven again, with a higher power of sight evolved during the intervening years, we saw that the physical atom, on disintegration ran through a series of further disintegrations, and reintegrated finally into the coarsest form of astral matter. The parallel with the lower and higher powers of the microscope is complete.

Once more; a young observer sees some astral form; he compares it, if he is wise - he is not always wise - with previous observations of older observers, or with statements by great seers in world-scriptures. He finds his observation unlike theirs. If he is a serious student he tries again, making repeated and careful observations, and finds out his mistake. If he is foolish, he proclaims his mal-observation as a new discovery.

But, it may be said, people respect the physical scientist, and accept his observations, while they mock at those of the Occultist. All the discoveries of new facts were mocked at before the public was ready for them; was not Bruno burned and Galileo imprisoned for declaring that the earth moved round the sun? Was not Galvani called "the frogs dancing-master" when he laid his finger on the hidden force now called by his name? What matters the mockery of ignorant men to those whose steadfast eyes are seeking to pierce through the veils in which nature shrouds her secrets?

So far as the methods of observation of the material side of Nature are concerned, observations carried on by means of improved apparatus - externally manufactured or internally evolved the methods of physical and superphysical science are identical. Knowledge is gained by study of the results obtained by predecessors in the same field, and by observations directed to similar phenomena, with a view to verifying or correcting the results.

The evolution of the consciousness which observes through the senses is another matter, and this plays a greater part in occult than in physical science; for consciousness must unfold as higher senses evolve, else would the better tools be useless in the hands of the inefficient workman. But the object of physical and superphysical science alike is the extension of the boundaries of knowledge.

Is this extension desirable or not? If the knowledge be turned to human service, yes; if to the increase of human misery, no. The application of physical, science to the destruction of human life is most evil; yet not for that can we seek to block the advance of chemistry. The Occultist who knows how to liberate the forces imprisoned in the atom will not place within the hands of the competing nations of the world this means of wholesale destruction. Yet he knows that chemistry is advancing in this direction, and that it must not be hindered in its' advance.

As regards the Occultists themselves they are useful or dangerous according to their motives. If they are devoted to the welfare of the worlds, then their rapid evolution is beneficial. If they seek power for their own aggrandisement, then they are dangerous. The evolution of consciousness is all to the good, for, as that unfolds, the wider view brings the man gradually more and more into unison with the Divine Will in evolution, and, at a certain point in this expansion, he inevitably recognises the all-compelling claims of the larger Self. But in the lower stages, in the astral and mental worlds while his self-discipline must be rigid as regards his bodies, pride and selfishness may make him a danger to his fellowmen. The discipline of the senses and the control of the mind are equally necessary, whether the man is aiming at development for service or for individual aggrandisement. He must lead a life of rigid temperance in all things, and he must become master of his thoughts. But if personal ambition rule him, if he seeks to gain in order that he may hold, not in order that he may give, then every added power becomes a menace to the world, and he enters the ranks of the Adversary. The Occultist must evolve into a Christ or into a Satan - to borrow the Christian terms. For him there is no halfway house. Safer are the green pastures where the flock may feed at peace than the arid heights, with their crevasses and their precipices, with their shrouding mists and their crashing avalanches. None who has trodden part of the rugged way would seek to induce others to enter on it. But there are some whom an imperious inner force compels; some who cannot rest by the still waters, in but must seek to climb the heights. For such the way is open, and for them there is no other way which is possible. Only, that they may not add their shattered lives to the "wrecks which strew the path of Occultism" let them gird their loins with strength, let them don the armour of purity, and the helmet of unselfishness, and let them go forward, in the Name of the World's Redeemers, with their eyes fixed on the Star which shines above them, careless of the stones which gash their bleeding feet.

Remember there is no hocus-pocus, but only sincere and persistant work that will let you attain your goal in the esoteric Work. In Alchemy this is unmistakeable, only you can get these undreamed of marvels accomplished by DOING it. The Proof available substantiates it- to those permitted to become enlightened enough to be their own demonstrator.



(Translated from the Hebrew Text of Joannes Stephanus Rittangelius. 1642.)

The First Path is called the Admirable or the Hidden Intelligence (the Highest crown): for it is the Light giving the power of comprehension of that First Principle which has no beginning; and it is the Primal Glory, for no created being can attain to its essence.

The Second Path is that of the Illuminating Intelligence: it is the Crown of Creation, the Splendour of the Unity, equalling it, and it is exalted above every head, and named by the Kabalists the Second Glory,

The Third Path is the Sanctifying Intelligence, and is the basis of foundation of Primordial Wisdom, which is called the Former of Faith, and its roots, Amen; and it is the parent of Faith, from whose virtues doth Faith emanate.

The Fourth Path is named Measuring, Cohesive or Receptacular; and is so called because it contains all the holy powers, and, from it emanate all the spiritual virtues with the most exalted essences; they emanate one from the other by the power of the primordial emanation. (The Highest Crown.)

The Fifth Path is called the Radical Intelligence, because it is itself the essence equal to the Unity, uniting itself to the Binah, or Intelligence which emanates from the Primordial depths of Wisdom or Chokmah.

The Sixth Path is called the Intelligence of the Mediating Influence, because in it are multiplied the influxes of the emanations, for it causes that influence to flow into all the reservoirs of the Blessings, with which these themselves are united.

The Seventh Path is the Occult Intelligence, because it is the Refulgent Splendour of all the Intellectual virtues which are perceived by the eyes of intellect, and by the contemplation of faith.

The-Eighth Path is called the Absolute or Perfect Intelligence because it is the means of the primordial, which has no root by which'it can cleave, nor rest, except in the hidden places of Gedulah, Magnificence, from which emanate from its own proper essence.

The Ninth Path is the Pure Intelligence, so-called because it purifies the Numerations, it proves and, corrects the designing of their representation, and disposes their unity with which they are combined without diminution or division.

The Tenth,Path is the Resplendent Intelligence, because it is exalted above every head and sits on the throne of Binah, (the Intelligence spoken of in the Third Path). It illuminates the splendour of all the lights, and causes a supply of influence to emanate from the Prince of countenances.

The Eleventh Path is the Scintillhting Intelligence, because it is the essence of that curtain which is placed close to the order of the disposition, and this is a special dignity given to it that it may be able to stand before the Face of the Cause of Causes.

The Twelfth Path is the Intelligence of Transparency because it is that species of magnificence called Chazchazit, which is named the place whence issues the vision of those seeing in apparitions. (That-is the. prophecies by seers in a vision.)

The Thirteenth Path is named the Uniting Intelligence, and so-caIled because it is itself the Essence of Glory. it is the Consummation of the Truth of individual spirititthings.

The Fourteenth Path is the Illuminating Intelligence, and is so-called because it is that Chashmal which is, the founder of the concealed and fundamental ideas of holiness and of their stages of preparation.

The Fifteenth Path is the Constituting Intelligences so-called because it constitutes the substance of creation in pure darkness, and men have spoken of these contemplations; it is that darkness spoken of in Scripture Job xxxviii. 9, "and thick darkness a swaddling band for it".

The Sixteenth Path is the Triumphal or 'Eternal Intelligence, so-called because it is-the pleasure of the Glory, beyond which is no other Glory like to it, and it is called also the Paradise prepared for the Righteous.

The Seventeenth Path is the Disposing Intelligence, which provides Faith to the Righteous, and they are clothed with the Holy Spirit by it, and it is called the Foundation of Excellence in the state of higher things.

The Eighteenth Path is called the House of Influence (by the greatness of: whose abundance the influx of good things upon created beings in increased), and from the midst of the investigation the arcana and-hidden senses are drawn forth, which dwell in its shade and which cling to it, from the cause of all causes.

The Nineteenth Path is the intelligence of all the activities of the spiritual beings, and is so-called, because of the affluence diffused by it from the most high blessing and most exalted sublime glory.

The Twentieth Path is the Intelligence of Will, and is so-called because it is the means of preparation of all and each created being, and by this intelligence the existence of the Primordial Wisdom becomes known.

The Twenty-first Path is the Intelligence of Conciliation, and is socalled because it receives the divine influence which flows into it from its benediction upon all and each existence.

The Twenty-second Path is the Faithful Intelligence and is so-called because by it spiritual virtues are increased, and all dwellers on earth are nearly under its shadow.

The Twenty-third Path is the Stable Intelligence, and it is so-called because it has the virtue of consistence among all numerations.

The Twenty-fourth Path is the Imaginative Intelligence, and it is so-called because it gives a likeness to all the similitudes which are created in the like manner similar to its harmonious elegencies.

The Twenty-fifth Path is the Intelligence of Probation, or is Tentative, and it is so-called because it is the primary temptation, by which the Creator trieth all righteous persons.

The Twenty-sixth Path is the Renovating Intelligence, because the Holy God renews by it all the changing things which are renewed by the creation of the world.

The Twenty-seventh Path is the Exciting Intelligence, and it is socalled because through it is consummated and perfected the nature of every being under the orb of the Sun, in perfection.

The Twenty-eight Path is the Natural Intelligence; by it is completed and perfected the nature of all that exists beneath the Sun.

The Twenty-ninth Path is the Corporeal Intelligence, socalled because it form every body which is formed beneath the whole set of worlds and the increment of them.

The Thirtieth Path is the Collective Intelligence, and is so-called because Astrologers deduce from it the judgment of the Stars, and of the celestial signs and the perfections of their science, according to the rules of their resolutions.

The Thirty-first Path is the Perpetual Intelligence; but why is it so-called? Because it regulates the motions of the Sun and Moon in their proper order, each in an orbit convenient for it.

The Thirty-second Path is the Administrative Intelligence, and it is socalled because it directs and associates in all their operations the seven planets, even all of them in their own due courses.



The Psychology of Man's Possible Evolution

P. D. Ouspensky (Vintage Books, 1974) 128 pages

This reissued book by the author of "In Search of the Miraculous", "A New Model of the Universe", etc., represents essentially a summary of the main ideas of his teacher, the controversial Russian master G.I. Gurdjieff. Therefore, this book serves as an introduction to many of Gurdjieff's teachings, condensed into 5 lectures by Ouspensky. The interesting point about Gurdjieff's teachings is his definite, clear and radical views on the State and potentials of Man compared with the vast bulk of other, mainly Eastern views which only take the seeker a certain distance through the mists and leave him to meditate and chant the rest of his way through. Another point is the close parallel and line of teaching one keeps observing with that of the PRS and Gurdjieff's so-called Fourth Way School.

A sample of some of Gurdjieff's concepts follows:

The State of Man is incomplete. Nature develops him only up to a certain point and then leaves him, to develop further, by his own efforts and devices, or to live and die such as he was born, or to degenerate and lose capacity for development. That Man is actually a machine, an automation having no independent movements, inside or outside of himself. That he is brought into motion by external influences and impacts only. That most men die while physically remaining still alive. Although they still move and act, their evolution in this life has ceased. BUT that Man can come to know that he is a machine, and having fully realised this, he may find the ways to cease to be a machine.

Evolution of man in this case will mean the development of certain inner qualities and features which usually remain undeveloped, and cannot develop by themselves.

This development means man must become a different being in quality and ability. The question is asked - why cannot all men develop and become different beings? The answer is very simple. Because they do not want it. Because they do not know about it and will not understand without a long preparation what it means, even if they are told. Man to a large extent is happy in his ignorance.

Now, what are the conditions necessary for development? There are several. First of all, Man must want to become a different being strongly enough, and make the necessary effort. A passing or vague desire for change based on dissatisfaction with external conditions will not create a sufficient impulse. He must understand his position, his difficulties, and his possibilities. He must be either very strongly repelled by his present state or very strongly attracted by the future state that may be attained.

It is impossible to enumerate all the conditions necessary. But they include among other things "a school" and the conditions necessary for the existence of a School.

The School principles can be transferred only by word of mouth or orally, by direct instruction, explanation, and demonstration.

To answer the question, what makes a man desire to acquire new knowledge and to change himself? Ouspensky speaks of man living under 2 kinds of influences:
Influence A consists,of interests and attractions created by life-itself; interests of one's health, safety, wealth, pleasures, amusements, security, vanity, pride, fame, etc. The second kind of influence, influence B consists of interests of a different order aroused by ideas which are not created in life but come originally from Schools.

These influences do not reach man directly. They are thrown into the general turnover of life, pass through many different minds and reach man through philosophy, science, religion and art, always mixed with influences of the first kind, A, and generally very little resembling what they were in their beginning.

In most cases men do not realise the different origin of Influences B and often explain them as having the same origin as influence A. Although man does not know of the existence of 2 kinds of, influences, they both act on him and in one way or another he responds to them.

He can be more identified with one or some, of the influences of A and not feel influences of B at all.

Or he can be attracted and affected by one or another of influences B. The result is different in each case. If a man is fully in the power of influence A, or of one particular influence A, and quite indifferent to influence B, nothing happens to him, and his possibility, of development diminishes with every year of his life; and at a certain age, sometimes quite an early age, it disappears completely. This means that man dies while physically remaining still alive, like grain that cannot germinate and produce a plant. But if, on the other hand, man is not completely in the power of influence A, and if influences B attract him and make him feel and think, results of the impressions they produce in him collect together, attract other influences of the same kind, and grow, occupying a more important place in his mind and life. If the results: produced by influence B become sufficiently strong, they fuse together and form in man what is called a magnetic centre.

The magnetic centre is in personality it is simply a group of interests which, when they become sufficiently strong, serve, to a certain degree, as a guiding and controlling factor.

The magnetic centre turns one's interests in a certain direction and helps to keep them there. At the same time it cannot do much by itself. A school is necessary.

The magnetic centre cannot replace a school, but it can help to realize the need of a school; it can help in beginning to look for a school, or if one meets a school by chance, the magnetic centre can help to recognize a school and try not to lose it. Because nothing is easier to lose than a school.

Possession of a magnetic centre is the first, although quite unspoken, demand of a school. If a man without a magnetic centre, or a small or weak magnetic centre, or with several contradictory magnetic centres, that is, interested in many incompatible things at the same time, meets a school, he does not become interested in it, or he becomes critical at once before he can know anything, or his interest disappears very quickly when he meets with the first difficulties of school work. This is the chief safeguard of a school. Without it the school would be filled with quite the wrong kind of people who would immediately distort the school teaching. A right magnetic centre not only helps one to recognize a school, it also helps to absorb the school teaching, which is different from both influences A and influences B and may be called influence C. As said before, this influence C can be transferred only directly and orally.

When a man meets with influence C and is able to absorb it, it is said about him that in one point of himself - that is, in his magnetic centre - he becomes free from the law of accident (that which makes him an automaton). From this moment the magnetic centre has actually played its part.

It brought man to a school or helped in his first steps there. From then on the ideas and the teaching of the school take the place of the magnetic centre and slowly begin to penetrate into the different parts, of personality and with time into essence.

Ouspensky goes on to explain that one of the most important principles one learns is that real school work must proceed by three lines simultaneously.

The first line is study of oneself and the system, or the "language". Working on this line one certainly works for one-self and must manifest in one's work a certain amount of initiative in relationship to oneself. The second line is work with other people in the schooL and working with them, one works not only with them but for them. So in the second line one learns to work with people and for people. The chief point is this is discipline and following exactly what one is told, without bringing any of one's own ideas even if they appear better than those that have been given. Here no initiative is required or admitted. This is why the second line is particularly difficult for some people.

In the third line one works for the school. In order to work for the school, one must first understand the work of the school, understand its aims and needs, and this usually requires time.

Here again one can manifest more initiative, but one must always verify oneself and not let oneself make decisions against rules and principles, or against what one has been told.
-Don Foster

Parachemica Contents