THE SERPENT & TETH
By Paul Dunne
The 19th Path of the Tree of Life joins Spheres Chesed & Geburah, and it is also assigned the 9th letter of the Hebrew alphabet which is Teth. The Hebrew Letter Teth also has a numeric value of 9 and it should be noted that 9 is the number of the Triple Moon goddess (the 6th of January is said to be the Day of the Triple Goddess and quite by chance I happen to be writing about the Serpent and Teth today which is evidential). Teth when translated literally means Serpent or Snake and it is this aspect which makes Teth one of the most significant Paths in relation to the whole of the Tree of Life.
In Qabalistic Lore it is said that the Paths of the Tree of Life are all connected by the Serpent of Wisdom - it should be noted that Qabalistic Lore does not say the Paths of the Tree of Life are all connected by the Serpent of Knowledge. To me this offers a unique insight into how the Tree of Life is used and how its self initiatory system works for the individual. When I first tried to begin learning the mysteries of the Tree of Life I could not work out whether one began at the top of the Tree with Sphere 1 Kether and worked down the Tree, or if one started at the bottom of the Tree with Sphere 10 MaIkuth and worked up the Tree. Funnily enough neither could other Qabalists nor books seem to offer me this small insight I needed to make a start with the Qabalah - I eventually found this needed information on a correspondence course for Qabalistic studies. The correct way is to commence meditation and studies upon the Spheres from Kether down to MaIkuth, only when happy with your knowledge of all of the Spheres do you attempt to work up the Tree of Life via the Paths which will teach Spiritual lessons as required. It is said one should think very carefully before treading the 32nd Path as it commences the Path of Return and Initiation - a process which once commenced will work itself out one way or another whether the aspirant likes it or not! So the process of early Qabalistic studies working down the Spheres of the Tree of Life I would classify as the attempt at obtaining the Serpent of Knowledge. However, Knowledge is no use without Wisdom and in order to get Wisdom you have to commence the Spiritual Path of Return marked out and connected by the Serpent of Wisdom. In a nutshell you study Qabalah first before you decide whether to make the Life Commitment of using it for this life and possible future lives.
The Serpent of Wisdom symbolically represents Death and Decay - scary terms it might at first seem, but no not really for it simply means Spiritual Transformation leading to evolution and soul growth. The Serpent of Knowledge could be said to be the Serpent of the Head or Mind offering possibly useful insights, whilst the Serpent of Wisdom is the Serpent of the Heart offering the pure but sometimes bitter sweet Lessons of Love and Devotional Service to the Divine Within Humanity.
The Serpent of Wisdom represents this Path of Return through which in time it is said all Humanity and the Universe Itself must pass through - it is represented by the glyph of the Serpent Nechustan placed upon the Tree of Life. Now Nechustan is the Serpent of Wisdom whose body is coiled around the Tree of Life in such a way that where it passes over the top of each Path of the Tree it is actually successively marking out the secret order of the Path of Return. The Path of Return was once a carefully guarded secret of the mysteries only given to initiated students of the Qabalah, but today it is now In the public domain and available to all. The Path of return commences from MaIkuth and follows the following course of Paths - 32, 31, 30, 29, 28, 27, 26, 25, 24, 23, 22, 21, 20, 19, 18, 17, 16, 15, 13, 12, 11. Now the observant would notice that Path 14 appears to be missing, - the 14th Path is not clearly crossed over by Nechustan although the Serpent's body appears to touch the 14th Path on either side of Path 13 (represented by the Hebrew Letter Gimel which means a Camel). This does appear to imply a secret meaning is attributed to the 14th Path, but this is only of interest to advanced adepts of Qabalistic practice. The 14th Path still has to be trodden by the adept and is not discounted but attention is being doubly drawn to this Path’s elusive significance.
The Serpent of Wisdom's tail is almost touching MaIkuth whilst it's head is above Kether in the condition of Sahasrara known as the Spiritual ecstasy of Union with the Divine and is suggesting the return to Unity with the Cosmic source from which we first sprang forth - the Ain Soph Aur or Limitless Light of the Unmanifest from the Negative Veils of Existence.
The Hebrew letter Teth is known as "The Intelligence of the Secret of All Spiritual Activities" which suggests that broadly speaking all true religions share the intelligent energy and purpose that is essentially represented by Teth - the Serpent. The Bible for example has many references to Serpents including one that suggests that he or she that sets the slain Serpent upon a Flaming Cross shall live. Here the Ancient Qabalists were showing a unique insight where they recognised the unity of All Religions - what other World Religion has so obviously suggested that other religions are equal to their own and emanating from the same Spiritual sources. It could be suggested that the inbuilt flaw of most religions is the failure to recognise the principle and purpose at the origin of True Religion which at the end of the day serves the same purpose in Human evolution and spiritual awareness. The Serpent of Wisdom also represents and symbolises Secrecy which is perhaps why the real Intelligence of All Spiritual Activities is so obscure and apparently inaccessible to the masses, for the Truth may only be found Within. He or she that looks to the state or another Human Being to give them their religion has thus effectively missed the point and is debarred from the Secrets of Religion, this would be a valid reason for Occult religions being described as Mysteries by their followers. A Mystery remains just that until we ourselves go within to ponder and fathom the significance and meaning of Life which is so beautifully embodied by the Egyptian Ankh The Ankh itself sharing many of the characteristics of the Royal Serpent of Ancient Egypt - the Ureaus.
The Serpent is said to be the symbol of the Kundalini of the Yogis, the coiled sleeping Serpent that has a dual role as the slayer or redeemer of souls - the Kundalini is initially when inert the Power Source of Humanity's Spiritual Illusions and Delusions. Yet the Kundalini is actually the Initiator of Matter Manifest - basically Cosmic Energy that is the Star Fire of the Heavens and also the Star within the Earth, an Element in the New Age being realised to have mystical links with Radium. "As Above So Below".
The Number 9 is said to be the link for initially it is the Number of Illusion yet it is also the Number of Spiritual Initiation. In fact if you look at the shape of the Number 9 it is like a thrashing snake uncoiling and shedding its skin in order to relieve itself of its old outmoded form and produce a renewal or regeneration. 9 as a number is about as mystical as numbers go. 9 is said to be the Mystical Number of those people who are destined to go forth and seek their own Perfection. For so strong is their desire within that the people who come under the magical influence of the Number 9 that they are pulled and drawn to look for Perfection in everything and all things everywhere. However, there is also a "Hard Lesson" that comes with the esoteric significance of the Number 9, and that is that those people drawn to seek Perfection must never forget that first and foremost they must find this as Inner Perfection within themselves. They must find their own Inner Light and when they do they will act as a Living Light who may influence others by virtue of deed, action and simply by being of their own evolutionary best. This talk of Perfection must not be confused with piety and goody two shoes conventional behaviour as preached to the masses - in fact it is more a form of correct behaviour that is balanced within the greater scheme of things, in accordance with self revealed Higher Law. The Higher Law brings the individual under the Perfection of Divine Creation, doing the Divine's Will and not as the lower self might please. Indeed how misunderstood is that phrase "Do as thou will as long as it harms none" - it is not a licence to do as we might like, but instead it is the giving over to the Higher Will of the Creator. Becoming a Channel of the Limitless Light.
The Seeker of Perfection attains a Great Fortune when they realise that the True Perfection is contained within the Godhead that is brought down and made manifest within themselves - thus forcing ever increasing Light downwards into our World. The Divine does not pay its dues in money or material things, also if our personal world seems dark, lonely, bleak and godless at times then whom have we really to blame but ourselves for making it so. The True meaning of Perfection is a form of Spiritual integrity and correctness coupled with boundless love and an infinite connection with all things = the Cosmic connection creating the God Within or even the Cosmos Within. When you are infinitely connected with All Things then you will have attained more than you were ever initially looking for In the first place. Such is the purpose of the Perfection of the Spiritual Quest and there is much in this.
When Aleister Crowley completed his now famous "The Book of THOTH" to accompany his newly produced THOTH Tarot, he sent the Occultist Dion Fortune a personally signed copy. He numbered the courtesy copies he was sending out of his new book and the one he sent to Dion Fortune was numbered 9 with the following personalised inscription inside the cover :
"To Dion Fortune, this small tribute to her achievement and attainment in the Science of Wisdom and to her eminence as an Artist in Words. Aleister Crowley. No. 9 to Dion Fortune as to the High Priestess of Our Lady Selene. The Number 9 is Sacred, and attains the Summit of Philosophy." (End Crowley's quote).
No insignificant nor small acknowledgement here from one Adept to another considering the significance of the Number 9 and also that the Number of Selene represents the Triple Moon Goddess.
Now if we consider the Tree of Life before the Fall when it was considered to be perfected as a prototype, back then First Eden occupied the space upon the tree now occupied by DAATH and the last Sephirah of the Tree was Yesod (the Sphere of the Moon and the Astral Planes). First Eden was the prototype of the initially Perfected Malkuth or Earth - yet it should not be forgotten that the Serpent was already present within the Garden long before the Fall occurred and this enabled the Serpent to persuade Eve to get herself and Adam to partake of the Apple that was the Magical fruit with the 5 pointed star or Pentagram within it which hung upon the Tree of Knowledge. If then in this perfected place there was Man, Woman and God then who was the Serpent? The Serpent was God in a manner or form and we should not discount the fact that Lilith had been made first before Eve as a possible companion for Adam - it is likely then that a memory at least of Lilith remained within Eve for they were pretty much the same as they had to be in order to be compatible with the already created Adam. So we might conclude that Adam, Eve, Lilith and the Serpent were present in Perfection, this would suggest Man, a Dual aspect of Woman and the Divine or God were present - so what have we to fear of the Serpent? The Dual aspect of course might be interpreted as our Serpent of Wisdom (Path of Return) and our Serpent of Knowledge which allows us to understand how we fell to Earth from the Stars and how we might again return to the Stars - Each Man, Woman and Child - a Star. The Dual aspect of both Lilith and Eve may well suggest the True Secrets of the Serpent and the Mystery that is represented by Path Teth.
The shape of the Hebrew letter Teth is said to show the secret, for Teth is said to be the Serpent coiled around the famed Mystical Tau Cross which of course relates to Spiritual Sacrifice upon the Altar of the Elements (or Altar of Burnt Offerings). The Serpent coiled around the Tau represents the more ancient and archaic form of the symbol letter Teth which was a Circle (the ouroboros) enclosing the Flaming Cross of the Four Elements brought together as the Willing Sacrifice under the dominion of the Fifth Element of Spirit or Holy Divine Fire. Both the Hebrew letters Teth and Yod are said to represent the highest levels of positive change, and Teth itself has beautiful affiliations with the Divine Limitless Lights True Goodness and the Zenith of Inspiration brought down to the Nadir of the being of the Microcosm - the Human Being. To me the letter Teth suggests the Divine seeing willingly it's own true nature and purpose, the realisation in this I see as a form of mystical contemplation and self realisation that is breath taking, awesome and completely stunning. The snake itself has associations with mesmerising, hypnotising and stunning its victims with its poisonous bite ‑one snake even spits a blinding agent into the eyes of its victims, others cause paralysis and then death. However, here we are talking of a Willing Sacrifice and a Mystical Death that releases the potential of the Higher Self and maketh the Initiate of the Man or the Woman who understands these Mysteries. The shape of the letter Teth has a slickness and serpentine beauty that does not suggest attack but instead the deeper realisations of Higher Mystical Contemplation.
I found when meditating upon the image and shape of the letter Teth that this letter like many of the archaic symbol letters will begin to speak and share it's mysteries with you. The upper left arm of the letter suddenly became the head of an Eagle whilst the opposite upper right arm of the letter became the Serpents head. To me this intimated a beak to fang power symbolism, with the Eagle's head suggesting a straight forward and upright energy that is directed whilst the Serpent's head suggests a twisting and turning energy current. The eagle is a symbol of Scorpio and the I3th Tarot card Death which is assigned to Path 24 of the Tree of Life, Death itself representing purification leading through transition to spiritual change. The Serpent is oddly enough associated with Leo and the 11th tarot card of Strength which is assigned to the 24th Path of the Tree of Life - in Alchemy the Lion symbol often appears and it is interesting to note that the Lion is actually a symbol of the Solar Serpent Power or Force. It is a common term to say there are Lions in the way of students new to the Path, but what is actually being said is there are Serpents in the way - the Serpent of Knowledge and the Serpent of Wisdom. It is interesting to conjecture that the Serpent Power of Teth has a dual significance explainable by the symbols of the Eagle (Cosmic Element of Water) and the Serpent (cosmic Element of Fire). The Eagle is a bird of prey so this is a Symbol of Dominion and Superiority coupled with keenness, perception, objectivity and the obtaining the required status quo in terms of the personal balancing of energies. The Serpent is a universal symbol which can be male, female or both polarities, it suggests the potential energy of the instinctive nature and functions, death, destruction and rejuvenation - the coming to terms with our own sensuality and sexuality which in the process releases a free flowing fountain of Higher Spiritual energies (an inspirational and inspirational impetus the stuff that coupled with Faith moves mountains).
This is the Serpent of temptation, yet from it cometh redemption. (Paul Foster Case - Builders of the Adytum on the meaning of Teth).
This quote again fits in with the idea that the Serpent of Temptation is the Serpent of Knowledge and it also suggests that temptation far from being evil is actually innovation and a positive thing. Knowledge brings temptation to use that knowledge for what else is knowledge for but to use. As small children we were socially conditioned to imagine ourselves to be almost evil and weak to all kinds of earthly temptations, where as there was no evil within us originally for all children are born innocent in the first place. Had we been tempted to question the indoctrinaire being forced upon us we would perhaps have said this is not our evil but yours oh parents, teachers and preachers - and of course we would have been fire branded as evil little monsters for effectively telling them Truth. If we could but rewind ourselves back to the time when there was no notion of evil and only innocence then we might see that the Temptation of Knowledge is a positive thing stopping stagnation and the maintenance of the limiting and inhibiting status quo. The notion of us being in need of redemption because we were allegedly evil and prone to dreadful bouts of temptations is more a reflection of the Sins of the Fathers and the spiritual imperfections of our ancestors than anything we need be too concerned about with regards to ourselves. Redemption comes from knowing of your own condition and taking sole responsibility for it and this can only come about by acquiring the Temptations of Knowledge which has to be used with Wisdom. The Redeemer comes from Within and it is sad to say that there is no redemption for neither Saint nor Sinner unless they realise the truth of the matter, there is no god and no justice except those Within.
If the Serpent of Temptation is treated as a Magical Image it can offer some amazing insights, also nowhere is this idea suggested in published books so it would seem worthwhile taking some time to explore this concept. To view this Serpent of Temptation or Knowledge we must first remember that its opposite representation the Serpent of Wisdom is seen to be ascending or climbing the Tree of Life from Malkuth - so the Serpent of Knowledge has to be talked of as a Serpent whose tall is in Kether and whose head is in MaIkuth. The Serpent of Knowledge as a Magical Image should be viewed upon the Tree of Life as following the Path of the Lightning Flash, indeed the unredeemed Serpent would seem to typify the unregenerate Lightning Flash continuously, striking Malkuth. Within the unregenerate Human Aura the Serpent of Knowledge strikes and bites continuously creating a Poison of Illusion and Confusion, making septic conditions for this biting Serpent is the unbalanced evil of the Fallen Messiah (often mistaken for Satan or Lucifer). Yet as all with a knowledge of medicines know, a little of a poison or toxin may be the vaccine, cure or in this instance the Universal Panacea. Temptation viewed as a term of higher parlance may be taken to imply the gift of choice and free will, this allows the man or woman who partakes of its inoculation of innocence to have the chance to study the evolving truth of their own origins through Knowledge of the Qabalistic Spheres. He or she that gains the Knowledge held by the Serpent of Temptation has the opportunity to complete the experience by commencing the Treading of the Paths of Return depicted by the glyph of the Serpent of Wisdom placed upon the Tree of Life. One of the early goals of Qabalah is to study and begin to build the Path of the Lightning Flash within the Aura, in a sense there must be Alchemical Sepsis and purification before there can be the basic transformation and regenerative inoculation. "Man Know Thyself". The head of the Serpent of Knowledge with its jaws wide open in Malkuth presents an interesting image for its 4 Fangs would represent the 4 Elements of Fire, Water, Air and Earth and its single forked tongue would represent the fiery tongue of the Holy Spirit or 5th Element of Cosmic Ether in it's lowest manifest condition.
Thus In Teth is shown the secret of the going forth and the return. (Paul Foster Case Builders of the Adytum on the meaning of Teth)
The Serpent consumes its own tail, as such the Serpent of Knowledge and the Serpent of Wisdom could be likened to a Cosmic Yin and Yang, each of them continuously birthing anew and also absorbing the other. This is the interplay of Cosmic dynamics and their alternation of polarity, power and purpose resonate in succession for each the Spheres of the Tree of Life. As the Lightning Flash or Flaming Sword shows us the Secrets of the Serpent of Knowledge - the successive order and emanation of the Spheres one from the other commencing with Kether - so also is contained within each preceding Sphere an infolded version of the next Sphere leading back to the Unity of Kether. There is a Tree of Evolution and a Tree of Involution. All that has manifested and served its purpose in creation ultimately withdraws Sphere by Sphere from the forms it has previously inhabited, and it withdraws with but one thing which is Experience. As we master the Lessons of physical matter and so begin the process of the Path of Return then also does creation itself follow the same pattern in due course. It is said if creation began with an explosion or "Big Bang" (represented by Sephirah Chokmah and the forming of the Zodiac) then it will end with an implosion - we might conjecture that as the Beginning occurred with the emanation of the second Sphere that it might well come to a close with the implosion at the Astral level of the second Sephirah Yesod for "As Above so Below" has generally been a concise and clear instructor in the Mysteries. Our eventual implosion suggests a return first to Astral frequency and the ending of the physical plane as we know it. The Restored Tree of Life as it was before the Sephirotic fracture shows MaIkuth as occupying the location of Daath or Knowledge upon the Tree of Life, with Yesod as the lowest Sphere in relative terms. "As it was in the beginning - so shall it be in the end". Ultimately what may be suggested might be termed as the Divine Bliss of a Cosmic Moment in Paradise with a Dual Godhead Knowing the Absolute in terms of Wisdom and the purpose of the Great Plan.
However, Qabalists do not make the mistake of having to intellectualise the Tree of Life, instead they make it their true inner reality and live it out to fullest possible expression. The Paths of our Return to Wisdom are marked out upon the Tree of Life by the glyph of the Serpent Nechustan.
There are 4 Serpents in all that can be successfully drawn upon the Tree of Life - 4 being an appropriate number as there are 4 main or primary Elements upon the Earth and of course their higher Cosmic equivalents further up the Tree. We have covered the Serpent of Knowledge and the Serpent of Wisdom which are usually depicted as separate glyphs drawn upon the Tree of Life. What then of the other two Serpents that make up the four fold set and complete the secret going forth and the return represented by mysterious letter Teth and the Tarot Strength card of Qabalistic Path 19. The remaining two Serpents are found in the glyph of the Caduceus when it is assigned to the Tree of Life. Perhaps it might be better to say although the two Serpents of the Caduceus make up the set of four, In actuality they are the first two Serpents presented in another way. These four Serpents can be viewed in many ways, for within their own glyph assigned to the Tree they will mean one thing and yet when they are all assimilated and more deeply understood then they will mean - shall we say most simply 'Other Things'. When the Serpent of Knowledge has been worked with and through, then the seeker will know of the Lightning Flash and the process of the emanation of the Spheres from out of the Limitless Ain Soph Aur and the Unity of Kether and so through to MaIkuth. He or she who has studied the Spheres and their origin will hopefully also have made an initial study of the Paths, the Triangles of the Trees the Pillars, the Reflections, the Hexagram, the Supernal Triad, the Abyss and Daath - and all of this is the Knowledge. Dion Fortune once wrote an amusing comment along the lines that the Knowledge aspect of the Tree and its assignments will keep the student busy for some considerable time - meaning that the pupil sent off on this quest is unlikely to be proceeding to higher and deeper work for a long while and only then if they are diligent in their studies. When he or she has collected the Knowledge then he has received the temptation of the Serpent of Knowledge and he is faced with soul searching choices do they turn away and quit or take a Blind Path towards an eventual dead end, or do they dare to seek the Wisdom offered by this coming to Know and take the step onto the Terrible 32nd Path upon which but put one foot and there can be no return until the process of Initiation has worked itself out one way or another. If he or she seeks the Path of the Serpent of Wisdom then they commence the treading of the Paths proper, if they are wise, lucky and balanced they may in time gain the Wisdom of self knowledge and it's practical inner insights into life truth and the God Within. Once there is Knowledge and Wisdom these two Serpents begin to conjoin, combine and come together this of course leads us to the two polarised Serpents of the Caduceus. The masculine Serpent of positive polarity leads from tail at MaIkuth and on through Yesod, Netzach, Tiphareth, Geburah Daath, Chokmah and ends up on the masculine side of Kether. The feminine Serpent of negative polarity leads from MaIkuth and through Yesod, Hod, Tiphareth, Chesed, Daath, Binah, and up on the feminine side of Kether. This combination of Knowledge and Wisdom once practically applied will allow the Circuit of Force in combination with the Positive and Negative Circuits and Spheres and the central Chakras aligned to the Middle Pillar or the Human Spine up which can ascend the Kundalini between MaIkuth and Kether with this resultant Sahasrara of Enlightenment and Cosmic Bliss. The Caduceus has long been a symbol of healing and still is even today - healing is making whole. The Muladhara Chakra represents MaIkuth (Prithivi). The Swadhisthana Chakra represents Yesod (Apas). The Manipura Chakra represents the equalised balance of both Hod and Netzach (Tejas). The Anahata Chakra represents Tiphareth (Vayu) The Vishudda Chakra represents the equalised balance of Geburah and Chesed (Akasha). The Ajna Chakra represents the equalised balance of Binah and Chokmah (Manas). The Sahasrara Chakra represents Kether (Nirvana). These Chakras and their 7 levels upon the Tree of Life accord also to the relevant 7 Planes and the 7 Primary Rays. When all of this is built, known and experienced within the Aura then the continuous process of Healing and Making Whole is commenced through the conscious and controlled connection of the Chakras to the very powers of creation itself (the key to Ray Workings). To the Western Minded Body and Soul this all comes together as what has become known as "the Yoga of the West" (a term popularised by Dion Fortune originally).
The Qabalist assigns taste to Teth and the function of taste is digestion and the Initiate has in that sense digested the Teachings lie received as a Neophyte, and not only the Teachings but all the experiences of life so far now refined and transmuted into the body of the Initiate. (From IBIS).
The Initiate may upon occasion be thought by others to be a bit of a "cold fish", however, he or she swims within the warm waters of life which are of the very stuff that they live upon and breathe. The Qabalistic function of taste as digestion implies a realisation that taste is not always a matter of simply liking - the true taste of experience it could be said is a bitter sweet one. The swallowing Snakes in nature do not eat little and often, instead they intake some large item and then digest it slowly and completely over a long period of time until it is all but absorbed into the body of the snake itself. The snake of nature takes "Time" to fully absorb that which it has swallowed and it does so utterly and completely. The Esoteric Mystery Teachings cannot be quickly digested and their true worth will only be fully absorbed over a very long period of time! Indeed this should be a cheering factor for the student of the Mysteries as it means that all the previous studies behind them will still be producing inner changes and promoting further new growth like the snake getting ready to shed its old skin. There is no such thing as a magical and glamorous life for those who are true Initiates, for they will be living the Mysteries in their daily life and making practical use of what they have learnt by applying it to mundane things as well as to Supernormal things.
The Initiate becomes a living embodiment of magical principles through refinement and transmutation of the life experience - upon reflection then it should become obvious that there can be no escape from the truth of our harsh reality, yet the Inner experiences should have increased the appetite and palatable nature of the One Life leaving us hungry for much more experience.
What then is the purpose of Knowledge? As the ancient Mystery adage says "Know Thy Self” and that in the main is the purpose of Knowledge. Knowing yourself brings you to the doorway of self awareness but it does not confer Wisdom - for Wisdom is not found in Knowledge, Wisdom is found through Experience. The purpose of Knowledge is for personal assimilation and understanding of one's own manifold existence and the predicament of knowing one's own condition which for want of a better term we shall say reveals our precarious predicament. Knowledge offers us the Keys to the Kingdom and Wisdom will only be realised through the correct use of the Keys in our own practical application of them. Knowledge brings a taste of Enlightenment or the Apple of Wisdom, digestion allows absorption and for that Knowledge to become a real part of our being and frame as we assimilate that which we have digested and begin to refine and transmute it. The Initiate who has made his body of Knowledge could be likened to a Noah building his or her own Ark for the stormy journey that lies ahead, he or she builds their frame then completes their vessel and soon they are on their way upon their Inner journey. The captain of their own vessel always hopefully steering straight ahead by the position of the Stan, the Moon and the Stars, for such a ship in a storm of light ultimately there must be a buoyant balance and control of their mast and rudder. This is a journey that will take them out to the sea at the end or edge of the world.
The events in our outer reality known as our lives are firmly an expression of our state of consciousness and our soul, our circumstances reflect or mirror our own consciousness - this applies to groups of souls as well as to Individuals. So the steady and continuous digestion of spiritual knowledge is no small matter for its effects later may well be infinitely progressive and ultimately vast. What is not commonly understood with spiritual knowledge is there are seldom spectacular instant results - the process of absorption of knowledge is a long one and the profounder effects of the sacred teachings can take many days, weeks, months or even years to come to fruition. It is a bit like investing a few pounds in the building society the first few years interest payments on your couple of quid will be small and insignificant, but leave the Investment in there and the interest, letting it build up then you get compound interest, little by little your investment (of Knowledge) grows and appreciates until it eventually becomes a tidy little investment indeed. Esoteric Knowledge is the great incubator. I must however teach what I am saying by analogy. The person who has no Inner Knowledge looks outwards for truth and unconsciously projects false images upon the inner planes astral mirror - their reality and truth is like smoke on water, an ever shifting willow the wisp without any real substance at all. Now the Neophyte is given basic inner esoteric teachings and truths that will allow him or her some basic knowledge with which to make a start, although they only have a truth substitute and not the real truth, but it suffices to make a productive start. The rationalising human mind can draw straight lines, so the Neophyte can begin to draw these basic inner lines of truth. What is actually being created could be likened to a small box but it is infinitely better than a willow the wisp. This box of basic truth is the beginning of the fourfold mind which is being given a small but solid definition - we could humorously imagine this to be a box upon our head. Now if I add a subjective clairvoyant definition as to how this box may look upon the Astral Plane then our mind initially becomes like a squared cube that is mauve or purple - a match box mind of truth. However that is no end to the matter of Knowledge for this basic truth when established will protrude further extending lines over time, each corner of this mauve astral cube begins to have protruding points until when these corner points have grown in full the matchbox mind will become a shoebox sized mind. Now if the student is continuing patiently to study steadily and meditate each day then he is filling his astral shoebox mind with further knowledge that will incubate and gestate over time. Gradually the corners and sides of his astral mind will further stretch and grow - then grow more until suddenly his mind of truth upon the astrals is the size of a horsebox, then a box the size of a lorry and so forth until one day the mind of true knowledge may come to reach the size of the solar system or even further. Yet even if one's studies should stop for a little while or one should hit an uninspired period then it should not be forgotten that past esoteric studies are still subconsciously working themselves out and further mind growth and inner truth can and will be occurring if one's work has been sound. As an analogy Knowledge acts a little like the effect upon a drinker who knows he or she is getting drunk has one more thinking they can handle the present amount they have had, yet what that drinker forgets is that there are still several glasses worth still to take effect in their system, now the drinker gets intoxicated by alcohol but the esoteric student will later get an intoxicating sense of Wondrous New Knowledge suddenly surfacing as the result the cumulative results of the previous intake of Knowledge - the sum being greater in its effects than the component parts of it on their own. Knowledge brings intoxicating results of Inner Truth that are accumulative in the effect.
It may be of interest to report that an event mentioned by Dion Fortune seems to have come to pass. In her book on Psychic Self-Defence, she predicts the next leap in Medical Science to be measurement of the Etheric Field. This seems to have been done by Harry Oldfield with his PLP Scan and Electrocrystal Therapy. Basically by analysing the gradations of monochromatic light intensity he has produced a video-image agreed by sensitives to be accurate. He is based in Ruislip and has an electrocrystal website.