By Shomer Michael Freedman, late Senior Guardian
The method of the Guardians is based upon a few basis principles. The Order regards itself as a society of High Magicians. W.E. Bulter who succeeded Dion Fortune as head of the Society of Inner Light, defined magic as:‘The art of effecting changes in consciousness at will ‘
Aleister Crowley gave the following definition:
‘The question of magick is a question of discovering and employing hitherto unknown forces in Nature’
Both High and Low Magic might employ these definitions. The difference lies in the intention for which magic is employed. Low Magic is worked for the benefit of the magician primarily. Thus, it tends to focus its activities on the worlds of “Assiah and Yetzirah, the physical and mental worlds.
Assiah and Yetzirah are the physical and mental worlds
Most of the modern American self-improvement courses and prosperity gurus’ are working on the level of Low Magic. It is because they confine their attention to the lowest levels of the Tree of Life that the methods of Low Magic are built on personal effort and control of others, whether human beings or higher beings. They are working where the energy levels are their lowest, i.e., in the sense of being at their weakest.
This is not to say that it is wrong or evil to develop our physical, material and mental potentials to the full. To downgrade or deny the essential worth of body and mind is the mistake many religions have made. To give them too much weight is the mistake of Low Magic.
High Magic, which we generally refer to as ‘The Way of the Great Work’, has its attention primarily fixed on the final goal of the Union of All in the One. Any personal material, physical or spiritual growth of the magician becomes incidental to the main purpose. The development of one’s full physical, material, mental and spiritual potentials have brought forward, to become a means to achieving the Goal of lifting every living being to full awareness of Light and Life and Love.
High Magic certainly seeks to discover unknown forces of nature and to employ them. This is also the aim of science. High Magic seeks to bring all to fulfillment in the One. This is also the aim of religion. Science and Low Magic put all trust in human abilities. Religious folk generally deny any worth to the effort of humans to raise themselves towards the Divine; God has to do it all for them, one way or another.
High magicians see the goal and the techniques to achieve the goal as a matter of all living beings at every level of the universe cooperating together. As soon as anyone begins to walk in the Way of the Great Work, a host of beings rush to their aid. That is why energy is so easy to raise. The harder part is to learn how to handle it.
The Qabalah Fundamentals of the Guardians aim to teach you to manage the energies of the universe. Or to put it another way; how to align yourself with the flows of energy that surge to and fro in the universe.
You will certainly expand your consciousness and learn how to change your consciousness (your point of view, as we say) at will. The Way of Magick is not some shortcut method of getting what you want by waving your arms about, chanting barbarous syllables and bullying some angel or demon into making you rich or getting you a vigorous sex-life.
High Magicians find, as they continue on the Way, that all their needs are met, not spectacularly or mysteriously, but usually in some quite straightforward way. In practical terms, we find that to place our attention primarily on Briyah, the Spiritual World of Creative Activities, is not to deny the Worlds of Yetzirah and Assiyah, for Briyah contains them both.
focus on the Work of Briyah,
The Spiritual World of Creative Activities
Many of the teachings of the Guardians are those of the Practical Qabalist. Within the various monographs of the Order, material given to you in this series is to be worked with, either in meditation or by drawing the letters and diagrams for yourself.
A well-known hermetic axiom is: Wise magicians make their own tools.’
While this is good advice, it is by no means absolute and in many circumstances a magical tool made by another magician is often preferable. However make no mistake; the principal tool of the magician is their own mind. The principle magical tool is your own mind.
That is why there is so much emphasis during the Ze”ir course on the practice of the Foundation Technique of Meditation. It deepens and sharpens your mind as no other technique will. The work is not necessarily difficult, but it is persistent. ‘Invoke often’ is a well-tried maxim for every successful magician. Probably the most famous of all magical or hermetic principles is:
To know (Yada), to Will (Kawan), to Dare (He”az), To be silent (Damam) Yada (84) + Kawan (76) + He”az (82) + Damam (84)The Qabalistic measure of which is 1536.
This is also probably the most misunderstood of all the hermetic axioms. For example: The last word, to be silent, has generally been interpreted as, to keep secret, whereas it actually means, to enter the silence, i.e. to meditate.In due course, you will need to analyse this phrase in depth, for it has important connections with other major phrases in the Qabalah of the Guardian Order.
Qabalistic Measure or Analysis: Gematria
From time to time throughout the course you will be shown a Qabalistic Analysis of some phrases or words of significance or relevance to the topic. For example:
T.K.L.Y.T (Taklith) = 860, meaning goal or purpose and perfection, which equals R.V.Ch (214) _ A.L.H.Y.Mf (646) Ruach Elohim, the Spirit of God = 860 using the final measure of Meyim. Now if you use the normal measure it equals 300. The normal measure of Meyim is 40. 300 equals A.V.R. _ H - Ch.V.V.M _ W - A.H.B.H : ‘Or w-chiyim w-ahavah Light, and Life and Love.
You are not expected in the elementary stages of your studies to get involved with Qabalistic analysis very deeply. When you come across a Qabalistic analysis (such as the one at the one above), simply play with it. Do not try to decipher the Hebrew letters yet.
Notice for example, that the phrases Goal; Spirit of Elohim; and Light and Life and Love can all be associated though their measures; and that is what you need to observe at this stage.
A slightly more experienced student might remember that the number 300 is symbolised by the letter Shin, which is mother letter of fire. They would also remember that Shin is referred to the Tarot 20 called Resurrection of Hope. In the Qabalah of the Order, it is a Hope which is our Goal. Even more advanced students of the Order would known that the Hebrew world for Goal (Taklith) is almost identical to another world TeK.Le.Th which means Blue and that is the colour which is referred to Chesed, Steadfast Love.
The above correspondences play, is a method and is using the practical Qabalah. A kind of Skipping and Leaping! The longer you study the Qabalah of the Order, the deeper you will be able to go into any phrase or idea. But do not concern yourself beyond a casual observation of the way ideas can be linked by Qabalistic Analysis of various kinds. Gematria is the commonest. Though the most mystical of our number associations and letter permutations are shown within other techniques known as Temurah and Notariqon, in which the deeper truths of God are revealed within the many opposites, correspondences, associations and paradoxes within the mysteries. It is by the use of numbers within the Qabalah that we begin to discover the truth of the Qabalah.