First published in The Occult Digest, July 1930

By C. F. Russell

AS EARTHLINGS we exist in a Sphere which is not established so as to last forever. But its impermanence is due not to its materiality but to a property essential to it as an organism. No organization is eternal, yet the material cannot be annihilated. We are accustomed to figure matter and spirit as antitheses regarding the latter as the opposite of ephemeral. To the pure nominalist Spirit is merely a word, matter is the whole thing. The scholastic realist attributes perpetual existence to the universal. The spiritualist's creed commences "In the beginning was the Word"; he considers it to be that which is, was, and ever shall be. Here is a paradox, similar if not identical in principle, with those for which Immanuel Kant is famous. The solution of the problem constitutes the rational demonstration of the theory of Initiation. The method of working, that is to say, the practical system adopted by the Masters to produce Illumination, if logically correct, should be built with a nexus which transcends the conditions of physical existence. Otherwise it would perish with this planet. The plan of every true Order exhibits acquaintance with this fact, whether or not its Officers are mentally equipped to comprehend the infallibility of their own scheme. The picture painted of the ultimate goal stands an unimpeachable witness to the truth of this theory. It is said that the Adept reaches Nirvana, i.e. the cessation of individual existence; the Sanskrit root signifies "a blowing out" as of a candle; others speak of the "Way of the Tao" —but Tao means Way or Path. All good treatises on Initiation, such as the Tao Teh King, "Light on the Path," "The Voice of the Silence," describe the same facts, and set forth the same theory which is the subject of this paper. The point which most needs emphasis is this: the Path which the aspirant at the end finds himself upon and discovers himself identified with is the same, identical Path upon which he has all the time been travelling. It is only by walking upon this Path that he can go whither the Path leads him. This is more than a truism.

"The perfect Master is wholly free from all limitations soever, existing in the nature of all things. He does not discriminate between things with respect to either quality or quantity. He has identified Being with not-Being, and Becoming action and non-action and tendency to action; and all other such triplicities. He is Master of all modes of existence, his being free from internal or external necessity. He is Master of the Law of Unsubstantiality (Anatta). He has no relation as such with any Being, no will in any direction, no consciousness of any kind involving duality, for in Him all is accomplished." This is as exact as any verbal portrait can be. It is taken from the Magical Record of an Ipsissimus. In this occult business a very rare, but very desirable quality to have is horse sense, and especially a sense of humour. One might characterise it as the Universal Joke that so far as appears the greatest adept cannot be distinguished from the man in the street. For one thing, he must keep silence during life as to the fact of his attainment, even from other members of the same Order.

One Grade below that just described is outlined in the following words: "He is the Master of Magick —his will is entirely free from internal diversion or external opposition; his work is to create a new Universe in accordance with his will. He is Master of the Law of Change (Anicca). The essential characteristic of the Grade is that its possessor utters a Creative Magical Word, which transforms the planet on which he lives by the installation of new officers to preside over its initiation." The third highest Grade is briefly explained; "The essential Attainment is the perfect annihilation of that personality which limits and oppresses his true self. . . . He is pre-eminently the Master of Mysticism, that is, His Understanding is entirely free from internal contradiction or external obscurity; His word is to comprehend the existing Universe in accordance with His own Mind. He is the Master of the Law of Sorrow (Dukkha). . . . He must accomplish Three Tasks; the renunciation of His enjoyment of the Infinite so that he may formulate Himself as the Finite; the acquisition of the practical secrets alike of initiating and governing His proposed new Universe, and the identification of himself with the impersonal idea of Love." The intellect is not capable of comprehending fully the nature of even the lowest of the Grades sketched above, for they lie beyond time and space in another dimension. One must be accomplished in the trance called Samadhi before one begins to realize the true meaning of such exhaltation. But these are the real Adepts, and as Adepts they are disincarnate. The highest incarnated reflect the glory from beyond the Abyss; they are the heads of churches. A church is the acme or full maturity of Separatism, but it is the turning-point or gateway, receiving-station for "babes of the Abyss." A Church must have one will, like an individual, this is a necessary evil which harmonizes the conflict between the ideas of specialization and organization, between those of unity and diversity.

That which is completely incarnated has the appearance of a fully developed individual. Thus a church or exoteric- Order seems the summit of selfishness. And such is the case. We must not find fault with the cosmic formula; we must try to grasp it. Separatism is the essence of Death, but Death is the Birth of new Life. The purpose of the Universe is Initiation. But this purpose is being achieved every instant; the end and the means are one and the same. The universal program is —disorganization of separateness, birth, growth of individuality, maturity or perfection, then dissolution and birth of cosmos. Separation dooms the separate. That which is physically apart is lost. But all things incarnate must be separate; so far as one has a definite purpose, one is limited, one discriminates, has tendencies to construct, has necessities, one exists, has directed will, and is involved in duality.

The way out for any person is to make this process conscious in himself or herself. One must fulfill one's destiny, that stage of evolution towards which Nature in Humanity is moving. Initiation is automatic as cosmic but one can make it voluntary and micro-cosmic. Before Illumination human progress and development is effected by a concatenation of hidden forces. This period is termed the "Dark night of the Soul" by mystics. It is a state of blindness to one's own fate, unconsciousness, sleep, recuperation before awakening. One is ignorant of the nature and powers of one's own Being. Then, one is busy collecting previously conquered forces, subjecting and disciplining them, organizing. These entities are the forces of Nature and enemies of the aspirant in so far as they keep him in the dark and veil self from Self, keeping his inherent ability in an innate, latent condition. They are composed of incurred Karma, assumed responsibilities, assimilated lives from loves, careers of elements and elementals which must be completely worked out simultaneously with ultimate advancement. Man must go forth as a whole. These are really the inferior officers in the ritual of one's own initiation. They comprise a limited hierarchy, are members by pact of the individual's integrality. Each one of them, like himself, when alone is lost, unsaved, in dark, because separate, but also like himself not actually beyond hope unless the link is severed with the Master who is the soul of the body. The Master protects, wards, and guides; He helps both by holding "them" in check and by setting "them" free to do what "they" will. The very first step for them and for him is realization of the state of ignorance, that there is something greater than oneself, that one is and ought to be the member of a Body, that one has a goal, but with no notion of how to reach it —then one's conscious evolution begins to begin.

Individuals are designed and tend to become and be units of larger organisms. They are food, elements of life, for bodies, and when consumed die to themselves being reborn to new life of a higher type when taken into a cosmic body. Incorporation within the sphere of sensibility and "materiality" begins as individual and ends with complete disintegration and absorption in matter. When adult one is ready to become wholly material, to be dissolved and born into a spiritual or immaterial sphere. Complete entrance into the spiritual sphere is only as an instrument. Individuality is sacrificed, one's soul is given to God or the Devil as the case may be, one becomes an organ, a cell, a member of the spiritual Order. Birth here manifests as Illumination, the realization of self as an instrument. The Masters are themselves instruments for making instruments. They are the seed or soul of humanity, ever present intangibly, but in no single member or organ. The spirit of unity incarnates only in diversity. Nothing to unite implies no need nor evidence of unity. For example; the brain is an instrument of life and does not exist for its own sake, for its own joy in sensation, emotion, thought. Over-stimulation or growth of one faculty results in and is the result of conceit, hubris, exaggeration of self-importance, at the expense of the remainder of the organism. Such a disease of the whole should be extirpated by disciplining the unruly subordinate, subduing it and compelling it to perfect obedience and service to the whole. Nevertheless the instrument is actually of higher rank spiritually than the served, even as the servant is materially of lower rank than the Master. Here we face again the cosmic paradox or jest. Ultimately nothing matters.

The formula of Attainment is service, self-sacrifice, charity, love. This is a glyph of the activity or conduct of the Master. It is the program to be followed by the disciple. That which is below is like that which is above for the performing of the miracle of the One Substance. Final success resides in helping others, raising and redeeming those less fortunate. You are the redeemer, the specific instrument of Reality whose function is Redemption. Every atom of the universe is predestined to Attain. You cannot afford to reject any element or elemental whatsoever while building your Magical Hierarchy; you must include all of its constituents. Their work is your Work. Discrimination is wrong, the word of sin is restriction. The law of Love decrees union with the whole Universe. Cosmic consciousness cannot be attained except through the application of the principle of service. The cosmos is what it is, the micro-cosm of the Adept must match it. In his personal Order there is no conflict, no division, no diversion. Each disciplined unit is a ray of light from the rose-cross. In his Order there is place for every thing, and use. The secret of passing the barriers above one lies in opening the barriers below one to those below and without the pale.

Whoever wishes to become an Adept must devote himself or herself utterly to helping his or her fellow creatures. One must accept no material reward for personal advantage. One must consecrate oneself as a pure vehicle for the influence of the Order to which one aspires. One must abandon oneself and all one's own attainments. One must surrender all that one has and is for ever. One must know that agony, dare that destiny, will that catastrophe, and keep silence for ever as one accomplishes the act of annihilation. Every person who has taken the Oath of Incarnation, and that means every living person, is entitled to the secrets of performing the GREAT WORK. All those who accomplish the GREAT WORK, who succeed in breaking down every Barrier, enter the Order . . . of the . . . Angel and the . . . Abyss to come forth as Stars in the heavens to startle and enlighten the Earth. Refusing the rewards of their emancipation for themselves, they devote their energy to assisting the Progress of Mankind, to extending their Order, so that the seed of Enlightenment may be planted in the bosom of every representative of the human race.