Know Thyself


Address to the Zelator Adepti Minores of the Order R.R. et A.C.
By Vestigia Nulla Retrorsum 6°=5° (Moina Mathers)


Perfect knowledge of Self is required in order to attain Know­ledge of Divinity, for when you can know the God of yourself it will be possible to obtain a dim vision of the God of All, for the God of the Macrocosm only reflects Himself to Man through the God of Man’s Microcosm.

Therefore, before you would invoke the Shining Ones be cer­tain that you have called upon the Lord of Yourself, that is to say, that the You in Daath (the seat of the Spiritual Conscious­ness) have allied yourself to the You in Tiphereth (the seat of the Human Consciousness) and to the You in Kether (the seat of the Divine Consciousness), and from thence the Kether sending rays downwards; from it to the Daath, from Daath to Tiphereth and from thence to Yesod, which is the seat of the Automatic Consciousness.

This combination must have taken place with the consent of the Lower Will (in Tiphereth) as being the Human Will.

If you have succeeded in accomplishing this you are com­mencing the real Initiation, (therefore, should an Adeptus Minor strive to begin the practice of such an operation).

It is said elsewhere that The Beginning of Initiation is the Search for the Shining Light. For if the Man through Pure Know­ledge and Aspiration has been able to place himself with his head resting immediately under Kether the Crown, he has come into contact with his First Light.

But his Knowledge must be true, and his aspirations pure. How else is he able to wear his Crown, upon which poureth the Influx from Jechidah?

It is this development of the Man that must have been inten­ded by the Apostle Paul when he said : — ‘Till we all come… to the Knowledge of the Son of God’, unto a Perfect Man, unto the measure of the stature, of the fulness of Christ.’ That is, that Man must grow sufficiently in his Spiritual growth, that he may attain to that stature where his head will come into contact with his Kether—that is, unto the Knowledge of his Higher Self.

Regarding this, I will also quote another passage from the New Testament in which Christ says : — ‘Whosoever shall con­fess me before men him shall the Son of Man also confess before the Angels of God’ : — signifying that he who shall raise him­self by linking his Human to his Divine Self, being consequently in touch with the Kether of his Assiah, he will be able to rise still further to the Plane of the Angels, that is to say, that through the Kether of his Assiah he can be admitted to his plane of Yet­zirah, his Angelic Self; for he has accepted the Christ within him, his power of Ascent. ‘But he that denieth me before men shall be denied before the Angels of God,’ meaning that he who denies the me, the power of the letter Shin, the letter of the Holy Spirit that makes of Jehovah the Name Jeheshua, hath denied that Spirit, that Higher Self, which is his one link with the Truth of Life, and so hath refused the Christ that can be within him, the only part which would enable him to rise to his Divine Self, whence he could receive the descent of the Divine Spirit, which ever comes to him who seeketh for it.

Kether is the Crown, then, which is placed on the head of the complete Initiate; and a great King must he indeed be who is fitted to bear such brilliance, and well must he have worked towards the developing and perfecting of his Kingdom to have made it worthy of that Divine Crown.

Therefore must he whose aim is to become the Initiate, work well at the development of the Forces of the Being; seeking to purify and to exalt them.

He, the man, standing in his Sephiroth, can well be compared to a King in his Kingdom which if he wishes to govern well, he must first learn to know and understand, for only after having a complete knowledge of the constitution, character and inhabit­ants of his realm, will it be possible for a just Ruler to bring about such reforms as he may deem necessary;—hence the great assistance given to us in the teachings of our Order which insist on a careful study of the Kingdoms of the Macrocosm and the Microcosm side by side with our Spiritual Development, one study helping the other; in fact the two are almost inseparable.

Now the Kingdom of the Microcosm, the man, with which this lecture is chiefly occupied, has distinctly its character, its constitution, its inhabitants etc.—The King is placed in his sphere, that is the boundary, the frontier of his realm.

The constitution consists of his Sephiroth, upon which the principal scheme of the Kingdom is modelled.

Its character would be the general aim and tendency of the Kingdom. (This would depend on the inclination of the pole of its sphere as regards the Macrocosm.)

The King’s abode is in Tiphereth where is placed his throne, the seat of the Human Will, whence he wields the reins of government either as a great ruler inspired by his masters above, the Spiritual and Divine Consciousness, or as the Ruler debased (inspired or, more accurately speaking, obsessed) by the volun­tary abdication of his rule, through being led astray by the temptation of the Automatic Consciousness to descend therein and make Yesod his chief abode instead of Tiphereth, thereby permitting the usurption of the Higher by the Lower.

This fall, according to the nature of the man, (besides leading to other evils) may bring him to the Phallic School of Symbolism or to the grossest sensuality, for these two things are merely the expression of the same error in different natures.

His people are the many Forces of the Sephiroth of Ruach, working in Malkuth through Nephesch (Nephesch = Malkuth) The Priesthood, or rather the Prophets and Magicians, alone ascending as far as their Daath, they dwelling on the Threshold of their Divine Consciousness.

The Nobles will be with the King himself, about his throne in Tiphereth; as well as all the petty rulers, and professions and trades governed by the Sun.

In Chesed are the various occupations under Jupiter.

In Geburah, Netzach and Hod are all those under Mars, Venus and Mercury.

Yesod, as the seat of the Automatic Consciousness, can hardly be said to be an inhabitant, a conscious being; rather might it be represented by the machinery, works and tools of the nation.

Of course each Sephira will have its own Ten Sephiroth within it, which would give its various types—professions, trades, etc.—for example—–Chesed;—in its Kether might be the Priest (this naturally supposes the Priest to be true and upright; the Prophet as the inspired Priest, which we mentioned before, is placed in the Daath of the man.)

A Philanthropist would be in its Chesed; in its Tiphereth—a judge; and probably an artisan working under Jupiter in its Yesod.

Now he who is a just ruler will try to know well these people, his subjects; neither giving undue attention or preference to either one class or another, nor permitting strife in any one of them,—therefore must one of the works of a student for Adept-ship be to learn to bring perfect order into the Six Sephiroth of his Ruach, then will the Qlipoth who may be called the Wild Beasts of the Nation, be forced to retire, they only having been permitted to remain through Disorder.

He will then be able to banish them to their own plane, the land beyond Malkuth; as they, working in their own habitation, therefore in their own element, they will be as the lecture on the Microcosm says ‘equilibrated therein and the Evil Persona (their synthesis) will become as a strong yet trained animal, whereupon the man rideth, this bringing added material strength unto the man’, which is a thing to be desired, if it be completely governed by the Higher.

One school of Occultism insists on the Neophyte retiring from the world, on his leading a thoroughly ascetic life, and in every way trying to exist without thought or desire for anything of that which is Human.

Now to some of us this may appear to be the only method for the attainment of that self-development which we express in the Tiphereth clause of the Adeptus Minor Obligation, when we pledge ourselves to become more than human.

We know that all the works of Nature are gradual in their growth, therefore must a man also be gradual in his growth, and before attaining to that more than human, that is to say, Yetziratic, Briatic and Aziluthic planes he must certainly be the Perfect Man in Assiah.

It must be our object then, to become that Perfect Man, in order to attain ultimately to that Angel, that Archangel, and that Divinity, which are in Yetzirah, in Briah, and in Atziluth.

And the Zelator Adeptus Minor, is not actually given any special manner of life to follow; rather is he advised to deter­mine for himself what shall be his relations with his family business, society, etc., seeing that we human beings are so varied in our character as in our surroundings so that the discipline which will be beneficial for one may often be evil for another.

One thing, however, is greatly insisted upon, and that is that we should not retire from the world, for we can succeed in perfecting ourselves in what is required of us without isolation.

In certain cases, it might be advisable for the execution of certain experiments connected with more advanced studies to avoid contact with others for a short time; but this would only be permissible in special cases.

One of the reasons why we are told not to isolate ourselves is that isolation tends to make a man egotistical—it will become a habit to him to study and to pay too much attention to his own Microcosm, whereby he will neglect other Microcosms which together with his form part of the Macrocosm; and this Egotism of the Spirit, (though not so gross a sin as is that of the Animal or the Human Consciousness) will yet be a far greater snare to him, as being more subtle and therefore less easy to be perceived and checked.

For the chief danger of spiritual egotism lies in the self-righteous spirit so easily developed, which while graduallyabsorbing the true Occult Aspiration flatters its victim with the idea that he is rapidly attaining his proposed Goal.

It will be best, then, for us to live amongst our fellows, and in our contact with them are we advised to avoid preaching and proselytising; which often leads also to a condition of self­righteousness in the Preacher, and is generally useless to the listener.

Rather would we influence them by our example, and by keeping our thoughts as well as our actions pure.

Our Order teaches that one of our aims should be the Re­generation of the Race of the Planet.

We who are but beginners, and but on the Threshold of the Second Order, can do but little yet in this Great Work, but we are daily approaching this end, if we are fitting ourselves to become the Perfect Man, for he, the Perfect Man, the Adept, whose Human Will is at one with his Divine Will, therefore always in contact with his Genius, or Angelic Self, can attract yet Higher Forces. These Forces sending down Divine Rays till they radiate through him, he, the Adept, is able to give out this Force to the human beings who are ready to receive it, and thus is he helping in their regeneration; an Angel or a God not being so fitted for the contact with ordinary mortals, as is the Adept who, though exalted is still a man, and of Assiah.

Most of you will recall that passage in Bulwer Lytton’s Zanoni, (that romance which contains so many valuable hints on Occult study and which is a good lesson to us on the dangers of untrained Occultism) when he says, speaking of Zanoni, that ‘those with whom he principally associated, the gay, the dissipa­ted, the thoughtless, the Sinners and publicans of the more polished world—all appeared rapidly, insensibly to themselves to awaken to purer thoughts and more regulated lives.’

We who are but Neophytes in the Great Initiation, can only at very rare moments be so in touch with our Higher Self, that our head is immediately under our Kether. For those few moments we are standing in the position in which the Adept ever stands—yet must we on no account imagine that during those few seconds we have equal power with the Adept, for un­accustomed as we are to the Divine Vision, it almost blinds us and it can therefore only be partially transmitted to our Spiritual and Human Selves; yet is this partial vision greatly to be desired, for it is a Force unto us, and it also gives us a glimpse of what we may one day attain.

Let us try then to ascend unto our Higher Self, and to stand with our head under the Crown, before deciding on any great and important action in our life, and especially, and this most especially, when we are judging another, or trying to modify the life of another, for that is indeed a grave responsibility;— for we imperfect mortals are ever ready to lean towards the Pillar of Mercy or the Pillar of Severity, and even if we do remain standing in the Middle Pillar, the Pillar of Mildness; how few of us raise our heads to our Kether—only with his head touching his Crown, his Kether, can a man have perfect Know­ledge of the things of his Assiah.

He who leans much towards the Pillar of Mercy, will think him the Perfect Judge, cruel when that Judge deems it necessary to extend his arm on the side of Severity.

He who leans to the Pillar of Severity will also have corrupted vision, for judging from thence, the action of the Perfect Judge will appear to him feeble, when that Judge may have found it well to extend his arms on the side of Mercy.

He who stands straight in the Middle Pillar will not be so prejudiced as his brothers who lean towards Severity or Mercy, but unless he is linked with his Kether, he does not take in the whole scheme of his Sephiroth;—is therefore incomplete, and his judgment imperfect. Let us be careful, then, in judging another, we see how easily we may be deceived, and’ let us insist and force ourselves to aspire to, and be convinced that we are indeed with our Higher Self, before pronouncing such a judg­ment, seeing how much mischief may be worked through the action of Unbalanced Mercy or Severity, or of the insufficient judgment of the Middle Pillar without the Crown;—as the Hiereus in the 0°=0° Ceremony bath said:— ‘Unbalanced Severity is cruelty and oppression; Unbalanced Mercy is but weakness and would permit Evil to exist unchecked, thus mak­ing itself an accomplice of the Evil’.

Referring again to the Six Sephiroth of the Ruach, and to the necessity of keeping them balanced; it will occur to most of us (who almost without exception are given to some profession or occupation) that we shall be delayed in Spiritual Development by tending, in our daily duties, to throw out more rays from the Spiritual Consciousness to some portions of our Sephiroth at the expense of the others, and thereby becoming unbalanced.

Though far more difficult to live than the life in which we can dispose of our time, more or less, at will, this need not be a delay in our development; these daily duties may indeed be an increased strength to us. But in such a case, must we aim always at the Purest and the Best of that occupation, whatever it may be, and attempt to develop in it those qualities that we may be weak or deficient in, such as courage, resolution, patience, con­centration, etc., which can be learned in the performance of any work, however petty.

So that if we are really doing our best, we are bringing in­crease of strength to the Highest part of the Sephirah in which we may happen to be working;—and to increase the Power of the Kether of anyone of our Sephiroth can but be an added strength to the Self of the Whole; for the Kether of each of our Sephiroth is the reflection of that of our Microcosm, which again is a reflection of its Higher Prototypes, and being Kether (or rather its reflection) in its action, however great its strength, it will not become disorderly and attempt to over-ride another Sephirah, but will be reflected again into the Kether of the man, thereby becoming an increased force to him, for seeing that it is a presentment of the Divine no Kether can be unbalanced.

For we see that even the Kether of the Qlipoth can hardly be said to be unbalanced, being composed of Two Forces, ever contending certainly, for it is that quality of contention that makes them partake of the Qlipoth; yet are they balanced, for were they not of equal strength, how could they ever be at war with one another? Sooner or later one would have to surrender.

Therefore is it evident,—that many are the means to Know­ledge, and many are the paths by which we may reach the Goal of the Initiate—wherefore—I would say to each of you;—absurd and ill-judged is it to rule that all shall crowd into one path, because that happens to be the one chosen by one member. There is too much tendency to wish all to follow the Ideal of one,—we are apt to forget that the Ideal of each will lead to the same Truth. We can help each other better, then, by helping each to rise according to his own ideas, rather than, as we often unwisely do, in advising him to rise to what is best in ourselves only.

That error of wishing to make another as ourselves is another and a very hurtful form of most subtle egotism. All we can do is to help him to elevate himself and to study to ‘Know Him­self’, in order that by working at that Knowledge, he may cross the Threshold of the Portal, which leads to the Knowledge of the Divine.

Ex Deo Nascimur!
In Yeheshuah Morimur!
Per Spiritum Sanctum Reviviscimus!