Ab Terra, Ad Astra
Some time ago I wrote about a very important step I took at that time: to start taking lessons with the Temple of Starlight. Now, about one and a half years later, the time may have come to share some of the things I’ve learned since then.
To give you an idea of what it is I am doing: I started with the
Solo Magical Training, because that in fact is what it is. After half a year of
that I decided to add practical ritual magic work to this curriculum,
and I joined the North-Holland lodge “Andromeda” for “The Procession
Road to the Gods”, a series of hands-on lessons in basic magic and ritual drama.
Nowadays, the bulk of my studies is still the Solo Magical training but I am now following the practical Temple Training curriculum as well, still with the “Amsterdam” group with whom I feel a deep and wonderful connection. Now what has all this given me so far?
The Path asks for work and discipline
First of all, *Work*! Let’s not beat about the bush: what I am doing and how I’m doing it means work! Most of the times it doesn’t feel like work at all, however; the material you are working with is interesting, beautiful and emotionally very uplifting. And the written material is excellent, and a delight to read and explore. But there’s no denying one has to make an almost daily commitment, and that may at certain times be quite a challenge.
That’s why it also gave me a sense of *Discipline*, which one desperately needs because without this it is impossible to establish a regular study regimen. A discipline to set aside at least one half hour per day to work on myself and to learn, study and perform the exercises.
It gives a road with a direction
Next, it gave me a *Beginning*! One and a half year of study is absolutely nothing when compared with the depth and vastness –in a real sense of the word infinitely vast- of the knowledge and experience available, which requires multiple lifetimes of devoted study to master. So just a beginning, but a beginning is better than nothing!
Third, it gave me a *Purpose. *As I originally started on this road, it was out of a wish to learn more, predominantly about the Qabalah. A theoretical knowledge of Qabalah (both Mystical and Judaic) has been with me since I was a young student and somehow stubled upon my first book on the topic in the library. I wanted to know more about it and I especially wanted to know how I could integrate and apply this knowledge to my life. This is still a major purpose as well as a source of energy and determination.
The importance of 'The Great Work’
But I have also gradually gained a more global perspective on what I am doing: this Work is important, no only for me but for humanity as a whole, as well as for our world. There is no denying that our world
and our societies have become ultramaterialistic. Even our communication has become dependent on the possession of gadgets, which also provide us with an unparalleled information and sensory overload, leading to all sorts of problems. In our world, this mental and spiritual training and work is thus very important to provide a counterpoint to the general shallowness, materialism and consumptiveness that characterize every day life here in the ‘civilized’ West. It may also provide some healing to the inevitable damage that this lifestyle is causing ourselves and our planet. This realization is both humbling and uplifting at the same time: humbling because of the level of responsibility this knowledge brings and uplifting because this is actually something useful one can do to help ‘turn the tides’!
The treasure box opens, and the first gift is my Self
This brings me to the next gift: A stronger *connection to Myself*. Note the capital letter! This is not a stronger development of what I call ‘little me’, the ego that participates in everyday life, but my own inner core that defines who I am. Establishing that connection , exploring it and strengthening it is a major goal and benefit of this training. As a result, I feel more ‘whole’ and ‘complete’ than ever before in my life. More at peace as well, since daily meditation does that for you.
This training also gives me a substantially *Wider View *on spirituality and esoterics in general. I entered this path from a strong pagan-wiccan perspective and one of the interesting effects of this training has been that I gradually have developed an appreciation of other perspectives and other religions. It may come as a surprise –it certainly did to me- to find out that a new appreciation of Christian mystical ideas is among the new found treasures.
The miracle of the experience of beauty
And finally : *Beauty*! And from this Beauty come many, many strong emotions. This path is filled with beautiful imagery, beautiful ideas and realizations and with beautiful people. There are times when you
are completely immersed and at One with the Universe and its Creator, and this is a feeling of unsurpassed beauty. In the beginning this is rare, far between and volatile in the extreme. But even these glimpses are infinitely rewarding!
On the path with my motto ….
And let’s be honest: I don’t know where this path is taking me. All the way up, or just a little further? Walking it, though, is a joy in itself and at every step and every turn there’s a new vista to enjoy and explore. And maybe that’s just the whole point. As long as I remember the motto I chose and the motto I live by: “Ab Terra, Ad Astra”, otherwise phrased as ‘Feet firmly on the Earth, but Let my Head roam the Heavens!
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