Had nature taken her course, I should probably now be sleeping in a quiet grave—and my soul might be in the regions of the blessed. But the tempter came, and dazzled me with prospects of endless happiness—and I succumbed!
Will there be a day when someone discovers the secrets of these supernatural events, that reflection of the shadow of the soul that manifests itself between awakening and sleep, in a state of purgatory and unconsciousness?
Who may know his complete likeness, so much being hidden? The Astrals, Elementals, Mind, Soul? We realize something of the body’s mechanism and of the affectiveness of the whole; at its interrelations we may only guess. Every fact gleaned shows us merely greater ignorance of ourselves. Therefore, speak not of God, speak for yourself alone, for when you know yourself you will know your gods.
Austin Osman Spare, The Logomanchy of Zos
The depths of human nature and self knowledge, the hidden mysteries of the soul of man are not, as real initiates well know, probed into with impunity except by the “properly prepared”. The man who does so has, as it were, a cable-tow around his neck; because when once stirred by a genuine desire for the higher knowledge that real initiation is intended to confer, he can never turn back on what he learns thereof without committing moral suicide; he can never be again the same man he was before he gained a glimpse of the hidden mysteries of life. And as the Angel stood with a flaming sword at the entrance of Eden to guard the way to the Tree of Life, so will the man whose initiation is not a conventional one find himself threatened at the door of the higher knowledge by opposing invisible forces if he rashly rushes forward in a state of moral unfitness into the deep secrets of the Centre. Better remain ignorant than embark upon this unknown sea unwisely and without being properly prepared and in possession of the proper passports.
W L Wilmshurst, The Meaning of Masonry, Chapter II Masonry as a Philosophy
In the tower, the magician works rituals that prepare his soul, making it receptive to daimonic inspiration.
Susan Johnston Graf, W B Yeats Twentieth Century Magus: An In-Depth Study of Yeat’s Esoteric Practices and Beliefs, Including Excerpts from His Magical Diaries [Amazon, Bookshop, Abebooks, Local Library]
We should therefore attempt to remove all external impediments which are in the way of our spiritual development and live in a state of purity. Our thoughts should be continually directed inwardly and within ourselves; for within ourselves is the element of consciousness, knowledge, and power. Nothing hinders us to develop and exercise our own powers, except our misconceptions, imaginations, and external desires. Therefore the divine influences will only come to him who liberates his soul of all such hindrances, carnal desires, prejudices, and hallucinations. A diseased eye cannot bear to look at the light; an impure soul is repulsed by the divine light of truth.
Franz Hartmann, In The Pronaos of The Temple of Wisdom
Porphyry ridicules the idea that gods, being wiser, more powerful, and superior to man, could be coaxed, persuaded or forced to do the will of man or conform to his desires. He repudiates the theory that clairvoyance, prophecy, etc., were the results of the inspiration by external gods, but says that they are a function of the Divine Spirit within man; and that the exercise of this function becomes possible when the soul is put into that condition which is necessary to exercise it. “The consciousness of man may be centred within or beyond his physical form; and according to conditions a man may be, so to say, out of himself or within himself, or ‘in a state in which he is neither wholly without nor within, but enjoys both states at once.” He also states that there are many invisible beings, which may take all possible forms and appear as gods, as men, or as demons, that they are fond of lying and masquerading, and of pretending to be the souls of departed men.
Franz Hartmann, In the Pronaos of the Temple of Wisdom
For I must pass
Desolate into the dusk of things again,
Having risen so far to fall to the abyss,
Deeper for exaltation; I must go
Wailing and naked into the inane
Cavernous shrineless place of misery,
Forgetful, hateful, impotent, except
The last initiation seize my soul,
And fling me into Isis’ very self,
The immortal, mortal.
Aleister Crowley, The Fatal Force
3. The pain-bearing obstructions are — ignorance, egoism, attachment, aversion and clinging to life.
These are the five pains, the fivefold tie that binds us down, of which ignorance is the cause and the other four its effects. It is the only cause of all our misery. What else can make us miserable? The nature of the Soul is eternal bliss. What can make it sorrowful except ignorance, hallucination, delusion? All pain of the Soul is simply delusion.
such is the holy gift of the Muses to men. For it is through the Muses and far-shooting Apollo that there are singers and harpers upon the earth; but princes are of Zeus, and happy is he whom the Muses love: sweet flows speech from his mouth. For though a man have sorrow and grief in his newly-troubled soul and live in dread because his heart is distressed, yet, when a singer, the servant of the Muses, chants the glorious deeds of men of old and the blessed gods who inhabit Olympus, at once he forgets his heaviness and remembers not his sorrows at all; but the gifts of the goddesses soon turn him away from these.