Frater V.I.O. next experienced a state of "Dryness" such as almost invariably follows a partial success. On Sunday, May 7th he writes:
I have not made an entry in this record for a whole week. I seem to be losing control, and my diary, lying untouched in my drawer, is becoming like a horrible fiend. It worries me when I do not enter it; and yet it requires a great effort even to touch it or take it out, while to enter it daily appears an almost superhuman task. Why is this? I have done exercises this week as usual, but a little earlier than previously, because I have to be at the office by 8:30 A.M. instead of nine o'c. as heretofore. I think Fra. P.A. might write to me. I feel that he is testing me, and have tried to hold to that idea. I know that really it does not matter, but I am weak yet, and should so like a little friendly push and a few words of advice. I feel like dropping it all for a time; but that is perhaps the very thing that is so difficult, in fact, the whole trick! 0 dear, I am certainly having a spell of "dryness." But I will plod on, On, ON, and in, In, IN. 0 for one kiss, or the echo of a Kiss, My Lord Adonai. I yearn for Thee, I am Parched for Thee. Let me be utterly consumed in Thee! Amen.
Saturday, June 10, 1911. Tonight I must write an entry. I MUST. And it is time. Why have I not done so before? Because I have experienced a "dryness" for the last month, and have made no definite effort to overcome it, but have just kept a firm hold on the little atom of real Knowledge I have obtained, & setting my face still towards the East, have plodded on with this material existence and the office work I have undertaken. I have experienced an incessant yearning for that "Something" or "Nothing" of which a glimpse had been vouchsafed unto me, and Waited. Maybe I should have Worked and waited, but I did not. I have not heard from Frater P.A. yet, but I wrote again during the month, saying I wanted to do something to help others a little, and asking if he could spare time to advise me on that score. To-day, I received The Equinox ordered last April. It had been sent to my brother's Club and had been lying there for a month, and all the while I had been waiting and hoping for its arrival. Then, when hope was about dead, I obtained a trace of it. It came as a drink of sweet nectar to a thirsty pilgrim, and it is wonderful how much better I feel. The note re Neophytes and Probationers has set me at rest about the silence of Fra P.A.; and confirms, what all the while I have suspected, that his delay in answering is a test. This confirmation is cheering, however hard the trial may have been, in so far as I had made up my mind to work on, whether he writes or not, and had got quite used to the idea of having to work out my own Path, without outside aid or encouragement.
He was also pleased to find some of his own experiments more or less confirmed in Liber HHH of which he writes:
M.M.M. 2, "mentions the breath playing upon the skin, etc." I have experienced this, and asked Fra P.A. for instructions thereon. Sometimes, after hard breathing, I have been filled with the sensation. I think I understand the "lightning flash," but shall experiment. My present knowledge is more as a sheet of summer lightning. The minute point of light has often appeared to me, and I had come to the conclusion that it should be held in the zenith. The radiating cone, I have not experienced. II. A.A.A. The idea of considering one's own death is mentioned. This occurred to me and was carried out beforemy first Illumination; this serves as a confirmation that I was on the right track. I should have no doubt mentioned these meditations more fully at the time. I have often wondered how I got into the state I then experienced, and this copy of The Equinox has revived the memory and gives instruction for obtaining, no doubt, a very much fuller result, only I shall have to work with a big W.
June 12, 1911. On Saturday night, in bed I attempted "thinking backwards" and successfully managed two days, with no breaks in the first day, and practically none for the day before, except a few little incidents during office hours in the morning. When I came to thoughts on waking of Saturday morning and got to the "blank" I experienced some mental visions and "telephone-cross voices," but cannot say if they were connected with any dream; then suddenly I found myself lying in bed with the last thoughts of the previous night in mind. Yesterday, I read the article on the subject (Training of the Mind) carefully, also learnt the formula of the four great meditations on Love, Pity, Happiness and Indifference. At night, I again attempted "thinking backwards," but experienced rather more difficulty as conditions were bad. However, once started, I got back through Sunday and very nearly, if not quite as fully, over the two previous days; then, having got into the swing, I roughly attempted a short and incomplete review of my whole life, which although brief, was much fuller than I expected. I remembered things connected with early childhood quite accurately, but of course not with full connections. Then something occurred that I really did not expect, and only later trials will prove if it was an illusion or not. Having tried hard to pierce the blank, back of all, I had a sudden clear sensation of lying on a bed with people around, and in particular an elderly man in black velvet and knee breeches, whom I at once felt was my Tutor, leaning over me. The ideas that came with this were that I was quite young, and had some disease like consumption, that the family was wealthy, and the house a Country Residence. These impressions were very real and quite unexpected, but as I used to have a dread of consumption, and still young, and meditation took place lying down, it would seem that very little imagination would make up the rest. However, I mention it, as the experience was different from anything I can previously remember.
July 8th, 1911. About a fortnight ago, I received a letter from Frater P.A. in answer to my previous two. I was pleased to hear from him, but he gave me a good talking to, also some new instructions. He wanted to know, what I meant by making a claim to having attained Samadhi, or something very like it, in August last, and then shortly afterwards started cutting my arm, etc. I have not answered it yet, but this much for reference: (1) I never mentioned Samadhi, nor can I remember claiming to have attained it. (2) I did attain a state of consciousness which has had a lasting effect upon my life and made my viewpoint entirely different from that time. (3) The language I used to describe the state came perfectly naturally to me, as the most convenient to describe a state foreign to any previous experience. (4) I might have used language of a higher plane than I was on, but I don't see why. (5) I started control of body some months later when I had in some measure lost the complete recollection of the state, or rather when it was little more than a recollection, also when I first saw picture of man's arm in The Equinox, I rather dreaded to cut mine, so thought it best to carry out exercise and get over bodily dread of a little pain. I did so and am not sorry.
This letter from Fra P. A. giving new practice, etc., combined with some considerable dissatisfaction on Frater V.I.O.'s part, regarding his present state, caused him to undertake another regular spell of work for 32 days, after which he seems to have recorded very little until March 25 in the following year, viz., 1912. He then experimented with SSS section of Liber HHH, from The Equinox, vol. V and obtained automatic rigidity. He writes: "(i) Brain became charged with electric fluid or Prana, in fact whole face and hands became as if connected with an electric battery, also brain seemed luminous but void. (2) Could not awaken spine from 'yoni'; but, after persisting, the part just below small of back became enlivened, then under ribs, then breast and nape of neck. The current became very strong and almost unbearable. Whole body became perfectly and automatically rigid. Hands seemed to feel gnarled and misshapen, contorted by the force in them (I noticed this as a side issue). Feet also became filled with life, etc." He had had some experience with Pranic Currents in his body before, in fact in 1910, but never so fully and completely. He then reported this, and his general progress, to Fra P.A.
In July, he received a letter from Fra P.A., saying that he had now arrived at a stage when he might undertake an Operation for the Invocation of Adonai,
which would require six weeks' work, the last twelve days of which must be in complete Retirement. At first he could see no possible way to undertake this, owing to, (i) Family Affairs, (2) Office work, (3) Lack of money. He determined however to go ahead in spite of apparent obstacles, and duly made a start at Midnight, August 31. From that time until September i8th he was occupied by the Preparatory work, and from Midnight September 18th to Midnight September 3oth by the Purity Section. October 1st to October 12th Proper Retirement, and on October 12th Invocation of Holy Guardian Angel. All this meant a great deal of work and trouble, and much new experience gained, but was on the whole a failure, though a Step on the Path. During this retirement he cut a Wand, as a Symbol not of his will but of the Will of Adonai in him. It would be hardly right to say that this Magical Retirement produced no results, though it may not have produced the One Desired Result. By the time a man has made 671 entries in his Magical Record (as Frater V.I.O. did during those six weeks) and each of those entries has a direct bearing on the matter in hand, he is bound to have produced a state of mind somewhat different from normal consciousness. (It is interesting to note that 671, by a curious coincidence, is the numeration of Adonai, spelt in full, the Central idea of the Invocation.) We shall not enter into the details of the various practices he performed during this period, but we may mention, for the sake of completeness, a few fragments recorded during the last few days of the Retirement.
October 9, 9:6 P.M. (This was the 9th day of Section C, and the 39th day of the complete Operation.)
The "state" is getting more and more difficult to describe, in fact I don't know what to make of it. I might almost say I feel "normal"; and yet there is a subtle difference. There is (I think) an entire absence of fear, worry, disgust, joy, sorrow, pain, or any of the old states, and this seems to be a condition of calm observation without any desire to criticise anything. I suppose, as a matter of fact, it is a state of equilibrium. I think I have it. It is the empty shrine awaiting the in-dwelling of the God.
10 P.M. I experienced another peculiar state just now. Having closed my eyes for a few moments (concentrating), I thought I would try and think backwards over the last few things I had been doing, but found, try as I would, I could not think of things done even a moment before. All was the "present peculiar experience," and there was no getting away from it. The concentration acted just like a magnet, and became automatic. Again, on trying to look back over this retirement, it appears as a "Single state of consciousness," not as a number of events. I should really have to read my diary if I wanted to know any details in succession just now.
At the end of the 10th day of this Section C and the beginning of the 11th day I think the true climax of the Operation took place, for he writes:
Oct. 11, 12:30. So did the day start and I knelt at the altar from rz Midnight until 12:28 During this time did my Lord Adonai begin to manifest within me, so that my being was wrapped away in bliss ineffable. And my body was filled with rapture of His coming until the cry burst from my lips "My Lord and my God." There are no words to describe Thee, my Beloved, though I yet tremble with the joy of Thy presence, yet do I feel that this is but the beginning of the reflection of Thee. O God, wrap me utterly away, beyond even this Bliss. Let me be utterly consumed in Thine Essence. Amen.
However, on The DAY, the 12th of October, when he came actually to use his Invocation (prepared and illuminated during his retirement) expecting the Result might occur, he writes as follows:
At precisely 6:50 I entered the Temple, lit the incense and robed. All being in order I knelt in prayer and at 7 P.M. I arose and performed the Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram, then, taking the ritual in my left hand and raising the wand in my right, I slowly and clearly read the Oath and the Invocation. Afterwards, I was impressed to make a certain Sign with the wand. And the Word that came to me was … Kneeling, I felt very calm, and I waited … afterwards, according to my understanding, I turned off the light, leaving only the lamp of olive Oil, and I lay down upon the place prepared and waited … and all was very dark and still, with a feeling of absolute calm and control, and I waited
And nothing happened. Then something seemed to tell me to get up and to kneel again at the altar, yet I waited, but presently I arose and stood at the altar, and I felt "I am that I am"; but there seemed not much joy in the thought, and yet, I knew that I had done all, even the least thing, to the best of mine understanding and ability.. . . And it began to dawn upon me that I had failed, but where and how, I know not.
I have been dazzled with no illusionary success, I have overcome the fear of failure, and now, even as a tired warrior, I will go back into the world — and STRIVE.
The Next day. Chaos. Reason is quite inadequate to solve the problem. Here followeth a certain passage from Ezekiel.
"Son of man, behold, I take away from thee the desire of thine eyes with a stroke: yet neither shalt thou mourn nor weep, neither shalt thy tears run down. Forbear to cry, make no mourning for the dead, bind the tire of thine head upon thee, and put on thy shoes upon thy feet, and cover not thy lips, and eat not the bread of men. So I spake unto the people in the morning; and at even my wife died: and I did in the morning as I was commanded. And the people said unto me: Wilt thou not tell us what these things are to us, that thou doest so? Then I answered them. The word of the Lord came unto me saying: Speak unto the house of Israel: Thus saith the Lord God…. Ezekiel is unto you a sign:
according to all that he hath done, shall ye do; and when this cometh, ye shall know that I am the Lord. Also, son of man, shall it not be in the day when I take from them their strength, the joy of their glory, the desire of their eyes, and that whereon they set their minds. . . In that day shall thy mouth be opened … and thou shalt speak … and thou shalt be a sign unto them, and they shall know that I am the Lord." Amen.
A last note: TRUTH must ever be One. Whatever I expected, I found not. But why should I grieve because of having exposed some of my illusions? I have held to the truth, and the Truth remains, for the Truth is ever One, yea, the Truth is Ever One. Amen.