The Subtle and The Gross

For all that meets the bodily sense I deem
Symbolical, one might alphabet
For infant minds: and we in this low world
Placed with our backs to bright Reality,
That we may learn with young unwounded ken
The substance from the shadow.

(The Destiny of Nations – Coleridge)

I am finding The Zelator by Mark Hedsel a fascinating read. I have, in fact, read it at least twice before and it was one of those books that discovered me many years ago. I recall being in Toronto on a business trip and having a couple of hours to kill. I found a cheap bookstore somewhere in town and there was a pile of books called The Zelator. I picked one up and was sold in an instant.

Hedsel discusses at issues and topics at length linking and joining what appear to be unrelated items and directions in a way that makes me wonder at what little we know these days. This man knew his classics and much more. There are things he discusses that really resonate with me in amongst this treasury of mystical thought.

He discusses the dweller on the threshold as being the demon that stops our entry into the spiritual realms but he argues that this demon or demon(s) is in fact of our own making. It is the dross that we carry inside of us. It is the Lead that fills the Fool’s sack; our burden of sin if you will. He says that the physical and spiritual realms are a continuation of one thing as opposed to a duality. You can either meet your demons progressively and take their power away or, you will without doubt meet them in your life as a matter of course if you start to engage in spiritual work.

Another book I read recently – Counterpoint to Reality – by Stephen John O’Connor has him facing those demons and realizing they are an ‘externalisation’ of his thoughts – of himself, if you will. His demons manifest as he experiments with Ayahuasca.

Hedsel challenges his reader as to whether they wish to sleep to Selene or awake to Isis? He comments substantially on the concept of a dark Moon governed by Selene that is a ‘region’ of demons. A place pulling in collections of thought forms created deliberately or inadvertently by the sleepers and the deliberate workers of the left hand path. He challenges those who chose to awake to Isis to remain awake at all times and to carefully lift the first of the seven veils.

A.O. Spare - The Dwellers on the Threshold.

A.O. Spare – The Dwellers on the Threshold.

Interestingly, this view has a lot in common with that of Bardon who starts students working on their magical mirrors very early instructing them to work diligently on balancing the elements within; to work on our personal faults and sins carefully. Without this work, without some aspect of inner balance, we may make little progress or if we do, it is felt by his student that it may well be backward progress.

The idea that our demons are of our own making should be no surprise if you understand that we create our own reality. How we see the world, how we react and interact to it will be based on our complex inner self’s make up. It’s a circular argument that we create and what we create we may allow to subconsciously influence our creation. Somewhere, we must break the circle or perhaps square the circle…. and escape our own hell and exorcise our own demons.

Hedsel points to the classical Alchemical texts which show this and much more in allegory and image. We must separate the subtle from the gross. “The true horror of the Bestia is that it dwells in each of us. This is why the path of initiation leads inevitably to the hunting of the beast within.” he says.

In some small way, my five-years of study with the SOL led me to understand something very similar. The ‘angry old man’ that I met along the way was but one aspect of my inner beast. Importantly, Asteroth showed me a set of exercises that I still utilize today to work on this inner beast – my inner self-created demons….. They were written up in the Appendices of Inner Journeys and are reproduced here for those that may have an interest in using them….

Water Meditation
You are seated on an endless flat plain. All around you, the plain disappears into the distance and above you hangs a large and full bright Moon in a darkened sky. It is quiet and dark except for the silvery coloured moonlight which casts no shadow on the flat surface on which you find yourself.

In front of you sits a small but ornate silver cup. As you look at the cup it reflects the silver moonlight back towards you and you can see the reflection of the full moon in its metal. Inside the cup is clear crystal stream water that you collected earlier. As the moonlight shines down and into the cup you know that it is filling the water in the cup with lunar energy. You watch as the water in the cup gradually takes on a bluish silver light of its own as it absorbs the Moon energy.

You watch this energy and the light dancing on top of the water and you know that the water is being energised under the full moon. After a while, you see that the water has now become so energised that it is emitting a pale blue white light of its own.

Knowing that the water is now ready to accept your desires, you begin to see that the energised water is attracting all that you desire as qualities about yourself into it. For quite a while, you watch as these images arise in front of you and then are slowly sucked into the water.

When you feel ready, you will take the cup and giving thanks to the creator, you drink the water. It is cold and it tastes good. As the water enters your body you feel an energy filling you up and you know that the water has healing qualities both for your body and soul. You know that in drinking this water energised by moonlight and filled with the qualities that you desire to build within yourself that even now you are changing. Feel the change take place within you.

Fire Meditation
You are seated on a beach. On one side you are aware of the ocean as small surf waves break on the sandy shore. There is a gentle breeze blowing off the ocean. In front of you a beach fire burns. You watch as the flames rise occasionally blown by the wind. You see the colours of the fire, reds, oranges, purples and greens and you can feel the heat on your face. You can hear the crackle, popping and spitting sounds as the fire burns through the driftwood fuel.

As you sit, the fire grows bigger and bigger as it burns through the driftwood. You can feel the heat on your face getting hotter but occasionally there is no heat at all as the onshore breeze blows the flames temporarily way from you. You feel connected to the fire as it burns. It warms you and protects you from any wild beasts that might be around.

When you can see the fire in as much detail as possible imagine that you are throwing any unwanted aspects of yourself on to the fire. As you do so, the flames jump higher and higher as it burns this new source of fuel. Feel these unwanted aspects of yourself diminish as they are burned on your fire. Smell the smoke that arises as more acrid and know that the flames are turning your burden into energy that you can use.

When you feel ready, give thanks to the Universe for taking your unwanted burden as a gift in the form of heat, light and smoke. Feel lighter and energised by the experience.


From Inner Journeys: Explorations of the Soul, Thoth, 2005

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