Mastery is one of the names given to the achievement, by an individual, of one of the advanced stages of the occult way or path. In the septenary tradition – which the ONA regards as the authentic Western tradition in contradistinction to the Hebrew ‘Qabalah’ – this stage is the fifth of the seven that mark the quest, and those who reach it are often known by the titles Master of Temple or Mistress of Earth.

It follows from the stage of Internal Adept, which is the stage of Adeptship [qv. the MSS Adeptship – Its Real Meaning and Significance]. Between the two, lies an area often called ‘The Abyss’. Basically, an Internal Adept [or simply ‘Adept’ for short: an ‘Internal’ Adept is distinguished from an ‘External’ Adept by virtue of the former having achieved an internal as well as an external insight/understanding and a skill in both internal and external magick] has discovered the nature of their unique Destiny in the real world. That is, they are aware of personal wyrd. Before they can venture into and beyond the Abyss, this Destiny has to be strived for – the Adept has to make real, in the real world, this dream of Destiny.

For every Adept, the Destiny is unique. But for all it means an interaction with the real world – in effect transforming their inner vision and energies in a practical way and so in some way (often quite significant) changing the real world. All Adepts effect changes in others. Some do this in a directly magickal way – for instance, by running a Temple/group and teaching esoteric traditions. Some do it via creativity – for instance, music, Art, writing. Some do it via direct action which appears to non-Initiates as divorced from Occultism – for instance, politics or business. Some combine elements of all of these. There are many other ways. What is important is that the Adept is using their skills and abilities, derived from achieving Adeptship, in a practical way – their life has a vitality, a purpose, a dynamism which is beyond that of most others.

While this is occuring, the Adept is learning and evolving further. For some Adepts, the majority in fact, this interaction, this striving for a Destiny, is totally satisfying. In effect, their wyrd is this Destiny. [Note: wyrd and Destiny are not identical. Wyrd is beyond, but includes personal Destiny. The ‘Tree of Wyrd’ comprises all the seven spheres or stages of the Occult quest.] In esoteric terms, they possess no desire to progress further; and usually their desire to follow the Occult path to its ending fades, slowly, and then is lost in everyday and personal concerns. Their quest has been a phase of their lives – a rewarding one, but nevertheless a phase, which they mostly consider they have ‘outgrown’.

However, some Adepts see and understand this Destiny in a different way. Or, rather, they feel it differently after a number of years of striving. They gradually become aware of what is beyond, in esoteric terms: they understand this Destiny as a part of their wyrd, and that wyrd as the ‘dialectic of change’. In essence, they understand in a real, complete way [i.e. not just ‘in theory’] what Aeonic magick is – of how their life and deeds are part of an Aeonic imperative.

Of course, all Adepts – if they are genuine – understand the rudiments of Aeonic theory. But this is a purely intellectual, abstract, understanding. It is cerebral, devoid of numinosity. Further, most Adepts are aware of the rudiments of Aeonic magick – but, once again, this awareness is cerebral.

What occurs in some Adepts is that by the very process of striving to achieve a personal Destiny in the real world, they gradually come to understand what Aeonics really means, in personal and supra-personal terms: they experience Aeonic magick via their striving. This makes it real to them in a meaningful way – cerebral understanding is mostly a vacuous understanding.

In essence, therefore, the esoteric understanding of these Adepts grows in the only way real esoteric understanding does – via practical experience of the realities. They acquire more insight into the world, the cosmos and themselves. On the psychic level, the energy which imbued their personal Destiny, which gave them the vitality, the “elan” to persue it, wanes. They begin to seek after something else – they desire what seems to be an intangible wyrd.

Thus, they move toward ‘The Abyss’ after some years of striving in the real world, of garnishing experiences, of learning from them. In effect, the self-image, which Adeptship created, is waning. [Note: Initiation creates an ‘ego-image’; an External Adept has both an ego-image and the beginnings of a self-image. An Internal Adept has achieved a self-image: a certain unity of conscious and unconscious/pre-conscious forms. This self-image is vitalized by a Destiny.]

For a period, the Adept lies between two-images: the self-image which has almost died, and an intangible but tantilizing wyrd~image. This is often a most difficult time in the personal life of the Adept. There is nothing and no one to help them.

Gradually, they may achieve more understanding and come to understand the real essence hidden behind appearance: in themselves, others, the structures of the world, the cosmos itself. They will also come to realize what is missing from their own life – in terms of experience. Accordingly, they will redress the balance by living to attain what they lacked, to fully complete themselves. This, of course, is difficult, requiring as it does not only a genuine self-honesty and awareness, but also a real understanding of what the balance itself actually is. Here, ‘theory’, book-learning and such like is no use.
Then, when some balance is achieved, there will be a discovery of the essence of not only Aeonic Magick but also what the essence of magickal forces really are. A discovery of that which is beyond opposites – a return to and a going away from, primal Chaos.

Following all this, there is usually an ordeal which is magickally ruthless and which ascertains if the person undertaking it has actually achieved both an internal and a magickal mastery. In the septenary tradition, this ordeal is the Grade Ritual of Master/Mistress which involves the candidate walking, alone and unaided and carrying all food etc., a distance of 80 miles in isolated terrain, starting at sunrise on the first day and ending at sunset on the second day. After reaching the target distance, a magickal ritual is performed which is psychically dangerous.

Then, there is a certain satisfaction of having achieved the stage of Master of Temple/Mistress of Earth.

Naturally, the above is only a brief outline of the transition from Adept to Master or Mistress. The salient points are that it involves many years of striving for something in the real world, of causing changes via a Destiny; that there are and must be more experiences to take the individual far beyond ‘the self’; and that there is a real understanding of what lies beyond external and internal magick – of the patterns and processes of dialectic change, of evolution itself: in brief, of Aeonics. And a real Mastery of forms.

To provoke or cause the individual to go beyond ‘the self’, the experiences of necessity are hard. By their nature they take the Adept to and beyond the limits of living – mostly in a way more extreme than those which form the character of an Adept and which therefore a novice may undertake to experience and learn from and so grow.

Because of all this, the Adept who progresses to the stage beyond possesses real wisdom. They have achieved many things. They are different from ordinary mortals – inside, where it matters. They know because they have experienced: because they have seen more of life; because they have been to the limits of themselves and gone beyond what they were. And because they have maintained their resolve to follow the occult path they have chosen to its ending.

In effect, they belong to a new race – they are part of an elite more exclusive than that to which Adepts belong. They have developed a significant part of their latent potential; have fully understood themselves, the world, the people in it, the esoteric or hidden forces in the world, and the cosmos itself.

This does not mean that they are infallible or that they have nothing more to learn. Neither are they deceived by their own abilities and understanding. They are, however, aware of what it is they must do, conversant with their own abilities and the dialectic of change. That is, they know how to use Aeonic Magick to affect evolution – and do so, for their own life is a part of the creative change necessary.

Most who claim to be a ‘Master’ (or ‘Mistress’) are charlatans. As with the false Adepts, they appoint themselves to this title, or are appointed to it by someone who claims to have progressed even further. They have not achieved it. They have not achieved anything significant in creative terms; have little or no self-understanding; possess no real knowledge of Aeonics and Aeonic Magick. They have not lived their limits – and gone beyond them. They have no ‘genius’, no wisdom. They are still full of self-delusion particuarly about their esoteric knowledge and their own abilities, and have no real insight into others, let alone themselves. In fact, many who claim to be ‘Masters’ lack even the basic qualities of an Adept.

The same applies – even more so – to they who claim to have gone beyond the stage of Mastery, and I shall explain why in words which will expose them for the frauds that they are.

The stage beyond that of Master – often signified by the title Grand Master – requires for its achievement significant Aeonic works. That is, it requires the person to have produced profound changes in the causal and magickal forms which mark a particular Aeon: or to have actually presenced esoteric/magickal energies in such a way that a new Aeon is created. This does not mean that someone believes they have done these things – ‘on the magickal level’. It means that the structure of evolution has been significantly altered in accord with the wyrd of that Grand Master/Mistress: and in such a way that the changes are perceptible, in real life, in those forms and structures which Aeonic energy is presenced in the causal, such as societies.

This does not mean a playing at magick by heading some self-created Occult organization or Temple – or writing/talking at great length about Occult matters. Neither does it mean that one assumes the title by taking over some already existing organization or group. It most certainly does not mean someone else awards it or confers it.

Further, it means one has not only reached the limits of present knowledge regarding Aeonics and other esoteric matters [and knowledge in the sense of practical experience] but has also extended those limits by one’s own creativity – taken conscious evolution further. That is, added in a profound way to a conscious understanding and to the means for others to attain such understanding. This in itself does not mean anything ‘dogmatic’ or of a religious nature – or ‘given to one’ by some entity/supra-personal intelligence or whatever. It is never ‘revelatory’ in the sense of a religion. That is, it does not mean one is “appointed” by some entity/extra-terrestrial intelligence or whatever and so “heads” some sort of messianic crusade of a religious nature.

The frauds indulge in psuedo-mystical babble and Occult histrionics – they expect and mostly demand obediance.They play a “role” and often dress the part. Of course, by doing these and similar things they obtain followers, sycophants – i.e. weak individuals who need to fawn and obey. All the frauds rely on something external to themselves, be this something a “role”, a mandate, a divine/diabolic revelation, an imagined/real lineage, an organizational authority, a messianic/diabolic/extra-terrestrial commission or whatever.

In reality, all these traits and actions are signs of someone not yet achieved Adeptship – someone striving for self-insight.

A real Grand Master (or mistress) has a wealth of practical experience both Occult and ‘in the real world’. They have genius – a highly developed intellect and a creativity. They possess empathy in the highest degree. They have judgement. They possess a critical awareness and understanding of all those factors and forms which have and do shape and change our evolution both conscious and unconscious from individuals to Aeons. And they are unique – ‘their own person’. They owe allegiance to no one and they are not constrained by any affectation or role (such as conforming to the imagined image of a Master or Grand Master or ‘teacher’). Like genuine Masters and Mistresses, they are spontaneous and human, without affectation of ‘knowledge’ or ‘cleverness’. Neither do they pretend to be ‘venerable’.

There are perhaps two or three genuine Grand Masters/Mistresses a century – and that is all. And this is unlikely to change, given the present capacity of individuals to delude themselves and given the fact that few are prepared to undertake the really hard and difficult struggle that lasts for at least a quarter of a century and which creates such a unique entity.

As regards the last stage of the Occult way, which the septenary tradition describes by the term Immortal and which the distorted and inauthentic tradition of the ‘Qabalah’ describes as the stage of the “Ipssisimus” [and I had to look-up how to spell the word], this really is not obtainable except in the last few years of the causal existence of a Grand Master/Mistress who has created for themselves an acausal and thus Immortal existence. Thus, anyone claiming this title in the causal or mortal world is, ‘ipso facto’, a fraud – and one who has little or no knowledge of real esoteric matters. Those who so claim, show themselves up to be not even a genuine Master or Mistress – and seldom, if ever, even an Adept.

As Aeschylus once explained: one can learn through adversity/ suffering as so achieve wisdom. Before this ‘law’, people suffered, but did not learn. Most Occultists have never suffered, and so learn nothing; they eschew ordeals, and real life experiences, in favour of mystical meanderings and a religious mentality. Or they find comfort, an escape in the Occult. A real Occult quest involves adversity – undertaking hardships, surmounting real physical, mental and psychic challenges; forging into the unknown, alone. Questing through adversity to transform one’s existence.

It takes years of self-effort and adversity, of accepting challenges and triumphing, to achieve real self-insight and genuine esoteric understanding, and thus to become an Adept. It takes even greater effort and adversity and learning to go beyond that. Real wisdom is still, unfortunately, a precious commodity. The esoteric path to Wisdom is open to all – its techniques and methods work. But such is the primative self-awareness of most people that they cannot appreciate this or be bothered to undertake a real quest in search of the next stage of existence. So the Occult babbling will continue, and the frauds claim their titles.

De nihilo nihil fit.