Why define the Great Work?
It is important to define the terms we use clearly, especially in a magical path. For insufficient definition leads to:
- the belief that such terms are not meant to be defined (or they can’t be).
- the assumption that we don’t have clear definitions to provide.
- a misunderstanding that the purpose of the Hermetic Path is to create rather than discover.
Terms must be specific for our progress to be productive.
- Clinging to beliefs inhibits demonstrated knowledge. The Hermetic Magician is a Scientist, not a Believer. What is true must be provable.
- Assumption distracts the magician from appropriate investigation. Never assume or you will trade valuable discoveries for comfortable pretensions.
- Misunderstanding leads to confusion and frustration. When misunderstanding causes failure, it is common to give up entirely and label the Path fraudulent.
In the Golden Dawn Tradition, the Great Work is the process of fulfilling a three stage development of the Soul, referred to in older Traditions as “The Three Degrees”. They are:
1. The Knowledge and Conversation of the Higher Genius
2. Fulfillment of the Divine Will
3. Entering the Invisible
The Higher Genius is the “true self”, the immortal spark of the Creator in you, incorrectly perceived at a beginning stage as separate from you and thus often being referred to as the “Holy Guardian Angel”. It is your true teacher in life, fully aware of what your purpose is in incarnating as a physical being and what exactly you must do to achieve enlightenment. This part of your soul is a fountain of accurate and provable Truth about yourself and Reality.
Knowledge of the Higher Genius is a state of illumination of your consciousness that demonstrates to you the existence of your Higher Genius and how to accurately identify it from other parts of your soul and from entities outside of yourself.
Conversation of the Higher Genius is a state of illumination of your consciousness that enables you to frequently access the guidance and information of your Higher Genius and accurately interpret the messages imparted
The methods our Order uses to assist the initiate to approach the Knowledge and Conversation of their Higher Genius includes: Alchemy, Ritual Magic, Pathworking, Divination, Invocation, Angelic Summoning, the Assumption of Godforms, Skrying, and Astral Projection. In order to be successful with this approach, however, the initiate must direct their magical intentions towards true and demonstrable knowledge of self and reality. To realize their full potential, the initiate must enact what they learn through these arts in corresponding behavioral changes.
The Divine Purpose or True will is a series of tasks and/or realizations that are assigned to you by your Higher Genius to achieve in your lifetime and constitute the reason for your personal existence as a physical individual. Despite the more generous assertion by some that all people fulfill what they are meant to, the fact is that the Tradition is clear that the average person never completes even a fraction of their Divine Purpose.
Why is this?
- A clear and direct knowledge of one’s Divine Purpose and a deliberate use of the Free Will to effect it are essential elements of this effort.
- For each person there is one and only one most efficient Path to fulfill the Great Work in one lifetime and your Higher Genius knows exactly what that is.
- The Divine Purpose is not merely a series of physical acts. You must align your will with the Will of the One Mind of which we are all part. Misalignment is, in fact, a deliberate or unconscious defiance against the Divine Purpose for the benefit of lesser interests.
What is the effect of fulfilling the Divine Purpose?
The effect that fulfilling the Divine Purpose has upon you is a profound level of spiritual evolution, without which the next stage would never be more than a myth and a fantasy.
The method our Order uses to assist the initiate to fulfill their Divine Purpose is to inspire the initiate to take full and appropriate advantage of the tools taught in this path to achieve the Knowledge and Conversation of their Higher Genius and then to advocate that they turn to that perfect teacher to learn what is necessary to fulfill their Divine Purpose.
Entering the Invisible is the attainment of the maximum level of spiritual evolution that is possible with the tools and conditions that material existence supplies such that only in ascending to a higher level of existence can your further progress and destiny continue.
Only the Higher Genius can lead the initiate to this great achievement.