This text is an excerpt from the forthcoming book “High Magic in the Western Mystery Tradition” by Salomo Baal-Shem. Salomo Baal-Shem asserts his moral right to be indentified as the only author of this work. Including the right of reproduction in whole or part in any form. The text of this publication may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form of by any means, electronic or otherwise be lent, resold, hired out or circulated without the consent of the Author/Publisher in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition being imposed on any subsequent purchaser.
The magical diary is one of the most important aids of practical occultism.
In spiritual work it is most important to keep records, because these records do not only preserve our experiences in a durable form that enables us to compare our memories at a later date with our real experiences, but keeping records is also an important part of processing the results of the meditation.
Very often realisations and experiences of meditation and ritual are kept in our consciousness only in a subtle and ephemeral form. Our consciousness can only keep these kinds of experiences in our memory to a limited extend.
Only by means of the process of recording our experiences and finding precise verbalisations for our experiences our realisations will gain a form comprehensible to our consciousness mind. For that reason keeping records is not just a necessary chore but a very important part of spiritual work itself.1 (By the way the same applies to eastern spiritual traditions - although in that case the written record is often replaced by a verbal record to the teacher.)
Without this translation process into our language, our conscious mind cannot assimilate these realisations because our mind thinks in the form of language.
Very often, the lack of this translation process is the reason why even after years of meditation some people only make very little spiritual progress (moreover, in some unfortunate cases the lack of recording even leads to self-deception regarding their own spiritual progress).
It is much better to do one single meditation with records rather than three without. Meditation - similar to dreams - takes place at a different level of consciousness. After waking up we tend to forget our dreams very fast unless we retrieve them to our wakeful consciousness. In the same way meditation realisations will slip our conscious mind unless they are "grounded" immediately. The meditation diary has a similar function as a dream diary which helps to make the level of dreams accessible to our wakeful consciousness.2 The real benefits of meditation are bestowed upon us only if we can integrate our realisations into our personality and into our life.
Especially for meditations the notes of our realisations should not be to elaborate in order focus the mind on learning to concentrate on the essentials (a maximum of 10 to 15 lines should be sufficient). For records of a ritual it is different - of which more later.
Meditation Records (scheme)
Date: Here you should mention the weekday and the date. Abbreviations such as Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat may be used. For better overview it is helpful to number the meditations of one year consecutively. For a correspondence course such as this one the numbering should be based on the course year and not the calendar year that is you should begin again with "1" once you have come to the exercises of the first week of the second year. Time: Here you should note the exact start and end time of the meditation. To simplify matters exercises like the candle exercise are included in the duration of the meditation. Place: If you meditate at the same place most of the time you need to note the place only in case it differs. If you keep your meditation records on a computer, you can prerecord the usual place here and change it if necessary. Meditation Posture: You need to record the meditation posture only if it is changed. For digital records the same as above applies. Meditation Subject: Please always note the current subject! It is rather inconvenient if the subject in the diary always reads "see above". Since you will usually do many meditations about one subject it makes sense to write a number after the subject. For example for the first meditation about the subject "Who am I?" One writes "Who am I (1)?", for the second "Who am I (2)?" and so on. This has no bearing on the general numbering described above. Visualisation: This field is only necessary for pathworkings or other visualizations or if an analytical meditation contains inner images. If a meditation is done in the Inner Temple, this field should begin with the remark "In the Inner Temple:" (This is a general remark and includes the entire meditation of the Inner Temple even the journey to the Temple). For other kinds of meditations the same applies. This field should contain only information about new or unusual circumstances. For example, it is not necessary to mention all the well known details of you Inner Temple over and over again (please no use more than 5 to 10 lines). Realisations: Here the realisations about meditation subject are recorded. A students of the mysteries should learn right from the start to focus on the bare essentials (please no use more than 10 to 15 lines!) Concentration: Describe in a few words what your concentration was like. (For concentrative meditations you can count the number of distractions using a meditation chain. For other meditations you should not do this, because the counting makes it difficult to immerse yourself in meditation. Relaxation and physical sensation: Shortly note how well your relaxation has been. Other physical sensation should not be noted in too much detail. The main purpose is to record problems or special experiences. Later realisations: It may happen that important realisations do not surface in your conscious mind until some time after the mediation. Maybe you were blocked by whatever thoughts or emotions you had during the meditation, and at a later time when that condition has changed , realisations that have been induces during meditation may enter the conscious mind. These "later realisations" belong to the meditation and should be recorded in this column. Candle exercise: The daily candle exercise is an important part of your spiritual practice. Here note the time either as "before meditation" or "morning" or "evening" including the exact time (which is of course not necessary in case of "before meditation"). Moreover you can note down any realisations and experiences resulting directly from the candle exercise. Other Exercises: In a regular diary all other exercises should be mentioned. (Attention, especially beginners tend to overstrain themselves by doing lots of additional exercises and thereby disregarding the basic exercises.) Additional exercises should be noted with exact time and the student of the mysteries should always concentrate on one exercise a time. If he, for example, trains the pentagram ritual he should not practice the rose cross ritual or the exercise of the middle pillar concurrently. (As an exception an experienced personal mentor may sometimes advice his student to do several exercises, but as a general rule it is better not to dissipate one's energy.) Only the duration of the candle exercise should be included in the meditation time. General realisations: The student of mysteries should live his live consciously and carry out his everyday tasks with personal commitment. (Occultists call this "Walking the path of the hearth-fire".) By living our life consciously we may attain important realisations resulting from lifes experiences or from cognitive processes. These realisations should not be wasted but recorded like all the other realisations. That is the purpose of this category. (General cognition should be reduced to the essential and do not exceed an average of 5 lines. General realisations are an important aspect of spiritual work, but the student of mysteries, is a member of an occult school, they cannot expect his mentor to comment on all of these realisations.
Meditation Records (example)
The structure of a typical record of your diary will be explained by way of a fictive example for a possible meditation about the subject: "Who am I?"
Course of thoughts: Well, who am I really?... Stupid question. I am just me...Yeah, that doesn't say much. But it shouldn't be too difficult to answer that question... Ok, I am the son of XX and YY... and the brother of that little brat who is just knocking on my door. Hope the dimwit stops soon... Bother! He has disturbed my concentration.. But I am not only a son and brother; there is more to it, like I do have a job and hobbies... But I am not my profession, or am I?!... Let's try again...I have black hair and I am 1,74 m and weigh about 70 kg, probably a bit more. I should really lose some weight... but back to the subject. That was more a kind of description of myself. Seems, not that easy to tell who I am. Most ideas I come up with are only superficial characteristics of myself...The sum of all these attributes like family background, profession and appearance cannot really tell who I am...Somehow the picture of a bird crosses my mind...hmm... as far as I remember there is a bird which symbolizes the soul Egyptian mythology...what was its name.. I think it is called Ba... yes, it is Ba...
Let us assume that the relaxation was deep, except for the beginning, when the meditator felt a light pain in the back, the breathing was deep and easy although sometimes he lost his rhythm. Towards the end his right foot went numb.
The actual resulting diary entry would look like this:
Date: Sun, Sep 21st 2008 / Meditation No. 1 Time: 8:00-8:55 o'clock am Place: bedroom Meditation Posture: upright sitting posture Meditation Subject: Who am I? (1) Visualisation: For a short moment I saw the picture of a bird, which reminded me of the Egyptian "Ba-soul". Realisations: I am not as sure about who I really am as I thought I would be. Neither my family background nor my profession nor my appearance is an adequate description. Also, the sum of family background, profession and appearance together does not tell who I really am. Concentration: relatively well Relaxation and physical sensation: Relaxation was deep, in the beginning light pain in the back, breathing ok. Later realisations: The Egyptians believed that the Ba soul would survive the physical death. I too believe that my real self will outlive death. Candle Exercise: (before meditation) Felt a strong bonding with the Divine Light. Other Exercises: Qabbalistic Cross (just before meditation): sense the energy well and can well visualize the light
Visualization Exercises (7:25-7:40 pm): at Kim's game I remember 12 out of 15 items in average. General realisations: Today at dinner I felt a strong gratitude for having all I really need and not missing something essential. It does not go without saying to have enough food. Very often we complain about lots of trivia and do not understand that we live a good live and that there is much in our live we can (and should) be happy about.
Qabbalistic Summer Ritual Name: Tara Rhea Milin Date: June 21st 2003 Time: 3 pm - 4:30 pm Place: Temple of the Lodge in Frankfurt/M Position: Officer of the West
Personal impressions:(What is your general impression about the ritual? What was the most intensive emotional or spiritual experience?)
A festive ritual during which the pleas of the community for the gifts of the summer took a strong effect. In the beginning the mood had been a bit too serious but became more and more celebratory and even high-spirited in the end. The ritual left me in a good mood and gave me lots of power for several days.
Opening and closing of the Quarters:(Please give details for each direction!)
During the opening of East and South I felt a strong sensation, especially The archangel Michael was clearly visible and lively. The heat of the landscape of the South has been very definite. My own opening could have been stronger. I could not feel the presence of West and North as clearly. Closing of all directions seemed fine to me.
Course of Action in General:(Please do not repeat the ritual text but only what you did notice in particular!)
When calling archangel Gavriel I mixed up two lines of my text. Nevertheless this was not important enough to start over again. The magus approved my decision with a short nod.
Apart from some difficulties with the hot thurible no other problems occured during the ritual.
The communion was very celebratory and gave us a strong feeling of companionship, of giving and receiving. I had the impression that I was doing something really important for the group by passing on the chalice.
Hearing the "voice of the archangels" has been really touching to me. Especially while I did not have any text to speak at this moment so I could let the impressions sink in and concentrate on my inner perception.
Astral perception/meditation:(Did you have any inner pictures, perception or meditation results?)
I very impressed by the atmosphere when every officer presented a symbolic gift from the archangels. At this moment I got the strong impression that the archangels were present and took our gifts and will give us a wonderful summer in return. To me the impression of this blessing of the archangels has been present even before the seer confirmed it. Therefore I could celebrate the following communion quite relaxed.
1 A meditation without notes is similar to a tea ceremony in which the tea is poured away without drinking from it.
2 You may do the following experiment: Ask yourself if you can remember what you dreamt last night? Can you remember what you did this morning right after getting up? Why is the last one easier to remember? Can you remember what you dreamt last week? Probably not...What did you do during that day? Do you remember? Think whether you do remember anything and why it is easier. Tomorrow write down your dream in detail. Tell somebody about it right after getting up or read your notes aloud. Can you still remember your dream in the evening? Think about it! ... Try to remember it a week later. You will see that the dream experience is much more present if you write it down immediately.
We are an internationally recognized mystery school and magical lodge and offer serious magical training based on the principles of the mystical Qabbalah (Kabbalah, Kabbala, Kabala), Hermetic magic and the Western Mysteries. Magical training in an authentic mystery school (or magic school, and/or magical order) of the Western Mystery Tradition is the spiritual and mystical preparation for initiation of the student of the mysteries. Like every true magical lodge or magic school and every true Hermetic order we take training in magic very seriously. We stand in the spriritual tradition of the Rosicrucians and do not only teach the ancient ritual magic (or ceremonial magic), the Egyptian magic, the Celtic magic and the Greek Mysteries, but also the classical pillars of the Hermetik Tradition such as astrology and Tarot.