Mishkan ha-Echad

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Fear is Failure

One of the key passages of the Neophyte ceremony is that said by the Hiereus: "Fear is failure [and the forerunner of failure]" (the bracketed part is only employed by certain groups). "Therefore, be without fear", we are told.

I would like to explore some of these elements of fear that a Neophyte might face.

Firstly there is the fear of magic, spirits, and the "occult" in general. To fear such is to cause the journey to cease before it is begun. Fear is a natural human emotion, true enough, but we are to become "more than human", and to do so we must not fear the tools of our growth, which are the occult. To do so would mean that we leave the path, having failed our mission, giving in to the wiles of the ego, and never progressing within the Order.

Secondly there is the fear of change. Magic is, as Crowley put it, change in conformity with Will. Initiation, if successful, causes the beginnings of change. This can be hectic and seemingly catastrophic, as the world of the initiate becomes the athanor of affliction. Alchemy is all about change, of the transmutation of things. And there is no doubt that change is painful, especially for the ego, which fears losing its potent grip on the personality of the initiate. To fear change then is to fail, and is the forerunner of failure, because it stunts the possibility of growth. We must bear the burden of the cross if we are to attain the summit and bear witness to our resurrection.

Thirdly there is the fear of the path ahead, and this is often influenced by the former two points, primarily the second one. This is where people fear what they might become, or where the path may lead them. The fear of the unknown, the nagging splinter of uncertainty. Ultimately this is the ego that fears, for the end is not "unknown", but the only real thing that can be known truly, the inner spark of divinity.

Fourthly there is the fear of exposing our weaknesses. This is the reluctance to embrace the Light, for fear that it will highlight our darkness, exposing the skeletons in the closet. Again, this is linked to the fear of change, but, in the end, if we live a life of comfort ("ignorance is bliss"), we will never embark on this path, never search, and never attain.

Fear is doubt, and the Higher Self does not doubt, nor does it question the path or wonder if the Great Work is worth the effort. Let us, therefore, be without fear and doubt, and embrace the certainty of the Divine, of the Light, and our own place in it.

"Ask of God and ye shall have,
Seek and ye shall find.
Knock, and it shall be opened unto you."

If we fear we will not ask and will not seek, nor will we knock upon the door, for we will be afraid of who might answer. How then will we ever enter?

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