Dialogue Between Adept and Novice
PUPIL: There has been a lot of
reaction to those two paragraphs on the last page of DL2, when you said that
the only gods are within your own head, there are no external powers to be
invoked. In others words, we are on our own. Most of the responses fell within
four categories. There was fear (“there’s nothing out there looking after me!”)
Relief (“so I don’t need to bother any more with all those gods and goddesses
and demons with their unearthly names and very earthly failings”). Disbelief
(“every other Occultist and Occult books says there are gods, they can’t all be
out of step”). Neutrality (“sounds odd, but what reason does he have for saying
this?”) I think the fourth response is the most aware; is this correct?
You should not accept what I have told you simply because I say that it is
true. But you have done it before: you have accepted as true the things that
other people have told you. We all do it, many times in our lives, and often it
is necessary. You cannot test for yourself and prove the validity of every item
of knowledge that you need to possess. If a doctor tells you that it is
dangerous to exceed the stated dose of a certain medicine, you do not take an
overdose to prove that he is telling the truth, because you believe that he
knows what he is talking about and has no reason to lie to you. If an
astronomer tells you that, way out in space, beyond Neptune (or within the
orbit of Neptune for the next few years) there exists a comparatively small
planet called Pluto and its attendant moon, Chiron, you probably believe him.
If, then, another astronomer tells you that there is some doubt that little
Pluto is, in fact, a planet, do you believe him? Or perhaps you decide to
suspend belief because, unless you are an astronomer or an astrologer, it is of
no real importance to you whether Pluto is a planet or not. If an acquaintance
tells you he saw a ghost last night, you, because you are interested in the
Unexplained, might believe that he saw something though he may have
misinterpreted it. Other people would write it off as imagination, nightmare,
the effects of alcohol, or other rationalisation.
accept some statement, defer judgement on some and reject others, depending on
our individual scale of credulity and our need to deal with the item of
knowledge concerned in the assertion. If a statement refers to ideologies or
opinions, then, for most people, emotionalism clouds the judgement. What you
think is not so important as why you think it.
think this refers to taking stances and you say how important it is to avoid
such an action.
To an Adept, “all is one”. This mean that he does not take a stance. You must
not only learn to avoid taking stances, you must reach the stage where taking a
stance simply does not happen. Start by avoiding stances and it will eventually
(like driving) become automatic.
to take stances and you are on the way to achieving control of your
subconscious and thus being able to utilise all the power that is within it.
a stance when anything matters to you, when you react to anything. If it
pleases or excites you, annoys or depresses you, you are taking a stance. If
you believe in a political ideal, you are taking a stance.
normal behaviour to take a stance, to be affected by outside influences and to
give a reaction to each one. Your subconscious likes to have you constantly
buffeted by external forces because, in that situation, you have neither the
time nor the energy to think for yourself and take the first steps towards
supplanting your subconscious and taking control of your own life.
It seems strange that you have just told people how to become Adepts, yet the
majority of readers will skim through those paragraphs like any other light
reading and never realise what it’s all about.
That is how it should be. There are not enough health warnings in the Occult,
and those that exist are usually introduced for an ulterior motive, such as
convincing readers of the great power of a particular path or ritual.
Now that I am aware of the problem, I can see how many stances I have taken,
especially since you pointed out an occasion when I was not aware of doing it.
Quite often now I avoid it; but there’s another problem, taking a stance by
being annoyed that occasionally I can’t avoid it.
Even in this endeavour, you must work without lust of result.
I’ve heard that phrase before, but it is rather more complicated than it
Any instruction for a ritual will contain the advice that, when the working is
completed, you must put out of your mind all thoughts of the aim. This is a
good example of the truth being preserved even when understanding of the reason
behind it has been lost. The explanation generally given is that your working
has released forces which have been sent out to achieve the stated aim.
Retaining that aim in your thoughts would mean anchoring the forces to you and
impeding them. The real reason is that continuing to dwell on the purpose of
your working would mean that you had taken a stance.
But why would you undertake the work unless its outcome was important to you?
I did not say that it did not matter. Whether it worked out not would not make
any difference to me and what I am about.
What criteria do you use for deciding that something should be done?
I usually employ criteria to make sure that something should not be done.
Occult means can only be used to solve Occult problems and you do not yet know
how to define an Occult problem. It cannot be seen by most people and they
could not grasp what I was saying if I explained. You can buy books which
purport to tell you how to achieve everything by magickal means. The authors
are saying buy this book and every law of physics and humanity can be changed
to suit you. What they do not know is that the only thing that needs to be
changed is the bit that is the real you, and only Adepts can recognise that. To
solve a problem, change yourself instead of trying to change the world. If you
want to go to London at ten o’clock in the morning but the only train from your
local station leaves at eleven-thirty, it is no use asking British Rail to
change its timetable or put on an extra train for you. You can’t re-route the
11.30 Euston, still less can you alter the 11.30 Universe.
have a problem – a trivial one, but I don’t see how it can be solved except by
Occult means. Every Saturday, there is a crossword competition in the
newspaper. Most Saturdays I manage to solve the crossword, but my entry has
never yet been among the winners. It must be a matter of luck that causes a
certain entry to be one of the first three pulled out of the box, and I can’t
harness that luck, though I have tried.
Your last entry smelt so strongly of incense that I’m not surprised it was
avoided! Why do you want to win? You don’t need the book token prize.
No, I know it’s simply vanity. It’s a very prestigious crossword.
You can either never enter the competition so that you can never win it, or
ensure that no-one else enters so that you are certain to win.
That doesn’t help! Of course, it’s not intended to. Yes, I suppose I can see
why it is pointless. All that matters is that you know and I know – and so do
all the readers of DL now, but these paragraphs will have to stay in because
they’re illustrating something much more important. I still don’t see why the
matter of a chance selection is not a problem that can be solved by Occult
That is something that you will eventually come to understand. The hardest
thing in the world is to watch someone doing something wrong and keep your
Is that always necessary?
Intervention could only be justified if someone was doing something so wrongly
that he put himself in danger. This refers to Occult and to mundane matters.
Would you intervene in a mundane matter – supposing you saw a total stranger
wiring an electrical appliance wrongly. Someone whom you have never seen
before, who is of no importance to you.
In such a circumstance, I would tell him what he was doing wrong. Whether or
not he chose to take my advice is not my concern.
Nevertheless, isn’t such intervention taking a stance?
No, because I know that I am superior. His living would not help nor hinder me,
but neither would his death. If I do not warn him, I am taking a stance, but if
he disregards my warning, that is his problem.
So you would only be taking a stance, if, after having had your advice
rejected, you physically restrained him from plugging in the dangerous
Yes. The same applies in an Occult context. You have heard me mention the woman
who wished to specialise in healing. I advised her that this was not her
particular strength, but she decided not to heed my advice.
If she had been one of your pupils, would you have stopped her from going a way
that caused her decline?
If she had been my pupil, that would have been my responsibility. If I had not taken responsibility for a
person, I may still advise them, but they must choose whether to listen or not.
It does not matter to me whether they agree with me. They have got to agree with
themselves that they are doing it wrong. It is up to them to put the damage
In what ways could one go so badly wrong in Occult work?
If you go into specifics, you will get people looking at what you are writing
about instead of what I am saying. They will look at the plug instead of the
problem. But most people do not need to know what can go wrong at the higher
levels because they will never reach them.
That’s something I want to clarify. A couple of years ago, you stopped someone
because he was preventing people from reaching their true potential. But there
are others who are, for instance, producing magazines which deal only with
Occult trivia. Aren’t they also holding people back?
The crime that does matter is interfering with other people’s progress. No-one
compels people to buy magazines which tell them what way to dance around the
circle, which colour candles to light. They buy those magazines because they
find such things amusing. The people who produce those magazines are not
deliberately misleading them, because they, too, do not know any better. They
are chasing their own tails, but that is quite safe and they could not handle
it another way. Can you imagine those people with the mentality that responds
to such trivia coming to terms with total loss of peace of mind?
But you said that everyone has the potential to achieve as much.
Everyone has the potential for everything, but that does not say that they can
make use of it. Anyone can get into a Formula I racing car and start the engine,
but not many people can drive it fast enough and still be in one piece at the
end of the race. Magickal ceremonies have their uses because there will always
be people who feel the need to belong and to express their commitment, but
those ceremonies only satisfy those who have a limitation on how far they can
go. Those capable of becoming Adepts recognise the emptiness and know that
sooner or later they must stand alone.
Is it always necessary for an Adept to be alone?
Standing alone in any respect is a cold and unfriendly prospect. There is a
well-known and true phrase: “the loneliness of command”, which applies also in
the mundane world. Not many people are capable of running a business or a ship
or becoming an Adept. Most people need someone else to turn to, to say ‘am I
right?’ or ‘it’s not my job to do that’ or ‘it’s not my fault’. Re-writing or
re-interpreting any religion is futile because the one thing that they do not
get away from is that they still have someone else to blame.
But you know who will make it and who will not.
I can see a long way past this world’s ending. The future is a matter of what
options are taken up today. Things today are because of decisions made in the
past. Wrong things said, wrong things done, nearly all of it done in too much
of a hurry. This approaches the point where I am in danger of taking a stance,
over things you cannot see yet. Other Adepts can see it and are in the same
danger. If I take a stance in the future, I will be responsible for a part of
But surely you would do the right thing.
Is it a responsibility that I need? This is not like running a business. I see
events on a universal scale. There are certain things instigated long before I
was born which I can interfere with; I have not yet decided whether I should do
so or not.
What would make you decide that they needed your intervention?
I have no idea until it happens,
How will you know when it happens?
This is the origin of the legend about looking at a monster’s reflection in a
burnished shield rather than gazing directly into the creatures face. One is
too close to observe directly.
How do you know that a reflection has not been distorted?
A reflection does not know that it is being observed. The things that I know I shall still know, long after this
physical life has ceased; the things that I can alter I will alter, the things
that I have to wait for I will still wait for, no matter how many millennia it
From the Dark Lily Journal No 4, Society of Dark Lily