Translated by Smaragd, Polyhymnia & Silvaeon
As we remember from the previous Graal articles, the Graal grades have been prepared specifically to help students in the challenge known as “trial by air”. An occultist paralyzed by the trial cannot set his Work into a rhythm and level to communicate vividly and continuously with the whole. He might have deep visions, powerful moods, brilliance of intelligence and artistic gifts. Still, the spiritual components won’t compile into a structure, which would work coherently as a forward-moving system.
The secret of grounding, i.e., linking to matter, is time and administering time. These two factors’ deep connection is seen in the inseparably dense link of planetary archetypes of Earth (the element of matter) and Saturn (Chronos, i.e., time). This time-matter is the most challenging, seemingly opposing factor in human life. Thus both planetary rulers, Earth and Saturn, have been given the same name – Satan.
It has also been proposed before that the actual work of an occultist, and progression in it, begins from the arduous assumption of reign over oneself, one’s own time and energy. The aspirant decides to attempt right now, not tomorrow nor the next year, and this right now is carried through every good and bad moment. Nothing will keep him from his occult striving at any given point in time; on the contrary, the seeming obstacles and challenges are precisely those that must be wrestled with for progression.
The Work manifests first and foremost in perseverance. It has been said that,”initiated is he who can make a promise to God.” “Even if the work is to take ten thousand years, I will do it,” he says while searching in his heart the contact to his mission in life. And precisely with this pledge for the Work, i.e., the Road, he arrives at his immortality, his endurance at the face of the deep, even terrifying powers of life. When and if there rises opposing tension, the initiate knows it rises as part of the Work, only seemingly against the Work. He cannot give up after experiencing his striving to be sacred, i.e., as deeply meaningful.
Graal’s annual work cycle divides into four quarters, each of which touches three of the eight calendary rites of The Star of Azazel.
The Spring quarter spans from the Winter Feast of Passage (1st of February) to the Spring Feast of Passage (1st of May).
The Summer quarter spans from the Spring Feast of Passage (1st of May) to the Summer Feast of Passage (1st of August).
The Autumn quarter spans from the Summer Feast of Passage (1st of August) to the Autumn Feast of Passage (1st of November).
The Winter quarter spans from the Autumn Feast of Passage (1st of November) to the Winter Feast of Passage (1st of February).
The center, the culmination of each quarter, is thus the equinox and solstice day. The Graal initiations to the grades will come to pass during the solstice days.
A grade member of Graal must work systematically with the practices espoused on each quarter of the year, preferably on both sides of the quarter. Thus in the year of Graal, eight different periods of practice are settled by the length of 1½ months.
A member of Graal has the freedom to proceed in his grade to his own rhythm, slower or faster, but the rhythm is required to be a) systematic and b) stabilizing. ‘Systematic’ means the temperamental rhythm is to be constant instead of being lingering and hastening in turns: such swaying is poisonous to the occult process and subjugates the lower octaves of the forementioned “satanic” planets to astral residue. Stabilizing means a student with a slower temperament must search his capabilities in dynamism and create a rhythm, which is a bit faster than the one he’d rather have. Similarly, a student with a swift temperament must search her capabilities, calming down and creating a rhythm that is a bit slower than the one she’d rather prepare for herself. Balance is an essential factor of the work, also when it comes to rhythm.
A greater term of Graal comprises eight quarters of a year. It is somewhat erroneous to simplify the length to be thus two calendary years, for only active quarters of work are counted in. Keeping this in mind, we can never-the-less sketch out the following chart:
1 term of Graal =
2 calendary years =
8 quarters of a year =
16 periods outlined by calendary rites
In these even numbers of different periods can be seen the horizontal nature of the work of Graal, compared to the vertical terms of three aspects and seven-year cycles in the Star of Azazel’s primary structures. These two kinds of structures are still perpetually sinking into each other. For example, a seven-year cycle includes ideally (i.e., in an archetypal way) the three grade terms of Graal and the preliminary one year period in another lodge.
Because Graal admits students from various backgrounds, all of whom are required to go through the same practice structures regardless of earlier practical basis, the practices include possibilities for more in-depth approaches. Each practice includes the actual level of performing and another level where someone who has already accustomed to the same or similar kind of work can deepen his relation to the practice. In-depth approaches to practices are not performance ranking structures, but the possibility and benefit are reserved solely to support the students’ practice process. Graal’s “school” sees important the time-related practice of self-discipline also on the meta-levels of teachings, an important element, which is even the most important level of instruction.
Of course, it is meaningful and useful if the student will learn certain things that are gone through. Still, much more important is that he learns to learn, learns to make use his knowledge and benefit the Great Work on its mutual field of meaning, our shared world, which is the seemingly profane reality of this side. As time and again must be emphasized, The Star of Azazel is not a system for people who search primarily for their empowerment for their own ambitions, but a system that opens and bridges different structures, having its purpose as a co-creator of the whole structure of nature. Our Satanism’s first spearhead is directed to challenge ourselves, not to become the challengers and dissolvers of surrounding structures, if the structure is even barely beneficient. There are enough conflict-based systems in the world looking at the speck in the eyes of others, that are not interested in keeping alive the paradigmatic level of their ideology but revolutionizing the surrounding system for the interest of some smallish group.
In the forward nature of time, the absolute and relative planes meet in an interesting way. Time alone doesn’t help anyone; time can even become a tool for regression, degeneration, or cause fossilization, crusting the essential nucleus, or dissolving its solidity to ostensible accomplishments. On the other hand, time is also the place of trying the Work, creator of rhythm and fixing its posture, which cannot be jumped into attainments. It is not unusual that a diligent and gifted student achieves what takes two decades from the average student, and even twice the two decades isn’t enough for the kind of attainments for which the student is unable to open up. It is possible and typical of human nature to develop brilliant skills in some regard, yet stumble on a rudimentary error in another. Passing these black spots is one of the most central potentialities of fraternity work. The greatest danger to humanity and the world as a whole is not represented by the undeveloped but by the unilaterally developed individual who has gifts and power to force the whole according to his narrow vision disregarding balance.
The principle of time, rhythm, and even that of the (seeming) repetition are one of the factors that return the Mountain of Graal and the work of the Chalice under the still important protector of the Star of Azazel, Satan, i.e., the heavy Saturn. The point of Graal’s sacred hope is the spark within the mountain, the heart and the top of the mountain, and in a way, also the secret foundation. Proceeding through days also dark, the student often comes to meet opposition, which he himself has to shape and turn into power and to the ability to handle the power. In such a work, patience and irrepressible vision become the same base experience of living the life. Whether the path goes over or under the mountain, the weight of the spheres lies upon the student’s shoulders. Time, space, and matter are in the end one, the triad world, the curved boundaries of which are penetrated only by adept experience consciously born into spirit.