Essay by Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki
Did you know there exists a school that can train you in the true mysteries of the Western Tradition?
In a world where people are searching for a personal truth, the gimmicks of the "get rich quick" brigade are very tempting. "Be a fully trained medium in just ONE week, $500." "Self Initiation is here, the book that tells it ALL." "Magic, the ULTIMATE in MIND POWER." This and much more is promised by those who have very little real knowledge, but a lot of nerve.
It is impossible to teach until one has been taught. Initiation is something granted after years of training, effort and service. In Ancient Egypt, entry to the Temple training school was at seven years of age, but initiation was given only when the student was in his twenties.
It stands to reason that the Outer work must be learned and understood before the Inner work can be attempted. This is where so many "Schools of Magic" fall down. The student is promised Power, Ritual, etc., from the first week. Magic is not, and never has been, of the "Star on the end of a wand" type. There IS no such Magic, but there IS a science that as yet we understand imperfectly, because we cannot fully unravel the clues left to us by the past.
But we do know that we were left with a tradition that states, before a student can be taught the Inner Mysteries he must prove himself worthy, by undertaking the work of the Outer Court. He must prove his dedication, patience, and determination. This is why the hastily taught kind of magic does not work - there is no foundation on which it can rest. Those with latent mental flaws crack when they attempt ritual, for the inner power source is opened up too quickly, and the frail barriers give way. With slow, steady training those flaws are brought to light, and sealed; in some cases they are too deep to allow the student to proceed on the occult path, but at least the training will have avoided the havoc that could otherwise have been caused.
The mind on both its inner and outer levels must be brought into balance before such work is done, and the work of Self-Knowledge is long and arduous, unglamourous, and frequently boring. Only the dedicated get through. Every land has a tradition which hides the training cycle for that race. The Hero/Everyman is known by many names, but the sequence is always the same. A symbolic figurehead with which the student identifies, a location on the Inner levels where most of the work is done, and a set of companions with whom he experiences the transmutation. In the tales and legends that surround such figures we find the entrance to the Labyrinth of Training. For most of the Western Tradition this cycle is that of the Grail and King Arthur, as is used in the S.O.L.
This school is a descendant, through the initiation of its founders, and the schools in which they were trained, from the Golden Dawn: this is on the earth level. Through its Inner Plane Teacher, who brought it into existence, it reaches back to the College of Alexandria. S.O.L. was founded by W. E. Butler, author of The Magician, His Training and Work, Apprenticed to Magic, and Magic and the Qabalah. It is a "contacted school," that is, one with Inner Level guidance. It uses the Practical Qabalah adapted to Western use as a basis for its main course, along with the Arthurian cycle and symbolism.
It has long been recognized as one of the most effective and wholesome of the many training programs available today. But that training is long and hard; four years of work before anything approaching Ritual is taught. Only when we are sure that a student is ready,.that his inner balance is sufficient to stand the pressures of such work, only then is he taught what might be termed "Magic."
We do not promise that you will become a psychic, or a medium, or even a magician; but you will became a human being who knows where he is and what he is doing here. Capable of adapting to any situation, and of reflecting the true inner reality of himself into the everyday world, which in itself is a feat of magic. As with all serious study, you will get fed up with it all, you will feel like giving up many times; we all have, who work in this field; you will be no different. But if you want it hard enough, if you want to free the real person inside, then you will make it through.
By your side will be a tutor who has been through it all himself/herself; you will not be alone, you will have a guide, companion, and friend. One who will push, scold, cajole, and worry you through, unless you choose to give up halfway. If you can put up with all that, we can train you in the Western Mysteries. You may be the one in twenty-five that gets through!