by Robert Cochrane

This article from Pentagram (4) November 1965 is republished here with the kind permission of the copyright owner. 
Further redistribution in any form is prohibited. Copyright 1965 Robert Cochrane. 

     It is said by various "authorities" that the Faith of the Wise, when they do believe in its existence, is a simple matter: a pre-Christian religion based upon whatever Gods and Goddesses are the current vogue--full of simple, hearty peasants doing simple, hearty peasant-like things ... things that in some cases complex, nervous sophisticates also enjoy doing in urban parlours. Consequently we have an interesting phenomenon: civilised sophisticates running round behaving like simple peasants--and simple peasants who have never heard of such things! It is also maintained by the same "authorities" that we follow a belief which, as one dear old fellow put it, is headed by a deity "Who is the sweetest woman, everyone loves her." To quote someone else who is just a student of the Craft, "Witchcraft is about rituals," which I suppose to be true, if one cares to accept the definition as witchcraft. 

     All this worries me somewhat--since I am not a peasant and neither am I particularly interested in being led by a sweet woman, and ritual to me is merely a means to an end. So what is the Faith all about? Admittedly I can only speak for myself, and what I write here are my own opinions, but here goes. 

     Unfortunately for authorities, students and "mere seekers after truth," the Faith is not about anything that has been written above. The Faith is finally concerned with Truth, total Truth. It is one of the oldest of religions, and also one of the most potent, bringing as it does, Man into contact with Gods, and Man into contact with Self. As such the Faith is a way of life different and distinct from any theory promulgated by the authorities or historians. Within the disciplines of the Faith, man may offer devotion to the Gods, and receive certain knowledge of Their existence by participation in something of the perfected Nature of Godhead, recalling that both within and without which is most true. The Faith is a belief concerned with the inner nature of devotion, and finally with the nature of mysticism and mystical experience. It has, in common with all great religions, an inner experience that is greater than the exterior world. It is a discipline that creates from the world an enriched inward vision. It can and does embrace the totality of human experience from birth to death, then beyond. It creates within the human spirit a light that brightens all darkness, and which can never again be extinguished. It is never fully forgotten and never fully remembered. The True Faith is the life of the follower, without it he is nothing, with it he has contained something of all creation. 

     All mystical thought is based upon one major premise: the realisation of truth as opposed to illusion. The student of the 'mysteries' is essentially a searcher after truth, or as the ancient traditions described it, "Wisdom". Magic is only a by- product of the search for truth, and holds an inferior position to truth. Magic, that is the development of total will, is a product of the Soul in its search for ultimate knowledge. It is an afterthought upon a much larger issue, the ability to use a force that has been perceived while searching for a more important aim within the self. No genuine esoteric truth can be written down or put within an intellectual framework of thought. The truths involved are to be participated in during comprehension of the soul. Truth of this degree is not subject to empirical thought and is only apparent to the eye of the beholder, and to those who have followed a similar path of perception. Throughout the history of humanity there have been myths, schools of wisdom and teachers who have shown a way to attain a working knowledge of esoteric thought and philosophy by using inference rather than direct method to teach the approaches to cosmic truth. The secrecy of these Masters has nothing to do with protecting the Mysteries, since all that can be said about the Mysteries has already been written into folklore, myth and legend. What is not forthcoming is the explanation. It was recognised that these legends, rituals and myths were the roads through many layers of consciousness to the area of the mind where the soul can exist in its totality. These and their surrounding disciplines and teachings became what the West describes as the Mysteries. The Mysteries are, in essence, means by which man may perceive his own inherent divinity. 

     Force requires form at this level of being, therefore ritual exists to contain that force. Godhead demands worship, therefore ritual exists to give and formulate that worship. Man needs help, therefore ritual is designed to give that help. It is possible to comprehend Godhead or Force without ritual, since the First Principle of Godhead is present at all levels and in all things at all times--but total perception is not present in humanity all the time. Therefore ritual basically becomes a matter of increasing perception until something of Godhead '.s finally revealed, and that which is within and without is partially understood: comprehended in the physical person of the participant until it-becomes one with his total being. The forces comprehended are part of the living person, incorporated into everyday life as part of a spiritual, mental and physical discipline that returns the devotee again and again to the original Source. 

     Devotion requires proof. Therefore that proof exists within the disciplines of the Faith. The nature of proof cannot be explained, since force can only be shown by inference and by participation, not by intellectual reasoning. The nature of the proof falls into many forms, but amongst the most common are these: 
(a) POETIC VISION, in which the participant has inward access to dream images and symbols. This is the result of the unconscious being stimulated by various means. Images are taught as part of a tradition, and also exist.(as Jung speculated) upon their own levels. They are, when interpreted properly, means by which a lesser part of truth may be understood. 
(b) THE VISION OF MEMORY, in which the devotee not only remembers past existence but also, at times, a past perfection. 
(c) MAGICAL VISION, in which the participant undertakes by inference part of a Triad of service, and therefore contacts certain levels.* 
(d) RELIGIOUS VISION, in which the worshipper is allowed admission to the True Godhead for a short time. This is a part of true initiation, and the results of devotion towards a mystical aim. 
(e) MYSTICAL VISION, in which the servant enters into divine union with the Godhead. This state has no form, being a point where force alone is present. 
     These are proofs, since having enjoined with such forces, there cannot afterwards be any doubts as to the nature of the experience. Man suffers from doubt at all times, but to the participant in such experience, the doubt centres around the reality of the external world, not the inner. The reality of such experience illuminates the whole life. 

     Therefore it can be shown that the Faith is a complex philosophy, dealing finally with the nature of Truth, Experience and Devotion. It requires discipline and work; plus utter and complete devotion to the common aim. 

     It can only be fulfilled by service, some labours taking many years to complete. The Faith tolerates no nonsense, and those who would come to it, must come empty-handed saying "I know nothing, I seek everything," since within the structure of the Faith, all things may be contained and are contained. It has survived, in secrecy and silence, the attacks of persecution, indifference and misrepresentation. It is secret because those only who are best suited may enter the awful silences of the Places of the Gods. It is silent because in silence there is strength, protection and a future. It is also silent today, because as the Greeks said "Those whom the Gods would destroy, they first make mad." It is nearly impossible to enter unless the supplicant shows unmistakable signs of past memory and a genuine mystical drive, and is willing to undertake tests that will force him finally to disclose that matter which is most secret to himself. The Faith has no secrets in the sense that there are formulas which can be readily understood and taught. It is finally and utterly the True Faith., standing immovable beyond space, time and all human matters.      Therefore it can be shown that the Faith is a complex philosophy, dealing finally with the nature of Truth, Experience and Devotion. It requires discipline and work; plus utter and complete devotion to the common aim. 

    *Being requested by the Editor to clarify this statement I ask the interested reader to examine the Hebrew letters IHV as they would be in their original and matriarchal form, which will explain something of the basic nature of magical rite and ritual. It should be as clear as the Roebuck in the Thicket now.