The Great Adventure

hermit.jpgIntroduction

Life is a succession of open doors. We enter some and others we pass by. The decisions we make before these open doors are the arbiters of our destiny thenceforth. This web page is an open door before which you now stand. Look within and consider well what you see there, for this portal leads from outer darkness to inner light. May that light be extended upon you.

The Secret Tradition

When anyone is invited to share in the adventure of a journey through a strange and wonderful land, it is only reasonable to discuss the route to be taken and the preparation and equipment required. No explorer is ever provided with a map of unknown territory but this land has well-marked pathways through it as a result of thousands of years of exploration which make it possible to give an account of it. The benefits to be derived from such an adventure are not easy to describe until some experience has first been gained, but this short essay will give you a glimpse at least.

Many paths lead to the fringes of the Ageless Wisdom Teaching and some aspirants come to its esoteric aspects natural and logically from exoteric Christianity. Others who have developed a deep love of nature and moral ideals independent of organised religion are no less aspirants to deeper teachings. Again, many relatively young men and women, as the natural heirs of the spiritual inheritance of the race, now have a definite capacity to receive the keys to deep levels of teachings much earlier than was the case in previous generations.

In ancient time the teachings were held within a strict code of secrecy because the world, not being ready for them, sought always to destroy what it did not understand. With the advance of civilisation and the abatement of oppression, many more now understand what was previously comprehensible only to the few and it was decided by those responsible for the guardianship of the Ageless Wisdom Teaching that much of it would be given to the world openly. The curriculum of Builders of the Adytum is one example of that action.

Many still think that the Ageless Wisdom is to be found only in the East. This is not the case as the Western presentation of Ageless Wisdom, particularly adapted to the needs and constitution of Western races, has always been highly organised.

On a comparative basis, there is entire agreement as to the essence of both Eastern and Western Schools, but the methods of training differ greatly because of the marked differences in tradition, constitution and social structures.

The life of any person is necessarily interwoven with the customs and traditions of his race. The basic impulse of the Western races is the conquest of form. This impulse has given us the extraordinary control over physical forces which has resulted in our modern civilisation. With further experience, the West will go forward to greater attainments and it does not require explanation to see that, without Western skills, the lot of all humanity would be parlous, as indeed will be the case should there be misuse of the forces already harnessed. Renunciation of the world is a normal discipline in the East, but this is neither truly possible nor acceptable in the West. What ever our racial stresses might be, the Western teachings do not suggest escape but rather mastery of hidden powers, both within and without, enabling us to control and contribute creatively to our world.

The strange and wonderful land to be explored is that of the higher states of consciousness. In order that you may understand what this means, consider the various kingdoms of nature. Each has a progressively wider range of awareness, These different ranges of awareness are sharply defined, from the apparent unconsciousness of minerals through the subconscious life processes of plants to the first appearance of self-consciousness in higher animals. In man, self-consciousness reaches it fullness, and he is able to reason, to use tools and to modify his environment deliberately.

Higher consciousness goes even beyond self-consciousness. It enables those who have it to know directly without intermediate processes of thinking and reasoning. Such knowledge gives its possessor a sure guide in every circumstance of life. As a result of higher consciousness one is able to bring about a complete inner and outer harmony - a happy adjustment between man and his surroundings - a condition of peace and serenity.

The hurry and pressure of modern conditions, the poor adjustment to life which is the cross borne by nearly everyone, poverty, ill-health, anxiety, war and all unhappiness, make such state of consciousness eminently desirable. The great problems is how to attain it. This is disclosed by the mystery teachings of Ageless Wisdom.

Preparation for the great adventure arises quite naturally from life's experiences and eventually provides the equipment needed, namely a very deep desire to make the journey. The creative Universal Mind which has brought manifestation to its present stage is the same force which perfects it on subtle levels and this applies with beneficence to all men.

Mystical Religion

"I believe in God... who reveals Himself in the orderly harmony of the universe... I believe that Intelligence is manifested throughout all nature... the basis of scientific work is the conviction that the world is an ordered and comprehensive entity and not a thing of chance." - Albert Einstein

The Ageless Wisdom Teaching has its philosophy and science, and it is held that neither were derived from mankind; but is also fundamentally and essentially a mystical religion. Unless this aspect be developed, it fails to achieve its aim - the harmonious and balanced development of a mature human being. By this it is not meant that formal observances are recommended but rather that the reality should be a matter of every-day awareness in the sharing of life. But what is meant by the word religion when it conveys on one hand the noble and valiant attainments of men and women of renown and on the other hand every kind of misery and excess which fills history books and the human soul with horror? It is almost as though new words must be used if any purity of its concept is to be retained.

It is the numinous awe experienced by the physicist who is spellbound in contemplation of the intelligence behind all manifestation - it is the fascination of the molecular biologist who attempts to unravel the incredible sequence of events from the spontaneous appearance of amino-acids to the complex genetic elaboration of a single living cell - it is the ecstasy felt by the mountaineer who has no words to describe the exaltant grandeur in which he is rapt - it is the glowing radiance of a mother as she cradles her babe - it is the pain in the tired limbs of the aged who toil to make a better life for their sons and daughters. Common to all is a realisation that there is a unity of all life without which there is neither greatness in the soul of men nor the ability to act from a truly loving heart.

The Ageless Wisdom Teaching never asks anyone to change an existing religious view but certainly will assist them to find the mystical reality which is the essence of their faith, free of the alloy of human failure. BOTA holds that the spiritual or inner experience is what really matters, not the opinion that is held about it. The methods used enable aspirants to receive that experience and to see for themselves the reality behind all religions. These methods involve the use of symbol in a manner similar to that used by scientists when they penetrate into the underlying principles of nature by deduction from composite symbols.

The vast creative Universal Mind behind all manifestation is revered as "Deity" in BOTA as it is an appellation which is able to convey both the masculine and the feminine content of the creative intelligence. Without duality there is no manifestation and men and women have always been regarded with equality in the Wisdom Teachings as they reflect the ancient declaration, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness". Any scholar able to consider even elementary Hebrew knows that the words translated as "us" contain this fundamental concept and that the Cosmic Father-Mother said "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness"

Mystery Schools

Corresponding with the evolution of form upon this planet is the evolution of consciousness. Consequently, in the natural course of events, all men will ultimately be possessed of higher consciousness. However, almost unthinkable periods of time elapse before such changes occur in the slow processes of nature. Fortunately, man is now endowed with the mental and physical faculties which enable him to bring this about much sooner. This cultural forcing process has been the work of the mystery schools of antiquity, and its modern successors have continued this process.

It is often said that man is a tool-using animal and the evidence is that the constriction felt by the real self within the complex system of inherited reactions and acquired memories of the personality can only be worked upon with spiritually oriented tools. Grace is the condition when man perceives the work to be done and starts to do it with no desire to escape from a personal responsibility to co-operate with Deity in bringing about that deeper unfoldment which will reflect true greatness of soul. Thus a day of opportunity is reached.

The means whereby higher consciousness (usually called Illumination) may be gained includes both theory and practice. These teachings and practical secrets constitute what is known as Ageless Wisdom. It is called "ageless" because it is not susceptible to the mutations of time. Ageless Wisdom is not primarily a product of man's thinking. It is "written by God upon the face of nature," and is always there for men of all epochs to read, if they can.

Hitherto the great practical secrets have been guarded carefully from the profane and have been given to none but duly initiated men and women, under the strictest pledges of secrecy. In the past, one element of the schools being secret societies was to avoid the torturer, but today the schools are rather widely known and are no longer secret societies but rather societies which possess secrets. Much may now be given out freely which formerly could be imparted only in private and by word of mouth.

There is another kind of secrecy which guards the deepest esoteric knowledge. It is not imposed by the custodians of Ageless Wisdom, but by human ignorance and weakness. It is the kind of secrecy which shrouds the work of scientists who work at the forefront of their respective fields of research. Their theories can only be imparted to those who have developed the capacity to understand them. Similarly, the custodians of Ageless Wisdom are unable to disclose their knowledge to untrained men and women.

Hence there have always been throughout the world centres where Ageless Wisdom is taught. These centres sometimes called Mystery Schools, are in many respects analogous to our familiar school systems, and their aim is to bring the neophyte by degrees to final Illumination and graduation into a higher life.

The work of these schools is intensely practical. The student is given theoretical knowledge together with experimental work, so that he learns both by precept and experience. As he continues with his work of self-development, he gradually attains mastery, first over small things, then over greater, and at last over nature itself. Because this knowledge has, in times past, been carefully concealed from the uninitiated, it is called "occult", which simply means "hidden".

Builders of the Adytum

Builders of the Adytum is such a Mystery School. Its system is that of the Western Tradition, and its teachings have been handed down from one group of initiates to another. Its work, however, does not bid for your interest on the ground of mere antiquity. What is meant is that this work has met the tests of centuries of application. Results are achieved by sincere aspirants everywhere. You, too, can benefit by these teachings.

When you begin the work of BOTA the sources of power within yourself are revealed to you. You are taught how to draw upon these reservoirs of energy in order that you may bring greater harmony into your life. You are taught to use your latent forces, because your progress depends on such use. Only through using power can the strength be gained to achieve its complete mastery.

At the same time, you are taught the laws governing the forces you are learning to control. This knowledge protects you from the dangers that beset persons who dabble with occult forces without knowing the principles at work in their operation. If you follow through and practice regularly the things you are taught, your growth will be easily perceptible, both to yourself and others. You will find strength and help coming from sources hitherto closed to you. You will begin to receive instruction from within. You will develop undreamed of abilities for creative expression. You will avail yourself of the sure guidance of your awakened intuition. You will become increasingly alert mentally, and your emotions, while more responsive, will be better controlled, so that you will be able to feel and enjoy more profoundly. You will train your senses, making them keener and more discriminating. Finally, if you persist, you will attain to mastery and know the bliss of true Illumination.

Does this sound too good to be true? Nothing is ever too good to be true. It is not the purpose of BOTA to delude you with false promises. All this has been and can be attained by earnest seekers. Lest, however, you think that such things are to be had in some miraculous manner, BOTA declares to you, without equivocation, that your sincerity, your desire and your willingness to work will be the sole measure of your accomplishment. BOTA does not offer to remake your world for you. It does, however, offer you the keys to knowledge which will enable you to do it for yourself.

Curriculum

The Western presentation of Ageless Wisdom includes the Hermetic arts and sciences. This system is named after Hermes Trismegistus, the reputed ancient founder of the tradition, and it is of some interest that the early Church Fathers freely acknowledged that Christianity in its early form was a continuation of rather than a displacement of preceding traditions. The system also emphasises the Holy Qabalah, the secret teaching of Israel. Added to the body of the teachings is the Sacred Tarot, that priceless goldmine of archetypal symbols of inner realities.

At the hands of charlatans, nearly all of the sacred arts and sciences have been debased. The facts are that the symbolism is in terms of universal principles and relationships which ignorant fortune tellers misuse in a manner inconsistent with the original and intended purpose, which certainly did not include fortune telling. Yet, properly instructed students know that those Hermetic arts and sciences are by no means the impostures or superstitions so many persons suppose them to be. On the contrary, they constitute an inter-relationship which serves as a dependable guide on the path leading to mastery.

It is in the true and noble sense that these subjects are taught in BOTA. The peculiar potency of this system of instruction lies in its use of symbolism which is really a universal language supplying the keys which are necessary to unlock the treasure chest of Ageless Wisdom.

Students are not plunged into a maze of obscure and recondite teachings. The work is taught by easy stages that any intelligent adult can understand. Grasp of the fundamental principles, as taught in the earlier lessons, must be demonstrated to the satisfaction of the teaching faculty.

Here it may be well to say that many of our affiliates have reported that although they had read and studied occultism for years before taking up our curriculum, they found it distinctly to their advantage to take the prescribed steps in the BOTA system of instruction. Nor may it be amiss to add that experience has shown that persons who feel that they are already "too advanced" to accept this preliminary discipline seldom make the most of what BOTA has to offer. One of the marks of genuine spiritual maturity is willingness to learn, even when some portions of the subjects studied deal with first principles.

The following document provides an overview of the B.O.T.A correspondence courses B.O.T.A Course Curriculum. Current and past issues of our Zenith News is avaiable here.

Planned Instruction

The first two months of instruction are spent on study and experiments in occult psychology. This work lays the foundation of theory and practice upon which the superstructure of all subsequent work is erected. It includes detailed explanation of a practical method which the student can use over and over again for the solution of the various problems of everyday life, as well as for the unfoldment of his latent powers.

Following this preliminary work a new member receives a set of Tarot Keys. Becoming acquainted with these Keys in preparation for detailed instruction as to their meaning and use constitutes the next three months study. This is the beginning of an intensely interesting and absorbing phase of BOTA work, which is developed in the ensuing year long course entitled Tarot Fundamentals. Tarot has well been called one of the foremost aids to human progress. The series of Tarot Keys is in reality a complete record, in picture form, of the inner secrets of the ancients.

Tarot is also a device which can enable you to arouse your mental powers to maximum activity and efficiency. It gives you the secret of perfect concentration. It is the true key to the art of never forgetting. It calls forth the wonderful creative activity of the inner self, and permits you to employ, safely and sanely, the subtle, mysterious forces of subconsciousness.

It works these marvels because, as an instrument of mind-training, it is designed in accordance with basic laws of human psychology. These laws of mind are always in operation. Tarot enables you to work with them instead of having them work against you.

A mind trained by the use of Tarot reasons clearly and logically, discriminates keenly and accurately, and in all facets of life manifests a great power of will. No matter what your present situation, no matter what your past history, the right use of Tarot can bring a change for the better in your life. He who is master of his mind is master of his whole life.

This training in the use and meaning of the Tarot will give you a sound basis for whatever advanced work you may take up at this time. When you have completed the instruction in Tarot Fundamentals you will be ready to undertake higher instruction in subjects which will disclose to you methods and information that have been kept secret for centuries, and which have only recently been made available to students who are not pledged initiates of esoteric orders. These subjects include the art of healing and balancing the personality by the use of colour and sound, methods of Tarot interpretation that lead to the attainment of higher consciousness, explanation of the ancient diagram called the Tree of Life, which is a key symbol to the understanding of the mysteries of man, nature and the universe; revelation of the secrets of Alchemy as understood by the Fire Philosophers of antiquity - the secrets of spiritual unfoldment; and a means of using the Tarot to answer any question that can possibly be put.

In keeping with its Western Tradition, BOTA utilizes modern methods wherever these prove superior to older ones. In the work of its outer school, therefore, BOTA has adopted the modern extension method of teaching by correspondence. This permits you to do your studying in your spare time. As practically all the exercises require you to be alone, this form of instruction is highly suitable. As little as fifteen minutes a day will enable you to achieve worthwhile results.