The Salient Points of the
The Great Work, for the Practicus, is defined as, “to obtain control of the vacillations of my own being.”
Practicus is a Latin word meaning, “one who practices,” or “one who takes action;” from the Greek praktikos, “fit for action, practical, effective.” The root idea is activity. In commenting on the grade name in Liber 185, the A.'.A.'. founders remarked:
Let him remember that the word Practicus is no idle term, but that Action is the equilibrium of him that is in the House of Mercury, who is the Lord of Intelligence.
There is no admission ritual to the grades of Practicus, Philosophus, or Dominus Liminis. Advancement “is conferred by authority when the task of the Zelator is accomplished” (Liber XIII). The details are given in Liber 185, Paper D., par. 0, as follows:
Let any Zelator be appointed by authority to proceed to the grade of Practicus.
Let him then read through this note of his office, and sign it.
Let him cause the necessary addition to be made to his Zelator’s robe.
Let him make an appointment with his Practicus at the pleasure of the latter for the conferring of advancement.
The Practicus robe is identical to that of the Zelator, but with the addition of a silver hexagram of 48 rays surrounding the triangle on the hood.
One “rule” changes in the Practicus Grade. The Probationer, Neophyte, and Zelator were advised that they might resign from the A.'.A.'. at any time. However, the Practicus and Philosophus are counseled in Liber 185 not to attempt to withdraw from their association with the A.'.A.'.. The intent is that they persevere at least to the point of equilibrating themselves, again on the Middle Pillar, in the Grade of Dominus Liminis.
Practicus. - Is expected to complete his intellectual training, and in particular to study the Qabalah. (One Star in Sight)
He shall pass examinations in Liber DCCLXXVII, the Qabalah, and the Sepher Sephiroth. (Liber 185)
Instruction and Examination in the Qabalah and Liber DCCLXXVII. (Liber XIII)
Liber 777 and Sepher Sephiroth are both listed as specific items of study for the Practicus. Additionally, the Practicus Syllabus contains several other official Qabalistic instructions: Gematria (Liber LVIII, EQUINOX V); Liber Arcanorum (The Book of Sacred Mysteries); Liber Tav vel Kabbalae Trium Literarum (Book Tav, or The Book of the Qabalah of Three Letters); and A Note on Genesis. Beyond this, further studies in the Qabalah depend on the needs, interests, and inner promptings of the Practicus.
For the most part, the method of testing the Qabalistic progress is left to the supervising Philosophus. However, one specific examination is described in One Star in Sight:
In the Qabalah, the candidate must discover for himself, and prove to the examiner beyond all doubt, the properties of a number never previously examined by any student.
Instruction in Philosophical Meditation (Gnana-Yoga). (Liber XIII)
Gnana yoga is usually translated, “Union by Knowledge.” It is an intellectual route to attainment, though one requiring an illuminated intellect. Qabalah is primary the Gnana Yoga of the Western magical tradition. Aleister Crowley wrote no separate official instruction on Gnana Yoga. In Liber Aleph, Cap. 137, he mentioned,
Gnana Yoga... of which I have written only here and there, as one who would strew great stones upon the Earth in Disorder, by Default of building them nobly into a Pyramid.
CONTROL OF SPEECH
Instruction and Examination in Control of Speech. Practical. (Liber XIII)
He shall attain complete success in Liber III, Cap. I. (Liber 185)
The actual task is “control of speech.” One tool that is given for this purpose is Liber III, that is, Liber Jugorum.
CASTING THE MAGICK CUP
Furthermore, he shall construct the magic Cup, according to the instruction in Liber A. (Liber 185)
Further, he casts the magic Cup. (Liber XIII)
He shall in every way establish perfect control of his wit according to the advice of his Philosophus, for that the ordeal of advancement is no light one... (Liber 185)
EXPANSION OF CONSCIOUSNESS
He is given a meditation-practice on Expansion of Consciousness. (Liber XIII)
This meditation-practice on expansion of consciousness is Liber DXXXVI, titled Liber Batrachophrenobookosmomachia.
The Path of Qoph
He shall further show some acquaintance with and experience of his chosen method of divination. Yet he shall be his own judge in this matter. (Liber 185)
Examination in some one mode of divination: e.g., Geomancy, Astrology, the Tarot. Theoretical. (Liber XIII)
This study and practice were inaugurated during the Probationer or Neophyte period. As a Practicus, it must be brought to a high standard of perfection. One Star in Sight admonishes that, “in divination, the answer must be as precise as a scientific thesis, and as accurate as an audit.”
INTERPRETATION: This practice is one of several in this Grade intended to bridge the gap between the Yetziratic and Briatic modes of consciousness. This “bridge-building” is one of the basic characteristics of the Grade. Divination, properly done, both mobilizes Yetziratic faculties and potencies in a magical way, and provides a reliable channel of access to the practitioner’s intuition. It is a device for increasing one’s skill at listening to the Inner Voice, which is the voice of the Holy Guardian Angel.
QUICKENING OF THE LIGHT
The Path of Tzaddi
Further, he shall pass in the meditation practice S.S.S., in Liber HHH. (Liber 185)
Two of the meditations in Liber HHH were undertaken by the Zelator. Called MMM and AAA, they corresponded to Water and Air, respectively. The Practicus must undertake the third, called SSS, which is attributed to the element Fire, and deals with the conscious raising of kundalini.
DESTRUCTION OF THOUGHT
The Path of Peh
He shall... pass examinations in the Ritual and meditation practice given in Liber XVI. (Liber 185)
He is given a meditation-practice in the destruction of thoughts. (Liber XIII)
PE - The Destruction of the House of God. Liber XVI. (Liber Viarum Viae)
Liber XVI is Liber Turris vel Domus Dei (The Book of the Tower, or The Book of the House of God). It is the “meditation-practice in the destruction of thoughts” mentioned in Liber XIII.Liber Turris is issued to the Philosophus as well as the Practicus, and is one of the best preparations for the forms of Raja Yoga required of the Dominus Liminis Grade. Success, for the Practicus, therefore, does not mean anything approaching complete success in Liber Turris.
The Practicus is to commit to memory Liber Trigrammaton (The Book of Trigrams). This Class A document is “an account of the cosmic process: it describes the Course of Creation under the Figure of the Interplay of Three Principles,” according to the Syllabus.
Besides all this, he shall apply himself to a way of life wholly suited to the Path. (Liber 185)
THE PRACTICUS SYLLABUS
Click here for a complete annotated listed of the Practicus Syllabus.
ADVANCEMENT TO PHILOSOPHUS
According to Liber 185, the process of advancing to Philosophus and, later, to Dominus Liminis is identical to that of advancing to Practicus. There is no minimum time. There is no ritual of advancement beyond the reading of the Task and the ascription to the Oath. One advances when the work of the previous grade is finished.
When authority confers the grade [of Philosophus], he shall rejoice therein; but beware, for that that is his second departure from the middle pillar of the Tree of Life. (Liber 185)
Click to Advance to Philosophus.