|Zeus, wielding the thunderbolt.|
“Every student, who wishes to penetrate the mysteries of Eulis and the Ansairetic mysteries must, from the beginning and in all circumstances, learn from his master in order to advance on the path of wisdom, thereby becoming a master and a not a slave. It is necessary to seek, moreover, to constantly expand his intellectual horizons and his forces of individual action: the mental forces, the magnetic forces, the psychic forces.The student must learn to exercise his diverse capacities and his will in a calm fashion and without nervous exhaustion. This is that which we call “Volantia.” We find it in the example of the irresistible force of the thunderbolt that breaks and burns but never tires. The student must develop for himself this elemental force – Volantia – which is passive when it obeys the order of the intellect, self disciplined, exempt of all emotion.This force must be developed and fortified by a mechanical procedure I order that some emotion does not come to influence the student at the heart of the exercise, which must be practiced every day.One hangs a white disc on the wall, which is black at the center. One stares at the black center of the disc for 60 seconds, remaining perfectly motionless. This fortifies the capacity for concentration in the student and also his attention. When the prescribed minute elapses, one turns the face – without changing the position of the eyes – towards a white surface, on which the optical illusion we see is the same disc, but the colors are reversed, the background is black with the center being white.The illusory vision disappears after a few seconds, and is repeated again if one persists without moving. One must look at the disc four times and, later on, seven times. When the student has become familiar with this first exercise, he should repeat it with other discs, colored successively in the order of the spectrum of the colors of the arch of heaven. Thus he develops three capacities: attention, concentration, and attraction.Five or six months later – if he methodically exercises every day – the student will have acquired the capacity to create, in calmly staring at a white surface, a mental form clothed in a corresponding astral body. This body will manifest before the student so that communication is established between the two.The same exercise may be made with the aid of a magic mirror, in the middle of which is fixed a small white disc. The willed effect is thus obtained more easily and quickly: a figure appears suddenly on the polished surface of the mirror and you may question this figure that you see.No danger is attached to this genre of phenomena, but there are students who cannot support these visions. We council these students not to persevere but to abandon this first path of magic, for when sensitivity degenerates into fear, it is a sign of feebleness. Strong souls can and must advance.For a thirty day period of of exercise, we prepare the discs in the following manner: we drive three nails into the center of the disk, at the distance of one inch, one to the other. The first nail is of zinc, the second of copper, the third of iron. One wraps the nails with a wire of copper or zinc, which one holds by its extremities in the right hand. One stares at the center of the disc, remaining perfectly still.One obtains by this center, the concourse of electricity, which consolidates the attention and favors the quality of concentration, and it is rendered more positive. It is necessary to repeat this exercise during a period of three to eight months before trying to operate with metaphysical objects.These exercises, designed to develop “Volantia,” just as those which will will describe further on to develop Descretism and Posism, must be made with the greatest attention and with perfect seriousness. For the least failure on the magical path provokes the nerves and affects the memory.We repeat here: Do not continue if you experience anguish or nervous fear.”
- Paschal Beverly Randolph, Mageia Sexualis (Apparently first written in 1868). From the Robert North translation, published in 1988.
Additional Comments: This is very similar to one of the concentration methods I was taught years ago, and follows along the same lines as the mental discipline (“mind control”) techniques found in Peter Carroll's Liber Null. (The method I was taught involved either attaining a white-out or black-out state using either a shoebox with a hole cut for a powerful light, or black-out using blacked out welding goggles, and visualizing first a red dot at the center. Within three weeks, the individual begins visualizing a red Triangle, then continues to visualizing a red pyramid, and then begins moving on to visualizing human-shaped figures. Each of these allows for the easier creation of thoughtforms, improves Sigils results due to enhancing concentration, etc.) It is a very good method for training aspects of the Will, and highly recommended.
The first iteration of Volantia I encountered was in Carroll “Poke” Runyon's The Book of Solomon's Magick. As such, it seems fitting to me to dedicate this entry to Vivianne R., who introduced me both to the book and inadvertently (though it took years for me to realize), P.B.R. Rest easy, Viv. I miss you.