The Library of the Inner Temples
© R J Stewart 1987- 2016
(from the book and CD The Sphere of Art vol I)
What is the Library?
The Library is a telesm, a visionary model or interface, of the Universal Mind, associated with the 6th Sphere of the Tree of Life, a spiritual consciousness of knowledge centrality, relationship, and harmony. It is the place in which past and future merge together in the time-free present, and thus it is a storehouse of transcendent and trans-temporal Knowledge. It acts as a profound Theater of Memory on many levels.
In association with the Inner Temple Traditions InnerConvocation, the Library becomes a focussed innerworld place. Priests and Priestesses have been using the Library, in various forms, for thousands of years. Before we progress to our visionary Form for entering the Library, some basic concepts will be helpful to the reader, student, and practitioner, intending to work seriously with this Form.
The Structure of The Library:
The Library is a spiritual location, a place and state of consciousness and energy. In the esoteric traditions the body, vessel, or “building” of the library is an ark formed of angelic beings. They constitute the collective form, the energetic field or shell that holds the content. These angels are, specifically, those that record, observe, know, communicate, and hold in balanced motion. (If you know Hebrew, each of these angelic functions is also the name of an order of angels on the Tree of Life, which you will recognize).
The Content of the Library
Within the angelic structure of Recording, Observation, Knowledge, Communication, and Holding in Balance, that comprises the vessel or ark of the Library, is the originally empty space of the interior. This is imminent knowledge, which gradually becomes manifest. It becomes manifest partly through interaction with time, and partly through interaction with consciousness. We interpret that manifestation historically, as books, scrolls, engravings, communications technology, and so forth. For us knowledge manifests as information in the outer world, but the Library holds deeper modes of knowledge that we can also access with practice, knowledge before information, and knowledge beyond information.
Over millenniums, the empty vault of the Library, the vessel of imminent knowledge, becomes shaped and defined through interaction. In other words, the Library fills up. The most significant interaction for us, as humans, that which arises when individuated consciousness enters the Library. In our general experience, the consciousness that enters the library is often human or transhuman, but many other beings also use the Library. The long practice of going there in meditation, especially among priests priestesses and initiates, has built a reservoir of energy and consciousness in the vessel, in the Library. Thus, when we use a traditionally based vision, joining an established telesm, that of a grand building with many books, scrolls, and other forms of recording and communication, we are using these historical stereotypes as an interface for relationship with Knowledge. When we enter the Library at a deeper level of awareness, we also find other forms therein…sometimes those of the technological future, and often those of the organic libraries of life-forms in nature. Occasionally we may encounter beings that are completely “other” in their nature, though this is relatively unusual.
In the Library we do not merely study books: the popular, and highly reduced and simplistic idea of the “akashic records” is often modelled as reading a book…every spiritualist medium and channeller knows how to present or to pretend a version of this, though usually without the context or deeper contact of the Library. There is much more to the Library than is known in the popular themes of the Records.
In the Library, we may meet inner plane beings, just as we do in the Temples and the InnerConvocation. With practice, the Library becomes a meeting place for sharing, giving and receiving, knowledge. It is, in fact, a higher octave of the Crossroads that is used in folkloric faery and UnderWorld magic, whereby humans meet spirit beings and exchange with them.
Being a Crossroads, the Library also acts as an interim place, a consubstantial locus in which the edges or thresholds of many other loci (spiritual places) merge together. Traditionally these are envisioned as halls, chamber, chapels, shrines, rooms, corridors leading in and out, and so forth.
Students of classical history and culture will recognise connections to the Theatre of Memory that was used by the orators of the Roman and Greek world… a mnemonic system that built an amphitheatre and temples in the mind, to store and rearrange information. This method derives directly from the older temple arts of memory which were practiced in the Library for sacromagical purposes.
Why do we go to the Library?
In the basic training known to every lodge member or Western tradition student, the Library is taught early on. It is still one of the basic introductory forms that I teach to all Inner Temple students or new group members, and have done so since 1987. This is because its outer levels, the most accessible, can provide the student with a resource for learning. You can learn anything you want in the Library, plus many things that you had no idea were relevant to you. Often the practice of using the Library stops at this level, and goes no further. As mentioned above, the popular notion of the “akashic records” is the most superficial level of accessing the Library…usually attempted without any knowledge of the real nature of the Library itself.
Repeated use of the Library, in an informed and dedicated manner, coming and going, studying and learning, gradually opens out certain innate inner abilities, potentials of consciousness, perception, reception, that we all have within us. Such abilities are enhanced and amplified by the Inner Temple techniques acquired through our other Forms, such as Entering Stillness, the Pillar of Light, and Experience of the Four Temples.
The Library also provides an interface, within its visionary scenario, for communication between the outer world and the occupants of the Inner Temples. They will teach us things in the Library, and find appropriate ways of communicating with us, through the long standing patterns of consciousness-exchange stored in the Library.
Finally, the Library leads to some deeper spiritual realms of awareness, due to its Crossroads function. We will explore these deeper realms elsewhere, in our other Inner Temple Inner Convocation Forms.
In Part Two: the Visionary Meditation of The Library
Experiencing the Library
Begin with Silence (See Stillness Form)
Light a candle flame, or alternatively, use a bowl of spring water or a polished stone as your focus point. Make your vow and state clearly your reason for seeking to enter the Library.
Be aware of a door of flame, appearing before you, guarded by fiery serpents with many eyes and many wings.
There are three steps up to the door, and as you approach the door, the guardians see deep into your heart and mind. If you have anything to hide, any ulterior motive for seeking this place of power, turn back now, for a deceitful heart and dishonest mind will draw the guardian powers against you. If your heart is pure, and your intentions selfless, pass through in peace, and be welcome.
Pass through into a long corridor with soaring arches. It leads to a central hall, where you sense see and feel many other corridors converging from all directions.
At the centre of the hall, under a high dome engraved with a pattern of stars, is an altar in the shape of an eagle with wide outstretched wings, supported by two mighty bulls, one under each foot. See, sense, and feel the altar and the dome of stars. The stars move slowly in a sweeping curve around the dome.
Be aware that you are in the Inner Library, where all thought and knowledge come together beyond time. The Library is the Crossroads of time, space, and interaction. Priests and Priestesses of the Inner Temples come to this sacred location both to teach and to learn. You may discover much in this Library, about the cosmos, and about your true self. Know that you may return here in your dreams visions and meditations, and that the Library is always open to you. Know yourself, and you shall know the cosmos.
Look around you: you see many high galleries with books, scrolls, carved stones, inscribed metal plates, woven patterns, sculptures, pictures. You also see the technology of the remote past and of the future, all media of communication and learning are found here. Down certain long corridors you see living beings, some are the plants and organisms of your own world, and others are strange and utterly unknown to you. Each of these is a library in itself, if you learn how to merge with them and share their innate knowledge.
At this most ancient altar, brought here in spirit from our original temples on Earth that are long since lost, you reaffirm the vow that you made before the guardians of the doorway.
Be Still, and commune in silence, here at the very centre of the Library of the Inner Convocation.
(1st Silent Communion here).
Gradually you become aware of the structure and form of the library: at first it seems like a vast gothic building, but now it seems like a crystalline forest. Again it changes, and you discover that the pillars, curves, and dome, are made of many angelic beings, shaped and merged together in a huge network of connections. The vessel of the Library, its vast soaring structure that intersects many worlds, is a composite of those angels who watch, record, understand, and balance, the knowledge and wisdom of the cosmos.
Be Still, and come into their presence. By doing so, you become the Inner Library, through your body.
(2nd Silent Communion here)
Now you become aware of the Inner Light. It begins as a radiant flame upon the altar of the Eagle and Bulls. Within you, the inner fire rises in harmony with the altar flame. Your Inner Light increases and permeates your entire being. Be still, and be at one with the Inner Light.
(3rd Silent Communion here)
Be aware that you are in the central hall of the Inner Library, beneath the dome of living stars, at the foot of the altar of the Eagle and Bulls. Sense how the inner flame within you resonates with the altar flame, and know that you have been in this sacred place many times in many lives.
Now it is time to return to the outer world. Set in the far wall, see a small plain door, one of many. This is your way back to the human world, and it resonates with your birth, and your natal solar chart. When it opens you see yourself, in a pale shadowy place that seems momentarily unreal. Now you discover that this pale place is the outer world, the place where you began your vision of the Library. Pass through, and return to your outer self. Now the outer world solidifies, and you remember it once more.
Acknowledge the Directions of East South West and North, Above Below and Within, and sense that the hidden door closes behind you. Be at Peace, and carry your new knowledge within you as you live and work in the outer world of time, space, and movement.
(extinguish the candle flame gently, or pour away the water, or cover the stone with a cloth)
NOTE: this text is copyright © R J Stewart 1987-2016.
The Chapel of the Elders, also known as The Sanctuary Before the Void
© R J Stewart
(From the book and CD The Sphere of Art Vol I, rjstewart.net )
The Sanctuary in esoteric tradition
While I often use the phrase “Sanctuary before the Void” another term for this collective of advanced spiritual consciousness that is found in many sources is the Chapel of the Elders. Unfortunately for us today, this term may have some religious connotations that people are uncomfortable with, especially as the same theme can arise in various types of fundamentalism. However, what we are concerned with here is spiritual reality, not political religion. The “elders” are not ancient bearded males, but a focused convocation of highly advanced consciousness, often appearing to the inner senses as priests and priestesses, from many sources and traditions, but beyond all cultural religion. They are transhuman beings, a subject that I have discussed in several of my books (including Living Magical Arts and Advanced Magical Arts published in 1987 and 1988, and The Miracle Tree published in 2003, and the three volumes of The Sphere of Art , 2008-2016).
In a very broad sense, the spiritual power here is similar to that of the Bodhisattvas in Buddhist tradition. These are beings of intense spiritual awareness that remain in conclave at the very threshold of the Void, and are especially involved in mediating Compassion and Transformation. The purpose of such mediation, such dedication, is to consciously radiate spiritual powers out towards the many manifest worlds…including our own planet Earth.
We can detect and attune another parallel presentation in the Rosicrucian Vault, in which the elders are described as “sleeping” under an eternal light, guarding certain texts and sacred truths, which will be disseminated to the outer world. The Rosicrucian tradition is founded on Germanic/Teutonic faery tradition, with many Faery, UnderWorld, and Sacred Sleeper motifs, but fused creatively with a powerful protestant Christian initiatory impulse, plus images and practices from the ancient Mysteries of the classical world. Thus it is not surprising that a fusion of three powerful spiritual impulses should constellate around the Vault or Chapel of the Elders.
In our Inner Temples work, we are primarily concerned, as is right and proper for us, with planet Earth, and with concepts of service, compassion, and spiritual regeneration. The Sanctuary before the Void, also called the Chapel of the Elders, is a means whereby we can work towards such service.
Origins of this text and spiritual practice
This spiritual “place” is sought by many mystical and ritual traditions, so my claim is to my own teachings and texts over the last 18 years or so, from 1987 to the present year, and not to the overview or concept, as this is a universal spiritual source. I have had the honour of communicating this spiritual presence, of the Sanctuary and the Elders, to hundreds of people over the years, and the deep privilege of sharing this with, and originally learning it directly from, a lineage of Western Tradition masters in the outer world during the 1970’s. My mediation of this aspect of the Inner Order was received direct from my teachers, through the initiatory transmissions that are handed on only by specific Touch, and supported by “whispered wisdom”, the line of teachings that are given by the master when the initiate has proven that he or she has truly entered the Sanctuary. This lineage is said to extend for thousands of years in historical time, and there are many recondite traditions and teachings associated with it.
My intention has been to make this, along with my other Inner Temple Traditions Inner Convocation workings, simple and accessible, and to offer ways of coming into the presence of the “Elders” that assist in our spiritual growth and transformation. At a later stage, after coming into their presence, we can discover the tasks and spiritual work that are allocated to us in the Sanctuary before the Void. This advanced level cannot be communicated by a written text, but is transmitted direct.
The Chapel Of The Elders/The Sanctuary Before The Void
1 Be Still, stilling Time Space and Movement. Chant OAI, if you are familiar with this method of stilling awareness.
2 Affirm the sacred directions: Above, Below, East South West and North, and Within.
3 Light a candle flame on your altar to embody the celestial fire manifest here on Earth.
4 (here you may use the Library empowered vision, as a means of accessing the chapel). Or you may proceed to (5) below
5 Sense see and feel that you pass through a door of flame that opens from the candle flame, and down a long corridor. (You may do this from within the Library if you wish, as in (4) above). Your sense of this corridor is of soaring arches with glimpses of stars beyond. Let your sight rest upon the sacred candle flame as you do this.
6 Build strongly before you the image of an ornately carved low door. Sense see and feel that you knock three times upon it. (At this point you may physically knock or gently stamp your foot here, which is a traditional practice at spiritual thresholds). The door opens, and you pass within.
7 First you perceive the altar at the far end of the Sanctuary: there is a simple flame burning upon a large altar. Beyond the altar is the Void, out of which all Being comes.
8 Next you sense, see, and feel, that there are many others in this chapel or sanctuary. Their presence may be felt more than seen. These are the elders or highly advanced priestesses and priests of many spiritual traditions that work here ceaselessly before the Void. Come into a silent communion with them. (Pause and be still here)
9 Now you are invited to pass to the altar, and stand with the Void behind you, and the altar before you. (If you have set up a simple altar in the outer world, take this position behind your candle flame, if possible. If necessary, rehearse this movement before you do the inner form, so that you are familiar with it).
10 Be Still, stilling Time, Space, and Movement. Sense how your inner Stillness allows the Infinite Potential behind you to flow through you. In your inner vision place your hands palm downwards upon the altar. (If possible do this in the outer world also).
11 To you now comes a Priest or Priestess from the assembled Elders, and he or she places their hands over yours. Be still, and commune in Silence now.
12 (after the Silence) be aware that you are in the Sanctuary before the Void, and that you may return here in your dreams, visions, and meditations. Form a clear intention in your mind that you are here in service to spiritual awareness, to the evolutionary forces of the Inner Temples, and that you ask nothing for yourself alone.
13 Sense see and feel now that the elder removes his or her hands from yours, and you pass around the altar to stand before it, facing into the chapel (do this physically if you can, with your altar and candle flame behind you). Sense see and feel the many beings that gather here.
14 Pass out of the Sanctuary before the Void, between two lines of priests and priestesses to your right and to your left, and then through the door. Be aware that you carry the spiritual power out into the outer world. (You may return to the Library at this stage if you wish, before returning to outer awareness)
15 Return to your outer awareness, sensing the Sky above, the Land below, and the Directions Before, Behind, Right and Left. Gently put out the candle, and close your working with the Sanctuary before the Void, the Chapel of the Elders.
(Write any notes or sensations or experiences if you wish, before doing anything else).
AUTHOR’S NOTE: This basic method has been taught to many people in my Inner Temple groups. It has been practiced in various forms, for many centuries in a number of traditions and cultures. Therefore it has considerable psychic impetus and a deep imprint in the collective consciousness and the etheric (sub-lunar) mantle of our planet. It leads us to a real state of shared consciousness, which in turn will mediate, through us, transformative and regenerative spiritual power from the inner dimensions to the outer. Use it sparingly, and after each communion, allow time for the inner powers to manifest in your dreams, visions, and meditations.
© R J Stewart, worldwide copyright.