This book is very easy to misunderstand; readers are asked to use the most minute critical care in the study of it, even as we have done in its preparation.
In this book it is spoken of the Sephiroth and the Paths; of Spirits and Conjurations; of Gods, Spheres, Planes, and many other things which may or may not exist.
It is immaterial whether these exist or not. By doing certain things certain results will follow; students are most earnestly warned against attributing objective reality or philosophic validity to any of them.
The advantages to be gained from them are chiefly these:
- A widening of the horizon of the mind.
- An improvement of the control of the mind.
The student, if he attains any success in the following practices, will find himself confronted by things (ideas or beings) too glorious or too dreadful to be described. It is essential that he remain the master of all that he beholds, hears or conceives; otherwise he will be the slave of illusion, and the prey of madness.
Before entering upon any of these practices, the student should be in good health, and have attained a fair mastery of Asana, Pranayama and Dharana.
There is little danger that any student, however idle or stupid, will fail to get some result; but there is great danger that he will be led astray, obsessed and overwhelmed by his results, even though it be by those which it is necessary that he should attain. Too often, moreover, he mistaketh the first resting-place for the goal, and taketh off his armour as if he were a victor ere the fight is well begun.
It is desirable that the student should never attach to any result the importance which it at first seems to possess.
First, then, let us consider the Book 777
and its use; the preparation of the Place; the use of the Magic Ceremonies; and finally the methods which follow in Chapter V. Viator in Regnis Arboris,
and in Chapter VI. Sagitta trans Lunam.
(In another book will it be treated of the Expansion and Contraction of Consciousness; progress by slaying the Chakkrams; progress by slaying the Pairs of Opposites; the methods of Sabhapaty Swami, &c., &c.)
 Asana originally meant "sitting down", a sitting position. In the practice of Yoga it denoted the art of sitting still, but later was applied to cultivating the ability to remain in seated meditation for extended periods.
 Pranayama is "extension of the breath" or "extension of the life force". "Yama" is also often taken to mean "restrain" or "control" rather than "extend".
 Dharana is translated variously as "collection or concentration of the mind (joined with the retention of breath)", or "the act of holding, bearing, wearing, supporting, maintaining, retaining, keeping back (in remembrance), a good memory", or "firmness, steadfastness, certainty".