Max was very abrupt. He could also be rude, obtuse and arrogant. But he was generous beyond worldly and more learned than anyone I had ever met previously. We shared a humour that evaporated the troubles of the world into helpless mirth and a deep and abiding bond of responsibility to spirit than can never be broken. We came to be friends too and it wasn't long before we were discussing magick and religion long into the night over countless drinks and material wellbeing that neither of us so much as noticed. It was brother Max, I believe, who kept me sane through my time of separation of my spirit from my body and who, even if it was unknowingly, shared some of its journey through other distant planes. We learned together a great deal about the nature of the world and its most hidden mysteries and yet we learned also of man's untogetherness with fellow man. We insisted that each was alone in the world, cast adrift to wander with or without purpose at will. And will it was that formed so strong a part of my maturing in understanding magick and the understanding of my own spirituality. The act of will is the driving power behind magickal acts, the force with which the form is pressed into manifestation. We practiced meditation and visualisation and found strength and honour in our sharing of experiences. The minimalism with which we viewed the dimensions of space and time were, far from a source of pain, a source of deep comfort, the reduction of emotional anxiety to comedy was a trait we have both maintained henceforth though I think Max has a lesser respect for (though no lesser understanding of) others' attitude to this reductionism. I set aside my university studies and concentrated on magick and mysticism with great enthusiasm. Hardly a day went by without a small act taking place and often I would head for the countryside and solitude to do some working or other. I came to work towards a banishing of the demons permanently from my life and this eventually took place at the end of my university career - Max having been away in London a year already - after graduation and while I was back in Nottingham preparing to embark on my journey to America. The working was, interestingly, without Max's aid or complicity. I needed to remove the demons from my existence and also to retrieve my spirit from wherever it was in the void - though this second intent was not conscious at the time as I had no idea that it had even left me. As my travel plans took shape I made my final preparations to perform the ritual. My parents were going on holiday and I had their house for my own for two weeks and I wasted not a moment of time in converting the loft into a working temple complete with all the paraphenalia essential to a successful working. I had acquired the sword and the wand and having consecrated both previously I adorned the alter with a cup, pentacle and other equipment all of which I had ritually made during the first three days. I could feel the tension mounting and, having consulted the angelical hour charts and astrological charts I determined to perform a series of opening rituals over two days and two nights culminating in a great banishing ritual under the favourable aspect of Mars on the fourth night. I was going on the offensive against the demons that had so greatly haunted me all those turbulent years. I of course contemplated bringing Max into the arrangements but decided in the end that I could not ask him to give so much to a cause that was not his own - he would of course have agreed at the drop of a hat - but I felt it was my personal fight and I had to stand (or fall) alone.
The first four workings went well and I felt highly pleased that I had (alone for the first time) opened the gates of the temple, invoked and greeted the cardinal beings and closed the gates again with no difficulty whatsoever. I slept for a long time on the third night and awoke only briefly to sit inside the circle and meditate for about an hour in preparation for the following day. All that day I worked to the hours of the planets, invoking easily each in turn for a short (20 minute) ritual as each new hour came in. Then I ritually bathed and prepared to enter the circle and open the temple fully for the full martian rite which would, I thought, last about 45 minutes. having entered the loft I felt the first signs of trepidation and had some difficulty in lighting all the candles. Then I accidentally kicked over the bowl of water and had to clean it up. By the time I had prepared myself again I was 20 minutes into the hour of mars and in grave danger of not completing the rite. The rituals of banishing and purification performed and the temple opened successfully I began the long invocation of the Martian spirit. (I quote now from my diary of the time):
"Eventually I felt the presence spring quickly alive in me and was overcome with great internal heat. It was all I could do to control the bubbling forces of destruction and begin to evoke into the triangle the manifests of the demons".
I had, during the poltergeist incident (described in part 3) gleaned the names of several of the demonic entities though I could discover very little about them in the books at my disposal. These names however were invaluable I counjured to appearance my oppressors at last. The names I will omit here. (Again, from my diary):
"As I focused my energy on the triangle I felt the last of my own being forced from me by the fiery presence inside my chest, the feeling being surprisingly easy" [This is no surprise as my own spirit was not in attendance to dispute the right of possession]. "Then as uttered their names aloud for the first time ever - (____), (____), (____), (____), (____), (____) and (____) - the air grew suddenly freezing, though I did not, and the triangle became alive with twisting, writhing forms of shapeless and savage energy that I hardly kept myself from turning away."
There was no hesitation in me when I flung out my arms and released the pent up forces of mars inside me among the trapped demons in the triangle. I did not watch the battle but rather hid my head inside my robe and waited for the soundless (yet deafening) fury to abate which it did at last after a period of time that could have been no more than a few minutes. After it died down I ritually opened things up and allowed the spent forces of martian fury to drain back into me and then to depart with a prayer of warm thanks. After a few minutes of quiet I arose and gently closed the temple feeling the while that the watchers were well pleased indeed. I performed banishing rituals once more, just for security. To my surprise there was more: a great wind seemed to rush outwards which shook the roof timbers but subsided to absolute stillness in a few seconds. I knew without doubt that the rite had been a success and I descended the loft ladder with a powerful glow of accomplishment."
The ritual had taken a lot out of me and I took nearly two more days to recover completely. My parents were naturally aware that something had taken place during their holiday but had no clues about the nature of it. Though it tempted discovery and a round of awkward questions I maintained the temple all through that summer and used it regularly for meditation and to consecrate talismans all of which worked with startling efficacy.
On meeting with Brother Max he knew instantly that something had changed and I told him that my demons were gone now. He was of course sceptical but since he had known something was afoot the night I had performed my rite he went along with my belief and basked with me in the glow of release. I began to cast about then for my next task and I started once more to delve into more diverse forms of practice. The ritual magick I had worked came to be a source of fear for me and though I kept up infrequent rites I never again wanted to expose myself to the possibility of further demonic attack. thus I became more and more well read in the mysteries of western magic and spirituality, I never got too far east but did read a fair bit about Egyptian magic and even found that Crowley was at last beginning to make some sense!
The next part of my writings takes me on to a period when I recorded with great detail and faith all that passed on my wanderings, there is a great deal of material here upon which to draw and though I will make a start now it will, I think be a very long time before the next four or five years of my life are satisfactorily written out.
Here ends the time of my trials and thus begins my greater works.