Case Paul Foster - The Early Writings Volume 1 Occult Fundamentals Spiritual Unfoldment

Author : Case Paul Foster
Title : The Early Writings Volume 1 Occult Fundamentals Spiritual Unfoldment
Year : 1924

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Dr. Paul Foster Case. Dr. Paul Foster Case is probably one of the most accomplished, erudite and still most readable esoteric teachers of the twentieth century. Yet he and his writings remain relatively unknown. Why? The answer I think may be found in the correspondence of A. E. Waite to Case when he writes in the early 19~303",W hat books have you written?" By this time, Case had composed volumes of material on a variety of arcane subjects, but, as he explained to Waite, "most of my writings have been in the form of lessons." Indeed, over a thirty-year period (approximately 1920- 1950) Case wrote dozens of courses covering subjects ranging from Esoteric Psychology to Tarot, Qabalah and Alchemy directly for the affiliates of the organization he founded, Builders of the Adytum. While, in the opinion of this writer, they comprise absolutely the best most well-rounded course of instruction on these esoteric subjects, it is because of this fact that much of Cases' original materials have remained in the hands of a select few (courses may still be received through BOTA, Los Angeles). Fortunately though, a group of Case's early occult writings remain available today for the spiritual aspirant and the esoteric reading public at large. These timeless gems of practical occult instruction, which have lain largely forgotten in collector's vaults for nearly a hundred years, are now accessible through this special set of lessons. Paul Foster Case was born on October 3, 1884, in Perendor (now known as Fairport) New York. His mother was a schoolteacher and his father was the curator of a large, private library. Rumor has it that Paul's very surprised mother actually delivered this future prodigy at this very same establishment. He was of Romany (Gypsy) stock and a direct descendent of the famous Mayflower pilgrim, Miles Standish. Paul spent much of his formative years in the midst of books and he learned to read at a very young age. It has even been said that as a pre-schooler, Case could often be found curled up in the attic of his father's library closely examining "forbidden books" of esoteric lore. Dolores Ashcroft Nowicki, the Director of Studies of another excellent Esoteric School (The Servants of the Light) has commented that some individuals come into embodiment with an insatiable hunger for the knowledge of the hidden mysteries of life. This was certainly true of Paul Foster Case. By the age of seven, young Paul found that he could consciously manipulate his dreams states, objectively selecting various levels of experience. Looking for support, Paul shared these encounters through written correspondence with the famous initiate Rudyard Kipling (author of" Kim", "The Man who would be King" and "The Jungle Books") who assured Case of the reality of these inner states and verified the validity of these "Fourth Dimensional" experiences. Paul also exhibited musical genius at an extremely early age. Encouraged by his mother the teacher, Paul began his training on both the piano and organ at the age of three. He practiced diligently and by the time he was nine years old he was the regular organist at the local congregational Church in which his father was a deacon. Thus began an extraordinary musical career that found Case at age sixteen starring in a local charity performance along with another famous author of occult works, Claude Bragdon. According to well known former B.O.T.A. Prolocutor-General Ann Davies, Bragdon and Case entertained each other between shows with sleight-of -hand card tricks, and that while doing so, Bragdon on impulse turned to the young virtuoso and suddenly asked, "Case, where do you think the playing with cards came from?" This simple question then started Paul Case on his personal journey to becoming the world's leading authority on the Tarot. In fact, after the concert, an excited Case returned to his father's library in search of the origins of this ancient symbolic system. Paul soon found mention of the Tarot in variety of texts including the famous 17th century Rosicrucian manifesto the, "Fama Fraternitatis," where he discovered that the name, "Tarot" is actually a cipher for the Latin word "ROTA" or wheel. In other writings, Case learned that this ancient esoteric system was originally referred to as, "The Game of Man," by early occultists. In the next few months, an intrigued Paul collected a huge selection of Tarot decks and books on the subject. As a review of his notebooks and diaries from the Fraternity's archives reveal, Case made a daily habit for years of researching, meditating and studying the Tarotic symbols. Through ,his efforts, Paul discovered that the design of these carefully created pictorials actually channels and evokes specific archetypical images, and that subsequently they have the power to transform the consciousness of the sincere seeker into that of an illuminated adept. Throughout his life, Case was fond of quoting the 19th century writer, Eliphas Levi, who wrote: "As an erudite Kabalistic book, all combinations of which reveal the harmonies preexisting between signs, letters, and numbers, the practical value of the Tarot is truly and above all marvelous. A prisoner devoid of books, had he only a Tarot of which he knew how to make use, could, in a few years, acquire a universal science, and converse with an unequalled doctrine and inexhaustible eloquence." Case would devote most of his life to helping earnest students learn "how to make use" of this extraordinary system. It was about this time (c. 1905) that Paul began to receive the guidance of an "inner voice" he believed to be his own subconsciousness. Almost immediately, the "voice" guided his Tarot studies by suggesting various symbolic links, etc. Paul soon diversified and along with his symbolic investigations, undertook an extensive and intensive study of pranayama, an advanced component of both Hatha (physical) and Raja (meditative) yoga. It appears that Paul was largely self-taught, using various published sources, and that his "success" in these practices activated his inner sensorium and psychic abilities. Case additionally learned through his readings to attune his consciousness to subtler, lower astral levels and influences, but conversely his studies neglected to instruct Paul how to control, limit or protect himself from unwanted psychic intrusions. Later he would relay this story of intolerable sensitivity. One day while riding on a bus, he received the "paranoid" impression that he was surrounded by rapists, murderers, arsonists, etc. While in reality this was not the case, Paul had unintentionally "tuned" into the basest level of the "mob-consciousness" of all who had previously ridden that bus! He then fled the vehicle and immediately received inner instructions telling him to go to a restaurant and order a large piece of rare steak! Case promptly followed these directions and the exercise effectively "shut-down" his psychic senses until he could reestablish his equilibrium. In 1907, Case was staying in Chicago. There he met William Walker Atkinson, author of the New Thought classic The Secret of Mental Magic," shortly after reading the book himself. (Atkinson' is also well known under his pseudonym "Yoga Ramacharaka" under which name he wrote and published many works dealing with the various aspects of yoga philosophy and practice. These books are still in print from his Yoga Publication Society and are considered by many to be the best and most readable introductions to these subjects). Case and Atkinson quickly became good friends and eventually collaborated on a book of Hermetic Philosophy known as The Kyballion. Neither Case nor Atkinson chose to pen their name to this famous collection, instead opting to promote the book as written by "Three Initiates." While Atkinson's and Case's involvement on the project is relatively well known, the identity of the "third initiate" remains a mysterious controversy to this day. Some allege that the third Initiate was simply Case's inner voice (the Master of the Wisdom). Other sources suggest that the unknown contributor was a man known as Dr. Robert Fludd (more will be said about him later) who was also living in Chicago at the time. Harriet Case, Paul's widow confided to this author that the other "Initiate" was in fact Michael Whitty, Paul's later-time mentor in the Alpha ET Omega. Some students will point out though that, according to certain accounts in the Order, Paul did not meet Michael until after the Kyballion was published in 1912. Perhaps the dates used in these accounts are inaccurate, perhaps not. I have not been able, as yet, to make that determination. I will therefore content myself with simply presenting the leading contenders. Sometime, during the summer of 1909 a stranger, who called to Case by name, approached Paul on a downtown street in Chicago. This stranger turned out to be Dr. Robert Fludd, whom I have mentioned may have been one of the three initiates. At the time, Dr. Fludd was a prominent local physician and he explained to Case that he was approaching him on behalf of their mutual teacher (the voice that had been guiding Paul for years). Fludd relayed that this "voice" was, in reality, a Master of the Wisdom. To gain his confidence Dr. Fludd further revealed to Case a list of Paul's "most secret thoughts, hopes and activities." Fludd then went on to explain to Paul that "their" teacher had a message for him. This is the essence of the conversation that followed: "Paul you are at a crossroad. Two paths are open to you. You can continue to pursue a career in classical music. You will be successful and will live a life of relative comfort. Or, you can dedicate yourself to unreservedly serve humanity and play a vital role in the coming Aquarian Age. If you choose this path, you will be given the task to reinterpret the teachings of the Ageless Wisdom and put them into a form more accessible to modem seekers. This journey of service may be difficult, with many tests and trials, but in the end I can assure you that you will not starve." Case made his choice without hesitation. From that moment on, he dedicated himself fully to the extension of the Mysteries of Light and the Way of Initiation. It was during this period that Paul, in a session of meditation, recovered the memories of a past life. One day he was meditating on certain aspects of the Qabalah, when all of a sudden saw himself as another person in another time! At that moment, he knew that he was Rabbi Wolfe who was pouring over a copy of the Sepher Yetzirah, one of the most important books of the Qabalah. This copy was in Hebrew, and he was reading fluently. Busily he was making notes in the margin, noting the page and the subject, but he also found that he was having trouble concentrating because he was preoccupied with thoughts of his oldest daughter. She was rapidly approaching the age of marriage, and he was concerned about her future, wondering about a marital match for her and how was he going to raise the money needed for a suitable dowry. In a flash, he was back in the present time, in his apartment, fully Paul Case. He noted in his diary the strange vision and closed his meditation. Weeks later, while visiting a library, (I was told that it was at the University of Southern Illinois at ChampaignlUrbana), he noted in the card catalogue a rather old copy of the Sepher Yetzirah or Book of Formation. He asked the librarian to bring up a copy so he could examine it. When he held it in his hands, I am told that Case experienced a strong episode of "deja vue." He opened the text and found it to be all in Hebrew script. Turning to the back cover, (i.e. the beginning of the book since Hebrew is read right to left), he found inscribed on the inside cover the name Rabbi Wolfe. Hurriedly, with anxious anticipation, he turned to the page he remembered from his vision and there he saw the same notes in the margin he remembered from his meditation! Paul's study of the Sepher Yetzirah enabled him to recover the esoteric attributes of the Tarot Trumps, giving him the "Keys" to the major initiatory system of the West. He published these attributions in 1916 in an occult magazine known as The Word, even though he had been lecturing on this subject for only a short time before. His actions caused a stir in the esoteric community because, up to that time, this system of correspondences was only available to initiates, bound by oaths of secrecy. These initiates assumed that either: (1) Paul was a renegade initiate; or, (2) someone else had broken his oath and given the keys to Paul. They therefore delegated one of their Temple Chiefs to investigate. When Paul returned to New York City, a six foot three inch, affable, smiling man by the name of Michael Whitty approached him. Mr. Whitty was the author of an introductory work on the basic principles of Theosophy and the editor of a major, occult journal named Azoth. Perhaps more significant is that Michael was also the Praemonstrator or chief in charge of ritual and instruction of the Thoth-Hermes Temple #9 of the Rosicrucian Order of the Alpha ET Omega. (This was the section of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn that had remained loyal to S. L. Macgregor Mathers, the other two major factions being the Stella Matutina under W.B. Yeats and Dr. Robert Felkin, and The Holy Order of the Rosy Cross under A. E. Waite). When Whitty learned that Case was not an initiate, but had instead independently worked out the correct attributions through meditation, he promptly invited him to become a member of the A:. 0:. . Paul accepted and was initiated into the Outer Order. There he received the motto or initiation name of "Perseverantia," meaning, "I will persevere." Case quickly moved through the grades of the Outer Order and was initiated into the Inner Order or Greater Mysteries on May 16, 1920. Three weeks later he was appointed to the ritualistic office of Third Adept. Thus, began a close collaboration between Case and Whitty that lasted from 191 8 (or perhaps earlier? See my remarks about the Kyballion) until the latter's transition (death) on December 27th 1920. During this time, Whitty published Case's beginning articles on the Tarot in Azoth and Case became Whitty's deputy chief. And, most significantly, the two received, clairaudiently, the text for the Book of Tokens, which Case repeatedly asserted he did not write but simply "received" by acting as a channel. Throughout this period, Paul also began to correspond with various senior members of the Order in Europe, most notably Dr. John Brodie-Innes, (Frater Sub Spe), the ruling chief of the organization in England. Michael Whitty moved to Los Angeles in 1920, apparently because of health problems and died there a short while later, probably of Cancer or, perhaps Tuberculosis. Paul attributed Michael's relatively young death to his extensive involvement in the order's uses of the Enochian system (this system of spiritual astral magic, was developed in the 16th century by Dr. John Dee and his associate Edward Kelly, through the practice of skrying, or crystal vision). Paul questioned the reliability of a system received through the mediumship of someone like Kelly. (After reading The Queen's Conjurer by Benjamin Woolly, I'm inclined to agree with Paul in his opinion of Edward Kelly). Case stated that he knew of at least three individuals who, in his opinion, had suffered severe illnesses because of the use of Enochian Magic. Paul soon became a prominent figure in the esoteric community due to his extensive knowledge of the Tarot and Qabalah and his natural gifts for ritual and instruction (brought over most likely from prior incarnations and developed through his intense study and long experience in public concert performances). Moreover, when Michael Whitty moved to California, Case succeeded him as Praemonstrator of Thoth-Hermes. Because of his quick advancement and young age, Paul aroused the jealousy among some of his fellow members of the A:. 0:. Also, contributing to this, Harriet Case informed me, was a certain native bluntness. It seems Paul had a reputation of not suffering fools gladly and was often criticized for his candor by members of the First or Outer Order. After a while though, realizing that they would get little sympathy from Paul's fellow Second Order members or his fellow chiefs, these outer order members by-passed their superiors and wrote directly to the widow of Macgregor Mathers, Moina, who was then the Imperatrix or manager for the Order as a whole (her name in the Order was Vestigia). To her, these disgruntled members complained that Paul and his fellow member, Lillie Guise (who was later to be Case's first wife) were exchanging "meaningful looks" across the altar during the communion portion of the ceremony. (As a protest to this ridiculous and prudish criticism, we at the Fraternity of the Hidden Light, have made the exchange of meaningful looks during this portion of the ritual, mandatory). The unhealthy, repressed attitude of some of these so-called initiates is evidenced further by their reaction to Case's verbal openness on topics related to sexuality and reproduction. For instance, Paul once delivered a lecture that referred to the location of the altar in the temple. During that address he pointed out that, on the Tree of Life, the corresponding location is assigned to the Sephirah Yesod and the creative powers of the generative process. Almost immediately, his comments prompted gossipers' tongues (and pens) to wag. His critics chose to write, not to Brodie-Innes, the teaching head of the order, but again to his junior Moina. This is understandable when you consider Vestigia's attitudes toward anything remotely connected with sexual expression. For example, she repeatedly told friends that she and her husband found even the thought of physical sexuality repugnant and for that reason practiced strict celibacy for the entire duration of their marriage! She had even severely criticized Dion Fortune for giving out esoteric order secrets on sexuality until one of her cochiefs pointed out that Dion had not reached the grade where those subjects were revealed. Moina responded to these correspondences by writing to Case directly, "...I have seen the results of this superficial sex teaching in several occult societies as well as in individual cases. I have never met with one happy result." ...

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