ORDER OF DEACONS
a wellspring of spiritual sustenance
The Private Meditations of an Unknown Pilgrim is an abbreviated version of the Exercitia seen more as taking refuge rather than taking a journey.
Nu is your refuge as Hadit your light; and I am the strength, force, vigour, of your arms. (AL 3.17c)
There are times when we need to be aware that life does not always offer ideal circumstances by which to complete the Exercitia Spiritualia in its regular form. Sometimes a briefer approach is necessary.
Ignatius understood this as well with his original Spiritual Exercises. In Ignatian terms, such a shorter version of the Exercises is called the “Annotation Eighteen” exercises. For Ignatius, this meant the Exercises focused on a subset of the whole, specifically creation, sin, death, hell, and the sacraments. For Thelema, we don’t have a one-to-one relationship with those same concepts, but the Private Meditations is the equivalent to “Annotation Eighteen” exercises for the Exercitia Spiritualia.
These exercises are broken up into three parts. While each exercise is offered over a calendar week, the Private Meditations does not have corresponding “Weeks” like the Exercitia Spiritualia. The first section has four exercises, the second section has seven exercises, and the final third section has three exercises for a total of fourteen exercises (or fourteen calendar weeks).
The Private Meditations is drawn from the notes of an unnamed pilgrim and follows from the full set of exercises in the Institutio Exercitia Spiritualia Peregrini Ignoti. Some of the material will feel duplicated if you have read through or journeyed through the Exercitia Spiritualia in the past. They feel familiar while being quite different. We look at this abbreviated version of the Exercitia as taking refuge rather than the path of a journey.
The goal of the Private Meditations is not to teach but to invite individuals to take possession of, to take ownership of, and to claim heirship of their own personal truth. As a mentor, all you can do is share your journey, or your refuge, and shine the light of the truth that you have discovered in hopes that it will inspire others to do the same for themselves. The Word of the Law—θέλημα (Thelema)—is alive in the world today, working both openly and in the shadows for the liberty of humanity.
Because both the Exercitia Spiritualia and the Meditations originate from within the Order of Deacons, it is recommended that the individual taking refuge in the Meditations utilize the Lectionary and its various chapters for support during this time. The Orations, Hymns, and even many of the Propers are excellent sources for short prayer-like material for use each day.