Instructions for the Magickal Retirement
You must first learn this ritual by memory so that you can speak the words and perform the gestures freely and without hesitation of memory.
The retirement is for three days and three nights, in a location where there are no distractions. You can drink water but eat no food. If deemed necessary for your well-being, you may take nourishment in liquid form only.
The ritual and your written record in your blank book marked "Book of [insert your Magickal Name]" is to be performed eight times daily, at one or one and one-half hour intervals. You may arrange this schedule in two parts so that you may have a siesta period. Do not neglect to write your record of impressions after each ritual.
In those cases where one could not be free from worldly duties for the stated period, there was a concession of two days and nights, but the rituals were increased to eleven times daily. There were a few cases where the limit of free time was just Saturday afternoon and all day Sunday—seventeen rituals required.
Small table or box that is covered with a purple cloth, upon which is placed a lighted incense burner. A copy of the ritual may be placed here for emergency reference.
None. The extended thumb between clenched fingers is the "Wand." The right thumb is now to be always regarded as the "Magick Wand."
All Signs and Gestures
Clothes During Ritual
The clothing should be something different than one's customary apparel. This is a reminder that the operation is apart from one's worldly activities.
Light well the charcoal cake (obtained from a church supply house or New Age shop) and place a generous amount of the mixed resins in the center of the lighted cake.
Signs Used at the Four Corners of the Circle
These are the trigrams derived from the eight Pa Kua of the Yi King, given forth circa 3000 B.C. by the great initiate, Fu Hsi.
Operation of the Retirement Ritual
Now enter a record in the ritual record book, giving an account of any thought or incidents while you performed the ritual, and also any thoughts and impressions that may come to your mind after having performed the ritual.
...[W]hat to expect from the Magickal Retirement:
In the first place, expect nothing specifically. You do not know your own Self-created necessity in relation to the Angel or Daemon. You can in no way command your Daemon! You may have an energized feeling of freedom or of being rejuvenated, and it may last for many weeks. You may have a completely empty feeling that absolutely nothing has taken place—and this is a sure sign that something of no value has been taken from you, which you will later realize. On the other hand, something outstanding may manifest almost immediately. Above all things, as an aspiring magician you must learn in your aspiration to "Lust not for result." To lust for result is anathema in Magick.
...Even contemplating the "severity" of this retirement ritual clarifies the intensity of what a "shortcut" involves. In another sense, very little is really demanded—three days, a period of fasting (that is itself probably beneficial health-wise), and periodic rituals that are not unlike a litany of prayers and meditations in other spiritual traditions. However, the reality is that a real retirement like this is like going into solitary confinement for the purpose of finding your Soul.
It must be your commitment that you are to limit your whole being to this ritual. You don't bring books and magazines along, no games or play things, you don't have a radio or TV, nor any communication device other than—for emergency only—your cell phone. And any calls must be answered curtly and cut off as quickly as possible. You don't daydream, you don't think about your job or your family, you don't worry about the stock market or the weather or what's happening on the "outside."
The success of the ritual is at least partially dependent upon your ability to exclude the ordinary from what may turn out to be extraordinary.