In some schools of Practical Qabalah (Ceremonial and Ritual Magic) the physical temple arena is first cleansed and purified in the anatomy of ritual. The Golden Dawn System borrows phrases from the Chaldean Oracles of Zoroaster to purify the four directions. The phrase attributed to the West and the Water element is: “So therefore first the priest who governeth the works of fire must sprinkle with the lustral water of the loud resounding sea.”
The practitioner sprinkles actual physical water from the cup into each quarter. On an inner plane, however, what is meant and used in purification is the First Matter, AIN SUPh AUR. The lustral quality of this Primal Substance is made manifest by the fire within it. This gives the First Matter its lustral, glittery, shimmering, scintillating and sparkling effect so often described by sages.
Then again, in the South Quarter, the Adeptus Minor purifies the chamber with fire by taking up incense or censor while reciting another Chaldean phrase: “And when after all the phantoms are vanished, thou shalt see that holy and formless fire, that fire which darts and flashes through the hidden depths of the universe, hear thou the voice of fire.”
The “phantoms” are all our ignorant habit patterns and immature and neurotic impulses from subconsciousness. Formless fire, again, is the First Matter. Lustral Water, Formless Fire, Argent Vive, Universal Mercury, the Sperm or Root of the World, the Universal Water; all these and countless other names are but ONE THING. The First Matter has as many names for it as there are things in this world. The whole visible and invisible creation is composed of it. Everything we can see, taste, touch or even imagine is congealed AIN SUPh AUR, the Limitless Liquid Light.
The immature and unenlightened cannot see it because it is obscured by everything visible. Only when all our phantoms of the conscious and subconscious minds are vanished, can the Veil of Isis be lifted by God Almighty’s pure, loving Grace. All traces of prejudice, pride, hate, greed, jealousy, ego-mania and the hosts of other crude, dark qualities that promote our separate states of consciousness must be banished. Only then can the First Matter be perceived and recognized as the Luminous, Universal Subconscious Mind-Matter of God, holding all that ever was, is, and shall be, in solution.
Verbal, written and pictorial symbolisms of this Lustral Water are futile in three-dimensional presentations. Yet the Book of Thoth Tarot pack designed by Aleister Crowley and Lady Frieda Harris comes wonderfully close. I would ask readers to pull out all the minor arcana comprising the Suit of Cups, the Water element. Trumps numbered 2, 3, 8, 9 and 10 are particularly noteworthy as examples of the Lustral Water depicted as liquid light beams, spilling and cascading in the manner of our physical water. There is no doubt Crowley, and maybe even Lady Harris, had seen the First Substance, first-hand, through their inner vision. Paste-board cards, however, can never transmit adequately the loving, overpowering, radiant, omniscient, passionate Intelligence twinkling within that Lustral Water. It is said, however, that the Comte St. Germain was quite accomplished with mixing unusual color pigments for his art work.