Time is like a linear cut-out of a two-dimensional carnival pageant that can be seen curving round the external grounds of the abbey. This is difficult to describe, and more so to explain, but we do best, I fancy, simply to present you with images, as they appear on the inner planes. Reflecting upon these images (and ‘reflecting’ is an accurate word) strange though they may seem, can cause you to gain another perspective upon what seems to your material consciousness to be an all-encompassing quantum. It is far from being that, you have my word. But as a young child has first to learn to come to terms with modes of perception on the physical plane, so does man have like problems when passing from physical life into the conditions of the inner planes.
And once focused upon the inner planes, it is an additional skill to be able to look from there and see accurately and well into the outer. It is rather like staring into a dim and murky pool, with qualities that not only refract but distort the light. However these are in accordance with codifiable laws laid down by the builders of form upon the etheric sub-planes. One’s sight is obscured by having to gaze through the etheric, the level of scaffolding and struts, so to speak, that hold the structures of the outer world together in coherence.
Thus communication between inner and outer worlds is a specialist task, whether one is upon the inner or the outer planes; that is to say, looking out or looking in. And why it is that sometimes one may have confusion or distorted communication from those whose desire for service exceeds their trained or natural abilities. This is a problem which affects all. One can even have disoriented angels, as well as disoriented and confused mediums, adepts and initiates.
Thus is magic, in all its forms, a difficult and noble science. It is an intimate attempt at penetrating the Veil of Isis. It is a way that is not forbidden – only difficult. It is like a man standing at a very thick wall, with a hollow tin or glass placed to his ear, striving to receive communication from the other side. That is the situation with ordinary untrained man. As one progresses so the wall becomes thinner, more translucent and transaudient, until it is of the texture of a fine veil. But one can pass through it in full consciousness (I speak not of temporary states of trance, vision or psychic perception) only at death.
[The Abbey Papers, p.46]