It often seems to me that the esoteric significance of the physical challenges expected by the Initiates and the External Adepts of the Classic Seven-Fold Way sometimes seem to be neglected, and the understanding of its alchemical value is incomplete. This is the case with all those aspects of the Path that requires leaving the comfort zone and a very personal and direct challenge. That is exactly the purpose of these challenges, primarily, to challenge yourself...
Somehow I have always felt that physical training, from the perspective of the Way, is pathei mathos in itself. As Myatt has explained, pathei mathos – πάθει μάθος – is a Greek term (used by Aeschylus in his Agamemnon) which can be variously interpreted as meaning learning from adversity, or wisdom arises from personal suﬀering, and/or personal experienceis the genesis of true wisdom.
Where does the training part stands within this, one might wonder. But such a question could arise only from someone that has never put any effort in achieving those arduous requirements set before us. First of all, training requires a great deal of persistence, will power, endurance and striving for the achievement that it truly builds your character. Or, „The transcendence of physical limits is a fundamental threshold, an innately Satanic threshold, concerning which any among us who fail to attempt to cross will lose an innately fundamental, quintessential – furthermore – non-negotiable Satanic quality, Satanic character, that is prerequisite for becoming truly dark, inherently Satanic in a psycho- physical sense and genuinely evil in the real-world.“(ONA, Evil and Physical – Jall, ONA).
One may feel that he has all those qualities and that this is not necessary for him, but then he shouldn’t have any trouble testing those abilities. Because all this work is about testing us all, our preconceptions, beliefs, projections, so that we may one day really come to that stage of living „in propria persona“ and beyond. Or let me put it this way, somewhat esoterically. Physical training falls under the element of Earth. Therefore, it is important for the initiate to start building his Temple from the very ground, or better said, it cannot be any other way, or else such a „house of cards“ will tremble and fall. Initiate must understand that everything he will be facing during the training will be aspects of his own psyche that would inhibit any progress, and that probably already do. If he is really devoted and focused in this practice, he will gain much insight about his own character. And what a better way is there to overcome it, then to make it conscious and then give everything out of yourself to run it over. If one approaches to this properly, then layer by layer he may discover deeper aspects of his own character that he wasn’t aware of. That is so because all of our beliefs and concepts are built to maintain certain image that we are most comfortable with. And that is the first thing running, especially such an endeavor as marathon is, gets you out of, that comfort zone.
If you happen to decide preparing for marathon, like myself, you will need to find some well balanced program for marathon. That is the stage where everything will feel so good, as long as you are just mentally toying with that idea, and visualizing yourself gloriously crossing that finish line after having ran 26 miles. Once you are all set and prepared, the morning of your first training will come. You might feel enthusiastic about it all, and run it good, and if you are so fired up, then probably within a zone that is above your current fitness level, which will produce feeling of joy and happiness. But then this routine will start repeating, asking you to pull out more and more out of yourself. You will have these long runs that usually stretch between 8 to 20 miles. Those will be a true challenge, especially as they get progressively longer.
Then the pain will start, depending again on your fitness level, but for novice runners, legs will be under great stress. After that, various kinds of smaller injuries will appear, that might cause you to pause the training, or so will you think is necessary, because already, at unconscious level, it is all becoming unbearable. This is the time you are mostly prone to the excuses, „Oh well, I might have started a little too strong, maybe I need a pause to recover“. While there might be some sense in it, more probably there isn’t, and you should really continue, unless of course, serious injuries that prevent you to even walk occur. So you need to continue, because how are you to build up endurance if you just stop at any little injury and pain you’d might pick up along the way. No pain, no gain! Then there will be psychic inhibitors acting as physical. You’d might start feeling lazy, but what you should really be seeing behind this laziness is your own inability to face discomfort zones. You’ll start looking for excuses, oh it’s raining, snowing. I can tell you these are actually the best times to do your training. So you will get wet, so what? Remember, exeatic living? Such an achievement will give you a hint to what that is all about. Actually, you should even force yourself to harder conditions. Running flat became boring and is no longer a challenge?! Try hills then! And of course, by no means, go running in the gym, on a treadmill. Running treadmill is from the LHP perspective, as well as playing wizards inside the closed temples and within safe fantasies while running outdoors, especially through the woods, is the style much closer to our Tradition which above all emphasizes realistic and challenging temptations … This approach to life is in general what you should manifest.
Ok, all of that is good and useful (maybe?), but what’s with pathei mathos, 7FW and all that stuff? Well, as for pathei mathos, isn’t it all „learning from personal suffering“. Suffering may seem as a harsh word, but you will suffer, otherwise you are not doing it properly. As I’ve said, this will put to test everything you are made of, it will face you with all that resides in your psyche that inhibits you. I even saw people having problem in running alone, or what others may think if they happen to see them. So various things you’d might find and you should dig deeper to find true causes. You can do all this while running, in meditation. Indeed, the act of running long distances can lead you to a state of trance and transformed awareness akin to that during the meditation. Just imagine that a couple of hours you are repeating one and the same set of movements and focusing all your attention on those moves to support each and every one of your muscles with the power of your will. After a while, inevitably, all this effort is transformed into a sense of bliss and joy, as well as in a deepened state of awareness – contributing to the inner (esoteric) growth. “Remember, running is the meditation of a warrior!” – The Instructor said to the protagonists of “The Kiss of Marena”, Raven. 
What is also important is that most obviously it is your body you are putting into the greatest test here, so there is a tendency that all the weak spots get activated. You will recognize them easily because they will produce pain especially when you are resting, and they will appear during running. These are the spots you should pay close attention to, because they can point toward other problems, at another level. Basics from energy medicine will teach you that the spots in your body that are tighten or in spasm are the places where the energy isn’t flowing properly, which could indicate on some psychic inhibitions. These don’t have to be muscles only, it can be your heart or stomach as well. One may say that this is far too stretched out, but what is really happening here? These parts of your body got into such position because of years and years of repeated cumulation of stress and everything you repress, because all of that carries some energy within it, and when not properly handled, it gets deposited to these places, so to say, causing unnatural spasms or distortions of various kinds. What you are doing here is breaking of those patterns, but from other side. You can perceive physical training as a way of cleansing, because all of that will come to manifest, and you will have the option to face it. You should really try and endure the pain, or whatever you might be feeling, while working on it. This is probably the best time to go and have a massage, or do chakra meditations and healings, or maybe to start practicing Five Tibetans to get better conduit of energy. This will certainly just improve your training. After all, your body is an alchemist furnace, and you should burn all of that, and put solid foundations to your temple.
Other important feature to have in mind are the energies that you work with during this time through pathworkings. These are very strong energies, and it is of utmost importance to get yourself in good physical condition to properly channel them. One of the purposes of physical training here is balancing that inner magickal work. These energies will probably act similarly in uncovering all those repressed stuff that you’ve hidden deep under your comfort zone, but on the other level, and probably more disturbing. Naturally, it is for the best if all this work is done simultaneously, because it will give you constant focus on alchemy that is happening here, and more importantly, you will experience it in real life, entirely. A notion also to have in mind is that physical exhaustion is very useful when performing any kind of ritual, because it suspends that censor in your brain and opens up your mind for all other possibilities. Imagine now, if you just did your long run in the woods and continued by invocation of the respective Dark God? Yeah, it feels great!
It is all basic stuff, as you are at the stage of Luna and dealing with the unconscious is the primary focus here. Every working done in the stage of Initiate is complementary, from the pathworkings and sphereworkings, physical training, magical partnership (Animus/Anima) as it all uncovers your subconscious, all of your projections, and this is how the process of objectifying and understanding these energies, and thus these aspects of psyche begins. After you’ve put some blood, sweat and tears into this effort, remember lyrics of „Self-Immolation Rite“:
„ … This is the sphere of hidden knowledge. The blood that continues to gush Has formed a glowing red pool. Scry now into the pool. It will show you secrets of what you are, What you want to be and what you can be. Keep this information clear in your mind, you will need it later. … „
After all, running is pretty straightforward in teaching you that you can only rely on yourself, especially when it comes to this entire Quest, but also life in general, no matter all those people that surround you. It will also teach you how to rely on your own resources because you may find that you are actually stronger or weaker then you thought you were, and by facing this sincerely you will put even more effort in your self development. This knowledge will better prepare you for all there is yet to come in your Way, but you will know better how to deal with it, even though these other experiences are still to push you further or bring you down. Anyway, how are you to undertake culling or to venture into other real life experiences that you are not comfortable with, if you have trouble going out and running in the rain? Because every practical deed and experience constitutes your own „pathei mathos“, as practical experience is genesis of true wisdom. When it comes to this, I always found it that every human being goes through the similar harsh life experiences that give them the opportunity to better understand themselves and the world around them. And naturally, after the age of Saturn in life is achieved, some wisdom is really gained, and sometimes many mundane people are much wiser then many so called occultists, simply because they’ve experienced life and learned from experience, approaching these experiences much more sincerely than those spiritual deceivers and occult poseurs who pretend to have become enlightened and deified – or whatever the concept of their majesty feeds their delusions. The nature of the true occult or alchemical path consists in willingly drawing yourself to such experiences that you need in order to develop and that you have just learned of within the sphere of Luna, instead of being thrown and tossed by life, destiny or whatever. Otherwise, you will always run within the vicious circle of “fates” instead of running towards the goal, toward Lapis Philosophicus, moving spirally outward – expanding your experiences, capabilities and state of awareness – evolving.
Darigon, ABG Lodge ONA
Notes: __________  Work of Sinister Fiction written by the Temple of the Black Sun, from Russia. Published in English by Martinet Press, U.S.A.