The Sabian Procedures
The Study Group
The usual plan for a study group is a weekly meeting at a regular time and place. It may be closed or open to the public, and in the former case visitors should be permitted but with a definite rule covering the frequency or nature of visiting by prospective members. The sessions may be directed by one or more of the students in regular pattern, and any sort of rotation in various roles may be arranged by common agreement. Every effort should be made to encourage questions and to further discussion, to the end that each student in attendance has a maximum chance for actual sharing or creative participation in the rehearsal of whatever enduring insights may prove pertinent for the moment. In general all classwork should be based on Sabian materials, but of equal value to the invisible fellowship is the interchange of ideas when Sabian principles and methods are employed through other subject matter in the approach to a broader or deeper comprehension of the self and of the world in which it functions. There is no need to hold to a given topic during any particular session, or to attempt to round out any consideration unless the additional attention to it seems promising. None of those present should ever be permitted to monopolize the time, or to pursue any line of exposition that fails to quicken and hold the interest of the others, but by the same token each of them should have his right to his say in turn.
A Sabian class is opened normally with the Intonation of the Sacred Vowels and closed with the Benediction of the Elements. An alternative dismissal, appropriate when the emphasis at a given session has been more on the heart than the head side of realization, is the Admonition to the Senses. If in the use of the Intonation of the Sacred Vowels it is desired to provide a more obvious stress of the seven-and-five symbolism of major and minor vowels, distinguished by the four-line stanzas and two-line couplets, half the latter may be omitted according to taste. If the meeting is open to the public, and a collection is taken, the Blessing of the Offering should be employed in the manner suggested for the chapel service. If convenient, study groups should be held on Monday when the approach to the materials is mainly a matter of mind, and on Wednesday when it holds more to the devotional pattern. When the Sabian healing ritual is used at the beginning of the study group the usual invocation for the start of any classwork is omitted. And by the same token, if the healing ceremony is added at the end of a study period, there is no need for the customary class dismissal.