UNDER the glittering horns of Capricornus, when the mountains of the North glistened like the teeth of the black wolf in the cold light of the moon, and when the broad lands below the fiery girdle of many-breasted Tellus blushed red in the arms of the summer sun, did Miriam seek the cave below the cavern, in which no light had ever shone, to bring forth the Light of the World. And on the third day she departed from the cave, and, entering the stable of the Sun, she placed her child in the manger of the Moon. Likewise was Mithras born under the tail of the Sea-Goat, and Horus, and Krishna — all mystic names of the mystic Child of Light.

I am the Ancient Child, the Great Disturber, the Great Tranquilliser. I am Yesterday, To-day, and To-morrow. My name is Alpha and Omega — the Beginning and the End. My dwelling-house is built betwixt the water and the earth; the pillars thereof are of fire, and the walls are of air, and the roof above is the breath of my nostrils, which is the spirit of the life of man.

I am born as an egg in the East, of silver, and of gold, and opalescent with the colours of precious stones; and with my Glory is the beast of the horizon made purple and scarlet, and orange, and green, many-coloured as a great peacock {191} caught up in the coils of a serpent of fire. Over the pillars of AEthyr do I sail, as a furnace of burnished brass; and blasts of fire pour from my nostrils, and bathe the land of dreams in the radiance of my Glory. And in the west the lid of mine Eye drops — down smites the Night of reckoning and destruction, that night of the slaughter of the evil, and of the overthrow of the wicked, and the burning of the damned.

Robed in the flames of my mouth, I compass the heavens, so that none shall behold me, and that the eyes of men shall be spared the torture of unutterable light. “Devourer of Millions of Years” is my name; “Lord of the Flame” is my name; for I am as an eye of Silver set in the heart of the Sun. Thou spreadest the locks of thine hair before thee, for I burn thee; thou shakest them about thy brow, so that thine eyes may not be blinded by the fire of my fury. I am He who was, who is, and who will be; I am the Creator, and the Destroyer, and the Redeemer of mankind. I have come as the Sun from the house of the roaring of lions, and at my coming shall there be laughter, and weeping, and singing, and gnashing of teeth. Ye shall tread upon the serpent and the scorpion, and the hosts of your enemies shall be as chaff before the sickle of your might: yet ye must be born in the cavern of darkness and be laid in the manger of the moon.

Lo! I am as a babe born in a crib of lilies and roses, and wrapped in the swaddling bands of June. Mine hands are delicate and small, and my feet are shod in flame, so that they touch not the kingdoms of this earth. I arise, and leave the cradle of my birth, and wander through the valleys, and over the hills, across the sun-scorched deserts of day, and {192} through the cool groves of night. Everywhere, everywhere, I find myself, in the deep pools, and in the dancing streams, and in the many-coloured surface of the mere: there I am white and wonderful, a child of loveliness and of beauty, a child to entice songs from the wild rose, and kisses from the zephyrs of dawn.

Herod would have slain me, and Kansa have torn me with his teeth of fire; but I eluded them, as a flame hidden in a cloud of smoke, and took refuge in the land of Ptah and sought sanctuary in the arms of Seb. There were the glories of Light revealed to me, and I became as a daughter of Ceres playing in the poppied fields of yellow corn: yet still as a sun-limbed bacchanal I trampled forth the foaming must from the purple grapes of Bacchus, and breathing it into the leaven of life, caused it to ferment, and bubble forth as the Wine of Iacchus. Then with the maiden, who was also myself. I partook of the Eucharist of Love — the corn and the wine, and became one.

Then there came unto me a woman subtle and beautiful to behold, whose breasts were as alabaster bowls filled with wine, and the purple hair of whose head was as a dark cloud on a stormy night. Dressed in a gauze of scarlet and gold, and jewelled with pearls and emeralds and magic stones, she, like a spider spun in a web of sunbeams and blood, danced before me, casting her jewels to the winds, and naked she sang to me: “O lover of mine heart, thy limbs are as chalcedony, white and round, and tinged with the mingling blush of the sapphire, the ruby, and the sard. Thy lips are as roses in June; and thine eyes as amethysts set in the vault of heaven. O! come kiss me, for I tremble for thee; fill me with love, {193} for I am consumed by the heat of my passion; say me, O slay me with kisses, burn me in the fire of thy kingdom, O slay me with the sword of thy rapture!”

Then I cried unto her in a loud voice saying: “O Queen of the lusts of flesh! O Queen of the lands haunted by satyrs! O Mistress of Night! O Mother of the mysteries of birth and death! Who art girt in the flames of passion, and jewelled with emerald, and moonstone, and chrysoleth. Lo! on thy brow burns the star-sapphire of heaven, thy girdle is as the serpent of Eden, and round thine ankles chatter the rubies and garnets of hell. Hearken, O Lilith! O Sorceress of the blood of life! My lips are for those who suckle not Good, and my kisses for those who cherish not Evil. And my kingdom is for the children of light who trample under foot the garment of shame, and rend from their loins the sackcloth of modesty. When Two shall be One, then shalt thou be crowned with a crown neither of gold nor of silver, nor yet of precious stones; but as with a crown of fire fashioned in the light of God’s glory. Yea! when my sword falleth, then that which is without shall be like unto that which is within; then tears shall be as kisses, and kisses as tears; then all shall be leavened and made whole, and thou shalt find in thine hand a sceptre, neither of lilies nor of gold, but a sceptre of light, yea! a sceptre of the holiness and loveliness of light and of glory!”

O Children of the land of Dreams! O ye who would cross the bar of sleep, and become as Children of Awakenment and Light. Woe unto you! for ye cleanse outside the cup and the platter; but within they are full of uncleanness. Ye are soaked in the blood of corruption, and choked with {194} the vomit of angry words. Close your eyes, O ye neophytes in the mysteries of God, lest ye be blinded, and cry out like a man whose sight has been smitten black by a burning torch of tar. O Children of Dreams! plough well the fields of night, and prepare them for the Sower of Dawn. Heed lest the golden corn ripen and ye be not ready to pluck the swollen ears, and feast, and become as Bezaleel, filled with a divine spirit of wisdom, and understanding, and knowledge — a cunning worker in gold, and in silver, and in brass, in scarlet, in purple, and in blue.

But woe unto ye who tarry by the wayside, for the evening is at hand; to-day is the dawn, tomorrow the night of weeping. Gird up your loins and speed to the hills; and perchance on the way under the cedars and the oaks ye meet God face to face and know. But be not downcast if ye find not God in the froth or the dregs of the first cup: drink and hold fast to the sword of resolution — onwards, ever onwards, and fear not!

Devils shall beset the path of the righteous, and demons, and all the elemental spirits of the Abyss. Yet fear not! for they add grandeur and glory to the might of God’s power. Pass on, but keep thy foot upon their necks, for in the region whither thou goest, the seraph and the snake dwell side by side.

Sume lege. Open the Book of THYSELF, take and read. Eat, for this is thy body; drink, for this is the blood of thy redemption. The sun thou seest by day, and the moon thou beholdest by night, and all the stars of heaven that burn above thee, are part of thyself — are thyself. And so is the bowl of Space which contains them, and the wine of Time in {195} which they float; for these two are part of thyself — are Thyself. And God also who casteth them forth from the coffers of his treasury. He, too, though thou knowest it not, is part of thyself — is THYSELF. All is in thee, and thou art in all, and separate existence is not, being but a net of dreams wherein the dreamers of night are ensnared. Read, and thou becomest; eat and drink, and thou art.

Though weak, thou art thine own master; listen not to the babblers of vain words, and thou shalt become strong. There is no revelation except thine own. There is no understanding except thine own. There is no consciousness apart from thee, but that it is held feodal to thee in the kingdom of thy Divinity. When thou knowest thou knowest, and there is none other beside thee, for all becometh as an armour around thee, and thou thyself as an invulnerable, invincible warrior of Light.

Heed not the pedants who chatter as apes among the treetops; watch rather the masters, who in the cave under the cavern breathe forth the breath of life.

One saith to thee:

“Abandon all easy, follow the difficult; eat not of the best, but of the most distasteful; pander not to thy pleasures, but feed well thy disgusts; console not thyself, but seek the waters of desolation; rest not thyself, but labour in the depths of the night; aspire not to things precious, but to things contemptible and low.”

But I say unto thee: heed not this vain man, this blatherer of words! For there is Godliness in ease, in fine dishes, and in pleasures, in consolations, in rest, and in precious things.

So if in thyself thou findest a jewelled goblet, I say unto {196} thee, drink from it, for it is the cup of thy salvation; seek not therefore a dull bowl of heavy lead!

Yet another saith unto thee:

“Will not anything, will nothing; seek not for the best, but for the worst. Despise thyself; slander thyself; speak lightly of thyself.”

And again:

“To enjoy the taste for all things, then have no taste for anything.”

“To know all things; then resolve to possess nothing.”

“To be all; then, indeed be willing to be naught.”

But I say unto thee: this one is filed like a fool’s bladder with wind and a rattling of dried peas; for he who wills everything, is he who seeks of the best; for he who honours himself, he who prides himself most; and he who speaks highly of himself, is he who also shall reign in the City of God.

“To have no taste for anything, then enjoy the taste of all things.

“To resolve to possess nothing, then possess all things.

“To be naught, then indeed be all.”

Open the book of Thyself in the cave under the cavern and read it by the light of thine own understanding, then presently thou shalt be born again, and be placed in the manger of the Moon in the stable of the Sun.

For, children! when ye halt at one thing, ye cease to open yourselves to all things. For to come to the All, ye must give up the All, and likewise possess the All. Verily ye must destroy all things and out of No-thing found and build the Temple of God as set up by Solomon the King, which is {197} placed between Time and Space; the pillars thereof are Eternity, and the walls Infinity, and the floor Immortality, and the Roof — but ye shall know of this hereafter! Spoil thyself if so thou readest thyself; but if it is written adorn thyself, then spare not the uttermost farthing, but deck thyself with all the jewels and gems of earth; and from a child playing with the sands on the sea-shore shalt thou become God, whose footstool is the Abyss, and from whose mouth goeth forth the sword of the salvation and destruction of the worlds, and in whose hand rest the seven stars of heaven.


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Part I: Index | Preface | The Black Watch-Tower | The Miser | The Spendthrift | The Bankrupt | The Prude | The Child | The Wanton | The Slave | The Warrior | The King | The White Watch-Tower

The Temple of Solomon the King | Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV | Part V | Part VI | Part VII | Part VIII | Part IX


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