THERE is an indifference which overleaps satisfaction; there is a surrender which overthrows victory, there is a resignation which shatters the fetters of anxiety, a relaxation which casts to the winds the manacles of despair. This is the hour of the second birth, when from the womb of the excess of misery is born the child of the nothingness of joy. Solve! For all must be melted in the crucible of affliction, all must be refined in the furnace of woe, and then on the anvil of strength must it be beaten out into a blade of gleaming joy. Coagula!

Weep and gnash your teeth, and sorrow sits crowned and exultant; therefore rise and gird on the armour of utter desolation! Slay anger, strangle sorrow, and drown despair; then a joy shall be born which is beyond love or hope, endurable, incorruptible. Come heaven, come hell! Once the Balances are adjusted, then shall the night pass away, and desire and sorrow vanish as a dream with the breath of the morning.

The war of the Freedom of Souls is not the brawling of slaves in the wine-dens, or the haggling of the shopmen in the market-place; it is the baring of the brand of life, that unsheathing of the Sword of Strength which lays all low before the devastation of its blade. Life must be held in {210} contempt — the life of self and the life of others. Here there must be no weakness, no sentiment, no reason, no mercy. All must taste of the desolation of war, and partake of the blood of the cup of death. O! warriors, ye cannot be too savage, to barbarous, too strong. On, O storm-blown sons of the fire of life! Success is your password; destruction is your standard; Victory is your reward!

Heed not the shrieking of women, or the crying of little children; for all must die, and not a stone must be left standing in the city of the World, lest darkness depart not. Haste! bring flint and steel, light the match, fire the thatch of the hovel and the cedar rafters of the palace; for all must be destroyed, and no man must delay, or falter, or turn back, or repent. Then from the ashes of Destruction will rise the King, the birthless and the deathless one, the great monarch who shall shake from his tangled beard the blood of strife, and who shall cast from his weary hand the sword of desolation.

Yea! from out the night flashes a sword of flame, from out the darkness speeds an arrow of fire!

I am alone, and stand at the helm of the barque of Death, and laugh at the fury of the waves; for the prow of my laughter smiteth the dark waters of destruction into a myriad jewels of unutterable and uttermost joy!

I am alone, and stand in the centre of the desert of Sorrow, and laugh at the misery of earth: for the music of my laughter whirleth the sands of desolation into a golden cloud of unutterable and uttermost joy!

I am alone, and stand on the storm cloud of life, and laugh at the shrieking of the winds; for the wings of my {211} laughter sweep away the web of outer darkness, and reveal the stars of unutterable and uttermost joy!

I am alone, and stand on the flames of the mountains of pleasure, and laugh at the fire of rapture; for the breath of my laughter bloweth the bright flames into a pillar of unutterable and uttermost joy.

I am alone, and stand amongst the ghosts of the dead, and laugh at the shivering of the shades, for the heart of my laughter pulseth as a mighty fountain of blood clothing the shadows of night with the spirit of unutterable and uttermost joy!

I am alone, yea alone, one against all; yet in my sword have I all things; for in it lives the strength of my might, and if joy come not at my beckoning, then joy shall be slain as a disobedient slave, and if sorrow depart not at my command, then shall sorrow speed through the valley of death as a foe that passeth not his neck beneath the yoke.

In the bastion of mine imagination lie all the munitions of my might; and from the tower of my resolution do I sweep away the stars, and pour forth fire and water on the world of laughter and weeping. I cannot be despoiled, for none can approach me; I cannot be succoured, for I am far beyond the path of man’s help. Yet neither would I if I could; for if I could, I would not; and if I would, I could not; for I have become as a giant amongst men, strong as he can only be who has feasted on the agony of life, and drunken of the cup of the sorrow of death, and towered above all things.

Laugher is mine, not the laughter of bitterness, nor the laughter of jest; but the laughter of strength and of life. I live like a mighty conquering Lord and all things are mine. {212} Fair groves and gardens, palaces of marble and fortresses of red sandstones; and the coffers of my treasury are filled with gold and silver and precious stones; and before my path the daughters of pleasure dance with unbraided tresses, scattering lilies and roses along my way. Life is a joy indeed, a rapture of clinging lips and of red wine, which flows in beads along the bronze and purple tresses, and then like rubies of blood finds refuge between the firm white breasts of maddened maidenhood.

Hark! … What is that, the yelping of a dog? No, it is the death-cry of a man! … Ay! the biting of sharp swords, and the shrieking of many women. Ho! the feast has indeed begun, the rabble have broken in, scythes glisten in the torch-light and tables are overturned; wine is gulped down by filthy mouths, and spilt and mingled with the blood of the slaughtered children of Eros, so that the banquet of love has become the shambles of death. …

Now all is still and the rose has given birth to the poppy, and the bronze tresses of the revellers lie motionless as snakes gorged on clotted blood, and shimmer wantonly in the moonlight between discovered limbs and disemboweled entrails. Soon the quivering maggots, which once were the brains of men, will lick up the crumbs of the feast in the temple of love, and the farce will be ended.

I rise from the corpse of her I kissed, and laugh; for all is beautiful, more beautiful still; for I create from the godless butchery of fiends the overpowering grandeur of death. There she stands before me, rose-limbed, crimson-lipped, with breast of scarlet flame, her tresses floating about her like a cloud of ruby fire, and the tongue which creepeth from {213} her lips is as a carbuncle wet with the strong blood of warriors. I laugh, and in the frenzy of my exultation she is mine; and on that soft bed of bloody corpses do I beget on her the laughter of the scorn of war, the joy of the contempt of sorrow.

Life is a horror, a writhing of famished serpents, yet I care not, for I laugh. The deserts awe me not, neither do the seas restrain the purpose of my mirth. Life is as prisoner in a dungeon, still I laugh; for I, in my strength, have begotten a might beyond the walls of prisons; for life and death have become one to me — as little children gambolling on the sands and splashing in the wavelets of the sea. I laugh at their pretty play, and upon the billows of my laughter do I build up the Kingdom of the Great in which all carouse at one table. Here virgins mingle with courtesans, and the youth and the old man know neither wisdom nor folly.

I have conquered the deserts and the forests, the valleys and the mountains, the seas and the lands. My palace is built of fire and water, of earth and of air, and the secret place within the sanctuary of my temple is as the abode of everlasting mirth. All is love, life, and laugher; death and decay are not: all is joy, purity, and freedom; all is as the fire of mystery; all is all; for my kingdom is known as the City of God.

The slave weepeth, for he is alone; O be not slaves unto yourselves, lashing your backs with the sorrows of your own begetting. But rather become strong in the widowhood of your joy, and evoke from the horror of your seclusion the morion of the victory of resolution, and from the misery of your loneliness, the sword of the destruction of desire. Then {214} shall ye turn your faces towards the West, and stride after the night of desolation, and on the cup of the sunset shall ye become strong as warriors fed on the blood of bulls, and shall step out past the morning and the night in the manliness of might, to the conquest of thyself, and to the usurpation of the Throne of God!


Previous | Index | Next

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


If you have found this material useful or enlightening, you may also be interested in


Ordo Templi Orientis, O.T.O., and the O.T.O. Lamen design are registered trademarks of Ordo Templi Orientis.


All copyrights on Aleister Crowley material are held by Ordo Templi Orientis. This site is not an official O.T.O. website, and is neither sponsored by nor controlled by Ordo Templi Orientis.

The text of this Aleister Crowley material is made available here only for personal and non-commercial use. This material is provided here in a convenient searchable form as a study resource for those seekers looking for it in their research. For any commercial use, please contact Ordo Templi Orientis.