Hermetic.com | Crowley | Equinox | Vol I No ii

THE GARDEN OF JANUS


BY

ALEISTER CROWLEY

 

THE GARDEN OF JANUS

 

I

      THE cloud my bed is tinged with blood and foam.\\
        The vault yet blazes with the sun\\
      Writhing above the West, brave hippodrome\\
        Whose gladiators shock and shun\\
      As the blue night devours them, crested comb\\
        Of sleep's dead sea\\
      That eats the shores of life, rings round eternity!

 

II

      So, he is gone whose giant sword shed flame\\
        Into my bowels; my blood's bewitched;\\
      My brain's afloat with ecstasy of shame.\\
        That tearing pain is gone, enriched\\
      By his life-spasm; but he being gone, the same\\
        Myself is gone\\
      Sucked by the dragon down below death's horizon.

 

III

      I woke from this.  I lay upon the lawn;\\
        They had thrown roses on the moss                  {93}\\
      With all their thorns; we came there at the dawn,\\
        My lord and I; God sailed across\\
      The sky in's galleon of amber, drawn\\
        By singing winds\\
      While we wove garlands of the flowers of our minds.

 

IV

      All day my lover deigned to murder me,\\
        Linking his kisses in a chain\\
      About my neck; demon-embroidery!\\
        Bruises like far-off mountains stain\\
      The valley of my body of ivory!\\
        Then last came sleep.\\
      I wake, and he is gone; what should I do but weep?

 

V

      Nay, for I wept enough — more sacred tears! —\\
        When first he pinned me, gripped\\
      My flesh, and as a stallion that rears,\\
        Sprang, hero-thewed and satyr-lipped;\\
      Crushed, as a grape between his teeth, my fears;\\
        Sucked out my life\\
      And stamped me with the shame, the monstrous word of\\
         wife.

 

VI

      I will not weep; nay, I will follow him\\
        Perchance he is not far,                       {94}\\
      Bathing his limbs in some delicious dim\\
        Depth, where the evening star\\
      May kiss his mouth, or by the black sky's rim\\
        He makes his prayer\\
      To the great serpent that is coiled in rapture there.

 

VII

      I rose to seek him.  First my footsteps faint\\
        Pressed the starred moss; but soon\\
      I wandered, like some sweet sequestered saint,\\
        Into the wood, my mind.  The moon\\
      Was staggered by the trees; with fierce constraint\\
        Hardly one ray\\
      Pierced to the ragged earth about their roots that lay.

 

VIII

      I wandered, crying on my Lord.  I wandered\\
        Eagerly seeking everywhere.\\
      The stories of life that on my lips he squandered\\
        Grew into shrill cries of despair,\\
      Until the dryads frightened and dumfoundered\\
        Fled into space —\\
      Like to a demon-king's was grown my maiden face!

 

IX

      At last I came unto the well, my soul.\\
        In that still glass, I saw no sign                      {95}\\
      Of him, and yet — what visions there uproll\\
        To cloud that mirror-soul of mine?\\
      Above my head there screams a flying scroll\\
        Whose word burnt through\\
      My being as when stars drop in black disastrous dew.

 

X

      For in that scroll was written how the globe\\
        Of space became; of how the light\\
      Broke in that space and wrapped it in a robe\\
        Of glory; of how One most white\\
      Withdrew that Whole, and hid it in the lobe\\
        Of his right Ear,\\
      So that the Universe one dewdrop did appear.

 

XI

      Yea! and the end revealed a word, a spell,\\
        An incantation, a device\\
      Whereby the Eye of the Most Terrible\\
        Wakes from its wilderness of ice\\
      To flame, whereby the very core of hell\\
        Bursts from its rind,\\
      Sweeping the world away into the blank of mind.

 

XII

      So then I saw my fault; I plunged within\\
        The well, and brake the images\\
      That I had made, as I must make — Men spin                {96}\\
        The webs that snare them — while the knees\\
      Bend to the tyrant God — or unto Sin\\
        The lecher sunder!\\
      Ah! came that undulant light from over or from under?\\

 

XIII

      It matters not.  Come, change!  come, Woe!   Come, mask!\\
        Drive Light, Life, Love into the deep!\\
      In vain we labour at the loathsome task\\
        Not knowing if we wake or sleep;\\
      But in the end we lift the plumed casque\\
        Of the dead warrior;\\
      Find no chaste corpse therein, but a soft-smiling whore.

 

XIV

      Then I returned into myself, and took\\
        All in my arms, God's universe:\\
      Crushed its black juice out, while His anger shook\\
        His dumbness pregnant with a curse.\\
      I made me ink, and in a little book\\
        I wrote one word\\
      That God himself, the adder of Thought, had never heard.

 

XV

      It detonated.  Nature, God, mankind\\
        Like sulphur, nitre, charcoal, once                         {97}\\
      Blended, in one annihilation blind\\
        Were rent into a myriad of suns.\\
      Yea! all the mighty fabric of a Mind\\
        Stood in the abyss,\\
      Belching a Law for “That” more awful than for “This.”

 

XVI

      Vain was the toil.  So then I left the wood\\
        And came unto the still black sea,\\
      That oily monster of beatitude!\\
        ('Hath “Thee” for “Me,” and “Me” for “Thee!”)\\
      There as I stood, a mask of solitude\\
        Hiding a face\\
      Wried as a satyr's, rolled that ocean into space.

 

XVII

      Then did I build an altar on the shore\\
        Of oyster-shells, and ringed it round\\
      With star-fish.  Thither a green flame I bore\\
        Of phosphor foam, and strewed the ground\\
      With dew-drops, children of my wand, whose core\\
        Was trembling steel\\
      Electric that made spin the universal Wheel.

 

XVIII

      With that a goat came running from the cave\\
        That lurked below the tall white cliff.                   {98}\\
      Thy name! cried I.  The answer that gave\\
        Was but one tempest-whisper — “If!”\\
      Ah, then! his tongue to his black palate clave;\\
        For on soul's curtain\\
      Is written this one certainty that naught is certain!

 

XIX

      So then I caught that goat up in a kiss.\\
         And cried Io Pan!  Io Pan!  Io Pan!\\
      Then all this body's wealth of ambergris,\\
        (Narcissus-scented flesh of man!)\\
      I burnt before him in the sacrifice;\\
        For he was sure —\\
      Being the Doubt of Things, the one thing to endure!

 

XX

      Wherefore, when madness took him at the end,\\
        He, doubt-goat, slew the goat of doubt;\\
      And that which inward did for ever tend\\
        Came at the last to have come out;\\
      And I who had the World and God to friend\\
        Found all three foes!\\
      Drowned in that sea of changes, vacancies, and woes!

 

XXI

      Yet all that Sea was swallowed up therein;\\
        So they were not, and it was not.                         {99}\\
      As who should sweat his soul out through the skin\\
        And find (sad fool!) he had begot\\
      All that without him that he had left in,\\
        And in himself\\
      All he had taken out thereof, a mocking elf!

 

XXII

      But now that all was gone, great Pan appeared.\\
        Him then I strove to woo, to win,\\
      Kissing his curled lips, playing with his beard,\\
        Setting his brain a-shake, a-spin,\\
      By that strong wand, and muttering of the weird\\
        That only I\\
      Knew of all souls alive or dead beneath the sky.

 

XXIII

      So still I conquered, and the vision passed.\\
        Yet still was beaten, for I knew\\
      Myself was He, Himself, the first and last;\\
        And as an unicorn drinks dew\\
      From under oak-leaves, so my strength was cast\\
        Into the mire;\\
      For all I did was dream, and all I dreamt desire.

 

XXIV

      More; in this journey I had clean forgotten\\
        The quest, my lover.  But the tomb                        {100}\\
      Of all these thoughts, the rancid and the rotten,\\
        Proved in the end to be my womb\\
      Wherein my Lord and lover had begotten\\
        A little child\\
      To drive me, laughing lion, into the wanton wild!

 

XXV

      This child hath not one hair upon his head,\\
        But he hath wings instead of ears.\\
      No eyes hath he, but all his light is shed\\
        Within him on the ordered spheres\\
      Of nature that he hideth; and in stead\\
        Of mouth he hath\\
      One minute point of jet; silence, the lightning path!

 

XXVI

      Also his nostrils are shut up; for he\\
        Hath not the need of any breath;\\
      Nor can the curtain of eternity\\
        Cover that head with life or death.\\
      So all his body, a slim almond-tree,\\
        Knoweth no bough\\
      Nor branch nor twig nor bud, from never until now.

 

XXVII

      This thought I bred within my bowels, I am.\\
        I am in him, as he in me;                                 {101}\\
      And like a satyr ravishing a lamb\\
        So either seems, or as the sea\\
      Swallows the whale that swallows it, the ram\\
        Beats its own head\\
      Upon the city walls, that fall as it falls dead.

 

XXVIII

      Come, let me back unto the lilied lawn!\\
        Pile me the roses and the thorns,\\
      Upon this bed from which he hath withdrawn!\\
        He may return.  A million morns\\
      May follow that first dire daemonic dawn\\
        When he did split\\
      My spirit with his lightnings and enveloped it!

 

XXIX

      So I am stretched out naked to the knife,\\
        My whole soul twitching with the stress\\
      Of the expected yet surprising strife,\\
        A martyrdom of blessedness.\\
      Though Death came, I could kiss him into life;\\
        Though Life came, I\\
      Could kiss him into death, and yet nor live nor die!

 

XXX

      Yet I that am the babe, the sire, the dam,\\
        Am also none of these at all;                             {102}\\
      For now that cosmic chaos of I AM\\
        Bursts like a bubble.  Mystical\\
      The night comes down, a soaring wedge of flame\\
        Woven therein\\
      To be a sign to them who yet have never been.

 

XXXI

      The universe I measured with my rod.\\
        The blacks were balanced with the whites;\\
      Satan dropped down even as up soared God;\\
        Whores prayed and danced with anchorites.\\
      So in my book the even matched the odd:\\
        No word I wrote\\
      Therein, but sealed it with the signet of the goat.

 

XXXII

      This also I seal up.  Read thou herein\\
        Whose eyes are blind!  Thou may'st behold\\
      Within the wheel (that alway seems to spin\\
        All ways) a point of static gold.\\
      Then may'st thou out therewith, and fit it in\\
        That extreme sphere\\
      Whose boundless farness makes it infinitely near. 

 

{103}

 

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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.