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Publication in Class C


The Sevenfold Mystery of the Ineffable Love; the Coming of the Lord in the Air as King and Judge of this corrupted World;


Under the form of a Discourse between Marsyas an Adept and Olympas his Pupil the Whole Secret of the Way of Initiation is laid open from the Beginning to the End; for the Instruction of the Little Children of the Light.

Written in Trembling and Humility for the Brethren of the A∴ A∴ by Their very dutiful Servant, an Aspirant to their Sublime Order,

Aleister Crowley


A LITTLE before Dawn, the pupil comes to greet his Master, and begs instruction.

Inspired by his Angel, he demands the Doctrine of being rapt away into the Knowledge and Conversation of Him.

The Master discloses the doctrine of Passive Attention or Waiting.

This seeming hard to the Pupil, it is explained further, and the Method of Resignation, Constancy, and Patience inculcated. The Paradox of Equilibrium. The necessity of giving oneself wholly up the the new element. Egoism rebuked.

The Master, to illustrate this Destruction of the Ego, describes the Visions of Dhyana.

He further describes the defence of the Soul against assailing Thoughts, and shows that the duality of Consciousness is a blasphemy against the Unity of God; so that even the thought called God is a denial of God-as-He-is-in-Himself.

The pupil sees nothing but a blank midnight in this Emptying of the Soul. He is shown that this is the necessary condition of Illumination. Distinction is further made between these three Dhyanas, and those early visions in which things appear as objective. With these three Dhyanas, moreover, are Four other of the Four Elements: and many more.

Above these is the Veil of Paroketh. Its guardians.

The Rosy Cross lies beyond this veil, and therewith the vision called Vishvarupadarshana. Moreover, there is the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel.

The infinite number and variety of these Visions.

The impossibility of revealing all these truths to the outer and uninitiated world.

The Vision of the Universal Peacock–Atmadarshana. The confusion of the Mind, and the Perception of its self-contradiction.

The Second Veil–the Veil of the Abyss.

The fatuity of Speech.

A discussion as to the means by which the vision arises in the pure Soul is useless; suffice it that in the impure Soul no Vision will arise. The practical course is therefore to cleanse the Soul.

The four powers of the Sphinx; even adepts hardly attain to one of them!

The final Destruction of the Ego.

The Master confesses that he has lured the disciple by the promise of Joy, as the only thing comprehensible by him, although pain and joy are transcended even in early visions.

Ananda (bliss)–and its opposite–mark the first steps of the path. Ultimately all things are transcended; and even so, this attainment of Peace is but as a scaffolding to the Palace of the King.

The sheaths of the soul. The abandonment of all is necessary; the adept recalls his own tortures, as all that he loved was torn away.

The Ordeal of the Veil of the Abyss; the Unbinding of the Fabric of Mind, and its ruin.

The distinction between philosoÿhical credence and interior certitude.

Sammasati–the trance wherein the adept perceives his causal connection with the Universe; past, present, and future.

Mastering the Reason, he becomes as a little child, and invokes his Holy Guardian Angel, the Augoeides.

Atmadarshana arising is destroyed by the Opening of the Eye of Shiva; the annihilation of the Universe. The adept is destroyed, and there arises the Master of the Temple.

The pupil, struck with awe, proclaims his devotion to the Master; whereat the latter bids him rather unite himself with the Augoeides.

Yet, following the great annihilation, the adept reappears as an Angel to instruct men in this doctrine.

The Majesty of the Master described.

The pupil, wonder-struck, swears to attain, and asks for further instruction.

The Master describes the Eight Limbs of Yoga.

The pupil lamenting the difficulty of attainment, the Master shows forth the sweetness of the hermit's life.

One doubt remains: will not the world be able instantly to recognise the Saint? The Master replies that only imperfect Saints reveal themselves as such. Of these are the cranks and charlatans, and those that fear and deny Life. But let us fix our thoughts on Love, and not on the failings of others!

The Master invokes the Augoeides; the pupil through sympathy is almost rapt away.

The Augoeides hath given the Master a message; namely, to manifest the New Way of the Equinox of Horus, as revealed in Liber Legis.

He does so, and reconciles it with the Old Way by inviting the Test of Experiment. They would go therefore to the Desert or the Mountains–nay! here and now shall it be accomplished.

Peace to all beings!


OLYMPAS.Master, ere the ruby Dawn\\
Gild the dew of leaf and lawn,\\
Bidding the petals to unclose\\
Of heaven's imperishable Rose,\\
Brave heralds, banners flung afar\\
Of the lone and secret star,\\
I come to greet thee. Here I bow\\
To earth this consecrated brow!\\
As a lover woos the Moon\\
Aching in a silver swoon,\\
I reach my lips towards thy shoon,\\
Mendicant of the mystic boon!
MARSYAS.What wilt thou?
OLYMPAS.Let mine Angel say!\\
“Utterly to be rapt away!”
MARSYAS.How, whence, and whither?
OLYMPAS.By my kiss\\
From that abode to this–to this!“\\
My wings?
MARSYAS.Thou hast no wings. But see\\
An eagle sweeping from the Byss\\
Where God stands. Let him ravish thee,\\
And bear thee to a boundless bliss!
OLYMPAS.How should I call him? How beseech?
MARSYAS.Silence is lovelier than Speech.\\
Only on a windless tree\\
Falls the dew, Felicity!\\
One ripple on the water mars\\
The magic mirror of the Stars.
OLYMPAS.My soul bends to the athletic stress\\
Of God's immortal loveliness.\\
Tell me, what wit avails the clod\\
To know the nearness of its God?
MARSYAS.First, let the soul be poised, and fledge\\
Truth's feather on mind's razor-edge.\\
Next, let no memory, feeling, hope\\
Stain all its starless horoscope.\\
Last, let it be content, twice void;\\
Not to be suffered or enjoyed;\\
Motionless, blind and deaf and dumb—\\
So may it to its kingdom come!
OLYMPAS.Dear master, can this be? The wine\\
Embittered with dark discipline?\\
For the soul loves her mate, the sense.
MARSYAS.This bed is sterile. Thou must fence\\
Thy soul from all her foes, the creatures\\
That by their soft and siren natures\\
Lure thee to shipwreck!
OLYMPAS.Thou hast said:\\
“God is in all.”
MARSYAS.In sooth.
OLYMPAS.Why dread\\
The Godhood?
MARSYAS.Only as the thought\\
Is God, adore it. But the soul creates\\
Misshapen fiends, incestuous mates.\\
Slay these: they are false shadows of\\
The never-waning moon of love.
OLYMPAS.What thought is worthy?
MARSYAS.Truly none\\
Save one, in that it is but one.\\
Keep the mind constant; thou shalt see\\
Ineffable felicity.\\
Increase the will, and thou shalt find\\
It hath the strength to be resigned.\\
Resign the will; and from the string\\
Will's arrow shall have taken wing,\\
And from the desolate abode\\
Found the immaculate heart of God!
OLYMPAS.The word is hard!
MARSYAS.All things excite\\
Their equal and their opposite.\\
Be great, and thou shalt be–how small!\\
Be naught, and thou shalt be the All!\\
Eat not; all meat shall fill thy mouth:\\
Drink, and thy soul shall die of drouth!\\
Fill thyself; and that thou seekest\\
Is diluted to its weakest.\\
Empty thyself; the ghosts of night\\
Flee before the living Light.\\
Who clutches straws is drowned; but he\\
That hath the secret of the sea,\\
Lives with the whole lust of his limbs,\\
Takes hold of water's self, and swims.\\
See, the ungainly albatross\\
Stumbles awkwardly across\\
Earth–one wing-beat, and he flies\\
Most graceful gallant in the skies!\\
So do thou leave thy thoughts, intent\\
On thy new noble element!\\
Throw the earth shackles off, and cling\\
To what imperishable thing\\
Arises from the Married death\\
Of thine own self in that whereon\\
Thou art fixed.
OLYMPAS.Then all life's loyal breath\\
Is a waste wind. All joy forgone,\\
I must strive ever?
MARSYAS.Cease to strive!\\
Destroy this partial I, this moan\\
Of an hurt beast! Sores keep alive\\
By scratching. Health is peace. Unknown\\
And unexpressed because at ease\\
Are the Most High Congruities.
OLYMPAS.Then death is thine “attainment”? I\\
Can do no better than to die!
MARSYAS.Indeed, that “I” that is not God\\
Is but a lion in the road!\\
Knowest thou not (even now!) how first\\
The fetters of Restriction burst?\\
In the rapture of the heart\\
Self hath neither lot nor part.
OLYMPAS.Tell me, dear master, how the bud\\
First breaks to brilliance of bloom:\\
What ecstasy of brain and blood\\
Shatters the seal upon the tomb\\
Of him whose gain was the world's loss\\
Our father Christian Rosycross!
MARSYAS.First, one is like a gnarled old oak\\
On a waste heath. Shrill shrieks the wind.\\
Night smothers earth. Storm swirls to choke\\
The throat of silence! Hard behind\\
Gathers a blacker cloud than all.\\
But look! but look! it thrones a ball\\
Of blistering fire. It breaks. The lash\\
Of lightning snakes him forth. One crash\\
Splits the old tree. One rending roar!—\\
And night is darker than before.
OLYMPAS.Nay, master, master! Terror hath\\
So fierce an hold upon the path?\\
Life must lie crushed, a charred black swath,\\
In that red harvest's aftermath!
MARSYAS.Life lives. Storm passes. Clouds dislimn.\\
The night is clear. And now to him\\
Who hath endured is given the boon\\
Of an immeasurable moon.\\
The air about the adept congeals\\
To crystal; in his heart he feels\\
One needle pang; then breaks that splendour\\
Infinitely pure and tender …\\
–And the ice drags him down!
OLYMPAS.But may\\
Our trembling frame, our clumsy clay,\\
Endure such anguish?
MARSYAS.In the worm\\
Lurks an unconquerable germ\\
Identical. A sparrow's fall\\
Were the Destruction of the All!\\
More; know that this surpasses skill\\
To express its ecstasy. The thrill\\
Burns in the memory like the glory\\
Of some far beaconed promontory\\
Where no light shines but on the comb\\
Of breakers, flickerings of the foam!
OLYMPAS.The path ends here?
MARSYAS.Ingenuous one!\\
The path–the true path–scarce begun.\\
When does the night end?
OLYMPAS.When the sun,\\
Crouching below the horizon,\\
Flings up his head, tosses his mane,\\
Ready to leap.
MARSYAS.Even so. Again\\
The adept secures his subtle fence\\
Against the hostile shafts of sense,\\
Pins for a second his mind; as you\\
May have seen some huge wrestler do.\\
With all his gathered weight heaped, hurled,\\
Resistless as the whirling world,\\
He holds his foeman to the floor\\
For one great moment and no more.\\
So–then the sun-blaze! All the night\\
Bursts to a vivid orb of light.\\
There is no shadow; nothing is,\\
But the intensity of bliss.\\
Being is blasted. That exists.
MARSYAS.But the mind, that mothers mists,\\
Abides not there. The adept must fall\\
OLYMPAS.There's an end of all?
MARSYAS.But not an end of this! Above\\
All life as is the pulse of love,\\
So this transcends all love.
OLYMPAS.Ah me!\\
Who may attain?
MARSYAS.Rare souls.
Imaged a shadow of this light.
MARSYAS.Such is its sacramental might\\
That to recall it radiates\\
Its symbol. The priest elevates\\
The Host, and instant blessing stirs\\
The hushed awaiting worshippers.
OLYMPAS.Then how secure the soul's defence?\\
How baffle the besieger, Sense?
MARSYAS.See the beleagured city, hurt\\
By hideous engines, sore begirt\\
And gripped by lines of death, well scored\\
With shell, nigh oÿen to the sword!\\
Now comes the leader; courage, run\\
Contagious through the garrison!\\
Repair the trenches! Man the wall!\\
Restore the ruined arsenal!\\
Serve the great guns! The assailants blench;\\
They are driven from the foremost trench.\\
The deadliest batteries belch their hell\\
No more. So day by day fought well,\\
We silence gun by gun. At last\\
The fiercest of the fray is past;\\
The circling hills are ours. The attack\\
Is over, save for the rare crack,\\
Long dropping shots from hidden forts;—\\
–So is it with our thoughts!
OLYMPAS.The hostile thoughts, the evil things!\\
They hover on majestic wings,\\
Like vultures waiting for a man\\
To drop from the slave-caravan!
MARSYAS.All thoughts are evil. Thought is two:\\
The seer and the seen. Eschew\\
That supreme blasphemy, my son,\\
Remembering that God is One.
OLYMPAS.God is a thought!
MARSYAS.The “thought” of God\\
Is but a shattered emerod:\\
A plague, an idol, a delusion,\\
Blasphemy, schism, and confusion!
OLYMPAS Banish my one high thought? The night\\
Indeed were starless.
MARSYAS Very right!\\
But that impalpable inane\\
Is the condition of success;\\
Even as earth lies black to gain\\
Spring's green and autumn's fruitfulness.
OLYMPAS I dread this midnight of the soul.
MARSYAS Welcome the herald!
OLYMPAS How control\\
The horror of the mind? The insane\\
Dead melancholy?
MARSYAS Trick is vain.\\
Sheer manhood must support the strife,\\
And the trained Will, the Root of Life,\\
Bear the adept triumphant.
MARSYAS The reason, like a chime of bells\\
Ripped by the lightning, cracks.
OLYMPAS And these\\
Are the first sights the magus sees?
MARSYAS The first true sights. Bright images\\
Throng the clear mind at first, a crowd\\
Of Gods, lights, armies, landscapes; loud\\
Reverberations of the Light.\\
But these are dreams, things in the mind,\\
Reveries, idols. Thou shalt find\\
No rest therein. The former three\\
(Lightning, moon, sun) are royally\\
Liminal to the Hall of Truth.\\
Also there be with them, in sooth,\\
Their brethren. There's the vision called\\
The Lion of the Light, a brand\\
Of ruby flame and emerald\\
Waved by the Hermeneutic Hand.\\
There is the Chalice, whence the flood\\
Of God's beatitude of blood\\
Flames. O to sing those starry tunes!\\
O colder than a million moons!\\
O vestal waters! Wine of love\\
Wan as the lyric soul thereof!\\
There is the Wind, a whirling sword,\\
The savage rapture of the air\\
Tossed beyond space and time. My Lord,\\
My Lord, even now I see Thee there\\
In infinite motion! And beyond\\
There is the Disk, the wheel of things;\\
Like a black boundless diamond\\
Whirring with millions of wings!
MARSYAS Know also that above\\
These portents hangs no veil of love;\\
But, guarded by unsleeping eyes\\
Of twice seven score severities,\\
The Veil that only rips apart\\
When the spear strikes to Jesus' heart!\\
A mighty Guard of Fire are they\\
With sabres turning every way!\\
Their eyes are millstones greater than\\
The earth; their mouths run seas of blood.\\
Woe be to that accurséd man\\
Of whom they are the iniquities!\\
Swept in their wrath's avenging flood\\
To black immitigable seas!\\
Woe to the seeker who shall fail\\
To rend that vexful virgin Veil!\\
Fashion thyself by austere craft\\
Into a single azure shaft\\
Loosed from the string of Will; behold\\
The Rainbow! Thou art shot, pure flame,\\
Past the reverberated Name\\
Into the Hall of Death. Therein\\
The Rosy Cross is subtly seen.
OLYMPAS Is that a vision, then?
OLYMPAS Tell me thereof!
MARSYAS O not of this!\\
Of all the flowers in God's field\\
We name not this. Our lips are sealed\\
In that the Universal Key\\
Lieth within its mystery.\\
But know thou this. These visions give\\
A hint both faint and fugitive\\
Yet haunting, that behind them lurks\\
Some Worker, greater than his works.\\
Yea, it is given to him who girds\\
His loins up, is not fooled by words,\\
Who takes life lightly in his hand\\
To throw away at Will's command,\\
To know that View beyond the Veil.\\
O petty purities and pale,\\
These visions I have spoken of!\\
The infinite Lord of Light and Love\\
Breaks on the soul like dawn. See! See!\\
Great God of Might and Majesty!\\
Beyond sense, beyond sight, a brilliance\\
Burning from His glowing glance!\\
Formless, all the worlds of flame\\
Atoms of that fiery frame!\\
The adept caught up and broken;\\
Slain, before His Name be spoken!\\
In that fire the soul burns up.\\
One drop from that celestial cup\\
Is an abyss, an infinite sea\\
That sucks up immortality!\\
O but the Self is manifest\\
Through all that blaze! Memory stumbles\\
Like a blind man for all the rest.\\
Speech, like a crag of limestone, crumbles,\\
While this one soul of thought is sure\\
Through all confusion to endure,\\
Infinite Truth in one small span:\\
This that is God is Man.
OLYMPAS Master! I tremble and rejoice.
MARSYAS Before His own authentic voice\\
Doubt flees. The chattering choughs of talk\\
Scatter like sparrows from a hawk.
OLYMPAS Thenceforth the adept is certain of\\
The mystic mountain? Light and Love\\
Are Life therein, and they are his?
MARSYAS Even so. And One supreme there is\\
Whom I have known, being He. Withdrawn\\
Within the curtains of the dawn\\
Dwells that concealed. Behold! he is\\
A blush, a breeze, a song, a kiss,\\
A rosy flame like Love, his eyes\\
Blue, the quintessence of all skies,\\
His hair a foam of gossamer\\
Pale gold as jasmine, lovelier\\
Than all the wheat of Paradise.\\
O the dim water-wells his eyes!\\
There is such depth of Love in them\\
That the adept is rapt away,\\
Dies on that mouth, a gleaming gem\\
Of dew caught in the boughs of Day!
OLYMPAS The hearing of it is so sweet\\
I swoon to silence at thy feet.
OLYMPAS Exhaust\\
The Word!
MARSYAS Had I a million songs,\\
And every song a million words,\\
And every word a million meanings,\\
I could not count the choral throngs\\
Of Beauty's beatific birds,\\
Or gather up the paltry gleanings\\
Of this great harvest of delight!\\
Hast thou not heard the word aright?\\
That world is truly infinite.\\
Even as a cube is to a square\\
Is that to this.
OLYMPAS Royal and rare!\\
Infinite light of burning wheels!
MARSYAS Ay! The imagination reels.\\
Thou must attain before thou know,\\
And when thou knowest–Mighty woe\\
That silence grips the willing lips!
OLYMPAS Ever was speech the thought's eclipse.
MARSYAS Ay, not to veil the truth to him\\
Who sought it, groping in the dim\\
Halls of illusion, said the sages\\
In all the realms, in all the ages,\\
“Keep silence. ” By a word should come\\
Your sight, and we who see are dumb!\\
We have sought a thousand times to teach\\
Our knowledge; we are mocked by speech.\\
So lewdly mocked, that all this word\\
Seems dead, a cloudy crystal blurred,\\
Though it cling closer to life's heart\\
Than the best rhapsodies of art!
OLYMPAS Yet speak!
MARSYAS Ah, could I tell thee of\\
These infinite things of Light and Love!\\
There is the Peacock; in his fan\\
Innumerable plumes of Pan!\\
Oh! every plume hath countless eyes;\\
–Crown of created mysteries!—\\
Each holds a Peacock like the First.
OLYMPAS How can this be?
MARSYAS The mind's accurst.\\
It cannot be. It is. Behold,\\
Battalion on battalion rolled!\\
There is war in Heaven! The soul sings still,\\
Struck by the plectron of the Will;\\
But the mind's dumb; its only cry\\
The shriek of its last agony!
OLYMPAS Surely it struggles.
MARSYAS Bitterly!\\
And, mark! it must be strong to die!\\
The weak and partial reason dips\\
One edge, another springs, as when\\
A melting iceberg reels and tips\\
Under the sun. Be mighty then,\\
A lord of Thought, beyond wit and wonder\\
Balanced–then push the whole mind under,\\
Sunk beyond chance of floating, blent\\
Rightly with its own element,\\
Not lifting jagged peaks and bare\\
To the unsympathetic air!\\
This is the second veil; and hence\\
As first we slew the things of sense\\
Upon the altar of their God,\\
So must the Second Period\\
Slay the ideas, to attain\\
To that which is, beyond the brain.
OLYMPAS To that which is?–not thought? not sense?
MARSYAS Knowledge is but experience\\
Made conscious of itself. The bee,\\
Past master of geometry,\\
Hath not one word of all of it;\\
For wisdom is not mother-wit!\\
So the adept is called insane\\
For his frank failure to explain.\\
Language creates false thoughts; the true\\
Breed language slowly. Following\\
Experience of a thing we knew\\
Arose the need to name the thing.\\
So, ancients likened a man's mind\\
To the untamed evasive wind.\\
Some fool thinks names are things; and boasts\\
Aloud of spirits and of ghosts.\\
Religion follows on a pun!\\
And we, who know that Holy One\\
Of whom I told thee, seek in vain\\
Figure or word to make it plain.
OLYMPAS Despair of man!
MARSYAS Man is the seed\\
Of the unimaginable flower.\\
By singleness of thought and deed\\
It may bloom now–this actual hour!
OLYMPAS The soul made safe, is vision sure\\
To rise therein?
MARSYAS Though calm and pure\\
It seem, maybe some thought hath crept\\
Into his mind to baulk the adept.\\
The expectation of success\\
Suffices to destroy the stress\\
Of the one thought. But then, what odds?\\
“Man's vision goes, dissolves in God's;”\\
Or, “by God's grace the Light is given\\
To the elected heir of heaven. “\\
These are but idle theses, dry\\
Dugs of the cow Theology.\\
Business is business. The one fact\\
That we know is: the gods exact\\
A stainless mirror. Cleanse thy soul!\\
Perfect the will's austere control!\\
For the rest, wait! The sky once clear,\\
Dawn needs no prompting to appear!
OLYMPAS Enough! it shall be done.
MARSYAS Beware!\\
Easily trips the big word “dare. “\\
Each man's an OEdipus, that thinks\\
He hath the four powers of the Sphinx,\\
Will, Courage, Knowledge, Silence. Son,\\
Even the adepts scarce win to one!\\
Thy Thoughts–they fall like rotten fruits.\\
But to destroy the power that makes\\
These thoughts–thy Self? A man it takes\\
To tear his soul up by the roots!\\
This is the mandrake fable, boy!
OLYMPAS You told me that the Path was joy.
MARSYAS A lie to lure thee!
And joy are twin toys of the brain.\\
Even early visions pass beyond!
OLYMPAS Not all the crabbed runes I have conned\\
Told me so plain a truth. I see,\\
Inscrutable Simplicity!\\
Crushed like a blind-worm by the heel\\
Of all I am, perceive, and feel,\\
My truth was but the partial pang\\
That chanced to strike me as I sang.
MARSYAS In the beginning, violence\\
Marks the extinction of the sense.\\
Anguish and rapture rack the soul.\\
These are disruptions of control.\\
Self-poised, a brooding hawk, there hangs\\
In the still air the adept. The bull\\
On the firm earth goes not so smooth!\\
So the first fine ecstatic pangs\\
Pass; balance comes.
OLYMPAS How wonderful\\
Are these tall avenues of truth!
MARSYAS So the first flash of light and terror\\
Is seen as shadow, known as error.\\
Next, light comes as light; as it grows\\
The sense of peace still steadier glows;\\
And the fierce lust, that linked the soul\\
To its God, attains a chaste control.\\
Intimate, an atomic bliss,\\
Is the last phrasing of that kiss.\\
Not ecstasy, but peace, pure peace!\\
Invisible the dew sublimes\\
From the great mother, subtly climbs\\
And loves the leaves! Yea, in the end,\\
Vision all vision must transcend.\\
These glories are mere scaffolding\\
To the Closed Palace of the King.
OLYMPAS Yet, saidst thou, ere the new flower shoots\\
The soul is torn up by the roots.
MARSYAS Now come we to the intimate things\\
Known to how few! Man's being clings\\
First to the outer. Free from these\\
The inner sheathings, and he sees\\
Those sheathings as external. Strip\\
One after one each lovely lip\\
From the full rose-but! Ever new\\
Leaps the next petal to the view.\\
What binds them by Desire? Disease\\
Most dire of direful Destiny's!
OLYMPAS I have abandoned all to tread\\
The brilliant pathway overhead!
MARSYAS Easy to say. To abandon all,\\
All must be first loved and possessed.\\
Nor thou nor I have burst the thrall.\\
All–as I offered half in jest,\\
Sceptic–was torn away from me.\\
Not without pain! THEY slew my child,\\
Dragged my wife down to infamy\\
Loathlier than death, drove to the wild\\
My tortured body, stripped me of\\
Wealth, health, youth, beauty, ardour, love.\\
Thou has abandoned all? Then try\\
A speck of dust within the eye!
OLYMPAS But that is different!
MARSYAS Life is one.\\
Magic is life. The physical\\
(Men name it) is a house of call\\
For the adept, heir of the sun!\\
Bombard the house! it groans and gapes.\\
The adept runs forth, and so escapes\\
That ruin!
OLYMPAS Smoothly parallel\\
The ruin of the mind as well?
MARSYAS Ay! Hear the Ordeal of the Veil,\\
The Second Veil! … O spare me this\\
Magical memory! I pale\\
To show the Veil of the Abyss.\\
Nay, let confession be complete!
OLYMPAS Master, I bend me at thy feet—\\
Why do they sweat with blood and dew?
MARSYAS Blind horror catches at my breath.\\
The path of the abyss runs through\\
Things darker, dismaller than death!\\
Courage and will! What boots their force?\\
The mind rears like a frightened horse.\\
There is no memory possible\\
Of that unfathomable hell.\\
Even the shadows that arise\\
Are things to dreadful to recount!\\
There's no such doom in Destiny's\\
Harvest of horror. The white fount\\
Of speech is stifled at its source.\\
Know, the sane spirit keeps its course\\
By this, that everything it thinks\\
Hath causal or contingent links.\\
Destroy them, and destroy the mind!\\
O bestial, bottomless, and blind\\
Black pit of all insanity!\\
The adept must make his way to thee!\\
This is the end of all our pain,\\
The dissolution of the brain!\\
For lo! in this no mortar sticks;\\
Down come the house–a hail of bricks!\\
The sense of all I hear is drowned;\\
Tap, tap, isolated sound,\\
Patters, clatters, batters, chatters,\\
Tap, tap, tap, and nothing matters!\\
Senseless hallucinations roll\\
Across the curtain of the soul.\\
Each ripple on the river seems\\
The madness of a maniac's dreams!\\
So in the self no memory-chain\\
Or causal wisp to bind the straws!\\
The Self disrupted! Blank, insane,\\
Both of existence and of laws,\\
The Ego and the Universe\\
Fall to one black chaotic curse.
OLYMPAS So ends philosoÿhy's inquiry:\\
“Summa scientia nihil scire. ”
MARSYAS Ay, but that reasoned thesis lacks\\
The impact of reality.\\
This vision is a battle axe\\
Splitting the skull. O pardon me!\\
But my soul faints, my stomach sinks.\\
Let me pass on!
OLYMPAS My being drinks\\
The nectar-poison of the Sphinx.\\
This is a bitter medicine!
MARSYAS Black snare that I was taken in!\\
How one may pass I hardly know.\\
Maybe time never blots the track.\\
Black, black, intolerably black!\\
Go, spectre of the ages, go!\\
Suffice it that I passed beyond.\\
I found the secret of the bond\\
Of thought to thought through countless years\\
Through many lives, in many spheres,\\
Brought to a point the dark design\\
Of this existence that is mine.\\
I knew my secret. “All I was”\\
I brought into the burning-glass,\\
And all its focussed light and heat\\
Charred “all I am. ” The rune's complete\\
When “all I shall be” flashes by\\
Like a shadow on the sky.\\
Then I dropped my reasoning.\\
Vacant and accursed thing!\\
By my Will I swept away\\
The web of metaphysic, smiled\\
At the blind labyrinth, where the grey\\
Old snake of madness wove his wild\\
Curse! As I trod the trackless way\\
Through sunless gorges of Cathay,\\
I became a little child.\\
By nameless rivers, swirling through\\
Chasms, a fantastic blue,\\
Month by month, on barren hills,\\
In burning heat, in bitter chills,\\
Trÿic forest, Tartar snow,\\
Smaragdine archipelago,\\
See me–led by some wise hand\\
That I did not understand.\\
Morn and noon and eve and night\\
I, the forlorn eremite,\\
Called on Him with mild devotion,\\
As the dew-drop woos the ocean.\\
In my wanderings I came\\
To an ancient park aflame\\
With fairies' feet. Still wrapped in love\\
I was caught up, beyond, above\\
The tides of being. The great sight\\
Of the intolerable light\\
Of the whole universe that wove\\
The labyrinth of life and love\\
Blazed in me. Then some giant will,\\
Mine or another's thrust a thrill\\
Through the great vision. All the light\\
Went out in an immortal night,\\
The world annihilated by\\
The opening of the Master's Eye.\\
How can I tell it?
OLYMPAS Master, master!\\
A sense of some divine disaster\\
Abases me.
MARSYAS Indeed, the shrine\\
Is desolate of the divine!\\
But all the illusion gone, behold\\
The one that is!
OLYMPAS Royally rolled,\\
I hear strange music in the air!
MARSYAS It is the angelic choir, aware\\
Of the great Ordeal dared and done\\
By one more Brother of the Sun!
OLYMPAS Master, the shriek of a great bird\\
Blends with the torrent of the thunder.
MARSYAS It is the echo of the word\\
That tore the universe asunder.
OLYMPAS Master, thy stature spans the sky.
MARSYAS Verily; but it is not I.\\
The adept dissolves–pale phantom form\\
Blown from the black mouth of the storm.\\
It is another that arises!
OLYMPAS Yet in thee, through thee!
MARSYAS I am not.
OLYMPAS For me thou art.
MARSYAS So that suffices\\
To seal thy will? To cast thy lot\\
Into the lap of God? Then, well!
OLYMPAS Ay, there is no more potent spell.\\
Through life, through death, by land and sea\\
Most surely will I follow thee.
MARSYAS Follow thyself, not me. Thou hast\\
An Holy Guardian Angel, bound\\
to lead thee from thy bitter waste\\
To the inscrutable profound\\
That is His covenanted ground.
OLYMPAS Thou who hast known these master-keys\\
Of all creation's mysteries,\\
Tell me, what followed the great gust\\
Of God that blew his world to dust?
MARSYAS I, even I the man, became\\
As a great sword of flashing flame.\\
My life, informed with holiness,\\
Conscious of its own loveliness,\\
Like a well that overflows\\
At the limit of the snows,\\
Sent its crystal stream to gladden\\
The hearts of me, their lives to madden\\
With the intoxicating bliss\\
(Wine mixed with myrrh and ambergris!)\\
Of this bitter-sweet perfume,\\
This gorse's blaze of prickly bloom\\
That is the Wisdom of the Way.\\
Then springs the statue from the clay,\\
And all God's doubted fatherhood\\
Is seen to be supremely good.\\
Live within the sane sweet sun!\\
Leave the shadow-world alone!
OLYMPAS There is a crown for every one;\\
For every one there is a throne!
MARSYAS That crown is Silence. Sealed and sure!\\
That throne is Knowledge perfect pure.\\
Below that throne adoring stand\\
Virtues in a blissful band;\\
Mercy, majesty and power,\\
Beauty and harmony and strength,\\
Triumph and splendour, starry shower\\
Of flames that flake their lily length,\\
A necklet of pure light, far-flung\\
Down to the Base, from which is hung\\
A pearl, the Universe, whose sight\\
Is one globed jewel of delight.\\
Fallen no more! A bowered bride\\
Blushing to be satisfied!
OLYMPAS All this, of once the Eye unclose?
MARSYAS The golden cross, the ruby rose\\
Are gone, when flaming from afar\\
The Hawk's eye blinds the Silver Star.\\
O brothers of the Star, caressed\\
By its cool flames from brow to breast,\\
Is there some rapture yet to excite\\
This prone and pallid neophyte?
OLYMPAS O but there is no need of this!\\
I burn toward the abyss of Bliss.\\
I call the Four Powers of the Name;\\
Earth, wind and cloud, sea, smoke and flame\\
To witness: by this triune Star\\
I swear to break the twi-forked bar.\\
But how to attain? Flexes and leans\\
The strongest will that lacks the means.
MARSYAS There are seven keys to the great gate,\\
Being eight in one and one in eight.\\
First, let the body of thee be still,\\
Bound by the cerements of will,\\
Corpse-rigid; thus thou mayst abort\\
The fidget-babes that tense the thought.\\
Next, let the breath-rhythm be low,\\
Easy, regular, and slow;\\
So that thy being be in tune\\
With the great sea's Pacific swoon.\\
Third, let thy life be pure and calm\\
Swayed softly as a windless palm.\\
Fourth, let the will-to-live be bound\\
To the one love of the Profound.\\
Fifth, let the thought, divinely free\\
From sense, observe its entity.\\
Watch every thought that springs; enhance\\
Hour after hour thy vigilance!\\
Intense and keen, turned inward, miss\\
No atom of analysis!\\
Sixth, on one thought securely pinned\\
Still every whisper of the wind!\\
So like a flame straight and unstirred\\
Burn up thy being in one word!\\
Next, still that ecstasy, prolong\\
Thy meditation steep and strong,\\
Slaying even God, should He distract\\
Thy attention from the chosen act!\\
Last, all these things in one o'erpowered,\\
Time that the midnight blossom flowered!\\
The oneness is. Yet even in this,\\
My son, thou shalt not do amiss\\
If thou restrain the expression, shoot\\
Thy glance to rapture's darkling root,\\
Discarding name, form, sight, and stress\\
Even of this high consciousness;\\
Pierce to the heart! I leave thee here:\\
Thou art the Master. I revere\\
Thy radiance that rolls afar,\\
O Brother of the Silver Star!\\
OLYMPAS. Ah, but no ease may lap my limbs.\\
Giants and sorcerers oppose;\\
Ogres and dragons are my foes!\\
Leviathan against me swims,\\
And lions roar, and Boreas blows!\\
No Zephyrs woo, no happy hymns\\
Paean the Pilgrim of the Rose!
MARSYAS I teach the royal road of light.\\
Be thou, devoutly eremite,\\
Free of thy fate. Choose tenderly\\
A place for thine Academy.\\
Let there be an holy wood\\
Of embowered solitude\\
By the still, the rainless river,\\
Underneath the tangled roots\\
Of majestic trees that quiver\\
In the quiet airs; where shoots\\
Of the kindly grass are green\\
Moss and ferns asleep between,\\
Lilies in the water lapped,\\
Sunbeams in the branches trapped\\
–Windless and eternal even!\\
Silenced all the birds of heaven\\
By the low insistent call\\
Of the constant waterfall.\\
There, to such a setting be\\
Its carven gem of deity,\\
A central flawless fire, enthralled\\
Like Truth within an emerald!\\
Thou shalt have a birchen bark\\
On the river in the dark;\\
And at the midnight thou shalt go\\
to the mid-stream's smoothest flow,\\
And strike upon a golden bell\\
The spirit's call; then say the spell:\\
“Angel, mine angel, draw thee nigh!”\\
Making the Sign of Magistry\\
With wand of lapis lazuli.\\
Then, it may be, through the blind dumb\\
Night thou shalt see thine angel come,\\
Hear the faint whisper of his wings,\\
Behold the starry breast begemmed\\
With the twelve stones of the twelve kings!\\
His forehead shall be diademed\\
With the faint light of stars, wherein\\
The Eye gleams dominant and keen.\\
Thereat thou swoonest; and thy love\\
Shall catch the subtle voice thereof.\\
He shall inform his happy lover:\\
My foolish prating shall be over!
OLYMPAS O now I burn with holy haste.\\
This doctrine hath so sweet a taste\\
That all the other wine is sour.
MARSYAS Son, there's a bee for every flower.\\
Lie open, a chameleon cup,\\
And let Him suck thine honey up!
OLYMPAS There is one doubt. When souls attain\\
Such an unimagined gain\\
Shall not others mark them, wise\\
Beyond mere mortal destinies?
MARSYAS Such are not the perfect saints.\\
While the imagination faints\\
Before their truth, they veil it close\\
As amid the utmost snows\\
The tallest peaks most straitly hide\\
With clouds their holy heads. Divide\\
The planes! Be ever as you can\\
A simple honest gentleman!\\
Body and manners be at ease,\\
Not bloat with blazoned sanctities!\\
Who fights as fights the soldier-saint?\\
And see the artist-adept paint!\\
Weak are those souls that fear the stress\\
Of earth upon their holiness!\\
They fast, they eat fantastic food,\\
They prate of beans and brotherhood,\\
Wear sandals, and long hair, and spats,\\
And think that makes them Arahats!\\
How shall man still his spirit-storm?\\
Rational Dress and Food Reform!
OLYMPAS I know such saints.
MARSYAS An easy vice:\\
So wondrous well they advertise!\\
O their mean souls are satisfied\\
With wind of spiritual pride.\\
They're all negation. “Do not eat;\\
What poison to the soul is meat!\\
Drink not; smoke not; deny the will!\\
Wine and tobacco make us ill. “\\
Magic is life; the Will to Live\\
Is one supreme Affirmative.\\
These things that flinch from Life are worth\\
No more to Heaven than to Earth.\\
Affirm the everlasting Yes!
OLYMPAS Those saints at least score one success:\\
Perfection of their priggishness!
MARSYAS Enough. The soul is subtlier fed\\
With meditation's wine and bread.\\
Forget their failings and our own;\\
Fix all our thoughts on Love alone!\\
Ah, boy, all crowns and thrones above\\
Is the sanctity of love.\\
In His warm and secret shrine\\
Is a cup of perfect wine,\\
Whereof one drop is medicine\\
Against all ills that hurt the soul.\\
A flaming daughter of the Jinn\\
Brought to me once a wingéd scroll,\\
Wherein I read the spell that brings\\
The knowledge of that King of Kings.\\
Angel, I invoke thee now!\\
Bend on me the starry brow!\\
Spread the eagle wings above\\
The pavilion of our love! ….\\
Rise from your starry sapphire seats!\\
See, where through the quickening skies\\
The oriflamme of beauty beats\\
Heralding loyal legionaries,\\
Whose flame of golden javelins\\
Fences those peerless paladins.\\
There are the burning lamps of them,\\
Splendid star-clusters to begem\\
The trailing torrents of those blue\\
Bright wings that bear mine angel through!\\
O Thou art like an Hawk of Gold,\\
Miraculously manifold,\\
For all the sky's aflame to be\\
A mirror magical of Thee!\\
The stars seem comets, rushing down\\
To gem thy robes, bedew thy crown.\\
Like the moon-plumes of a strange bird\\
By a great wind sublimely stirred,\\
Thou drawest the light of all the skies\\
Into thy wake. The heaven dies\\
In bubbling froth of light, that foams\\
About thine ardour. All the domes\\
Of all the heavens close above thee\\
As thou art known of me who love thee.\\
Excellent kiss, thou fastenest on\\
This soul of mine, that it is gone,\\
Gone from all life, and rapt away\\
Into the infinite starry spray\\
Of thine own AEon … Alas for me!\\
I faint. Thy mystic majesty\\
Absorbs this spark.
OLYMPAS All hail! all hail!\\
White splendour through the viewless veil!\\
I am drawn with thee to rapture.
I bear a message. Heaven hath sent\\
The knowledge of a new sweet way\\
Into the Secret Element.
OLYMPAS Master, while yet the glory clings\\
Declare this mystery magical!
MARSYAS I am yet borne on those blue wings\\
Into the Essence of the All.\\
Now, now I stand on earth again,\\
Though, blazing through each nerve and vein,\\
The light yet holds its choral course,\\
Filling my frame with fiery force\\
Like God's. Now hear the Apocalypse\\
New-fledged on these reluctant lips!
OLYMPAS I tremble like an aspen, quiver\\
Like light upon a rainy river!
MARSYAS Do what thou wilt! is the sole word\\
Of law that my attainment heard.\\
Arise, and lay thine hand on God!\\
Arise, and set a period\\
Unto Restriction! That is sin:\\
To hold thine holy spirit in!\\
O thou that chafest at thy bars,\\
Invoke Nuit beneath her stars\\
With a pure heart (Her incense burned\\
Of gums and woods, in gold inurned),\\
And let the serpent flame therein\\
A little, and thy soul shall win\\
To lie within her bosom. Lo!\\
Thou wouldst give all–and she cries: No!\\
Take all, and take me! Gather spice\\
And virgins and great pearls of price!\\
Worship me in a single robe,\\
Crowned richly! Girdle of the globe,\\
I love thee! Pale and purple, veiled,\\
Voluptuous, swan silver-sailed,\\
I love thee. I am drunkness\\
Of the inmost sense; my soul's caress\\
Is toward thee! Let my priestess stand\\
Bare and rejoicing, softly fanned\\
By smooth-lipped acolytes, upon\\
Mine iridescent altar-stone,\\
And in her love-chaunt swooningly\\
Say evermore: To me! To me!\\
I am the azure-lidded daughter\\
Of sunset; the all-girdling water;\\
The naked brilliance of the sky\\
In the voluptuous night am I!\\
With song, with jewel, with perfume,\\
Wake all my rose's blush and bloom!\\
Drink to me! Love me! I love thee,\\
My love, my lord–to me! to me!
OLYMPAS There is no harshness in the breath\\
Of this–is life surpassed, and death?
MARSYAS There is the Snake that gives delight\\
And Knowledge, stirs the heart aright\\
With drunkenness. Strange drugs are thine,\\
Hadit, and draughts of wizard wine!\\
These do no hurt. Thine hermits dwell\\
Not in the cold secretive cell,\\
But under purple canopies\\
With mighty-breasted mistresses\\
Magnificent as lionesses–\\
Tender and terrible caresses!\\
Fire lives, and light, in eager eyes;\\
And massed huge hair about them lies.\\
They lead their hosts to victory:\\
In every joy they are kings; then see\\
That secret serpent coiled to spring\\
And win the world! O priest and king,\\
Let there be feasting, foining, fighting,\\
A revel of lusting, singing, smiting!\\
Work; be the bed of work! Hold! Hold!\\
the stars' kiss is as molten gold.\\
Harden! Hold thyself up! now die—\\
Ah! Ah! Exceed! Exceed!
MARSYAS My stature shall surpass the stars:\\
He hath said it! Men shall worship me\\
In hidden woods, on barren scaurs,\\
Henceforth to all eternity.
OLYMPAS Hail! I adore thee! Let us feast.
MARSYAS I am the consecrated Beast.\\
I build the Abominable House.\\
The Scarlet Woman is my Spouse–
OLYMPAS What is this word?
MARSYAS Thou canst not know\\
Till thou hast passed the Fourth Ordeal.
OLYMPAS I worship thee. The moon-rays flow\\
Masterfully rich and real\\
From thy red mouth, and burst, young suns\\
Chanting before the Holy Ones\\
Thine Eight Mysterious Orisons!
MARSYAS The last spell! The availing word!\\
The two completed by the third!\\
The Lord of War, of Vengeance\\
That slayeth with a single glance!\\
This light is in me of my Lord.\\
His Name is this far-whirling sword.\\
I push His order. Keen and swift\\
My Hawk's eye flames; these arms uplift\\
The Banner of Silence and of Strength–\\
Hail! Hail! thou art here, my Lord, at length!\\
Lo, the Hawk-Headed Lord am I:\\
My nemyss shrouds the night-blue sky.\\
Hail! ye twin warriors that guard\\
The pillars of the world! Your time\\
Is nigh at hand. The snake that marred\\
Heaven with his inexhaustible slime\\
Is slain; I bear the Wand of Power,\\
The Wand that waxes and that wanes;\\
I crush the Universe this hour\\
In my left hand; and naught remains!\\
Ho! for the splendour in my name\\
Hidden and glorious, a flame\\
Secretly shooting from the sun.\\
Aum! Ha!–my destiny is done.\\
The Word is spoken and concealed.
OLYMPAS I am stunned. What wonder was revealed?
MARSYAS The rite is secret.
OLYMPAS Profits it?
MARSYAS Only to wisdom and to wit.
OLYMPAS The other did no less.
MARSYAS Then prove\\
Both by the master-key of Love.\\
The lock turns stiffly? Shalt thou shirk\\
To use the sacred oil of work?\\
Not from the valley shalt thou test\\
The eggs that line the eagle's nest!\\
Climb, with thy life at stake, the ice,\\
The sheer wall of the precipice!\\
Master the cornice, gain the breach,\\
And learn what next the ridge can teach!\\
Yet–not the ridge itself may speak\\
The secret of the final peak.
OLYMPAS All ridges join at last.
MARSYAS Admitted,\\
O thou astute and subtle-witted!\\
Yet one–loose, jaggéd, clad in mist!\\
Another–firm, smooth, loved and kissed\\
By the soft sun! Our order hath\\
This secret of the solar path,\\
Even as our Lord the Beast hath won\\
The mystic Number of the Sun.
OLYMPAS These secrets are too high for me.
MARSYAS Nay, little brother! Come and see!\\
Neither by faith nor fear nor awe\\
Approach the doctrine of the Law!\\
Truth, Courage, Love, shall win the bout,\\
And those three others be cast out.
OLYMPAS Lead me, Master, by the hand\\
Gently to this gracious land!\\
Let me drink the doctrine in,\\
An all-healing medicine!\\
Let me rise, correct and firm,\\
Steady striding to the term,\\
Master of my fate, to rise\\
To imperial destinies;\\
With the sun's ensanguine dart\\
Spear-bright in my blazing heart,\\
And my being's basil-plant\\
Bright and hard as adamant!
MARSYAS Yonder, faintly luminous,\\
The yellow desert waits for us.\\
Lithe and eager, hand in hand,\\
We travel to the lonely land.\\
There, beneath the stars, the smoke\\
Of our incense shall invoke\\
The Queen of Space; and subtly She\\
Shall bend from Her infinity\\
Like a lambent flame of blue,\\
Touching us, and piercing through\\
All the sense-webs that we are\\
As the aethyr penetrates a star!\\
Her hands caressing the black earth,\\
Her sweet lithe body arched for love,\\
Her feet a Zephyr to the flowers,\\
She calls my name–she gives the sign\\
That she is mine, supremely mine,\\
And clinging to the infinite girth\\
My soul gets perfect joy thereof\\
Beyond the abysses and the hours;\\
So that–I kiss her lovely brows;\\
She bathes my body in perfume\\
Of sweat …. O thou my secret spouse,\\
Continuous One of Heaven! illume\\
My soul with this arcane delight,\\
Volumptuous Daughter of the Night!\\
Eat me up wholly with the glance\\
Of thy luxurious brilliance!
OLYMPAS The desert calls.
MARSYAS Then let us go!\\
Or seek the sacramental snow,\\
Where like a high-priest I may stand\\
With acolytes on every hand,\\
The lesser peaks–my will withdrawn\\
To invoke the dayspring from the dawn,\\
Changing that rosy smoke of light\\
To a pure crystalline white;\\
Though the mist of mind, as draws\\
A dancer round her limbs the gauze,\\
Clothe Light, and show the virgin Sun\\
A lemon-pale medallion!\\
Thence leap we leashless to the goal,\\
Stainless star-rapture of the soul.\\
So the altar-fires fade\\
As the Godhead is displayed.\\
Nay, we stir not. Everywhere\\
Is our temple right appointed.\\
All the earth is faery fair\\
For us. Am I not anointed?\\
The Sigil burns upon the brow\\
At the adjuration–here and now.
OLYMPAS The air is laden with perfumes.
MARSYAS Behold! It beams–it burns–it blooms.\\
OLYMPAS Master, how subtly hast thou drawn\\
The daylight from the Golden Dawn,\\
Bidden the Cavernous Mount unfold\\
Its Ruby Rose, its Cross of Gold;\\
Until I saw, flashed from afar,\\
The Hawk's eye in the Silver Star!
MARSYAS Peace to all beings. Peace to thee,\\
Co-heir of mine eternity!\\
Peace to the greatest and the least,\\
To nebula and nenuphar!\\
Light in abundance be increased\\
On them that dream that shadows are!
OLYMPAS Blessing and worship to The Beast,\\
The prophet of the lovely Star!

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