The Rite of Sol

SOL. Leopard skin. Nemyss white-gold over white-sleeved robe. Spear.

ARIES. White robe, spear.

LEO. Red robe, spear.

SATAN-TYPHON. Violet robe.


BESZ. Black robe.


Sol is throned in the East; behind him is a black veil which conceals a great scarlet cross. Before him is a second veil. He is supported by Aries on the right, and Leo on the left. The other officers are without the temple, in waiting. In presentation in public, a third veil divides the temple from the congregation.

LEO parts the outermost veil, and advancing, recites chorus from “Atalanta in Calydon.”

Before the beginning of years
    There came to the making of man
Time, with a gift of tears;
    Grief, with a glass that ran
Pleasure, with pain for leaven,
    Summer with flowers that fell
Remembrance fallen from heaven,
    And madness risen from hell
Strength without hands to smite;
    Love that endures for a breath:
Night, the shadow of light,
    And life, the shadow of death.

And the high gods took in hand
    Fire and the falling of tears,
And a measure of sliding sand
    From under the feet of the years
And froth and drift of the sea;
    And dust of the labouring earth
And bodies of things to be
    In the houses of death and of birth
And wrought with weeping and laughter
    And fashioned with loathing and love
With life before and after
    And death beneath and above,
For a day and a night and a morrow
    That his strength might endure for a span
With travail and heavy sorrow
    The holy spirit of man.

From the winds of the north and the south
    They gathered as unto strife;
They breathed upon his mouth,
    They filled his body with life;
Eyesight and speech they wrought
    For the veils of the soul therein,
A time for labour and thought,
    A time to serve and to sin;
They gave him light in his way,
    And love, and a space for delight,
And beauty and length of days,
    And night, and sleep in the night.
His speech is a burning fire;
    With his lips he travaileth
In his heart is a blind desire,
    In his eyes foreknowledge of death
He weaves, and is clothed with derision;
    Sows, and he shall not reap
His life is a watch or a vision
    Between a sleep and a sleep.

[returns. A pause.]

ARIES. 333-333

LEO. 333-333.

ARIES. Brother Leo, what is the place?

LEO. The Temple of the Sun upon the Mountain of Abiegnus!

ARIES. Brother Leo, what is the hour?

LEO. Sunset!

ARIES. It is the hour of sacrifice.

LEO. What is the sacrifice?

ARIES. It is hidden from me. [Silence

SOL. 1-22-22-1

ARIES. Hark! it is the Summons of the King.

LEO. It is the Lord of Heaven that awakens the Children of the Light.

[They draw the veil-full light- and kneel.

ARIES. Let us adore the exalted one!

LEO. Life of Life, thy lips enkindle

With their love the breath between them;
And thy smiles before they dwindle
Make the cold air fire; then screen them
In those looks, where whose gazes
Faints, entangles in their mazes.
Child of Light! thy limbs are burning
Through the vest which seems to hide them;
As the radiant lines of morning
Through the clouds, ere they divide them;
And this atmosphere divinest
Shrouds thee wheresoe'er thou shinest.
Fair are others; none beholds thee,
But thy voice sounds low and tender
Like the fairest, for it folds thee
From the sight, that liquid splendour,
And all feel, yet see thee never,
As I feel now, lost forever!
Lamp of Earth! where'er thou movest
Its dim shapes are clad with brightness,
And the souls of whom thou lovest
Walk upon the winds with lightness,
Till they fail, as I am failing,
Dizzy, lost, yet unbewailing!

ARIES. Hail unto Thee, O thou that art exalted in thy strength, that travellest over the heaven in Thy Bark in the Splendour of Noon! ARIES and LEO resume thrones.

[A PROBATIONER recites the 12 fold Glorification of God from 963.]

[Enter SCORPIO-APOPHIS dressed in a filmy white robe, her hair in disorder.]

[ARIES and LEO rise and bow.

ARIES. Hail thou! Whence comest thou?

SCORPIO-APOPHIS. From the House of God.

ARIES. What bringest thou as an offering to our Lord?

SCORPIO-APOPHIS. The House of God is fallen. There is nothing left therein. Therefore I bring nothing but myself.

LEO. Let us burn her upon the altar of burnt offering.

SCORPIO-APOPHIS. But in the fire my tears would be dried up; and these tears are of mine offering to the Lord.

LEO. Let us throw her to the sacred crocodile.

SCORPIO-APOPHIS. But in the water my heart would be chilled; and this heart is of mine offering to the Lord.

LEO. Let us throw her to the winds from the Watchtowers of Silence.

SCORPIO-APOPHIS. But in the wind my hymns would not be heard, and these hymns are of mine offering to the Lord.

LEO. Let us bury her in the consecrated mountain!

SCORPIO-APOPHIS. But in the earth the worms would devour my flesh; and this flesh is of mine offering to the Lord. Oh Lord, let thy servants return unto their thrones that I may worship Thee as I will.

SOL. 22-1-1-22

[ARIES and LEO return to their thrones.

[SCORPIO-APOPHIS plays her passionate melody, her siren melody, her despairing “Venus in Tannhauser” melody. Liebestod from Tristan and Isolde: Wagner. She clasps the feet and knees of SOL but he gives no sign of life.]

[At the end ARIES and LEO rise from their thrones–a pause.]

ARIES. (Loudly.) 333-333

LEO. (Louder.) 333-333

ARIES. The hour of sacrifice is past.

SCORPIO-APOPHIS. The hour of sacrifice is to come.

LEO. The sacrifice is not accepted.

SCORPIO-APOPHIS. The sacrifice is accepted.

ARIES. Depart from us, thou unclean thing!

ARIES and LEO raise her and march from the temple, ARIES leading, LEO following her.]

[ARIES and LEO re-enter and resume thrones–a pause.

ARIES. 333-333

LEO. 333-333

ARIES. Brother Leo, this is of evil omen.

LEO. Brother Aries, it is indeed of evil omen.

ARIES. There will be no more sacrifice today.

LEO. There will be no more sacrifice today.

ARIES. The sun is already setting.

LEO. The night birds are already abroad.

ARIES. It grows very dark.

LEO. The path is too steep and dangerous for any pilgrims to come hither.

ARIES. There is no moon tonight.

LEO. I think there will be rain.

ARIES. Let us close the shrine.

LEO. The disk of the sun is not yet quite obscured.

ARIES. But no pilgrims can come now.

LEO. No pilgims can come now. But it is the rule of the temple that the shrine is open unto the last spark of sunlight.

ARIES. Brother Leo, I beg that you will close the shrine with me.

LEO. It cannot be.

ARIES. Brother Leo, I know the rule. But evil will assuredly come to us from this.

LEO. Brother Aries, the Law may not be broken.

ARIES. Brother Leo, the Law is make so that the wise may break it at their need.

LEO. Brother Aries, in my heart is fidelity–fidelity–fidelity.

ARIES. Brother Leo, a god has whispered in mine ear: it is folly–folly–folly.

LEO. The sun will be obscured in a moment: and no pilgrims can come tonight.

ARIES. No pilgrims can come tonight.

LEO. There will be no more sacrifice.

ARIES. There will be no more sacrifice.

[SATAN-TYPHON, SCORPIO-APOPHIS and BESZ enter silently in procession. The light grows momentarily dimmer.]

ARIES. Hail, brethren! Ye are come to adore the splendour of the sun?

SATAN-TYPHON. We are come to sacrifice.

ARIES. What are the offerings?

BESZ. Dancing.


SATAN-TYPHON. Silence and Stillness.

[He prostrates himself and remains motionless. SCORPI0-APOPHIS bows to SOL and plays and adoration. Romance: Max Bruch. BESZ dances in adoration in three-time. SATAN-TYPHON rises and bows.

ARIES. Whence come ye, brethren?

SATAN-TYPHON. From the dwelling place of the sun.

ARIES. Who are ye, brethren?

SATAN-TYPHON. I am the twin brother of the sun.

SCORPIO-APOPHIS. I am the beloved of the sun.

ARIES. [To BESZ] But who art thou, brother?

[BESZ begins to stammer.

LEO. Who art thou?

[They threaten him with their spears. BESZ crouches in terror and lurks toward the West.]

SATAN-TYPHON. I would have speech with my brother the Sun.

ARIES. It is well.

LEO. It is not well. There is danger herein to my Lord. [He bars the way.

ARIES. Speech cannot harm our Lord.

LEO. Brother, if thou be indeed our brother, what wilt thou say?

SATAN-TYPHON. O Sun, my brother, is it thy will that I have speech with thee? For I have lain with thee nine moons in the womb of our mother; for we have loved as none have loved; for I am closer knit with thee than light and darkness, or that life and death!

SOL. 22-1-1-22

[LEO gives way and returns to his throne, very sad.

[SATAN-TYPHON advances to SOL and ARIES closes the veil on them.]

[BESZ jumps up and runs off crouchingly.

[The lights go out.

[SCORPIO-APOPHIS plays her serpent melody. Andante Religioso: Thome.

[LEO recites:

Mortals never learn from stories
How catastrophé becomes;
How above the victor's glories
In the trumpets and the drums
And the cry of millions “Master!”
Looms the shadow of disaster.
Every hour a man hath said:
“That at least is scotched and dead.”
Some one circumstance; “At last
That, and it effects, are past.”
Some one terror–subtle foe!
“I have laid that spectre low.”
They know not, learn not, cannot calculate
How subtly Fate
Weaves its fine mesh, perceiving how to wait;
Or how accumulate
The trifles that shall make it master yet
Of the strong soul that bade itself forget.

[A dim red light dawns. BESZ enters, leading four PROBATIONERS who bear the Pastos. They place it before the altar.]

ARIES. What is this offering?

BESZ. The eater of Flesh is my name.

ARIES. Oh, our Lord, our Lord! Arise in thy might, and let thine enemies be scattered!

[ARIES and LEO draw veil. The throne has been cast down. On the black veil is a great red cross, whereon SOL has been crucified. Before him stands SATAN-TYPHON in the sign of Apophis and Typhon.]

[ARIES and LEO fall as if slain. SCORPIO-APOPHIS plays her murder melody.] Mort d'Adonis: Waddell.

[Meanwhile the PROBATIONERS advance, and under the direction of Typhon, who stabs SOL in the proper manner with the spear of SOL, take down SOL from the cross and lay him in the Pastos. They cover it. BESZ does his brutal demoniac dance upon the lid of the coffin.

Exit all except SOL. complete darkness. Silence. A flash of light, and the stage is shewn empty. Only a glimmer remains. Now SCORPIO-APOPHIS steals on to the stage and plays her low secret melody. Canzonetta: D'Ambrosio. Red lights increase. She uncovers and embraces the corpse, then covers it again, goes to the throne and installs herself thereon. Green light dawns and grows brighter as red light dwindles and goes out.]


[The PROBATIONERS and other officers enter, erect.]

SCORPIO-APOPHIS. Children, array yourselves before me, and worship at my feet.

ARIES. Our Lord is slain. And who art thou that hast assumed His Throne?

LEO. Our Lord is slain. And who art thou that hast assumed His Throne?

SCORPIO-APOPHIS. I am the Mother of the Gods and the Sister of Time and the Daughter of Space. I am Nature that holdeth sway when the effort of man is exhausted……Brother Leo, I am the goddess that cometh forth riding upon the Lion. Behold! I strike thee with my wand, and inspire thee.

I command thee to declare me unto the multitude.


Lo! in the interstellar space of night
Clothed with deep darkness, the majestic spaces
Abide the dawn of deity and light,
Vibrate before the passionless pale faces
Shrined in exceeding glory, eremite.
The tortoise skies in sombre carapaces
Await the expression and the hour of birth
In silence through the adamantine girth.
I rose in glory, gathered of the foam.
The sea's flower folded, charioting me risen
Where dawn's rose stole from its pearl-glimmering home,
And heaven laughed, and earth: and mine old prison,
The seas that lay beneath the mighty dome,
Shone with my splendour. Light did first bedizen
Earth with its clusters of fiery dew and spray,
When I looked forth and cried, “It is the day!”

The stars are dewdrops on my bosom's space;
The sun and moon are glances through my lashes,
Long, tender rays of night; my subtle face
Burns through the sky-dusk, lightens, fills, and flashes
With solemn joy and laughter of love; the grace
Of all my body swaying stoops and dashes
Swift to the daisy's dawn of love: and swiftest,
O spirit of man, when unto me thou liftest!
Dawn shakes the molten fire of my delight
From the fine flower and fragrance of my tresses!
Sunset bids darken all my body's light,
Mixing its music with the sad caresses
Of the whole world: I wheel in wingless flight
Through the lampless space, the starless wildernesses!
Beyond the universal bounds that roll,
There is the shrine and image of my soul.
I am Nature and God: I reign, I am, alone.
None other may abide apart: they perish,
Drawn into me, into my being grown,
None other bosom is, to bear, to nourish,
To be: the heart of all beneath my zone
Of blue and gold is scarlet-bright to cherish
My own life's being, that is, and is not other;
For I am God and Nature and thy Mother.
I am the the thousand-breasted milky spouse,
Virginal also: Tartarus and Gaia
Twinned in my womb, and Chaos from my brows
Shrank back abashed, my sister dark and dire,
Mother of Erebus and Night, that ploughs
With starry-sandalled feet the fields of fire;
My sister shrank and fell, the infernal gloom
Changed to the hot sweet shadow of my womb.
I am: that darkness strange and uterine
Is shot with dawn and scented with the rose;
The deep dim prison-house of corn and wine,
Flowers, children, stars, with flame far subtler glows
Formless, all-piercing, death-defying, divine,
A sweet frail lamp whose shadow gleams and shows
No darkness, is as light is where its rays
Cross, interweave, and marry with the day's!
I am: the heart that flames from central Me,
Seeks out all life, and takes again, to mingle
Its passion with my might and majesty,
Till the vast floods of the man's being tingle
And glow, self-lost within my soul and sea
Of love, the sun of utter light, and single
Keen many-veined heart: our lips and kisses
Marry and muse on our immortal blisses.
I am: the greatest and the least: the sole
And separate life of things. The mighty stresses
Of worlds are my nerves twitching. Branch and bole
Of forests waving in deep wildernesses
Are hairs upon my body. Rivers roll
To make one tear in my superb caresses,
When on myself myself begets a child,
A system of a thousand planets piled!
I am: the least, the greatest: the frail life
Of some small coral-insect still may tremble
With love for me, and call me queen and wife;
The shy plant of the water may dissemble
Its love beneath the fronds; reply to strife
With strife, and all its tiny being crumble
Under my rough and warrior husband-kiss,
Whose pain shall burn, and alter, and be bliss!
I am: no word beside that solemn one
Reigns in sound's kingdom to express my station,
Who, clothed and crowned with suns beyond the sun,
Bear on the mighty breast of foam Thalassian,
Bear on my bosom, jutting plenilune,
Maiden, the fadeless Rose of the Creation!
The whole flower-life of earth and sky and sea
From me was born, and shall return to me!
I am: for men and beings passionate,
For mine own self calm as the river-cleaving
Lotus-borne lord of Silence: I create
Or discreate, both in my bosom heaving:
My lightest look is mother of a Fate:
My fingers sapphire-ringed with sky are weaving
Ever new flowers and lawns of life, designed
Nobler and newer in mine older mind.
I am: I am not, but all-changing move
The worlds evolving in a golden ladder,
Spiral or helical, fresh gusts of love
Filling one sphere from the last sphere grown gladder:
All gateways leading far to the above.
Even as the bright coils of the emerald adder
Climb one by one in glory of sunlight, climb
My children to me up the steep of Time.
I am: before me all the years are dead,
And all the fiery locks of sunrise woven
Into the gold and scarlet of my head:
In me all skies and seas are shaken and cloven:
All life and light and love about me shed,
Begotten in me, in my moving moven,
Are as my tears: all worlds that ever swam
As dew of kisses on my lips: I am.

[She draws LEO up to her. The others kneel in adoration. SCORPIO-APOPHIS plays her soft voluptuous melody.] Romance: Saint Saens.

ARIES. Brother Leo, what is the hour?

LEO. The evening star is arisen.

ARIES. The sacrifice is accomplished.

LEO. What is the sacrifice?


LEO. Who is the priestess?

ARIES. Woman.

LEO. Unto what God?

ARIES. It is hidden from me.

LEO. Let every man depart unto his house.

ARIES. 1-333-1-1. LEO. 1-333-1-1.



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