The Ladder

“I will arise and go unto my Father”


Dark, dark, all dark! I cower, I cringe.
Only above me is a citron tinge
As if some echo of red, gold, and blue
Chimed on the night and let its shadow through.
Yet I who am thus prisoned and exiled
Am the right heir of glory, the crowned child.

I match my might against my Fate’s,
    I gird myself to reach the ultimate shores,
        I arm myself the war to win:—
Lift up your heads, O mighty gates!
    Be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors!
        The King of Glory shall come in.


I pass from the citrine: deep indigo
In this tall column. Snakes and vultures bend
Their hooded hate on him that would ascend.
O may the Four avail me! Ageless woe,
Fear, torture, throng the threshold. Lo! The end
Of matter! The immensity of things {117}

Let loose—new laws, new beings, new conditions:—
Dire chaos; see! these new-fledged wings
Fail in its vaguenesses and inanitions.
Only my circle saves me from the hate
Of all these monsters dead yet animate.
        I match, &c


Hail, thou full moon, O flame of Amethyst!
Stupendous mountain on whose shoulders rest
The Eight Above. More stable is my crest
Than thine—and now I pierce thee, veil of mist!
Even as an arrow from the war-bow springs
I leap—my life is set with loftier things.
        I match, &c.

SAMECH (and the crossing of the Path of Pe)

Now swift, thou azure shaft of fading fire,
Pierce through the rainbow! Swift, Oswift! how streams
The world by! Let Sandalphon and his quire
Of Angels ward me!
                                Ho! what planet beams
This angry ray? Thy swords, thy shields, thy spears!
Of meteors war and blaze; but I am I,
Horus himself, the torrent of the sky
Aflame—I sweep the stormy seas of air
Towards that great globe that hangs so golden fair.
        I match, &c. {118}


Hail, hail, thou sun of harmony,
Of beauty and of ecstasy!
Thou radiance brilliant and bold!
Thou ruby rose, thou cross of gold!
Hail, centre of the cosmic plan!
Hail, mystic image of the Man!
I give the sign of slain Asar.
I give the sign of Asi towering.
I give the sign of Apep, star
Of black Destruction all-devouring.
I give thy sign, Asar re-risen:—
Break, O my spirit, from thy prison!

        I match, &c.

GIMEL (with the crossing of the path of Teth)

Hail, virgin Moon, bright Moon of Her
That is God’s thought and minister!
Snow-pure, sky-blue, immaculate
Hecate, in Thy book of Fate
Read thou my name, the soaring soul
That seeks the supreme, sunless goal!

    And thou, great Sekhet, roar!
    Confront the lion in the way!
    Thy calm indomitable eyes
    Lift once, and look, and pierce, and slay! {119}

I am past. Hail, Hecate! Untrod
Thy steep ascent to God, to God!
Lo, what unnamed, unnameable
Sphere hangs above inscrutable?
There is no virtue in thy kiss
To affront that soul-less swart abyss.

        I match, &c.


I am insane. My reason tumbles;
The tower of my being crumbles.
Here all is doubt, distress, despair:
There is no force in strength or prayer
If pass I may, it is by might\\
Of the momentum of my flight.

        I match, &c.

GIMEL (and the crossing of Daleth)

Free from that curse, loosed from that prison;
From all that ruin am I risen!
Pure still, the virgin moon beguiles
My azure passage with her smiles.

        Now ! O what love divine redeems
        My death, and bathes it in her beams!
        What sacring transubstantiates
        My flesh and blood, and incarnates {120}

The quintessential Pan? What shore
Stretches beyond this secret door?
Hail ! O thou sevenfold star of green,
Thou fourfold glory—all this teen
Caught up in ecstasy—a boon
To pass me singing through the moon!
Nay ! I knew not what glory shone
Gold from the breathless bliss beyond:
But this I know that I am gone
To the heart of God’s great diamond!

        I match, &c.


I am passed through the abyss of flame;
Hear ye that I am that I am!


Behold! I clothe mine awful light
In yonder body born of night.
Its mind be open to the higher!
Its heart be lucid-luminous!
The Temple of its own desire
The Temple of the Rosy Cross! {121}

As Horus sped the flame, Harpocrates
Receive the flame, and set the soul at ease.
I who was One am One, all light
Balanced within me, ordered right,
As it was ever to the initiate’s ken
Is now, and shall be evermore. Amen.


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