Thursday, March 20, 2008

Readings for March 20th

Reading 1: Liber Cordis Cincte Serpente (LXV), Chapter 1, by Saint Aleister Crowley

1. I am the Heart; and the Snake is entwined
About the invisible core of the mind.
Rise, O my snake! It is now is the hour
Of the hooded and holy ineffable flower.
Rise, O my snake, into brilliance of bloom
On the corpse of Osiris afloat in the tomb!
O heart of my mother, my sister, mine own,
Thou art given to Nile, to the terror Typhon!
Ah me! but the glory of ravening storm
Enswathes thee and wraps thee in frenzy of form.
Be still, O my soul! that the spell may dissolve
As the wands are upraised, and the aeons revolve.
Behold! in my beauty how joyous Thou art,
O Snake that caresses the crown of mine heart!
Behold! we are one, and the tempest of years
Goes down to the dusk, and the Beetle appears.
O Beetle! the drone of Thy dolorous note
Be ever the trance of this tremulous throat!
I await the awaking! The summons on high
From the Lord Adonai, from the Lord Adonai!
2. Adonai spake unto V.V.V.V.V., saying: There must ever be division in the word.
3. For the colours are many, but the light is one.
4. Therefore thou writest that which is of mother of emerald, and of lapis-lazuli, and of turquoise, and of alexandrite.
5. Another writeth the words of topaz, and of deep amethyst, and of gray sapphire, and of deep sapphire with a tinge as of blood.
6. Therefore do ye fret yourselves because of this.
7. Be not contented with the image.
8. I who am the Image of an Image say this.
9. Debate not of the image, saying Beyond! Beyond!
One mounteth unto the Crown by the moon and by the Sun, and by the arrow, and by the Foundation, and by the dark home of the stars from the black earth.
10. Not otherwise may ye reach unto the Smooth Point.
11. Nor is it fitting for the cobbler to prate of the Royal matter. O cobbler! mend me this shoe, that I may walk. O king! if I be thy son, let us speak of the Embassy to the King thy Brother.
12. Then was there silence. Speech had done with us awhile.
There is a light so strenuous that it is not perceived as light.
13. Wolf's bane is not so sharp as steel; yet it pierceth the body more subtly.
14. Even as evil kisses corrupt the blood, so do my words devour the spirit of man.
15. I breathe, and there is infinite dis-ease in the spirit.
16. As an acid eats into steel, as a cancer that utterly corrupts the body; so am I unto the spirit of man.
17. I shall not rest until I have dissolved it all.
18. So also the light that is absorbed. One absorbs little and is called white and glistening; one absorbs all and is called black.
19. Therefore, O my darling, art thou black.
20. O my beautiful, I have likened thee to a jet Nubian slave, a boy of melancholy eyes.
21. O the filthy one! the dog! they cry against thee.
Because thou art my beloved.
22. Happy are they that praise thee; for they see thee with Mine eyes.
23. Not aloud shall they praise thee; but in the night watch one shall steal close, and grip thee with the secret grip; another shall privily cast a crown of violets over thee; a third shall greatly dare, and press mad lips to thine.
24. Yea! the night shall cover all, the night shall cover all.
25. Thou wast long seeking Me; thou didst run forward so fast that I was unable to come up with thee.
O thou darling fool! what bitterness thou didst crown thy days withal.
26. Now I am with thee; I will never leave thy being.
27. For I am the soft sinuous one entwined about thee, heart of gold!
28. My head is jewelled with twelve stars; My body is white as milk of the stars; it is bright with the blue of the abyss of stars invisible.
29. I have found that which could not be found; I have found a vessel of quicksilver.
30. Thou shalt instruct thy servant in his ways, thou shalt speak often with him.
31. (The scribe looketh upwards and crieth) Amen! Thou hast spoken it, Lord God!
32. Further Adonai spake unto V.V.V.V.V. and said:
33. Let us take our delight in the multitude of men!
Let us shape unto ourselves a boat of mother-of-pearl from them, that we may ride upon the river of Amrit!
34. Thou seest yon petal of amaranth, blown by the wind from the low sweet brows of Hathor?
35. (The Magister saw it and rejoiced in the beauty of it.) Listen!
36. (From a certain world came an infinite wail.)
That falling petal seemed to the little ones a wave to engulph their continent.
37. So they will reproach thy servant, saying: Who hath set thee to save us?
38. He will be sore distressed.
39. All they understand not that thou and I are fashioning a boat of mother-of-pearl. We will sail down the river of Amrit even to the yew-groves of Yama, where we may rejoice exceedingly.
40. The joy of men shall be our silver gleam, their woe our blue gleam -- all in the mother-of-pearl.
41. (The scribe was wroth thereat. He spake:
O Adonai and my master, I have borne the inkhorn and the pen without pay, in order that I might search this river of Amrit, and sail thereon as one of ye. This I demand for my fee, that I partake of the echo of your kisses.)
42. (And immediately it was granted unto him.)
43. (Nay; but not therewith was he content. By an infinite abasement unto shame did he strive. Then a voice:)
44. Thou strivest ever; even in thy yielding thou strivest to yield -- and lo! thou yieldest not.
45. Go thou unto the outermost places and subdue all things.
46. Subdue thy fear and thy disgust. Then -- yield!
47. There was a maiden that strayed among the corn, and sighed; then grew a new birth, a narcissus, and therein she forgot her sighing and her loneliness.
48. Even instantly rode Hades heavily upon her, and ravished her away.
49. (Then the scribe knew the narcissus in his heart; but because it came not to his lips, therefore was he shamed and spake no more.)
50. Adonai spake yet again with V.V.V.V.V. and said:
The earth is ripe for vintage; let us eat of her grapes, and be drunken thereon.
51. And V.V.V.V.V. answered and said: O my lord, my dove, my excellent one, how shall this word seem unto the children of men?
52. And He answered him: Not as thou canst see.
It is certain that every letter of this cipher hath some value; but who shall determine the value? For it varieth ever, according to the subtlety of Him that made it.
53. And He answered Him: Have I not the key thereof? I am clothed with the body of flesh; I am one with the Eternal and Omnipotent God.
54. Then said Adonai: Thou hast the Head of the Hawk, and thy Phallus is the Phallus of Asar. Thou knowest the white, and thou knowest the black, and thou knowest that these are one. But why seekest thou the knowledge of their equivalence?
55. And he said: That my Work may be right.
56. And Adonai said: The strong brown reaper swept his swathe and rejoiced. The wise man counted his muscles, and pondered, and understood not, and was sad. Reap thou, and rejoice!
57. Then was the Adept glad, and lifted his arm.
Lo! an earthquake, and plague, and terror on the earth!
A casting down of them that sate in high places; a famine upon the multitude!
58. And the grape fell ripe and rich into his mouth.
59. Stained is the purple of thy mouth, O brilliant one, with the white glory of the lips of Adonai.
60. The foam of the grape is like the storm upon the sea; the ships tremble and shudder; the shipmaster is afraid.
61. That is thy drunkenness, O holy one, and the winds whirl away the soul of the scribe into the happy haven.
62. O Lord God! let the haven be cast down by the fury of the storm! Let the foam of the grape tincture my soul with Thy light!
63. Bacchus grew old, and was Silenus; Pan was ever Pan for ever and ever more throughout the æons.
64. Intoxicate the inmost, O my lover, not the outermost!
65. So was it -- ever the same! I have aimed at the peeled wand of my God, and I have hit; yea, I have hit.

Reading 2: From The Spiritual Guide of San Miguel de Molinos:

What most concerns thee, O redeemed Soul, is Patience, not to desist from the Prayer thou art about, though thou canst not enlarge in Discourse. Walk with firm Faith, and a holy Silence, dying in thy self, with all thy natural Industry, trusting that God who is he who is, and changes not; neither can err, intends nothing but thy good. (Book I, II:13)

Wherefore endeavour to be constant, and not draw back, though Discourse be wanting to thee in Prayer, believe at that time firmly, be quietly silent, and patiently persevere if thou wouldest be happy, and attain to the Divine Union, eminent rest, and to the Supreme Internal Peace.(Book I, III:24)

Thou shalt know that there are two sorts of Prayer, the one tender, delightful, amicable, and full of sentiments; the other obscure, dry, desolate, tempted, and darksome. The first is of Beginners, the second of Proficients, who are in the progress to Perfection. God gives the first to gain Souls, the second to purifie them. With the first he uses them like Children; with the second he begins to deal with them as with strong men. (Book I, IV:25)

Lay this down as a firm ground in thine Heart, that for walking in the inward Way, all sensibilitie should first be removed; and that the means God uses for that is driness. By that also he takes away reflection, or that view, whereby the Soul Eyes what it is doing, the only impediment that obstructs the advancing forward, and God communicating himself, and operating in it. (Book I, IV:29)

...thou oughtest not to grieve and disturb thy self, nor be disconsolate in seeing thy self obscure and darksome, judging that God hath failed thee, and the light also that thou formerly had the experience of; thou oughtest rather at that time persevere constantly in Prayer, it being a manifest sign, that God of his infinite mercy intends to bring thee into the inward path, and happy way of Paradise. O how happy wilt thou be, if thou embrace it with peace and resignation, as the instrument of perfect quiet, true light, & of all thy spiritual good.

Know then that the straightest, most perfect and secure way of proficients, is the way of darkness: because in them the Lord placed his own Throne; And (Psalm 18.) He made darkness his secret place. By them the supernatural light which God infuses into the Soul, grow and increases. Amidst them wisdom and strong love are begotten, by darkness the soul is annihilated, and the species, which hinder the right view of the divine truth, are consumed. By this means God introduces the Soul by the inward way into the Prayer of Rest, and of perfect contemplation, which so few have the experience of. Finally; by darkness the Lord purgest the senses and sensibility, which hinder the mystical progress. (Book I, VI:39,40)

God hath no regard to the multitude of words, but to the purity of the intent. His greatest content and glory at that time, is to see the Soul in silence, desirous, humble, quiet, and resigned. Proceed, persevere, pray, and hold thy peace; for where thou findest not a sentiment, thou'lt find a door whereby thou mayest enter into thine own nothingness; knowing thy self to be nothing, that thou canst do nothing, nay, and that thou hast not so much as a good thought. (Book I, XII:78)

Finally, be of hope, suffer, be silent, and patient: let nothing affright thee: all of it will have an time to end: God only is he that is unchangeable: patience brings a man in every thing. He that hath God, hath all things; and he that hath him not, hath nothing. (Book III, VIII:89)

Reading 3: Liber Lapidis Lazuli (VII), Chapter II, by Saint Aleister Crowley

1. O my God! use Thou me again, alway. For ever! For ever!
2. That which came fire from Thee cometh water from me; let therefore Thy Spirit lay hold on me, so that my right hand loose the lightning.
3. Travelling through space, I saw the onrush of two galaxies, butting each other and goring like bulls upon earth. I was afraid.
4. Thus they ceased fight, and turned upon me, and I was sorely crushed and torn.
5. I had rather have been trampled by the World-Elephant.
6. O my God! Thou art my little pet tortoise!
7. Yet Thou sustainest the World-Elephant.
8. I creep under Thy carapace, like a lover into the bed of his beautiful; I creep in, and sit in Thine heart, as cubby and cosy as may be.
9. Thou shelterest me, that I hear not the trumpeting of that World-Elephant.
10. Thou art not worth an obol in the agora; yet Thou art not to be bought at the ransom of the whole Universe.
11. Thou art like a beautiful Nubian slave leaning her naked purple against the green pillars of marble that are above the bath.
12. Wine jets from her black nipples.
13. I drank wine awhile agone in the house of Pertinax. The cup-boy favoured me, and gave me of the right sweet Chian.
14. There was a Doric boy, skilled in feats of strength, an athlete. The
full moon fled away angrily down the wrack.
Ah! but we laughed.
15. I was pernicious drunk, O my God! Yet Pertinax brought me to the bridal.
16. I had a crown of thorns for all my dower.
17. Thou art like a goat's horn from Astor, O Thou God of mine, gnarl'd and crook'd and devilish strong.
18. Colder than all the ice of all the glaciers of the Naked Mountain was the wine it poured for me.
19. A wild country and a waning moon.
Clouds scudding over the sky.
A circuit of pines, and of tall yews beyond. Thou in the midst!
20. O all ye toads and cats, rejoice! Ye slimy things, come hither!
21. Dance, dance to the Lord our God!
22. He is he! He is he! He is he!
23. Why should I go on?
24. Why? Why? comes the sudden cackle of a million imps of hell.
25. And the laughter runs.
26. But sickens not the Universe; but shakes not the stars.
27. God! how I love Thee!
28. I am walking in an asylum; all the men and women about me are insane.
29. Oh madness! madness! madness! desirable art thou!
30. But I love Thee, O God!
31. These men and women rave and howl; they froth out folly.
32. I begin to be afraid. I have no check; I am alone. Alone. Alone.
33. Think, O God, how I am happy in Thy love.
34. O marble Pan! O false leering face! I love Thy dark kisses, bloody and stinking! O marble Pan! Thy kisses are like sunlight on the blue Ægean; their blood is the blood of the sunset over Athens; their stink is like a garden of Roses of Macedonia.
35. I dreamt of sunset and roses and vines; Thou wast there, O my God, Thou didst habit Thyself as an Athenian courtesan, and I loved Thee.
36. Thou art no dream, O Thou too beautiful alike for sleep and waking!
37. I disperse the insane folk of the earth; I walk alone with my little puppets in the garden.
38. I am Gargantuan great; yon galaxy is but the smoke-ring of mine incense.
39. Burn Thou strange herbs, O God!
40. Brew me a magic liquor, boys, with your glances!
41. The very soul is drunken.
42. Thou art drunken, O my God, upon my kisses.
43. The Universe reels; Thou hast looked upon it.
44. Twice, and all is done.
45. Come, O my God, and let us embrace!
46. Lazily, hungrily, ardently, patiently; so will I work.
47. There shall be an End.
48. O God! O God!
49. I am a fool to love Thee; Thou art cruel, Thou withholdest Thyself.
50. Come to me now! I love Thee! I love Thee!
51. O my darling, my darling --- Kiss me! Kiss me! Ah! but again.
52. Sleep, take me! Death, take me! This life is too full; it pains, it slays, it suffices.
53. Let me go back into the world; yea, back into the world.

Reading 4: From The Dark Night of the Soul of San Juan de la Cruz:

2. order that the soul may be divinely prepared and tempered with its faculties for the Divine union of love, it would be well for it to be first of all absorbed, with all its faculties, in this Divine and dark spiritual light of contemplation, and thus to be withdrawn from all the affections and apprehensions of the creatures, which condition ordinarily continues in proportion to its intensity. And thus, the simpler and the purer is this Divine light in its assault upon the soul, the more does it darken it, void it and annihilate it according to its particular apprehensions and affections, with regard both to things above and to things below; and similarly, the less simple and pure is it in this assault, the less deprivation it causes it and the less dark is it. Now this is a thing that seems incredible, to say that, the brighter and purer is supernatural and Divine light, the more it darkens the soul, and that, the less bright and pure is it, the less dark it is to the soul. Yet this may readily be understood if we consider what has been proved above by the dictum of the philosopher-namely, that the brighter and the more manifest in themselves are supernatural things the darker are they to our understanding.

3. And, to the end that this may be understood the more clearly, we shall here set down a similitude referring to common and natural light. We observe that a ray of sunlight which enters through the window is the less clearly visible according as it is the purer and freer from specks, and the more of such specks and motes there are in the air, the brighter is the light to the eye. The reason is that it is not the light itself that is seen; the light is but the means whereby the other things that it strikes are seen, and then it is also seen itself, through its reflection in them; were it not for this, neither it nor they would have been seen. Thus if the ray of sunlight entered through the window of one room and passed out through another on the other side, traversing the room, and if it met nothing on the way, or if there were no specks in the air for it to strike, the room would have no more light than before, neither would the ray of light be visible. In fact, if we consider it carefully, there is more darkness where the ray is, since it absorbs and obscures any other light, and yet it is itself invisible, because, as we have said, there are no visible objects which it can strike.

4. Now this is precisely what this Divine ray of contemplation does in the soul. Assailing it with its Divine light, it transcends the natural power of the soul, and herein it darkens it and deprives it of all natural affections and apprehensions which it apprehended aforetime by means of natural light; and thus it leaves it not only dark, but likewise empty, according to its faculties and desires, both spiritual and natural. And, by thus leaving it empty and in darkness, it purges and illumines it with Divine spiritual light, although the soul thinks not that it has this light, but believes itself to be in darkness, even as we have said of the ray of light, which although it be in the midst of the room, yet, if it be pure and meet nothing on its path, is not visible. With regard, however, to this spiritual light by which the soul is assailed, when it has something to strike-that is, when something spiritual presents itself to be understood, however small a speck it be and whether of perfection or imperfection, or whether it be a judgment of the falsehood or the truth of a thing-it then sees and understands much more clearly than before it was in these dark places. And exactly in the same way it discerns the spiritual light which it has in order that it may readily discern the imperfection which is presented to it; even as, when the ray of which we have spoken, within the room, is dark and not itself visible, if one introduce a hand or any other thing into its path, the hand is then seen and it is realized that sunlight is present.

5. Wherefore, since this spiritual light is so simple, pure and general, not appropriated or restricted to any particular thing that can be understood, whether natural or Divine (since with respect to all these apprehensions the faculties of the soul are empty and annihilated), it follows that with great comprehensiveness and readiness the soul discerns and penetrates whatsoever thing presents itself to it, whether it come from above or from below; for which cause the Apostle said: That the spiritual man searches all things, even the deep things of God. For by this general and simple wisdom is understood that which the Holy Spirit says through the Wise Man, namely: That it reaches wheresoever it wills by reason of its purity; that is to say, because it is not restricted to any particular object of the intellect or affection. And this is the characteristic of the spirit that is purged and annihilated with respect to all particular affections and objects of the understanding, that in this state wherein it has pleasure in nothing and understands nothing in particular, but dwells in its emptiness, darkness and obscurity, it is fully prepared to embrace everything...
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