Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Readings for March 31st

Reading 1: Liber Lapidis Lazuli (VII), Chapter III, by Saint Aleister Crowley

1. I was the priest of Ammon-Ra in the temple of Ammon-Ra at Thebai.
2. But Bacchus came singing with his troops of vine-clad girls, of girls in dark mantles; and Bacchus in the midst like a fawn!
3. God! how I ran out in my rage and scattered the chorus!
4. But in my temple stood Bacchus as the priest of Ammon-Ra.
5. Therefore I went wildly with the girls into Abyssinia; and there we abode and rejoiced.
6. Exceedingly; yea, in good sooth!
7. I will eat the ripe and the unripe fruit for the glory of Bacchus.
8. Terraces of ilex, and tiers of onyx and opal and sardonyx leading up to the cool green porch of malachite.
9. Within is a crystal shell, shaped like an oyster -- O glory of Priapus! O beatitude of the Great Goddess!
10. Therein is a pearl.
11. O Pearl! thou hast come from the majesty of dread Ammon-Ra.
12. Then I the priest beheld a steady glitter in the heart of the pearl.
13. So bright we could not look! But behold! a blood-red rose upon a rood of glowing gold!
14. So I adored the God. Bacchus! thou art the lover of my God!
15. I who was priest of Ammon-Ra, who saw the Nile flow by for many moons, for many, many moons, am the young fawn of the grey land.
16. I will set up my dance in your conventicles, and my secret loves shall be sweet among you.
17. Thou shalt have a lover among the lords of the grey land.
18. This shall he bring unto thee, without which all is in vain; a man's life spilt for thy love upon My Altars.
19. Amen.
20. Let it be soon, O God, my God! I ache for Thee, I wander very lonely among the mad folk, in the grey land of desolation.
21. Thou shalt set up the abominable lonely Thing of wickedness. Oh joy! to lay that corner-stone!
22. It shall stand erect upon the high mountain; only my God shall commune with it.
23. I will build it of a single ruby; it shall be seen from afar off.
24. Come! let us irritate the vessels of the earth: they shall distil strange wine.
25. It grows under my hand: it shall cover the whole heaven.
26. Thou art behind me: I scream with a mad joy.
27. Then said Ithuriel the strong; let Us also worship this invisible marvel!
28. So did they, and the archangels swept over the heaven.
29. Strange and mystic, like a yellow priest invoking mighty flights of great grey birds from the North, so do I stand and invoke Thee!
30. Let them obscure not the sun with their wings and their clamour!
31. Take away form and its following!
32. I am still.
33. Thou art like an osprey among the rice, I am the great red pelican in the sunset waters.
34. I am like a black eunuch; and Thou art the scimitar. I smite off the head of the light one, the breaker of bread and salt.
35. Yea! I smite -- and the blood makes as it were a sunset on the lapis lazuli of the King's Bedchamber.
36. I smite! The whole world is broken up into a mighty wind, and a voice cries aloud in a tongue that men cannot speak.
37. I know that awful sound of primal joy; let us follow on the wings of the gale even unto the holy house of Hathor; let us offer the five jewels of the cow upon her altar!
38. Again the inhuman voice!
39. I rear my Titan bulk into the teeth of the gale, and I smite and prevail, and swing me out over the sea.
40. There is a strange pale God, a god of pain and deadly wickedness.
41. My own soul bites into itself, like a scorpion ringed with fire.
42. That pallid God with face averted, that God of subtlety and laughter, that young Doric God, him will I serve.
43. For the end thereof is torment unspeakable.
44. Better the loneliness of the great grey sea!
45. But ill befall the folk of the grey land, my God!
46. Let me smother them with my roses!
47. Oh Thou delicious God, smile sinister!
48. I pluck Thee, O my God, like a purple plum upon a sunny tree. How Thou dost melt in my mouth, Thou consecrated sugar of the Stars!
49. The world is all grey before mine eyes; it is like an old worn wine-skin.
50. All the wine of it is on these lips.
51. Thou hast begotten me upon a marble Statue, O my God!
52. The body is icy cold with the coldness of a million moons; it is harder than the adamant of eternity. How shall I come forth into the light?
53. Thou art He, O God! O my darling! my child! my plaything! Thou art like a cluster of maidens, like a multitude of swans upon the lake.
54. I feel the essence of softness.
55. I am hard and strong and male; but come Thou! I shall be soft and weak and feminine.
56. Thou shalt crush me in the wine-press of Thy love. My blood shall stain Thy fiery feet with litanies of Love in Anguish.
57. There shall be a new flower in the fields, a new vintage in the vineyards.
58. The bees shall gather a new honey; the poets shall sing a new song.
59. I shall gain the Pain of the Goat for my prize; and the God that sitteth upon the shoulders of Time shall drowse.
60. Then shall all this which is written be accomplished: yea, it shall be accomplished.

Reading 2: Liber Sæculi (CDXVIII), the 20th Æthyr, by Saint Aleister Crowley

Now behind the angels are archangels with trumpets. These cause all things to appear at once, so that there is a tremendous confusion of images. And now I perceive that all these things are but veils of the wheel, for they all gather themselves into a wheel that spins with incredible velocity. It hath many colours, but all thrilled with white light, so that they are transparent and luminous. This one wheel is forty-nine wheels, set at different angles, so that they compose a sphere; each wheel has forty-nine spokes, and has forty-nine concentric tyres at equal distances from the centre. And wherever the rays from any two wheels meet, there is a blinding flash of glory. It must be understood that though so much detail is visible in the wheel, yet at the same time the impression is of a single, simple object.

It seems that this wheel is being spun by a hand. Though the wheel fills the whole Aire, yet the hand is much bigger than the wheel. And though this vision is so great and splendid, yet there is no seriousness with it, or solemnity. It seems that the hand is spinning the wheel merely for pleasure, it would be better to say amusement.

A voice comes: For he is a jocund and a ruddy god, and his laughter is the vibration of all that exists, and the earthquakes of the soul.

One is conscious of the whirring of the wheel thrilling one, like an electric discharge passing through one.

Now I see the figures on the wheel, which have been interpreted as the sworded Sphinx, Hermanubis and Typhon. And that is wrong. The rim of the wheel is a vivid emerald snake; in the centre of the wheel is a scarlet heart; and, impossible to explain as it is, the scarlet of the heart and the green of the snake are yet more vivid than the blinding white brilliance of the wheel.

The figures on the wheel are darker than the wheel itself; in fact, they are stains upon the purity of the wheel, and for that reason, and because of the whirling of the wheel, I cannot see them. But at the top seems to be the Lamb and Flag, such as one sees on some Christian medals, and one of the lower things is a wolf, and the other a raven. The Lamb and Flag symbol is much brighter than the other two. It keeps on growing brighter, until now it is brighter than the wheel itself, and occupies more space than it did.

It speaks: I am the greatest of the deceivers, for my purity and innocence shall seduce the pure and innocent, who but for me should come to the centre of the wheel. The wolf betrayeth only the greedy and the treacherous; the raven betrayeth only the melancholy and the dishonest. But I am he of whom it is written: He shall deceive the very elect.

For in the beginning the Father of all called forth lying spirits that they might sift the creatures of the earth in three sieves, according to the three impure souls. And he chose the wolf for the lust of the flesh, and the raven for the lust of the mind; but me did he choose above all to simulate the pure prompting of the soul. Them that are fallen a prey to the wolf and the raven I have not scathed; but them that have rejected me, I have given over to the wrath of the raven and the wolf. And the jaws of the one have torn them, and the beak of the other has devoured the corpse. Therefore is my flag white, because I have left nothing upon the earth alive. I have feasted myself on the blood of the saints, but I am not suspected of men to be their enemy, for my fleece is white and warm, and my teeth are not the teeth of one that teareth flesh; and mine eyes are mild, and they know me not the chief of the lying spirits that the Father of all sent forth from before his face in the beginning.

(His attribution is salt; the wolf mercury, and the raven sulphur.)

Now the lamb grows small again, there is again nothing but the wheel, and the hand that whirleth it.
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