The Cry of the 18th Aethyr, Which is Called ZEN
A Voice comes before any vision: Accursed are they who enter herein if they have nails, for they shall be pierced therewith; or if they have thorns, for they shall be crowned withal; or if they have whips, for with whips they shall be scourged: or if they bear wine, for their wine shall be turned to bitterness; or if they have a spear, for with a spear shall they be pierced unto the heart. And the nails are desires, of which there are three; the desire of light, the desire of life, the desire of love.
(And the thorns are thoughts, and the whips are regrets, and the wine is ease, or perhaps unsteadiness, especially in ecstasy, and the spear is attachment.)
And now there dawns the scene of the Crucifixion; but the Crucified One is an enormous bat, and for the two thieves are two little children. It is night, and the night is full of hideous things and howlings.
And an angel cometh forth, and saith: Be wary, for if thou change so much as the style of a letter, the holy word is blasphemed. But enter into the mountain of the Caverns, for that this (how much more then that Calvary which mocks it, as his ape mocks Thoth?) is but the empty shell of the mystery of ZEN. Verily, I say unto thee, many are the adepts that have looked upon the back parts of my father, and cried, “our eyes fail before the glory of thy countenance.”
And with that he gives the sign of the rending of the veil, and tears down the vision. And behold! whirling columns of fiery light, seventy- two. Upon them is supported a mountain of pure crystal. The mountain is a cone, the angle of the apex being sixty degrees. And within the crystal is a pyramid of ruby, like unto the Great Pyramid of Gizeh.
I am entered in by the little door thereof, and I am come into the chamber of the king, which is fashioned like unto the vault of the adepts, or rather it is fitting to say that the vault of the adepts is a vile imitation of it. For there are four sides to the chamber, which with the roof and the floor and the chamber itself makes seven. So also is the pastos seven, for that which is within is like unto that which is without. And there is no furniture, and there are no symbols.
Light streams from every side upon the pastos. This light is that blue of Horus which we know, but being refined it is brilliance. For the light of Horus only appears blue because of the imperfection of our eyes. But though the light pours from the pastos, yet the pastos remains perfectly dark, so that it is invisible. It hath no form: only, at a certain point in the chamber, the light is beaten back.
I lie prostate upon the ground before this mystery. Its splendour is impossible to describe. I can only say that its splendour is so great that my heart stops with the terror and the wonder and the rapture of it. I am almost mad. A million insane images chase each other through my brain… A voice comes: (it is my own voice – I did not know it). “When thou shalt know me, O thou empty God, my little flame shall utterly expire in thy great N.O.X.” There is no answer. … (20 minutes. O.V.) …
And now, after so long a while, the Angel lifts me and takes me from the room, and sets me in a little chamber where is another Angel like a fair youth in shining garments, who makes me partake of the sacraments; bread, that is labour; and fire, that is wit; and a rose, that is sin; and wine, that is death. And all about us is a great company of angels in many-coloured robes, rose and spring-green, and sky-blue, and pale gold, and silver, and lilac, solemnly chanting without words. It is music wonderful beyond all that can be thought.
And now we go out of the chamber; on the right is a pylon, and the right figure is Isis, and the left figure Nephthys, and they are folding their wings over, and supporting Ra.
I wanted to go back to the King's Chamber. The Angel pushed me away, saying: “Thou shalt see these visions from afar off, but thou shalt not partake of them save in the manner prescribed. For if thou change so much as the style of a letter, the holy word is blasphemed.”
And this is the manner prescribed:
Let there be a room furnished as for the ritual of passing through Tuat. And let the aspirant be clad in the robes of, and let him bear the insignia of his grade. And at the least he shall be a neophyte.
Three days and three nights shall he have been in the tomb, vigilant and fasting, for he shall sleep no longer than three hours at any one time, and he shall drink pure water, and eat little sweet cakes consecrated unto the moon, and fruits, and the eggs of the duck, or of the goose, or of the plover. And he shall be shut in, so that no man may break in upon his meditation. But in the last twelve hours he shall neither eat nor sleep.
Then shall he break his fast, eating rich food, and drinking sweet wines, and wines that foam; and he shall banish the elements and the planets and the signs and the sephiroth; and then shall he take the holy table that he hath made for his altar; and he shall take the call of the Aethyr of which he will partake, which he hath written in the angelic character, or in the character of the holy alphabet that is revealed in Pop, upon a fair sheet of virgin vellum; and therewith shall he conjure the Aethyr, chanting the call. And in the lamp that is hung above the altar shall he burn the call that he hath written.
Then shall he kneel before the holy table, and it shall be given him to partake of the mystery of the Aethyr.
And concerning the ink with which he shall write; for the first Aethyr let it be gold, for the second scarlet, for the third violet, for the fourth emerald, for the fifth silver, for the sixth sapphire, for the seventh orange, for the eighth indigo, for the ninth gray, for the tenth black, for the eleventh maroon, for the twelfth russet, for the thirteenth green-gray, for the fourteenth amber, for the fifteenth olive, for the sixteenth pale blue, for the seventeenth crimson, for the eighteenth bright yellow, for the nineteenth crimson adorned with silver, for the twentieth mauve, for the twenty-first pale green, for the twenty-second rose-madder, for the twenty-third violet cobalt, for the twenty-fourth beetle-brown, blue-brown colour, for the twenty-fifth a cold dark gray, for the twenty- sixth white flecked with red, blue, and yellow; the edges of the letters shall be green, for the twenty-seventh angry clouds of ruddy brown, for the twenty-eighth indigo, for the twenty-ninth bluish-green, for the thirtieth mixed colours.
This shall be the form to be used by him who would partake of the mystery of any Aethyr. And let him not change so much as the style of a letter, lest the holy word be blasphemed.
And let him beware, after he hath been permitted to partake of this mystery, that he await the completion of the 91st hour of his retirement, before he open the door of the place of his retirement; lest he contaminate his glory with uncleanness, and lest they that behold him be smitten by his glory unto death.
For this is a holy mystery, and he that did first attain to reveal the alphabet thereof, perceived not one ten-thousandth part of the fringe that is upon its vesture.
Come away! for the clouds are gathered together, and the Aire heaveth like the womb of a woman in travail. Come away! lest he loose the lightnings from his hand, and unleash his hounds of thunder. Come away! For the voice of the Aethyr is accomplished. Come away! For the seal of His loving-kindness is made sure. And let there be praise and blessing unspeakable unto him that sitteth upon the Holy Throne, for he casteth down mercies as a spendthrift that scattereth gold. And he hath shut up judgment and hidden it away as a miser that hoardeth coins of little worth.
All this while the Angel hath been pushing me backwards, and now he is turned into a golden cross with a rose at its heart, and that is the red cross wherein is set the golden shewstone.
December 1, 1909. 2:30 - 4:10 p.m.