The Cry of the 28th Æthyr, Which is Called BAG1

There cometh an Angel into the stone with opalescent2 shining garments like a wheel of fire3 on every side of him, and in his hand is a long flail of scarlet lightning;4 his face is black,5 and his eyes white without any pupil or iris.6 The face is very terrible indeed to look upon. Now in front of him is a wheel, with many spokes, and many tyres; it is like a fence7 in front of him.

And he cries: O man, who art thou that wouldst penetrate the Mystery? for it is hidden unto the End of Time.8

And I answer him: Time9 is not, save in the darkness of Her womb by whom evil came.

And now the wheel breaks away, and I see him as he is. His garment is black beneath the opal2 veils, but it is lined with white, and he has the shining belly of a fish, and enormous wings of black and white feathers, and innumerable little legs and claws like a centipede, and a long tail like a scorpion. The breasts8 are human, but they are all scored with blood; and he cries: O thou who hast broken down the veil,8 knowest thou not that who cometh where I am must be scarred by many sorrows?10

And I answer him: Sorrow11 is not, save in the darkness of the womb of Her by whom came evil.

I pierce the Mystery11 of his breast,11 and therein is a jewel. It is a sapphire as great as an ostrich egg, and thereon is graven this sigil:

But there is also much writing on the stone, very minute characters carved. I cannot read them. He points with his flail to the sapphire, which is now outside him and bigger than himself;12 and he cries: Hail! warden of the Gates of Eternity who knowest not13 thy right hand from thy left;14 for in the aeon of my Father is a god with clasped hands wherein he holdeth the universe, crushing15 it into the dust that ye call stars.

Hail unto thee who knowest not thy right eye from thy left;16 for in the aeon of my Father there is but one light.

Hail unto thee who knowest not thy right nostril17 from thy left; for in the aeon of my Father there is neither life nor death.

Hail unto thee who knowest not thy right ear18 from thy left; for in the aeon of my Father there is neither sound nor silence.

Whoso hath power to break open this sapphire stone shall find therein four elephants having tusks of mother-of-pearl, and upon whose backs are castles, those castles which ye call the watch-towers of the Universe.19

Let me dwell in peace within the breast of the Angel that is warden of the aethyr. Let not the shame of my Mother be unveiled. Let not her be put to shame that lieth among the lilies that are beyond the stars.

O man, that must ever be opening, when wilt thou learn to seal up the mysteries of the creation? to fold thyself over thyself as a rose in the embrace of night? But thou must play the wanton to the sun, and the wind must tear thy petals from thee, and the bee must rob thee of thy honey, and thou must fall into the dusk of things. Amen and Amen.

Verily the light is hidden, therefore he who hideth himself is like unto the light; but thou openest thyself; thou art like unto the darkness that bindeth the belly of the great goddess.20


And the voice of the aeon cried: Return, return, return! the time sickeneth, and the space gapeth, and the voice of him that is, was and shall be crowned rattles in the throat of the mighty dragon of eld.22 Thou canst not pass by me, except thou have the mystery of the word of the abyss.

Now the angel putteth back the sapphire stone into his breast; and I spake unto him and said, I will fight with thee and overcome thee, except thou expound unto me the word of the abyss.

Now he makes as if to fight with me. (It is very horrible, all the tentacles moving and the flail flashing, and the fierce eyeless face, strained and swollen.) And with the Magic sword I pierce through his armour to his breast. He fell back, saying: Each of these my scars was thus made, for I am the warden of the aethyr. And he would have said more; but I cut him short, saying: expound the word of the Abyss. And he said:23 Discipline is sorrowful and ploughing is laborious and age is weariness.

Thou shalt be vexed by dispersion.24

But now, if the sun arise,25 fold thou thine arms;25 then shall God smite thee into a pillar of salt.26

Look not so deeply into words and letters; for this Mystery hath been hidden by the Alchemists. Compose the sevenfold into a fourfold regimen;27 and when thou hast understood thou mayest make symbols;28 but by playing child's games with symbols thou shalt never understand.29 Thou hast the signs; thou hast the words; but there are many things that are not in my power, who am but the warden of the 28th Aethyr.

Now my name thou shalt obtain in this wise. Of the three angels of the Aethyr,30 thou shalt write the names from right to left and from left to right and from right to left, and these are the holy letters:

The first 1, the fifth 2, the sixth 3, the eleventh 4, the seventh 5, the twelfth 6, the seventeenth 7.

Thus hast thou my name31 who am above these three, but the angels of the 30th Aethyr are indeed four, and they have none above them; wherefore dispersion and disorder.32

Now cometh from every side at once a voice, terribly great, crying: Close the veil; the great blasphemy hath been uttered; the face of my Mother33 is scarred by the nails of the devil. Shut the book, destroy the breaker of the seal!

And I answered: Had he not been destroyed he had not come hither, for I am not save in the darkness in the womb of Her34 by whom came evil into the world.

And this darkness swallows everything up,35 and the angel is gone from the stone;36 and there is no light therein, save only the light of the Rose and of the Cross.37

Aumale, Algeria.
November 23, 1909, between 8 and 9 p.m.