(Well of Daylight The Snow – Jean-Marie Poumeyrol)
Tis a Beastly affair for Wednesday… On to one of my favourite subjects…
On The Menu:
Part I of The Great Beast Aleister Crowley – Robert Anton Wilson
Poetry: Aleister Crowley
Art: Jean-Marie Poumeyrol
Hope today finds you well.
Part I: The Great Beast Aleister Crowley – Robert Anton Wilson
Originally published in:Paul Krassners The Realist Issues 91-B, C, 92-A, B (1971-2)
O The Fool
All ways are lawful to innocence. Pure folly is the key to initiation. The Book of Thoth
Crowley: Pronounced with a crow so it rhymes with holy: Edward Alexander Crowley, b. 1875 d. 1947, known as Aleister Crowley, known also as Sir Aleister Crowley, Saint Aleister Crowley (of the Gnostic Catholic Church), Frater Perdurabo, Frater Ou Mh, To Mega Therion, Count McGregor, Count Vladimir Svareff, Chao Khan, Mahatma Guru Sri Paramahansa Shivaji, Baphomet, and Ipsissimus; obviously, a case of the ontological fidgets – couldn’t make up his mind who he really was; chiefly known as The Beast 666 or The Great Beast; friends and disciples celebrated his funeral with a Black Mass: or so the newspapers said.
Actually it was a Gnostic Catholic Mass (even John Symonds, Crowley’s most hostile biographer, admits that at most it could be called a Grey Mass, not a Black Mass – observe the racist and Christian-chauvinist implications in this terminology, but it was certainly not an orthodox R.C. or Anglican mass, I mean, cripes, the priestess took off her clothes in one part of it, buck naked, and they call that a Mass, gloriosky!
So the town council had a meeting – this was the Ridge, in Hastings, England, 1947, not 1347 – and they passed an ordinance that no such heathen rites would ever be tolerated in any funeral services in their town, not never; I sort of picture them in the kitch Alpine-Balkan garb of Universal Studios’ classic monster epics, and I see Aleister himself, in his coffin, wearing nothing less spectacular than the old black cape of Bela Lugosi: fangs showing beneath his sensual lips: but his eyes closed in deep and divine Samadhi.
Because that’s the sort of images that come to mind when Aleister Crowley is mentioned: this damnable man who identified himself with the Great Beast in St. John’s Revelations in an age when the supernatural is umbilically connected with Universal Studios, Hearst Sunday Supplement I-walked-with-a-zombie-in-my-maidenform-bra gushings and, God’s socks, Today’s Astrology (“Listen, Scoorpio: This month you must look before you leap and remember that prudence is wiser than rashness: Don’t trust that Taurus female in you office” – I repeat: God’s socks and spats); this divine man who became the Logos when Logos was just a word to pencil into Double-Crostics on rainy Sundays; this damnable and divine paradox of a Crowley!
Listen, some critic (I forgot who) wrote of Lugosi “acting with total sincerity and a kind of demented cornball poetry” and the words, like the old crimson-lined black cape, seem tailored equally well for the shoulders of Master Therion, To Mega Therion, the Great Beast, Aleister Crowley. This is the final degradation: this avatar of anarchy, this epitome of rebellion, this incarnation of inconsistency, this man Crowley whom his contemporaries called “The King of Depravity,” The Wickedest Man in the World,” “A Cannibal at Large,” “A Man We’d Like to Hang,” “A Human Beast”; and, with some anti-climax, “A Pro-German and Revolutionary.”
Now, to us, he is quaint. Worse: he is Camp. Worse yet: he is corny.
We don’t even believe his boast that he performed human sacrifice 150 times a year, starting in 1912.
None of these cordial titles was invented by myself. All were used, in Crowley’s life-time, by the newspaper John Bull, in it’s heroic and nigh-interminable campaign to save England from the Beast’s pernicious influence. See P.R. Stephenson, The Legend of Aleister Crowley.
I — The Magician
The True Self is the meaning of the True Will: know Thyself through Thy Way. The Book of Thoth
For there is no clear way, even on the most superficial level of the gross external data, to say what Edward Alexander Crowley (who called himself Aleister: and other names) really was trying to do with his life and communicate to his fellows.
Witness: here is an Englishman (never forget that: an Englishman, and bloody English at times he could be) who in the stodgiest year, of the dreariest decade of the age we call Victoria, commits technical High Treason, joins the Carlists, accepts a knighthood from Don Carlos himself, denounces as illegitimate all the knighthoods granted by “the Hanoverian usurper” (he also called her a “dumpy German hausfrau” – poor Vicky), yes, and then for years and decades afterward continues, with owl-like obstinacy, with superlative stubbornness, with ham heroism, with promethean pigheadedness, to sign himself “Sir Aleister” – a red flag in the face of John Bull.
But more: the same romantic reactionary, the same very parfet bogus knight, hears that the French authorities, scandalized by the heroic size of the genital on Epstein’s statue of Oscar Wilde, have covered it with a butterfly – and, bien bueno, you guessed it, there he is, at twilight with hammer and chisel, sworn enemy of the Philistines, removing the butterfly and restoring the statue to its pristine purity – but why by all the pot-bellied gods in China, why did he turn that gesture into a joke by walking, the same night, into London’s stuffiest restaurant, wearing the same butterfly over the crotch of his own trousers?
A Harlequin, then, we might pronounce him, ultimately: the archetypal Batty Bard superimposed upon the classic Eccentric Englishman? And with a touch of the Sardonic Sodomist – for didn’t he smuggle homosexual jokes (hidden in puns, codes, acrostics and notarikons) into his various volumes of mystical poetry?
Didn’t it even turn out that his great literary “discovery” the Bagh-I-Muattar [The Scented Garden] was not a discovery at all but an invention – all of it, all, all! from the pious but pederastic Persian original, through the ingenious but innocent English major who translated it (and died heroically in the Boer War), up to the high Anglican clergyman who wrote the Introduction saluting its sanctity but shivering at its salacity – all, all from his own cunning and creative cranium?
Yes: and he even published one volume, White Stains (Krafft-Ebing in verse) with a poker-faced prologue pronouncing that “The Editor hopes the Mental Pathologists, for whose eyes alone this treatise is destined, will spare no precaution to prevent it falling into other hands” – and, hot damn, arranged that the author’s name on the title-page would be given as “George Archibald,” a pious uncle whom he detested.
Sophomore pranks? Yes, but in 1912, at the age of 37, he was still at the same game: that was the year he managed to sell Hail Mary, a volume of versatile verses celebrating the Virgin, to London’s leading Catholic publishers, Burns and Oates: and he even waited until it was favorably reviewed in the Catholic press (“a plenteous and varied feast for the lovers of tuneful verse,” enthused the Catholic Times) before revealing that the real author was not a cloistered nun or an uncommonly talented Bishop, but himself, Satan’s Servant, the Great Beast, the Demon Crowley.
But grok in its fullness this fact: he really did it. You or I might conceive such a jest, but he carried it out: writing the pious verses with just the proper tone of sugary sanctimoniousness to actually sell to a Papist publisher and get cordial reviews in the Romish press – as if Baudelaire had forced himself to write a whole volume of Edgar Guest: And just for the sake of a horse-laugh?
To understand this conundrum of a Crowley we will have to Dig.
II — The High Priestess
Purity is to live only to the Highest: and the Highest is All; be thou as Artemis to Pan. The Book of Thoth
These jokes sometimes seem to have an obscure point, and one is uneasily suspicious that there might be Hamlet-like method in this madness. Even the alternate identities can be considered more than games: They might be Zen counter-games. Here’s the Beast’s own explanation of the time he became Count Vladimir Svareff, from The Confessions of Aleister Crowley: An Autohagiography.
“I wanted to increase my knowledge of mankind. I knew how people treated a young man from Cambridge. I had thoroughly appreciated the servility of tradesmen, although I was too generous and too ignorant to realize the extent of their dishonesty and rapacity. Now I wanted to see how people would behave to a Russian nobleman. I must say here that I repeatedly used this method of disguise – it has been amazingly useful in multiplying my points of view about humanity. Even the most broad-minded people are necessarily narrow in this one respect. They may know how all sorts of people treat them, but they cannot know, except at second hand, how those same people treat others.”
And the Hail Mary caper has its own sane-insane raison d’etre:
“I must not be thought exactly insincere, though I had certainly no shadow of belief in any of the Christian dogmas… I simply wanted to see the world through the eyes of a devout Catholic, very much as I had done with the decadent poet of White Stains, the Persian mystic of Bagh-i-Muattar, and so on… I did not see why I should be confined to one life. How can one hope to understand the world if one persists in regarding it from the conning tower of ones own “personality?”
Just so: the procedure is even scientific these days (Role-Playing, you know) and is a central part of Psychodrama and Group Dynamics. “You have to go out of your mind before you can come to your senses,” as Tim Leary (or Fritz Perls) once said. Sure: you can even become Jesus and Satan at the same time: Ask Charles the Son of Man.
For Artemis, the goddess of nature, is eternally virgin: she only surrended once, and then to Pan: and this is a clue to the Beast’s purpose in his bloody sacrifices.
III — The Empress
This is the Harmony of the Universe, that Love unites the Will to create with the Understanding of that Creation. The Book of Thoth
The infant Gargantua was sent to a school run by the Plymouth Brethren, the narrowly Fundamentalist sect to which his parents belonged. He commends the school in these cordial words from his essay “A Boyhood in Hell”:
“May the maiden that passes it be barren and the pregnant woman that beholdeth it abort! May the birds of the air refuse to fly over it! May it stand as a curse, as a fear, as a hate, among men. May the wicked dwell therein! May the light of the sun be withheld therefrom and the light of the moon not lighten it! May it become the home of the shells of the dead and may the demons of the pit inhabit it! May it be accursed, accursed – accursed for ever and ever.’
One gathers that the boy Alick was not happy there. In fact, the climax of his miseries came when somebody told the Headmasters that he had seen young Crowley drunk on hard liquor. Our anti-hero was put on a diet of bread and waters and placed in coventry (i.e., nobody, student or teacher, was allowed to talk to him), without being told what offense he committed; this Christian punishment (for his own good, of course) lasted one full year at which point his health collapsed and a relative not totally committed to Plymouth Brethren theology insisted that he be removed from that environment before it killed him.
This incident is a favorite with the Beast’s unsympathetic critics; they harp on it gleefully, to convey that they are not the sort of religious bigots who would torture a child in this fashion; and they also use it to explain his subsequent antipathy to anything bearing the names or coming under the auspices, of “Jesus” or “Christ.”
It was this school, they say, which warped his mind and turned him to the service of the devil; a nice theory for parlor analysts or term papers, but it has the defect of not being quite true. The King of Depravity never did embrace Satan, as we shall see, and he kept a very nice mind full of delicate distinctions and discriminations; of this experience he himself says, “I did not hate Jesus and God; I hated the Jesus and God of the people I hated.”
But now we jump ahead, past adolescence (skipping the time he seduced a housemaid on his mother’s bed; sorry, Freudians), past Cambridge (missing a nice 1890-style student riot) and past mountain-climbing (by 1901, he and his favorite fellow-climber, Oscar Eckenstein, held most of the climbing records in the world between them – all but one to be exact); we came now to the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn; caveat lector; we enter the realm of Mystery, Vision – and Hallucination; the reader is the only judge of what can be believed from here on.
IV — The Emperor
Find thyself in every Star. Achieve thou every possibility. The Book of Thoth
It seems that the Golden Dawn was founded by Robert Wentworth Little, a high Freemason, based on papers he rescued from a hidden drawn in London’s Freemason Hall during a fire. No: it wasn’t Little at all, but Wynn Wescott, a Rosicrucian, acting on behalf of a mysterious Fraulein Sprenger in Germany, who herself probably represented the original Illuminati of Adam Weishaupt.
No: not so either: behind the Golden Dawn was actually a second Order, the Rose of Ruby and Cross of Gold – i.e. the original medieval Rosicrucians still in business at the old stand; and behind them was the Third Order, the Great White Brotherhood – i.e., the Nine Unknown Men of Hindu lore the true rulers of earth, one can only say, if the last theory be true, that the Great White Brotherhood are Great White Fuckups.
The true true story of the Illuminati, Rosicrucians etc. – or another damned lie – is given in Illuminatus: or Laughing Buddha Jesus Phallus Inc., by Robert J. Shea and this writer, to be published by Dell this year, unless the Nine Unknown Men suppress it.
Well anyway, whenever the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn came from, there it was almost practicing in the open in London in the 1890′s, with such illustrious members as Florence Farr (the actress), Arthur Machen (the horror-story writer: you must have read his Great God Pan?), George Cecil Jones (a respectable chemist by day and a clandestine alchemist by night) and William Butler Yeats (a poet who thought his verse was superior to Crowley’s, he is described in Autohagiography as “a disheveled demonologist who could have given much more care to his appearance without being accused of dandyism.”).
In 1898, the King of Depravity was admitted to the Order: Crowley took the new name Frater Perdurabo which means Brother I-Will-Endure-To-The-End; he later changed it to Frater OuMh or Brother Not Yet – and began acquiring great proficiency in such arts as the invocation of angels and demons, making himself invisible, journeying in the astral body and such-like Wonders of the Occult.
In one critical operation of magick the Wickedest Man in the World failed abjectly in those early days; and this was the most important work of all. It consisted in achieving the Knowledge and Conversation of one’s Holy Guardian Angel – what, precisely, that may mean will be discussed later.
The usual operation, as found in The Book of Sacred Magick of Abra-Melin the Mage, requires six months’ hard work and is somewhat more grueling than holding the Ibis position of Hatha Yoga for that interlude, or working out pi to the thousandth place in you head without using paper or pencil. The beast’s critics like to proclaim that he couldn’t manage this because he was incapable of obeying Abra-Melin’s commandment of chastity for the necessary 180 days. We will later learn how true that claim actually is.
Invisibility, by the way, isn’t as hard as Lamont Cranston’s Tibetan teachers implied. After only a few months practice, guided by the Beast’s training manuals, I have achieved limited success twice already; and my cats, Simon and Garfunkel, do it constantly. There is no need to look for mysteries when the truth is often right out in the light of day.
V — The Hierophant
Be thou athlete with the eight limbs of Yoga; for without these thou art not disciplined for any fight. The Book of Thoth
Early in February, 1901, in Guadalajara, Mexico, the Beast began seriously working on dharana, the yoga of concentration. The method was that long used in India: holding one single image in the mind – a red triangle and banishing all other words or pictures. This is in no wise any easy task, and I, for one would have much more respect for Aleister’s critics and slanderers if there were any shred of evidence that they ever attempted such self-discipline, and, attempting it, managed to stay with it until they achieved results.
For instance, after three weeks of daily practice, the Beast recorded in his diary that he had concentrated that day for 59 minutes with exactly 25 “breaks” or wanderings from the triangle: 25 breaks may not sound so great to those who haven’t tried this; a single hour, however, will convince them that 3600 breaks, or one per second is close to average for a beginner.
Toward the end of April, the Beast logged 23 minutes with 9 breaks; on May 6th, 32 minutes and 10 breaks. I repeat: anyone who think Acid or Jesus or Scientology has remade his or her life ought to attempt a few weeks of this; it is the clearest and most humiliating revelation of the compulsive neurosis of the “normal” ego.
On August 6 the Beast arrived in Ceylon, still working on daily dharana oh yes, in Honolulu he’d had an affair with a married woman, later celebrated in his sonnet sequence Alice: An Adultery, published under the auspices of his fictitious “Society for the Propagation of Religious Truth”: his critics always mention that, to prove that he wasn’t sincere; one sometimes gets the cynical notion that these critics are either eunuchs or hypocrites.
Under the guidance of Sri Parananda and an old friend, Allan Bennett, now the Buddhist monk Maitreya Ananda, he plunged into the other “seven limbs” of yoga. I say that his mountain-climbing involved less self-discipline. I will not argue; I will give a hint only. Here are the first two steps in beginning to do pranayama:
1. Learn to breathe through your two nostrils alternately. When this becomes easy, practice exhaling through the right nozzle for no less than 15 seconds and then inhaling through the left orifice for a like time. Practice until you can do this without strain for 20 or 30 minutes.
2. Now begin retention of breath between inhalation and exhalation. Increase the period of retention until you can inhale for 10 seconds, retain for 30 second and exhale for 20 seconds. This proportion is important: if you inhale for as long as, or longer than, the exhalation, you are screwing up. Practice until you can do this – comfortably – for an hour.
Got it? Good; now you are ready to start doing the real exercises of pranayama. For instance, you can add the “third limb,” asana, which consists of sitting like a rock, no muscle moving anywhere; the Hindus recommend starting with a contortion that seems to have been devised by Sacher-Masoch himself, but choose a position that seems comfortable at first, if you want – it will turn into Hell soon enough.
All this has a point, of course; when pranayama and asana mastered, you can begin to do dharana without constant humiliating failures. Congratulations: now you can add the other “five limbs.” Of course, the temptation (especially after your foot is no longer merely asleep but has progressed to a state gruesomely reminiscent of rigor mortis) is to decide that “There isn’t anything in yoga after all” or “I just can’t do it” and maybe there’s something in Christian Science or the Process or probably another acid trip would really get you over the hump.+
Footnote: +Oh yes, brethren and sistern, we have known people capable of much rationalization. Back in 1901, even, the Beast discovered that some of the “lesser yogis,” as he called them, used hashish to fuel the last gallop from dharana to dhyana; and he later recommended this to his own disciples – but always with the provision that the results so obtained should be regarded as an indication and foreshadowing of what was sought, not as a substitute for true attainment. The Beast achieved dhyana, the non-ego trance, on October 2, 1901, less than 8 months after beginning serious dharana in Guadalajara.
VI — The Lovers
…rest in Simplicity, and listen in the Silence. The Book of Thoth
This may be getting heavy, but it has to be endured for a while before the band starts playing again. Specifically, we should have some understanding of what we mean by dhyana and what the Beast has accomplished in those 8 months. The best analysis is probably that given by the Wickedest Man in the World himself in his Confessions:
“The problem is how to stop thinking; for the theory is that the mind is a mechanism for dealing symbolically with impressions; its construction is such that one is tempted to take these symbols for reality. “That is, we manufacture units such as the inch, the chair, the self, etc., in order to organize our sense-impressions into coherent wholes, but the mind which performs this kind service is so built that it cannot then escape its own constructs. Having imagined inches and chairs and selves, the mind then perceives them “out there” in the physical world and finds it hard to credit that they exist only in the mind’s own sorting machinery. “Conscious thought, therefore, is fundamentally false and prevents one from perceiving reality. The numerous practices of yoga are simply dodges to help one acquire the knack of slowing down the current of thought and ultimately stopping it altogether.”
The mind’s self-hypnosis, of course, arises anew as soon as one comes out of dhyana. One never retains the ego-less and world-less essence of dhyana; one retains an impression thereof polluted by the mind’s pet theories and most resonant images. The Beast calls this adulterated after-effect of dhyana “mixing the planes” and regards it as the chief cause of the horrors perpetrated by religious nuts on the rest of us throughout history:
“Mohammed’s conviction that his visions were of imperative importance to “salvation” made him a fanatic… The spiritual energy derived from the high trances makes the seer a formidable force; and unless he be aware that interpretation is due only to the exaggeration of his own tendencies of thought, he will seek to impose it on others, and so delude his disciples, Pervert their minds and prevent their development… “In my system the pupil is taught to analyze all ideas and abolish them by philosophical skepticism before he is allowed to undertake the exercises that lead to dhyana.”
By 1904, the Beast had come to the conclusion that all he had seen and performed, among the Magicians and among the yogis, could be explained by combining the known psychology with the emerging beginnings of psycho-chemistry. He had pushed mysticism as far as one can, and retained his Victorian Rationalism.
Then came the cataclysm of Cairo.
VII — The Chariot
The Issue of the Vulture, Two-in-One, conveyed; this is the Chariot of Power. The Book of Thoth
Ever since his initiation into the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn in 1898, the Beast has been practicing astral voyaging almost daily. This is considerably easier than pranayama, asana, dharana, and it’s good clean fun even from the beginning.
If you are an aspirant, or a dupe, merely sit in a comfortable chair, in a room where you won’t be interrupted, close you eyes, and slowly envision your “astral body,” whatever the blazes that is, standing before you. Make every detail clear and precise; any fuzziness can get you into trouble later.
Now transfer your consciousness to this second body – I don’t know why, but some people stick at this point – and rise upward, through the ceiling, through the other rooms in the building, through the stratosphere, until you have left the physical universe entirely – to hell with it, Nixon and his astronauts are taking it over anyway – and find yourself in the astral realm, where NASA isn’t likely to follow with their flags and other tribal totems.
Approach any astral figures you see and question them closely, especially about any matters of which you wish knowledge not ordinarily available to you.
Return to the earth-body, awake, and record carefully that which has transpired. The diary of such astral journeys, carefully transcribed, is the key to all progress in High Magick, once the student learns to decipher his own visions.
The skeptical reader, if there are any skeptics left in this gullible generation, might point out that this process begins as an exercise of imagination and that there is no reason to think it ever crosses the line to reality. Quite so: but that objection does not diminish the value of the visions obtained.
The Beast has been at some pains to write a little book called “777″ which is a copious catalog, in convenient table form, of the 32 major “astral planes” and their typical scenery, events and inhabitants. Using one’s own Magical Diary and the tables in “777″ together with a few standard reference works on comparative religion, one can quickly discover where one has been, who has been there before and what major religions were founded on the basis of some earlier visitor’s account of what he had seen there.
One need not hold any occult hypothesis about these visions; you can even say that you have been exploring Carl Jung’s “Collective Unconscious” – or, more fashionably, that you have been deciphering the ethological record of the DNA code (Tim Leary’s favorite theory about LSD voyages, which fits these astral trips just as neatly). The important discipline is to avoid “mixing the planes” and confusing your explanation with the actual vision itself; or, as the Beast says in Liber O:
“In this book it is spoken of the Sephioth, and the Paths, of Spirits and Conjurations; of Gods, Spheres, Planes and many other things which may or may not exist.
“It is immaterial whether they exist or not. By doing certain things certain results follow; students are most earnestly warned against attributing objective reality or philosophical validity to any of them…
“The Student, if he attains any success in the following practices, will find himself confronted by things (ideas or beings) too glorious or too dreadful to be described. It is essential that he remain the master of all that he beholds, hears, or conceives; otherwise he will be the slave of the illusion and the prey of madness
“The Magician may go a long time being fooled and flattered by the Astrals that he has himself modified or manufactured… He will become increasingly interested in himself, imagine himself to be attaining one initiation after another. His Ego will expand unchecked, till he seems to himself to have heaven at his feet…”
The teachers of Zen have the proper tactics against this danger of grandiosity: Crowley’s independent discovery of this strategy led to those behaviors – the jokes, the “blasphemies,” the shifts in name and identity – which led to his reputation as a kook, a Satanist, and the Wickedest Man in the World.
Having watched the decline into dogmatism and self-aggrandizement of various heroes of the New Wave of dope and occultism, some of us are maybe ready to see that the Beast’s incessant profane mockery against himself and his Gods was a necessary defense against this occupational hazard of the visionary life.
But then came the Mystification of Cairo – and beyond it, the Mindfuck in China… and the discovery of the value of human sacrifice.
Balance against each thought its exact opposite. For the Marriage of these is the Annihilation of Illusion. The Book of Thoth
In March, 1904, the Beast and his first wife, Rose, were in Cairo, and he was trying to teach her some Magick, a subject which bored her profoundly. And now this is the part we warned you about, take it or leave it, this is what seems to have happened – Rose went into a kind of trance and began murmuring various disjointed phrases, including “It’s about the Child” and “They are waiting for you.”
It soon developed that some god or other was trying to communicate; Crowley asked 12 questions to determine which god and, gulp, her answers were correct, consistent and revealed a knowledge of Egyptology which in her conscious mind she did not possess.
Like: “What are his moral qualities?” “Force and fire.” “What opposes him?” “Deep blue” – until one god emerged that fit the box just as sure as Clark Kent fits the phone booth at the Daily Planet; Ra-Hoor-Khuit, or Horus in his War God aspect.
The Beast then took Rose to the Boulak Museum and asked her to pick out the god in question. She walked past several statues of Horus – which The King of Depravity observed stolidly, although, he says, “with silent glee” and then (shiver!) she stopped before Stele 666, Ra-Hoor-Khuit. “This is him,” she said.
Sorry about that, fellow rationalists.
And, of course, alas and goddam it, 666 – the Number of the Beast in St. John’s Revelations – was Crowley’s own magick number and had been for years.
Those who want to invoke the word “coincidence” to cover the rags of their ignorance are welcome to do so. Some of us have a new word lately, synchronicity, coined by no less than psychologist Carl Jung and physicist Wolfgang Pauli – and I’ve read their books and must admit I came out as confused as I went in; as far as this brain can comprehend, coincidence is meaning-less correspondence, and synchronicity is meaning-ful correspondence, and if that makes you feel superior to the custard-headed clods who still say coincidence, you’re welcome to it.
And there’s more: when the Beast acknowledged Ra-Hoor-Khuit on the other side of the astral phone hook-up, he was turned over to an underling, one Aiwass, an angel, who told him among other things that the true Word of Power isn’t abra-ca-dabra but abra-ha-dabra and the letter adds up to 418, which was the number of Crowley’s home on Loch Ness in Scotland; and Aiwass’s own name adds up to 98, which is also the number of love and will, the two chief words in his total communication, which is known as The Book of the Law – But enough; the proofs, mathematical and cabalistic and coincidental (if you must) run on for pages.
In summary, the Beast had been playing a Game against himself for six years, since 1898, invoking the miraculous and the proving after the fact that it was “only” his mind.
Now he had to begin considering that he had made himself the center of an “astral” field effect, having the qualities of an intelligence greater than his, and signifying same by multi-lingual and numerological correspondences coming not from “inside” but from “outside”: Rose’s mind, the “independent” decisions of the curators of the Boulak Museum and, then, a certain Samuel bar Aiwass.
For, in 1918, Crowley had adopted the name To Mega Therion, which means The Great Beast in Greek, and adds to 666, and, in an article in The International, he asked if any of his readers could find a word or phrase of similar meaning, in Hebrew, which would also add to 666.
He was himself no mean cabalist and had tried all sorts of Hebrew synonyms for “beast” but none of them added to anything like 666; yet the answer came in the mail – Tau, Resh, Yod, Vau, Nun, equal 666 – and it was signed Samuel bar Aiwas.
Aiwas is the Hebrew equivalent of Aiwass, and also adds to 93, the number of his Holy Guardian Angel.
—- Continued Tomorrow—-
Poetry: Aleister Crowley (1875-1947)
THE ALTAR OF ARTEMIS
Here, in the coppice, oak and pine
And mystic yew and elm are found,
Sweeping the skies, that grew divine
With the dark wind’s despairing sound,
The wind that roars from the profound,
And smites the mountain-tops, and calls
Mute spirits to black festivals,
And feasts in valleys iron-bound,
Desolate crags, and barren ground;–
There in the strong storm-shaken grove
Swings the pale censer-fire for love.
The foursquare altar, roughly hewn,
And overlaid with beaten gold,
Stands in the gloom; the stealthy tune
Of singing maidens overbold
Desires mad mysteries untold,
With strange eyes kindling, as the fleet
Implacable untiring feet
Weave mystic figures manifold
That draw down angels to behold
The moving music, and the fire
Of their intolerable desire.
For, maddening to fiercer thought,
The fiery limbs requicken, wheel
In formless furies, subtly wrought
Of swifter melodies than steel
That flashes in the fight: the peal
Of amorous laughters choking sense,
And madness kissing violence,
Ring like dead horsemen; bodies reel
Drunken with motion; spirits feel
The strange constraint of gods that clip
From Heaven to mingle lip and lip.
The gods descend to dance; the noise
Of hungry kissings, as a swoon,
Faints for excess of its own joys,
And mystic beams assail the moon,
With flames of their infernal noon;
While the smooth incense, without breath,
Spreads like some scented flower of death,
Over the grove; the lover’s boon
Of sleep shall steal upon them soon,
And lovers’ lips, from lips withdrawn,
Seek dimmer bosoms till the dawn.
Yet on the central altar lies
The sacrament of kneaded bread,
With blood made one, the sacrifice
To those, the living, who are dead–
Strange gods and goddesses, that shed
Monstrous desires of secret things
Upon their worshippers, from wings
One lucent web of light, from head
One labyrinthine passion-fed
Palace of love, from breathing rife
With secrets of forbidden life.
But not the sunlight, nor the stars,
Nor any light but theirs alone,
Nor iron masteries of Mars,
Nor Saturn’s misconceiving zone,
Nor any planet’s may be shown,
Within the circle of the grove,
Where burn the sanctities of love:
Nor may the foot of man be known,
Nor evil eyes of mothers thrown
On maidens that desire the kiss
Only of maiden Artemis.
But horned and huntress from the skies,
She bends her lips upon the breeze,
And pure and perfect in her eyes,
Burn magical virginity’s
Sweet intermittent sorceries.
When the slow wind from her sweet word
In all their conchéd ears is heard.
And like the slumber of the seas,
There murmur through the holy trees
The kisses of the goddess keen,
And sighs and laughters caught between.
For, swooning at the fervid lips
Of Artemis, the maiden kisses
Sobs and the languid body slips
Down to enamelled wildernesses.
Fallen and loose the shaken tresses;
Fallen the sandal and girdling gold,
Fallen the music manifold
Of moving limbs and strange caresses,
And deadly passion that possesses
The magic ecstasy of these
Mad maidens, tender as blue seas.
Night spreads her yearning pinions,
The baffled day sinks blind to sleep;
The evening breeze outswoons the sun’s
Dead kisses to the swooning deep.
Upsoars the moon; the flashing steep
Of Heaven is fragrant for her feet;
The perfume of the grove is sweet
As slumbering women furtive creep
To bosoms where small kisses weep,
And find in fervent dreams the kiss
Most memoried of Artemis.
Impenetrable pleasure dies
Beneath the madness of new dreams;
The slow sweet breath is turned to sighs
More musical than many streams
Under the moving silver beams,
Fretted with stars, thrice woven across.
White limbs in amorous slumber toss,
Like sleeping foam, whose silver gleams
On motionless dark seas; it seems
As if some gentle spirit stirred,
Their lazy brows with some swift word.
So, in the secret of the shrine,
Night keeps them nestled, so the gloom
Laps them in waves as smooth as wine,
As glowing as the fiery womb
Of some young tigress, dark as doom,
And swift as sunrise. Love’s content
Builds its own monument,
And carves above its vaulted tomb
The Phoenix on her fiery plume,
To their own souls to testify
Their kisses’ immortality.
Turn back from safety, in my love abide,
Whose lips are warm as when, a virgin bride
I clung to thee ashamed and very glad,
Whose breasts are lordlier for the pain they had,
Whose arms cleave closer than thy spouse’s own!
Thy spouse–O lover, kiss me, and atone!
All my veins burst for love, my ripe breasts beat
And lay their bleeding blossoms at thy feet!
Spurn me no more! O bid these strangers go;
Turn to my lips till their cup overflow;
Hurt me with kisses, kill me with desire,
Consume me and destroy me with the fire
Of blasting passion straining at the heart,
Touched to the core by sweetness, that smart
Bitten by fiery snakes, whose poisonous breath
Swoons in the midnight, and dissolves to death!
Turn to me, touch me, mix thy very breath
With mine to mingle floods of fiery dew
With flames of purple, like the sea shot through
With golden glances of a fiercer star.
Turn to me, bend above me; you may char
These olive shoulders with an old-time kiss,
And fix thy mouth upon me for such bliss
Of sudden rage rekindled. Turn again,
And make delight the minister of pain,
And pain the father of a new delight,
And light a lamp of torture for the night
Too grievous to be borne without a cry
To rend the very bowels of the sky
And make the archangel gasp–a sudden pang,
Most like a traveller stricken by the fang
Of the black adder whose squat head springs up,
A flash of death, beneath a cactus cup.
Ah turn, my bosom for thy love is cold;
My arms are empty, and my lips can hold
No converse with thee far away like this.
O for that communing pregnant with a kiss
That is reborn when lips are set together
To link our souls in one desirous tether,
And weld our very bodies into one.
The first cool kiss, within the water cold
That draws its music from some bubbling well,
Looks long, looks deadly, looks desirable,
The touch that fires, the next kiss, and the whole
Body embracing, symbol of the soul,
And all the perfect passion of an hour.
Turn to me, pluck that amaranthine flower,
And leave the doubtful blossoms of the sky!
You dare not kiss me! dare not draw you nigh
Lest I should lure you to remain! nor speak
Lest you should catch the blood within your cheek
Mantling. You dared enough–so long ago!–
When to my blossom body clean as snow
You pressed your bosom till desire was pain,
And–then–that midnight! you did dare remain
Though all my limbs were bloody with your mouth
That tore their flesh to satiate its drouth,
That was not thereby satisfied! And now
A pallid coward, with sly, skulking brow,
You must leave Sodom for your spouse’s sake.
Coward and coward and coward; who would take
The best flower of my life and leave me so,
Still loving you–Ah! weak–and turn to go
For fear of such a God! O blind! O fool!
To heed these strangers and to be the tool
Of their smooth lies and monstrous miracles.
O break this bondage and cast off their spells!
Five righteous! Thou a righteous man! A jest!
A righteous man–you always loved me best,
And even when lured by lips of wanton girls
Would turn away and sigh and touch my curls,
And slip half-conscious to the old embrace.
And now you will not let me see your face
Or hear your voice or touch you. Ah! the hour!
He moves. Come back, come back, my life’s one flower!
Come back. One kiss before you leave me. So!
Stop–turn–one little kiss before you go;
It is my right–you must. Oh no! Oh no!
(Well of Daylight In a Fort Jean-Marie Poumeyrol)