Notes (Continued) -----
THE CRY OF THE 18th AETHYR
ZEN®FN1®PT2¯®FL¯ ZEN = Leo, Virgo, Scorpio = Teth, Yod, Nun = 69. This number is also Abos (Aleph, Beth, Samech) a manger, stable, enclosure. This Aethyr describes the place of the preliminary ceremony of the initiation of the Master of the Temple. The candidate is fortified for the ordeal of intimate communion with his Holy Guardian Angel, who comes upon him unaware, and prepares him interiorly below any normal sphere of consciousness.
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.®FN1 The Exempt Adept must be freed from all attachment.
(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.®FN1 The aspirant is reminded by this vision of the horror which is always ready to take the place of a true magical operation. Corruptio optimi pessima.
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.®FN1 This warning is given directly.
¯ 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."®FN1 It is repeated in detail.
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.®FN1 The number of the letters of Shemhamphorash, the "Divided Name"; i.e., Tetragrammaton in detail. Also, 72 = Ayin, Beth, the "Secret Nature" of Atziluth, the archetypal world of Pure Reality.
¯ Upon them is supported a mountain of pure crystal. The mountain is a cone, the angle of the apex being sixty degrees.®FN1 The cone is a figure of Iacchus, Lord of the Highest Ecstasy. It is the phallus. Its mathematical implications are many and important. In particular, its relations with the Great Pyramid of Cheops yield remarkable correspondences.
¯ And within the crystal is a pyramid of ruby,®FN1 ®PT2¯®MD129¯puramiv®MDNM¯ = Pyramid (Puramis in Greek) = 831.
¯ 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.®FN1 Similarly, the Hexagram is attributed to the Seven Planets; for the centre contains Sol.
¯ So also is the pastos seven,®FN1 Compare this whole geometrical symbolism with that given in the Ritual of Adeptus Minor.
¯ 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 in its brilliance. For the light of Horus only appears blue because of the imperfection of our eyes.®FN1 Compare, in external nature, the appearance of the blue sky.
¯ 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.®FN1 This very strange phenomenon is perhaps quite inadequately described. It is a general condition of most Spiritual Experience that the familiar laws of Nature do not obtain in their accustomed forms. It is only when Experience enables one to observe them with detachment that they are seen to be as uniform, simple and exact as those of normal physics.
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.®FN1 Compare with this unlighted, light-radiating Pastos, the Boundless Cube in the Vision of Pure Love:
"In the morning I woke early, before 7, in an absolutely renewed physical condition. I had the clean fresh feeling of a healthy boyhood, and was alert and active as a kitten -- post palem mortem. Mentally, I woke into ®MDBR¯pure love®MDNM¯. This was symbolized as a cube®MDSU¯*®MDNM¯ of blue-white light like a dia-mond of the best quality. It was lucid, translucent, self-luminous, and yet not radiating forth. I suppose because there was nothing else in the Cosmos."
®MDSU¯*®MDNM¯ I say a cube, yet its most salient property was that it was without boundaries. Experience of similar trances is necessary for the understanding of a perfectly observed fact, despite its intellectual self-contradiction.
This withdrawal from sense of the Pastos, which is the inmost and most sacred self of the aspirant, is the surrender of all that he has and all that he is on entering the Abyss.
¯ I am almost mad. A million insane images chase each other through my brain...®FN1 There is a fleeting image of the Horror of the Abyss; as a mountaineer, leaping a Bergschrund, obtains a momentary glimpse of the terrors beneath his airy path. See 10th Aethyr for these images of madness.
¯ 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."®FN1 This quotation is from ®MDBR¯Liber VII®MDNM¯ I, v. 40. (This Book describes in detail the whole attainment of the grade Magister Templi. It had been given to the Seer years previously but he had not understood it, even with his Neshamah, as a coherent entity. Nor does he even yet (Atu XXI, Sun in Cancer) understand it with his Rauch. Incidentally the full meaning of this book "418" (®MDBR¯The Vision and the Voice®MDNM¯) as a connected account of his initiation, is only now becoming clear to him in the process of writing this Commentary upon it. For N.O.X., see 20th Aethyr, Note 14. Observe that although the Exempt Adept, or the Babe of the Abyss, is completely baffled by the circumstances, and in no wise understands the situation, his Chiah, the Magician in him, acts with sublime confidence and correctness. (For ®MDBR¯Liber VII®MDNM¯ see ®MDBR¯The Holy Books®MDNM¯).
¯ There is no answer...®FN1 The quotation, accepting annihilation, instantly destroys the myriad of insane images which hastened to occupy the vacuum created by the leap of the Exempt Adept into the Abyss. Had he faltered, he would have become -- against his will -- a "Black Brother". But this being involuntary, he would not have attempted to maintain his coherence, as the Black Brothers do. He would therefore, have been destroyed at once; that is, to outward appearance he would have become a demented babbler. Spiritists present this phenomenon, on a much lower plane, and in a diluted form; though, with them as with the average Theosophist, there is usually a certain degree of obsession by pet phantoms -- a "Chinese Guide," or "Koot Hoomi," or what not -- to lend a species of semi-organized structure to the legions of disconnected ideas that throng their disintegrated gray matter.
¯ (20 minutes. O.V.)...
And now, after so long a while, the Angel®FN1 (No Angel has been mentioned. The Seer was lost to being.) In this preliminary -- and so to say, symbolic -- crossing of the Abyss, his Holy Guardian Angel comes to the rescue of the Aspirant. Contrast the unspeakable Terror of the actual Crossing, when that Angel Himself abandons the Seer (see 11th Aethyr, the last paragraph.) Exactly how the Angel dealt with the Seer in this 20 minutes of earthly time is impossible to say, for he has no memory soever -- not had he even at the time -- of what took place. We may, however, deduce from the fact that the Communion took place in a sphere beyond even Neschamah. It may well have been a Quintessence of Union sufficiently intimate to have identified the Seer with his Angel so perfectly as to have given him the right to make the passage fully, in every sense; and to have ensured his safety on the way. For the Angel cometh forth from above the Abyss, and dwelleth of right in bosom of the Great Mother. But the Angel deals not with the little pile of dust in the City of the Pyramids, (see 14th Aethyr) but with the Seer that is cast forth to give light to the Earth.
¯ lifts me, and takes me from the room,®FN1 This pyramid, where is the Pastos, is the Chamber of Annihilation. The Pastos contains the Essence of the Universe. This is all ready to be burnt up in the Energy of Aspiration to the Creative Annihilation, the Ruby Pyramid of Phallus. Finally, this Pyramid is within a Cone, a figure combining the straight line and the circle (Rose and Cross in their purest form) representing the new Universe into which the old is to be transmuted. It is established, like all types of universe, upon the Four Elements (divided into 72) which are the conditions of manifested Existence. (The elements are not only material, they include categories like "Time", "Space" and "Causality".)
¯ and sets me in a little chamber®FN1 This is the birth-chamber, where the Magister Templi awakes from the oblivion of the Abyss.
¯ 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.®FN1 These sacraments furnish him with the material of his new Life. Bread (Earth) is labour, the nourishment of his being. Fire is the perception of clear understanding (Neschamah). The Rose (Air) is sin, the restriction which prevents him from being dissolved in pure light (Kether) for his oath as a Master of the Temple is to deny himself the enjoyment of that privilege; wherefore is that sin fragrant with the sent of love. Finally, Wine (Water) is death, the ecstasy of transmuting all things into joy by the sacrament of creative love.
¯ 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,®FN1 Isis (nature) and Nephthys (perfection) preside over the Arising of the New Star. The Magister Templi is a little pyramid of dust in the City of the Pyramids (see 14th Aethyr) awaiting the Fire that shall burn him up to a white Ash (see 6th Aethyr). But the original combination of Sankharas (tendencies = the elements of the character of the man) is void of the Ego. Ahamkara (the ego-making faculty) has been assimilated. The Sankharas are, however, still linked by the Karma of the Adept; for they had to be the most strongly knit by him that he might be able to concentrate their whole Energies upon the Great Work of abandoning in a single gesture "all that he has and all that he is". They accordingly hold together: His will has been accomplished, and he is free from them but they depend upon the Elements which compose that True Will, which (since he has succeeded) can only be that Sublime Passion for Mankind, and help it to "Conquer Space, and lastly climb the walls of Time and, by the Golden Path the great have trod, Reach up to God." (This is the Boddhisattva doctrine of Mahayana Buddhism, in which the initiate renounces Nirvana in order to help all living things acquire their liberation also.))
A phenomenon of this nature thus appears as a morning star, or as an evening star®MDSU¯*®MDNM¯, to give light to them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death. This is then the man himself, save that his separate individuality is no longer present. It is replaced by this single passion to rescue mankind.
®MDSU¯*®MDNM¯(The Stella Maturina -- The name given, after the revolt, to the re-formed Golden Dawn -- is both the Morning and Evening Star, Venus, which is at the same time the reciprocal path of Daleth, separating the Third Order from below. Remember too that Venus, like the Golden Dawn, represents the dawn of illumination - is the only planetary figure that can embrace the whole Tree of Life. I.R.)
¯ 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.®FN1 The Seer's first impulse was to proceed with the work on which he had been engaged when the Dissolution of his being took place.
¯ 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."®FN1 As stated in a previous Aethyr, these higher visions are not to be obtained by the methods applicable to less exalted spheres.
And this is the manner prescribed:
Let there be a room furnished as for the ritual of passing through Tuat.®FN1 See the Book of the Dead, as adopted for modern use by the authorities of the Golden Dawn.
¯ 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.®FN1 He must be a Neophyte to have access to the Ritual of Passing Through the Tuat.
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,®FN1 ®MDBR¯Liber AL vel Legis®MDNM¯, I, v. 51. The general idea is to create true appetite in a body purified by fasting and a mind clarified by meditation, so as to make certain of being perfectly intoxicated. It should be needless to say that this state of mind, like all others, should be absolutely willed, criticized and controlled.
¯ and he shall banish the elements and the planets and the signs and the Sephiroth;®FN1 The Aethyrs pertain to an order of nature, sui generis. Though they possess many correspondences with the 32 Paths of Wisdom, all of these must be impartially banished; otherwise the Vacuum would be disturbed by an unequilibrated symbol sympathetic with the Aethyr to be invoked, which would flood the circle and prevent the Aethyr arising in its perfect plenitude.
¯ 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.®FN1 This injunction has several obvious magical advantages. The symbolic gesture is to consume the matter of the operation in the spirit thereof.
Then shall he kneel®FN1 This is by no means a gesture of supplication, the vile attitude of the unmanly devotee of the slave-gods. It has as specific and positive practical purpose, which should be easy for the Neophytes to divine if his Zelator have well and wisely so instructed him.
¯ 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.®FN1 ®FC¯TABLE OF COLOR ATTRIBUTIONS
I. Gold for Horus. II. Scarlet for BABALON.
III. Violet for Mercury, IV. Emerald for Venus,
House of Juggler. Love of Virgin.
V. Silver for Star A.®MDSU¯.®MDNM¯. A.®MDSU¯.®MDNM¯. VI. Sapphire for Chokmah.
VII. Orange for (?) VIII. Indigo for (?)
IX. Gray for Binah, fertilized. X. Black for the Abyss.
XI. Maroon, for Yesod the XII. Russet for the concealed
threshold. blood in the Cup.
XIII. Green-gray for Garden XIV. Amber for Atu VII,
of Nemo. the Chariot.
XV. Olive for Salome, Water XVI. Pale Blue for (?)
XVII. Crimson for Pisces. XVIII. Bright yellow for
Angel & Hegemone.
XIX. Crimson-silver for XX. Mauve for Atu X, the
Binah & Moon. Wheel of Fortune.
XXI. Pale green for (?) XXII. Rose madder for Rose of
XXIII. Violet Cobalt for XXIV. Beetle Brown, for
Aquarius Eagle. Scorpio, Love.
XXV. Cold dark gray for XXVI. White flecked with red,
Capricornus. blue & yellow (edges
green) for Osiris.
XXVII. Angry Clouds, red XXVIII. Indigo for night
brown for smoke sky of Binah.
XXIX. Blue green for Scorpio, XXX. Miscellaneous colours for
Change. original confusion
of dying Aeon.
(The question marks in this table are those originally used by Crowley himself. I.R.)
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.®FN1 This injunction is to be taken very seriously. I have known uninitiates made ill by the shock of seeing Adepts of too high residual charge; worse, thrown off their moral balance.
For this is a holy mystery, and he that did first attain to reveal the alphabet thereof,®FN1 Presumably Sir Edward Kelly. There is certainly no hint of the sublimity and profundity of such visions as the present series in the working of that Adept.
¯ 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 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.®FN1 This peroration suggests that early working by its style. It has little definite thought contained in it; the sublimity of the language ill conceals its vagueness. Nevertheless, it is a fitting conclusion to the mystery of this Aethyr. The ritual, and its lyrical outburst, were doubtless necessary to let the Seer down gently from the colossal exaltation of the central event of the Aethyr.
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 shew-stone.
®MDBU¯December®MDNM¯ 1, 1909. 2.30-4.10 p.m.