Original key entry by Bill Heidrick, GTG OTO Extracted from EQX-7.AS2 by Fr. Nachash, Urae

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Original key entry by Bill Heidrick, GTG OTO Extracted from EQX-7.AS2 by Fr. Nachash, Uraeus-Hadit Camp O.T.O. P.O.Box 430 Fairfax, CA 94930 USA (415) 454-5176 ---- Messages only. ********************************************************************** ACROSS THE GULF CHAPTER I At last the matter comes back into my mind. It is now five years since I discovered my stele at Bulak, but now until I obtained certain initiation in the city of Benares last year did the memory of my life in the Twenty-Sixth Dynasty when I was prince and priest in Thebai begin to return. Even now much is obscure; but I am commanded to write, so that in writing the full memory may be recovered. For without the perfect knowledge and understanding of that strange life by Nilus I cannot fully know and understand this later life, or find that Tomb which I am appointed to find, and do that therein which must be done. There fore with faith and confidence do I who was -- in a certain mystical sense -- the Priest of the Princes, Ankh-f-na-khonsu, child of Ta-nech, the holy and mighty one, and of Bes-na-Maut, priestess of the Starry One, set myself to tell myself the strange things that befell me in that life. Thus. At my birth Aphruimis in the sign of the Lion was ascending, and in it that strange hidden planet that presides over darkness and magic and forbidden love. The sun was united with the planet of Amoun, but in the Abyss, as showing that my power and glory should be secret, and in Aterechinis the second decanate of the House of Mast, so that my passion and pleasure should likewise be unprofance. In the House of Travel in the Sign of the Ram was the Moon my sweet lady. And the wise men interpreted this as a token that I should travel afar; it might be to the great temple at the source of mother Nile; it might be ... Foolishness! I have scarce stirred from Thebai. Yet have I explored strange countries that they knew not of: and of this also will I tell in due course. I remember -- as I never could while I lived in Khemi-land -- all the minute care of my birth. For my mother was of the oldest house in Thebes, her blood not only royal, but mixed with the divine. Fifty virgins in their silver tissue stood about her shaking their sistrons, as if the laughter of the Gods echoed the cries of the woman. By the bed stood the Priest of Horus with his heavy staff, the Phoenix for its head, the prong for its foot. Watchful he stood lest Sebek should rise from the abyss. On the roof of the palace watched the three chief astrologers of Pharaoh with their instruments, and four armed men from the corners of the tower announced each god as it rose. So these three men ached and sweated at their task; for they had become most anxious. All day my birth had been expected; but as Toum drew to His setting their faces grew paler than the sky; for there was one dread moment in the night which all their art had failed to judge. The gods that watched over it were veiled. But it seemed unlikely that Fate would so decide; yet so they feared that they sent down to the priest of Thoth to say that he must at all costs avoid the threatening moment, even if the lives of mother and child should pay for it; and still the watchmen cried the hour. Now, now! cried the oldest of the astrologers as the moment grew near -- now! Below in answer the priest of Thoth summoned all his skill. When lo! a rumbling of the abyss. The palace reeled and fell; Typhon rose mighty in destruction, striding across the skies. The world rocked with earthquake; every star broke from its fastening and trembled. And in the midst lo! Bes-na-Maut my mother; and in her arms myself, laughing in the midst of all that ruin. Yet not one living creature took the slightest hurt! But the astrologers rent their robes and beat their faces on the ground; for the dread moment, the Unknown Terror, had gone by; and with it I had come to light. In their terror, indeed, as I learnt long after, they sent messengers to the oldest and wisest of the priests; the High-priest of Nuit, who lived at the bottom of a very deep well, so that his eyes, even by day, should remain fixed upon the stars. But he answered them that since they had done all that they could, and Fate had reversed their design, it was evident that the matter saw in the hands of Fate, and that the less they meddled the better it would be for them. For he was a brusque old man -- how afterwards I met him shall be written in its place. So then I was to be brought up as befitted one in my station, half- prince, half-priest. I was to follow my father, hold his wand and ankh, assume his throne. And now I begin to recall some details of my preparation for that high and holy task. Memory is strangely fragmentary and strangely vivid. I remember how, when I had completed my fourth month, the priests took me and wrapped me in a panther's skin, whose flaming gold and jet-black spots were like the sun. They carried me to the river bank where the holy crocodiles were basking; and there they laid me. But when they left me they refrained from the usual enchantment against the evil spirit of the crocodile; and so for three days I lay without protection. Only at certain hours did my mother descend to feed me; and she too was silent, being dressed as a princess only, without the sacred badges of her office. Also in the sixth month they exposed me to the Sun in the desert where was no shade or clothing; and in the seventh month they laid me in a bed with a sorceress, that fed on the blood of young children, and, having been in prison for a long time, was bitterly an-hungered; and in the eighth month they gave me the aspic of Nile, and the royal Uraeus serpent, and the deadly snake of the south country, for playmates; but I passed scatheless through all these trials. And in the ninth month I was weaned, and my mother bade me farewell, for never again might she look upon my face, save in the secret rites of the Gods, when we should meet otherwise than as babe and mother, in the garment of that Second Birth which we of Khemi knew. The next six years of my life have utterly faded. All that I can recall is the vision of the greatness of our city of Thebai, and the severity of my life. For I lived on the back of a horse, even eating and drinking as I rode; for so it becometh a prince. Also I was trained to lay about me with a sword, and in the use of the bow and the spear. For it was said that Horus -- or Men Tu, as we called him in Thebai -- was my Father and my God. I shall speak late of that strange story of my begetting. At the end of seven years, however, so great and strong had I waxen that my father took me to the old astrologer that dwelt in the well to consult him. This I remember as if it were but yesterday. The journey down the great river with its slow days! The creaking benches and the sweat of the slaves are still in my ears and my nostrils. Then swift moments of flying foam in some rapid or cataract. The great temples that we passed; the solitary Ibis of Thoth that meditated on the shore; the crimson flights of birds; -- but nothing that we saw upon the journey was like unto the end thereof. For in a desolate place was the Well, with but a small temple beside it, where the servants -- they too most holy! of that holy ancient man might dwell. And my father brought me to the mouth of the well and called thrice upon the name of Nuit. Then came a voice climbing and coiling up the walls like a serpent, "Let this child become priestess of the Veiled One!" Now my father was wise enough to know that the old man never made a mistake; it was only a question of a right interpretation of the oracle. Yet he was sorely puzzled and distressed, for that I was a boy child. So at the risk of his life -- for the old man was brusque! -- he called again and said "Behold my son!" But as he spoke a shaft of sunlight smote him on the nape of the neck as he bend over the well; and his face blackened, and his blood gushed forth from his mouth. And the old man lapped up the blood of my father with his tongue, and cried gleefully to his servants to carry me to a house of the Veiled One, there to be trained in my new life. So there came forth from the little house an eunuch and a young woman exceeding fair; and the eunuch saddled two horses, and we rode into the desert alone. Now though I could ride like a man, they suffered me not; but the young priestess bore me in her arms. And though I ate meat like a warrior, they suffered me not, but the young priestess fed me at her breast. And they took from me the armour of gilded bronze that my father had made for me, scales like a crocodile's sewn upon crocodile skin that cunning men had cured with salt and spices; but they wrapped me in soft green silk. So strangely we came to a little house in the desert, and that which befell me there is not given me of the gods at this time to tell; but I will sleep; and in the morning by their favour the memory thereof shall arise in me, even in me across these thousands of years of the whirling of the earth in her course. CHAPTER II So for many years I grew sleek and subtle in my womans attire. And the old eunuch (who was very wise) instructed me in the Art of Magic and in the worship of the Veiled One, whose priestess was I destined. I remember now many things concerning those strange rituals, things too sacred to write. But I will tell of an adventure that I had when I was nine years of age. In one of the sacred books it is written that the secret of that subtle draught which giveth vision of the star-abodes of Duant, whose sight is life eternal in freedom and pleasure among the living, lieth in the use of a certain little secret bone that is in the Bear of Syria. Yet how should I a child slay such an one? For they had taken all weapons from me. But in a garden of the city (for we had now returned unto a house in the suburbs of Thebai) was a colony of bears kept by a great lord for his pleasure. And I by my cunning enticed a young bear-cub from its dam, and slew it with a great stone. Then I tore off its skin and hid myself therein, taking also its jaw and sharpening the same upon my stone. Then at last the old she-bear came searching me, and as she put down her nose to smell at me, taking me for her cub, I drove my sharpened bone into her throat. I struck with great fortune; for she coughed once, and died. Then I took her skin with great labour; and (for it was now night) began to return to my house. But I was utterly weary and I could no longer climb the wall. Yet I stayed awake all that night, sharpening again upon my stone the jaw-bone of that bear-cub; and this time I bound it to a bough that I tore off from a certain tree that grew in the garden. Now towards the morning I fell asleep, wrapped in the skin of the old she-bear. And the great bear himself, the lord of the garden, saw me, and took me for his mate, and came to take his pleasure of me. Then I being roused out of sleep struck at his heart with all my strength as he rose over me, and quitting my shelter ran among the trees. For I struck not home, or struck aslant. And the old bear, sore wounded, tore up the skin of his mate; and then, discovering the cheat, came after me. But by good fortune I found and wedged myself into a narrow pylon, too deep for him to reach me, though I could not go through, for the door was closed upon me. And in the angle of the door was an old sword disused. This was too heavy for me to wield with ease; yet I lifted it, an struck feebly at the claws of he bear. So much I wounded him that in his pain he dropped and withdrew and began to lick his paws. Thus he forgot about me; and I, growing bolder, ran out upon him. He opened his mouth; but before he could rise, I thrust the sword down it. He tossed his head; and I, clinging to the sword-hilt, was thrown into the air, and fell heavily upon my shoulder. My head too struck the ground; and I lay stunned. When I came to myself it was that a party of men and women had thrown water in my face and uttered the spells that revive from swoon. Beside me, close beside me, lay mine enemy dead; and I, not forgetful of my quest, took the blade of the sword (for it was snapt) and cut off the secret parts of the bear and took the little bone thereof; and would have gone forth with my prize. But the great lord of the house spake with me; and all his friends made as if to mock at me. But the women would not have it; they came round me and petted and caressed me; so that angry words were spoken. But even as they quarrelled among themselves, my guardian, the old eunuch, appeared among them; for he had traced me to the garden. And when they beheld the ring of the holy ancient man the astrologer they trembled; and the lord of the house threw a chain of gold around my neck, while his lady gave me her own silken scarf, broidered with the loves of Isis and Nephthys, and of Apis and Hathor. Nor did any dare to take from me the little bone that I had won so dearly; and with it I made the spell of the Elixir, and beheld the starry abodes of Duant, even as it was written in the old wise book. But my guardians were ashamed and perplexed; for though I was so sleek and subtle, yet my manhood already glowed in such deeds as this -- how should I truly become the priestess of the Veiled One? Therefore they kept me closer and nursed me with luxury and flattery. I had two negro slave-boys that fanned me and that fed me; I had an harp-player from the great city of Memphis, that played languorous tunes. But in my mischief I would constantly excite him to thoughts of war and of love; and his music would grow violent and loud, so that the old eunuch, rushing in, would belabour him with his staff. How well I recall that room! Large was it and lofty; and there were sculptured pillars of malachite and lapis-lazuli and of porphyry and yellow marble. The floor was of black granite; the roof of white marble. On the Southern side was my couch, a softness of exotic furs. To roll in them was to gasp for pleasure. In the centre was a tiny fountain of pure gold. The sunlight came through the space between the walls and the roof, while on the other sides I could look through and up into the infinite blue. There was a great python that inhabited the hall; but he was very old, and too wise to stir. But -- so I then believed -- he watched me and conveyed intelligence to the old magus of the well. Now then the folly of my guardians appeared in this; that while all day I slept and languished and played idly, at night while they supposed I slept, I slept not. But I rose and gave myself to the most violent exercises. First, I would go into my bathing-pool and hold my breath beneath the water while I invoked the goddess Auramoth one hundred times. Next, I would walk on my hands around the room; I even succeeded in hopping on one hand. Next, I would climb each of the twenty-four smooth pillars. Next, I would practise the seventy-two athletic postures. Also in many other ways I would strive to make my strength exceeding great; and all this I kept most secret from my guardians. At last on one night I resolved to try my strength; so, pushing aside the curtain, I passed into the corridor. Springing upon the soldier that guarded me, I brought him to the ground; and with my right hand under his chin, my left on his right shoulder, and my knee at the nape of his neck, I tore his head from his body before he could utter a cry. I was now in my fifteenth year; but the deed was marvelous. None suspected me; it was thought a miracle. The old eunuch, distressed, went to consult the magus of the well; whose answer was; "Let the vows of the priestess be taken!" Now I thought this old man most foolish-obstinate; for I myself was obstinate and foolish. Not yet did I at all understand his wisdom or his purpose. It often happens thus. Of old., men sent their priests to rebuke Nile for rising -- until it was known that his rising was the cause of the fertility of their fields. Now of the vows which I took upon me and of my service as priestess of the Veiled One it shall next be related. CHAPTER III It was the Equinox of Spring, and all my life stirred in me. They led me down cool colonnades of mighty stone clad in robes of white broidered with silver, and veiled with a veil of fine gold web fastened with rubies. They gave me not the Uraeus crown, nor any nemyss, nor the Ateph crown, but bound my forehead with a simple fillet of green leaves -- vervain and mandrake and certain deadly herbs of which it is not fitting to speak. Now the priests of the Veiled One were sore perplexed, for that never before had any boy been chosen priestess. For before the vows may be administered, the proofs of virginity are sought; and, as it seemed, this part of the ritual must be suppressed or glossed over. Then said the High Priest: "Let it be that we examine the first woman that he shall touch with his hand, and she shall suffice." Now when I heard this, I thought to test the God; and, spying in the crowd, I beheld in loose robes with flushed face and wanton eyes, a certain courtesan well-known in the city, and I touched her. Then those of the priests that hated me were glad, for they wished to reject me; and taking aside into the hall of trial that woman, made the enquiry. Then with robes rent they came running forth, crying out against the Veiled One; for they found her perfect in virginity, and so was she even unto her death, as latter appeared. But the Veiled One was wroth with them because of this, and appeared in her glittering veil upon the steps of her temple. There she stood, and called them one by one; and she lifted but the eye-piece of her veil and looked into their eyes; and dead they fell before her as if smitten of the lightning. But those priests who were friendly to me and loyal to the goddess took that virgin courtesan, and led her in triumph through the city, veiled and crowned as is befitting. Now after some days he that guarded the sacred goat of Khem died, and they appointed her in his place. And she was the first woman that was thus honoured since the days of the Evil Queen in the Eighteenth Dynasty, of her that wearied of men at an age when other women have not known them, that gave herself to gods and beasts. But now they took me to the pool of liquid silver -- or so they called it; I suppose it was quicksilver; for I remember that it was very difficult to immerse me -- which is beneath the feet of the Veiled One. For this is the secret of the Oracle. Standing afar off the priest beholds the reflection of her in the mirror, seeing her lips that move under the veil; and this he interprets to the seeker after truth. Thus the priest reads wrongly the silence of the Goddess, and the seeker understands ill the speech of the priest. Then come forth fools, saying "The Goddess hath lied" -- and in their folly they die. While, therefore, they held me beneath the surface of the pool, the High Priestess took the vows on my behalf saying: I swear by the orb of the Moon; I swear by the circuit of the Stars; I swear but the Veil, and by the Face behind the Veil; I swear by the Light Invisible, and by the Visible Darkness; On behalf of this Virgin that is buried in thy water; To live in purity and service; To love in beauty and truth; To guard the Veil from the profane; To die before the Veil; ... -- and then came the awful penalty of failure. I dare not recall half of it; yet in it were these words: Let her be torn by the Phallus of Set, and let her bowels be devoured by Apep; let her be prostituted to the lust of Besz, and let her face be eaten by the god ----. It is not good to write His name. Then they loosed me, and I lay smiling in the pool. They lifted me up and brought me to the feet of the goddess, so that I might kiss them. And as I kissed them such a thrill ran through me that I thought myself rapt away into the heaven of Amoun, or even as Asi when Hoor and Hoor-pa-kraat, cleaving her womb, sprang armed to life. Then they stripped me of my robes, and lashed me with fine twigs of virgin hazel, until my blood ran from me into the pool;. But the surface of the silver swallowed up the blood by some mysterious energy; and they took this to be a sign of acceptance. So then they clothed me in the right robes of a priestess of the Veiled One; and they put a silver sistron in my hand, and bade me perform the ceremony of adoration. This I did, and the veil of the goddess glittered in the darkness -- for night had fallen by this -- with a strange starry light. Thereby it was known that I was indeed chosen aright. So last of all they took me to the banqueting-house and set me on the high throne. One by one the priests came by and kissed my lips: one by one the priestesses came by, and gave me the secret clasp of hands that hath hidden virtue. And the banquet waxed merry; for all the food was magically prepared. Every beast that they slew was virgin; every plant that they plucked had been grown and tended by virgins in the gardens of the temple. Also the wine was spring water only, but so consecrated by the holy priestesses that one glass was more intoxicating that a whole skin of common wine. Yet this intoxication was a pure delight, an enthusiasm wholly divine; and it gave strength, and did away with sleep, and left no sorrow. Last, as the first gray glow of Hormakhu paled the deep indigo of the night, they crowned and clothed me with white lotus flowers, and took me joyously back into the temple, there to celebrate the matin ritual of awakening the Veiled One. Thus, and not otherwise, I became priestess of that holy goddess, and for a little while my life passed calm as the unruffled mirror itself. It was from the Veiled One herself that came the Breath of Change. On this wise. In the Seventh Equinox after my initiation into her mystery the High Priestess was found to fail; at her invocation the Veil no longer glittered as was its wont. For this they deemed her impure, and resorted to many ceremonies, but without avail. At last in despair she went to the temple of Set, and gave herself as a victim to that dreadful god. Now all men were much disturbed at this, and it was not known at all of them what they should do. Now it must be remembered that the ceremonies are always performed by a single priestess alone before the goddess, save only at the Initiations. The others also had found themselves rejected of her; and when they learnt of the terrible end of the High Priestess, they became fearful. Some few, indeed, concealed their failure from the priests; but always within a day and a night they were found torn asunder in the outer courts; so that it seemed the lesser evil to speak truth. Moreover, the affair had become a public scandal; for the goddess plagued the people with famine and with a terrible and foul disease. But as for me, I wot not what to do; for to me always the Veil glittered, and that brighter than the ordinary. Yet I said nothing, but went about drooping and sorrowful, as if I were as unfortunate as they. For I would not seem to boast of the favour of the goddess. Then they sent to he old Magus in the well; and he laughed outright at their beards, and would say no word. Also they sent to the sacred goat of Khem, and his priestess would but answer, "I, and such as I, may be favoured of Her," which they took for ribaldry and mocking. A third time they sent to the temple of Thoth the Ibis god of wisdom. And Thoth answered them by this riddle: "On how many legs doth mine Ibis stand?" And they understood him not. But the old High priest determined to solve the mystery, though he paid forfeit with his life. So concealing himself in the temple, he watched in the pool for the reflection of the glittering of the Veil, while one by one we performed the adorations. And behind him and without stood the priests, watching for him to make a sing. This we knew not; but when it fell to me (the last) to adore that Veiled One, behold! the Veil glittered, and the old Priest threw up his arms to signal that which had occurred. And the flash of the eye pierced the Veil, and he fell from his place dead upon the priests without. They buried him with much honour, for that he had given his life for the people and for the temple, to bring back the favour of the Veiled One. Then came they all very humbly unto me the child, and besought me to interpret the will of the Goddess. And her will was that I alone should serve her day and night. Then they gave me to drink of the Cup of the torment; and this is its virtue, that if one should speak falsely, invoking the name of the goddess, he shall burn in hell visibly before all men for a thousand years; and that flame shall never be put out. There is such an one in her temple in Memphis, for I saw it with these eyes. There he burns and writhes and shrieks on the cold marble floor; and there he shall burn till his time expire, and he sink to that more dreadful hell below the West. But I drank thereof, and the celestial dew stood shining on my skin, and a coolness ineffable thrilled through me; whereat they all rejoiced, and obeyed the voice of the Goddess that I had declared unto them. Now then was I alway alone with that Veiled One, and I must enter most fully into that secret period of my life. For, despite its ending, which hath put many wise men to shame, it was to me even as an eternity of rapture, of striving and of attainment beyond that which most mortals -- and they initiates even! -- call divine. Now first let it be understood what is the ritual of adoration of our Lady the Veiled One. First, the priestess performs a mystical dance, by which all beings whatsoever, be they dogs or demons, are banished, so that the place may be pure. Next, in another dance, even more secret and sublime, the presence of the goddess is invoked into her Image. Next, the priestess goes a certain journey, passing the shrines of many great and terrible of the Lords of Khem, and saluting them. Last, she assumes the very self of the Goddess; and if this be duly done, the Veil glittereth responsive. Therefore, if the Veil glittereth not, one may know that in some way the priestess hath failed to identify herself with Her. Thus an impurity in the thought of the priestess must cause her to fail; for the goddess is utterly pure. Yet the task is alway difficult; for with the other gods one knoweth the appearance of their images; and steadily contemplating these one can easily attain to their imitation, and so to their comprehension, and to unity of consciousness with them. But with Our Veiled One, none who hath seen her face hath lived long enough to say one word, or call one cry. So then it was of vital urgency to me to keep in perfect sympathy with that pure soul, so calm, so strong. With what terror then did I regard myself when, looking into my own soul, I saw no longer that perfect stillness. Strange was it, even as if one should see a lake stirred by a wind that one did not feel upon the cheeks and brow! Trembling and ashamed, I went to the vesper adoration. I knew myself troubled, irritated, by I knew not what. And in spite of all my efforts, this persisted even to the supreme moment of my assumption of her godhead. And the? Oh but the Veil glittered as never yet; yea more! it shot out sparks of scintillant fire, silvery rose, a shower of flame and of perfume. Then was I exceedingly amazed because of this, and made a Vigil before her all the night, seeking a Word. And that word came not. Now of what further befell I will write anon. CHAPTER IV So it came to pass that I no longer went out at all from the presence of the goddess, save only to eat and to sleep. And the favour of her was restored to the people, so that all men were glad thereof. For if any man murmured, he was slain incontinent, the people being mindful of the famine and the disease, and being minded to have no more of such, if it could by any means be avoided. They were therefore exceeding punctual with their gifts. But I was daily more afraid, being in a great sweat of passion, of which I dared to speak to no man. Nor did I dare to speak even privily in mine own heart thereof, lest I should discover its nature. But I sent my favourite, the virgin Istarah (slim, pallid, and trembling as a young lotus in the West Wind), with my ring of office, to enquire of the old Magus of the well. And he answered her by pointing upward to the sky and then downward to the earth. And I read this Oracle as if it were spoken "As above, so beneath." This came to me as I had flung myself in despair at the feet of my Lady, covering them with my tears; for by a certain manifest token I now knew that I had done a thing that was so dreadful that even now -- these many thousand years hence -- I dare hardly write it. I loved the Veiled One. Yea, with the fierce passion of a beast, of a man, of a god, with my whole soul I loved her. Even as I knew this by the manifest token the Veil burst into a devouring flame; it ate up the robes of my office, lapping them with its tongues of fire like a tigress lapping blood; yet withal it burnt me not, nor singed one hair. Thus naked I fled away in fear, and in my madness slipped and fell into the pool of liquid silver, splashing it all over the hall; and even as I fled that rosy cataract of flame that wrapt me (from the Veil as it jetted) went out -- went out ---- The Veil was a dull web of gold, no more. Then I crept fearfully to the feet of the goddess, and with my tears and kisses sought to wake her into life once more. But the Veil flamed not again; only a mist gathered about it and filled the temple, and hid all things from my eyes. Now then came Istarah my favourite back with the ring and the message; and thinking that she brought bad news, I slit her lamb's-throat with the magic sickle, and her asp's-tongue I tore out with my hands, and threw it to the dogs and jackals. Herein I erred sorely, for her news was good. Having reflected thereon, I perceived its import. For since the Veil flamed always at my assumption, it was sure that I was in sympathy with that holy Veiled One. If I were troubled, and knew not why; if my long peace were stirred -- why then, so She! "As above, so beneath!" For even as I, being man, sought to grasp godhead and crush it in my arms, so She, the pure essence, sought to manifest in form by love. Yet I dared not repeat the ceremony at midnight. Instead I lay prone, my arms outstretched in shame and pain, on the steps at her feet. And lo! the Veil flamed. Then I knew that She too blamed Herself alike for her ardour and for her abstinence. Thus seven days I lay, never stirring; and all that time the Veil flamed subtly and softly, a steady bluish glow changing to green as my thought changed from melancholy to desire. Then on the eight day I rose and left the shrine and clad myself in new robes, in robes of scarlet and gold, with a crown of vine and bay and laurel and cypress. Also I purified myself and proclaimed a banquet. And I made the priests and the citizens, exceeding drunken. Then I called the guard, and purged thoroughly the whole temple of all of them, charging the captain on his life to let no man pass within. So that I should be absolutely alone in the whole precincts of the temple. Then like an old gray wolf I wandered round the outer court, lifting up my voice in a mournful howl. And an ululation as of one hundred thousand wolves answered me, yet deep and muffled, as though it came from the very bowels of the earth. Then at the hour of midnight I entered again the shrine and performed the ritual. As I went on I became inflamed with an infinite lust for the Infinite; and now I let it leap unchecked, a very lion. Even so the Veil glowed red as with some infernal fire. Now then I am come to the moment of the Assumption; but instead of sitting calm and cold, remote, aloof, I gather myself together, and spring madly at the Veil, catching it in my two hands. Now the Veil was of woven gold, three thousand twisted wires; a span thick! Yet I put out my whole force to tear it across; and (for she also put out her force) it rent with a roar as of earthquake. Blinded I was with the glory of her face; I should have fallen; but she caught me to her, and fixed her divine mouth on mine, eating me up with the light of her eyes. Her mouth moaned, her throat sobbed with love; her tongue thrust itself into me as a shaft of sunlight smites into the palm-groves; my robes fell shrivelled, and flesh to flesh we clung. Then in some strange way she gripped me body and soul, twining herself about me and within me even as Death that devoureth mortal man. Still, still my being increased; my consciousness expanded until I was all Nature seen as one, felt as one, apprehended as one, formed by me, part of me, apart from me -- all these things at one moment -- and at the same time the ecstasy of love grew colossal, a tower to scale the stars, a sea to drown the sun ... I cannot write of this ... but in the streets people gathered apples of gold that dropped from invisible boughs, and invisible porters poured out wine for all, strange wine that healed disease and old age, wine that, poured between the teeth of the dead (so long as the embalmer had not begun his work), brought them back from the dark kingdom to perfect health and youth. As for me, I lay as one dead in the arms of the holy Veiled One -- Veiled no more! -- while she took her pleasure of me ten times, a thousand times. In that whirlwind of passion all my strength was as a straw in the simoom. Yet I grew not weaker but stronger. Though my ribs cracked, I held firm. Presently indeed I stirred; it seemed as if her strength had come to me. Thus I forced back her head and thrust myself upon and into her even as a comet that impales the sun upon its horn! And my breath came fast between my lips and hers; her moan now faint, like a dying child, no more like a wild beast in torment. Even so, wild with the lust of conquest, I urged myself upon her and fought against her. I stretched out her arms and forced them to the ground; then I crossed them on her breast, so that she was powerless. And I became like a mighty serpent of flame, and wrapt her, crushed her in my coils. I was the master! ... Then grew a vast sound about me as of shouting: I grew conscious of the petty universe, the thing that seems apart from oneself, so long as one is oneself apart from it. Men cried "The temple is on fire! The temple of Asi the Veiled One is burning! The mighty temple that gave its glory to Thebai is aflame! Then I loosed my coils and gathered myself together into the form of a mighty hawk of gold and spake on last word to her, a word to raise her from the dead! But lo! not Asi, but Asar! White was his garment, starred with red and blue and yellow. Green was his Countenance, and in his hands he bore the crook and scourge. Thus he rose, even as the temple fell about us in ruins, and we were left standing there. And I wist not what to say. Now then the people of the city crowded in upon us, and for the most part would have slain me. But Thoth the mighty God, the wise one, with his Ibis-head, and his nemyss of indigo, with his Ateph crown and his Phoenix wand and with his Ankh of emerald, with his magic apron in the Three colours; yea, Thoth, the God of Wisdom, whose skin is of tawny orange as though it burned in a furnace, appeared visibly to all of us. And the old Magus of the Well, whom no man had seen outside his well for night threescore years, was found in the midst: and he cried with a loud voice, saying: "The Equinox of the Gods!" And he went on to explain how it was that Nature should no longer be the centre of man's worship, but Man himself, man in his suffering and death, man in his purification and perfection. And he recited the Formula of the Osiris as follows, even as it hath been transmitted unto us by the Brethren of the Cross and Rose unto this day: "For Asar Un-nefer hath said: He that is found perfect before the Gods hath said: These are the elements of my body, perfected through suffering, glorified through trial. For the Scent of the dying rose is the repressed sigh of my suffering; The Flame-Red fire is the energy of my undaunted Will; The Cup of Wine is the outpouring of the blood of my heart, sacrificed to regeneration; And the Bread and Salt are the Foundations of my Body Which I destroy in order that they may be renewed. For I am Asar triumphant, even Asar Un-nefer the Justified One! I am Her who is clothed with the body of flesh, Yet in Whom is the Spirit of the mighty Gods. I am he Lord of Life, triumphant over death; he who partaketh with me shall arise with me. I am the manifestor in Matter of those whose abode is in the Invisible. I am purified: I stand upon the Universe: I am its Reconciler with the eternal Gods: I am the Perfector of Matter; and without me the Universe is not!" All this he said, and displayed the sacraments of Osiris before them all; and in a certain mystical manner did we all symbolically partake of them. But for me! in the Scent of the dying Rose I beheld rather the perfection of the love of my lady the Veiled One, whom I had won, and slain in the winning! Now, however, the old Magus clad me (for I was yet naked) in the dress of a Priest of Osiris. He gave me the robes of white Linen, and the leopard's skin, and the wand and ankh. Also he gave me the crook and scourge, and girt me with the royal girdle. On my head he set the holy Uraeus serpent for a crown; and then, turning to the people, cried aloud: "Behold the Priest of Asar in Thebai! "He shall proclaim unto ye the worship of Asar; see that ye follow him!" Then, ere one could cry "Hold!" he had vanished from our sight. I dismissed the people; I was alone with the dead God; with Osiris, the Lord of Amennti, the slain of Typhon, the devoured of Apophis ...

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