What was the song the minstrel played?
My life is gone, but breathing, I still fake!
Within me last night, the voice of your love did break.
And as all things were from One, by the meditation of One, so from this One Thing come all things by adaptation. Its father is the Sun, its mother is the Moon, the wind carried it in its belly, the nurse thereof is the Earth.
It is the father of all perfection and the consummation of the whole world. Its power is integral if it be turned to Earth.
Thou shalt separate the Earth from the Fire, the subtle from the coarse, gently and with much ingenuity. It ascends from Earth to heaven and descends again to Earth, and receives the power of the superiors and the inferiors.
Thus thou hast the glory of the whole world; therefore let all obscurity flee before thee. This is the strong fortitude of all fortitude, overcoming every subtle and penetrating every solid thing. Thus the world was created. Hence are all wonderful adaptations, of which this is the manner.
Therefore am I called Hermes the Thrice Great, having the three parts of the philosophy of the whole world. That is finished which I have to say concerning the operation of the Sun.
When you hear the lovers’ words, think them not a mistake
You don’t recognize these words, the error must be your take.
The here and hereafter cannot tame my spirit and soul
Praise God for all the intrigue in my mind that is at stake.
I know not who resides within my heart
Though I am silent, he must shake and quake.
My heart went through the veil, play a song
Hark, my fate, this music I must make.
I paid no heed, worldly affairs I forsake
It is for your beauty, beauty of the world I partake.
My heart is on fire, I am restless and awake
To the tavern to cure my hundred day headache.
My bleeding heart has left its mark in the temple
You have every right to wash my body in a wine lake.
In the abode of the Magi, I am welcome because
The fire that never dies, in my heart is awake.
What was the song the minstrel played?
My life is gone, but breathing, I still fake!
Within me last night, the voice of your love did break
Hafiz’s breast still quivers and shakes for your sake.
“….I will skillfully devise an instrument, mysterious, possessed of power of sight that cannot err, and cannot be escaped, whereto all things on earth shall of necessity be subject, from birth to final dissolution,–an instrument which binds together all that’s done. This instrument shall rule all other things on earth as well–as man.”
When this was done, and when the souls had entered in the bodies, and–Hermes–had himself been praised for what was done, again the Monarch did convoke the gods in session…
“Let each of us bring forth according to his power. Let us by our own energy wipe out this inert state of things; let chaos seem to be a myth incredible to future days. Set hand to mighty work; and I myself will first begin.”
He spake; straightway in cosmic order there began the differentiation of the up-to-then black unity of things. And heaven shone forth above tricked out with all his mysteries; earth, stilla-tremble, as the sun shone forth grew harder, and appeared with all the fair adornment that bedeck her round on every side. …
“Take–these–, O holy Earth, take those, all honoured one, who are to be the mother of all things, and henceforth lack thou naught!”
The evil now being very great, the elements approached to God who made them, and formulated their complaint in some such words as these: It was moreover fire who first received authority to speak….”Let them be taught to render thanks for benefits received, that I, the fire, may joyfully do service in the sacrificial rites, that they may from the altar send sweet-smelling vapours forth….”
And the air too said: “I also, Master, I am made turbid by the vapours which the bodies of the dead exhale, and I am pestilential, and, no longer filled with health, I gaze down on things I ought not to behold….”
Next water, O my son of mighty soul, received authority to speak, and spake and said: “O Father, O wonderful creator of all things, daimon self-born, and Nature’s maker, who through Thee doth conceive all things, now at this last, command the rivers’ streams for ever to be pure….”
After came earth in bitter grief, and taking up the tale, O son of high renown, thus she began to speak: “The godless rout of men doth dance upon my bosom. I hold in my embrace as well as the nature of all things; for I, as Thou didst give command, not only bear them all, but I receive them also when they’re killed….Bestow on earth, if not Thyself, for I could not contain Thee, yet some holy emanation of Thyself. Make Thou the earth more honoured than the rest of elements; for it is right that she should boast of gifts from Thee, in that she giveth all.”
The other ones, they strive
To take from cosmic waters
What will extinguish flames
And pour paralysis
Into all inner being.
O joy, when human being’s flame
Is blazing, even when at rest.
O bitter pain, when the human thing
Is put in bonds, when it wants to stir.
So is her face illumin’d with her eye:
Whose beams upon his hairless face are fix’d,
As if from thence they borrow’d all their shine.
Were never four such lamps together mix’d,
Had not his clouded with his brows’ repine;
But hers, which thro’ the crystal tears gave light,
Shone like the moon in water seen by night.
‘O, where am I?’ quoth she, ‘in earth or heaven,
Or in the ocean drench’d, or in the fire?
What hour is this? or morn, or weary even?
Do I delight to die, or life desire?
But now I liv’d, and life was death’s annoy;
But now I died, and death was lively joy.’
Venus and Adonis, William Shakespeare
Radiant in his light, yet invisible in the secret place of the heart, the Spirit is the supreme abode wherein dwells all that moves and breathes and sees. Know him as all that is, and all that is not, the end of love-longing beyond understanding, the highest in all beings.
He is self-luminous and more subtle than the smallest; but in him rest all the worlds and their beings. He is the everlasting Brahman, and he is life and word and mind. He is truth and life immortal. He is the goal to be aimed at: attain that goal, O my son!
Take the great bow of the Upanishads and place in it an arrow sharp with devotion. Draw the bow with concentration on him and hit the centre of the mark, the same everlasting Spirit.
The bow is the sacred OM, and the arrow is our own soul. Brahman is the mark of the arrow, the aim of the soul. Even as an arrow becomes one with its mark, let the watchful soul be one in him.
In him are woven the sky and the earth and all the regions of the air, and in him rest the mind and all powers of life. Know him as ONE and leave aside all other words. He is the bridge of immortality.
Where all the subtle channels of the body meet, like spokes in the centre of a wheel, there he moves in the heart and transforms his one form unto many. Upon OM, Atman, your Self, place your meditation. Glory unto you in your far-away journey beyond darkness!
He who knows all and sees all, and whose glory the universe shows, dwells as the Spirit of the divine city of Brahman in the region of the human heart. He becomes mind and drives on the body and life, draws power from food and finds peace in the heart. There the wise find him as joy and light and life eternal.
And when he is seen in his immanence and transcendence, then the ties that have bound the heart are unloosened, the doubts of the mind vanish, and the law of Karma works no more.
In the supreme golden chamber is Brahman indivisible and pure. He is the radiant light of all lights, and this knows he who knows Brahman.
There the sun shines not, nor the moon, nor the stars; lightnings shine not there and much less earthly fire. From his light all these give light; and his radiance illumines all creation.
Far spreading before and behind and right and left, and above and below, is Brahman, the Spirit eternal. In truth Brahman is all.
It wasn’t the flickering light in the upper storey window that drew the Watcher’s attention, for many lights vied for his attention that evening. It was a melody drifting upwards through the gradually darkening sky.
A rose-gold sun set the western horizon alight and resplendent Venus shone like a beacon above the rooftops, flanked by blood-red Mars and the glowing yellow circle of Jupiter. The lone figure, invisible to the naked eye, made slow, wide circles in the radiant atmosphere.
Drawn by her irresistible presence below, the Watcher descended to hover before the house where she dwelt. The flame of a candle within licked gently at the surrounding air and a heady scent was carried to him with the rising music. He inspired silently, considering the one inside. She was stretched like a cat upon the bed, with an open book face-down beside her on the pillow. Intently he watched her, his eye now fixed.
One golden glance of what should be.
A powerful gust of wind blew the window open and she jumped out of her skin, shaken from her hazy reverie by the sudden noise and rush of cool air. Moving like quicksilver, he silently slipped inside.
Staring at the breached window she searched the indigo space he left behind him. A magnificent aura permeated the room, sparkling with countless flecks of shimmering golden atoms that alighted on her skin like a veil of the Holy Shekinah.
Arising thoughtfully, she took a cautious step towards the opening. He watched again while she turned her head north and then south, seeking what or whomsoever had disturbed the rose-scented ether.
Finding nothing but the dying throes of day she fastened shut the window and lay down again, book in hand, not quite unaware of the almost unexpected arrival of the thrice-descended master. The Led display of her mobile phone revealed that it was 22.22.
With avid concentration she listened to the voice that came into her room via the radio. A drama was set to unfold, of that she could be sure. Doubtless there was a kind of magic taking place right there and then, with her at the centre of its endlessly opening and closing circle. She also knew she was no longer alone, for a profound change had occurred in the electrified atmosphere.
Luscious chords swelled like a rising ocean, sweeping over her body and soul with a sensuous rhythm. The lost history of time unfolded in his fathomless mind.
She was wearing gold-coloured sandals – shoes that were a gift from her father – and a midnight blue dress. Around her wrist was a bracelet full of charms and with his bright, ancient eyes, he saw that the necklace at her throat was made from the stuff of magic, a gift from her mystery-loving mother.
He had once again challenged the doors of time to reach her and the wait had seemed an eternity. 2,628 years had passed since she had last been this close to him. On that occasion the moon had been perfectly halved by the shadow of the Earth. Jupiter, then, was at the same point in its orbit as it would be in precisely three and a half minutes that self-same night.
He looked over his shoulder at the gigantic sphere, which slowly turned through the fragile cosmos with an intricately complex, haunting melody. A ray of its light fell upon her in that moment and the fearless diamond of her soul began to dissolve in mercury.
One shaft of light that showed the way
This flame that burns inside of me is here in secret harmonies
She had had dreams; he could see every colour of every scene.
One dream, one soul, one prize, one goal
With a silent whisper he reminded her of the truth:
No mortal man can win this day.
He drew a flickering image of paradise into the infinite space between them and exhaled into her parted lips.
There can be only one….
The radio crackled and grew fainter, framing the esoteric silence like a braid of wheat, magnetising all background interference until the air grew taut as a lens, magnifying live reactions as if they were in a scene from a lyric master’s play.
Still you will always be with me, your name constantly on my lips, never forgotten.*
*Hymn of Orpheus
With thanks to Freddie Mercury
May God, who in the mystery of his vision and power transforms his white radiance into many-coloured creation, from whom all things come and into whom they all return, grant us the grace of pure vision….
He is the sun, the moon and the stars. He is the fire, the waters, and the wind…
Thou the blue bird and thou the green bird; thou the cloud that conceals the lightning and thou the seasons and the oceans. Beyond beginning, thou art in thy infinity, and all the worlds had their beginning in thee…..
There are two birds, two sweet friends, who dwell on the self-same tree. The one eats the fruit thereof, and the other looks on in silence.
The first is the human soul who, resting on that tree, though active, feels sad in his unwisdom. But on beholding the power and the glory of the higher Spirit, he becomes free from sorrow.
Of what use is the Rig Veda to one who does not know the Spirit from whom the Rig Veda comes, and in whom all things abide? For only those who have found him have found peace.
For all the sacred books, all holy sacrifice and ritual and prayers, all the words of the Vedas, and the whole past and present and future, come from the Spirit. With Maya, his power of wonder, he made all things, and by Maya the human soul is bound.
Know therefore that nature is Maya, but that God is the ruler of Maya; and that all beings in our universe are parts of his infinite splendour…
May the seer of Eternity, who gave to the gods their birth and their glory, who keep all things under his protection, and who in the beginning saw the Golden Seed, grant us the grace of pure vision.
It is by the gathering of a few friends with a common purpose. And with a faith in the reality and good will of those in the spiritual world whom they seek to make contact, and from whom they will receive protection, enlightenment and teaching. This gathering of friends in common purpose and respect is the natural warmth that is spoken of in alchemy.
To warm the alchemical still of the ‘first matter’, the prima materia. To hatch the cosmic egg so that a live chick shall be born. The alchemical bird, that at first needs careful nourishing, but which will grow by due care and process into a powerful creature indeed, an immortal phoenix.
And this element of the alchemical bird being a phoenix is further indication of how the spark of the Mysteries, once lit, is passed on. For the original fire, even if largely smothered, banked up by its own ash so that it hardly gives out further light of heat or living flame, can burst forth again. Any ember from that source of inner fire can be fanned by those who know and care, into a new manifestation of the phoenix – which will rise in a blaze of wonder and glory as powerful as ever it was when first hatched, induced and evoked.
This is a natural path of progress in the Mysteries over the course of time.
Gareth Knight, The Abbey Papers