Apr 232011
 

‘“Down he went, to play for Hades –
God who had the lady hidden –
Eurydice, the lovely maiden,
She, who by the snake was bitten.

‘“Hearing as he strummed so gently,
Sang a Dithyramb, song of heartache,
Hades’ wife wept tears for twenty,
Whilst the God himself shed plenty.

‘“Weeping like a bride, old Hades –
He that might undo the death-spell –
Said to him: “Oh Prince of Poets,
Sweeter is your song than nectar.

‘“Henceforth shall our guide be Eros,
God of love. Your song convinced us
That we should release the lady,
On but one condition, only.

‘“You must not set eyes upon her
‘Til she’s reached the land above us.
Did you, Prince, take care to listen
“Well? Else fail in this, your mission.

Nov 072010
 

The grief-stricken birds, the host of wild creatures, the flinty rocks and the woods that had so often followed his songs, all wept for Orpheus. The trees shed their leaves and, with bared heads, mourned for his loss.

Men say that the rivers too were swollen with their own tears, and naiads and dryads tore their hair, and pulled on black garments, over their fine robes. The poet’s limbs were scattered in different places, but the waters of the Hebrus received his head and lyre.

Wonderful to relate, as they floated down in midstream, the lyre uttered a plaintive melody and the lifeless tongue made a piteous murmur, while the river banks lamented in reply. Carried down to the sea, theyleft their native river, and were washed up on the shore of Lesbos, near Methymna.

Here, as the head lay exposed on that foreign shore, its hair dripping with beads of foam, it was attacked by a savage snake: but Phoebus at last appeared, and checked the snake in the very act of biting, turning its open mouth to stone, and petrifying its gaping jaws.

The ghost of Orpheus passed beneath the earth; he recognised all the places he had seen before and, searching through the fields of the blessed, found his Eurydice, and clasped her in eager arms. There they stroll together, side by side: or sometimes Orpheus follows, while his wife goes before, sometimes he leads the way and looks back, as he can do safely now, at his Eurydice.

Ovid, Orpheus in the Underworld

Aug 092010
 

First of all it is necessary for me to say a word about the term gothic as applied to French art, which imposed its rules on all the productions of the Middle Ages and whose influence extends from the twelfth to the fifteenth century.

Some have claimed—wrongly—that it came from the Goths, the ancient Germanic people. Others alleged that the word, suggesting something barbarous, was bestowed in derision on a form of art, whose originality and extreme peculiarity were shocking to the people of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Such is the opinion of the classical school, imbued with the decadent principles of the Renaissance.

But truth, preserved in the speech of the common people, has ensured the continued use of the expression gothic art, in spite of the efforts of the Academy to substitute the term ogival art. There was an obscure reason for this, which should have made our linguists ponder, since they are always on the look-out for the derivation of words.

How does it come about that so few compilers of dictionaries have lighted upon the right one? The simple fact is that the explanation must be sought in the cabalistic origin of the word and not in its literal root. Some discerning and less superficial authors, struck by the similarity between gothic (gothique) and goetic (goetique) have thought that there must be a close connection between gothic art and goetic art, i.e. magic.

For me, gothic art {art gothique) is simply a corruption of the word argotique (cant), which sounds exactly the same. This is in conformity with the phonetic law, which governs the traditional cabala in every language and does not pay any attention to spelling. The cathedral is a work of art goth (gothic art) or of argot, i.e, cant or slang.

Moreover, dictionaries define argot as ‘a language peculiar to all individuals who wish to communicate their thoughts without being understood by outsiders’. Thus it certainly is a spoken cabala. The argotiers, those who use this language, are the hermetic descendants of the argonauts, who manned the ship Argo. They spoke the langue argotique-—our langue verte (‘green language’ or slang)—while they were sailing towards the felicitious shores of Colchos to win the famous Golden Fleece.

People still say about a very intelligent, but rather sly, man: ‘he knows everything, he understands cant.’ All the Initiates expressed themselves in cant; the vagrants of the Court of Miracles—headed by the poet Villon—! as well as the Freemasons of the Middle Ages, ‘members of the lodge of God’, who built the argotique masterpieces, which we still admire today. Those constructional sailors (nautes) also knew the route to the Garden of the Hesperides….

Le Mystere des Cathedrales, Fulcanelli

May 092010
 

Speaking next, a bearded poet,
Stroked his chin and touched the symbols
Woven on his woollen long-coat:
Winged heart, the moon and lone star.

“Heights are reached by native mystics,
Yet the greatest peak of learning
Is our own, and few have reached it;
Sufi spinners rise by turning.”

“Here upon our cloud, unknowing,”
Sighed the mystic Christian fathers,
“We see how all souls are growing,
Ever upward, past the dawn-star.

“Darkest night will never capture
Those who walk beneath the lantern
That was set by Christ. In raptures
Have our Saints recovered phantoms.”

“Mani of the Moon, the Mirror,”
Spoke his priest. “A silver sliver
Of the lamp which lovers worship;
Shines the light on true believers.”

“Brings to mind the Bodhisatva,”
Spoke the Buddhist, “of compassion.”
“From the Eastern land of ancients,
Where the bowl of Earth was fashioned.”

Apr 302010
 

Burne-Jones

“Whoever feels an urge to teach is not living his own doctrine completely and has not attained the heights of initiation….”

“…Alchemy cannot be taught. All the great works of literature which have come down to us through the centuries contain elements of this teaching. They are the product of truly adult minds which  have spoken to children, while respecting the laws of adult knowledge. A great work is never wrong as regards basic principles. But the knowledge of these principles and the road that led to this knowledge must remain secret. Nevertheless, there is an obligation on first-degree searchers to help one another.

…”Patience, hope, work. And whatever the work may be, one can never work hard enough. As to hope: in alchemy hope is based on the certainty that there is a goal to attain. I would never have begun had I not been convinced that this goal exists and can be attained in this life.”

A famous poet, Morning of the Magicians, Louis Pauwels and Jacques Bergier