In winter when the frosty nights are long
And sedge is stiff about the frozen meres,
One night above a volume of old song
Of legendary loves and magic fears
Sweetened by long elapse of slumbering years,
I nodded in the frosty firelight beam
And fell on sleep and straightway dreamed a dream.
I thought it was a luminous summer night,
And in the star-flecked welkin overhead
A fading sickle of soft golden light
Its wonder over all the landscape spread,
While fleecy clouds athwart its paleness sped:
Ten thousand thousand points of light did peep
Out of the boundless heaven’s velvet deep.
It goes without saying that nobody initiates anyone else, if we understand by ‘initiation’ the Mystery of the Second Birth or the Great Sacrament. This Initiation is operative from above and has the value and the duration of eternity. The Initiator is above, and here below one meets only the fellow pupils; and they recognise each other by the fact that they “love one another” (John xiii, 34-45)
There are no longer any more ‘masters’ because there is only one sole Master, who is the Initiator above. To be sure, there are always masters who teach their doctrines and also initiates who communicate some of the secrets which they possess to others who thus become in turn their ‘initiates’, but this has nothing to do with the Mystery of the Great Initiation.
For this reason Christian Hermeticism, in so far as it is a human concern, initiates no one. Amongst Christian Hermeticists nobody assumes for himself the title and the function of ‘initiator’ or ‘master’. For all are fellow pupils and each is master of each in some respect – just as each is a pupil of each other in some other respect.
Meditations on the Tarot, Letter I, The Magician
Our feeling was that we were living in “Bible times”, which in reality had never ceased, nor ever do cease, except for those who are devoid of the spiritual consciousness, and for these those times never begin and have no existence.
The revelation is perpetual, and the power to receive it is natural to man, requiring no miracle. That he fails to receive it is through defect, not of constiution, but of condition, being self-induced by his habits of life and thought.
Anna Kingsford: Her Life, Letters, Diary and Work, Edward Maitland
And I saw angels who could not be counted,
A thousand thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand,
Encircling that house.
And Michael, and Raphael, and Gabriel, and Phanuel,
And the holy angels who are above the heavens,
Go in and out of that house.
And they came forth from that house,
And Michael and Gabriel, Raphael and Phanuel,
And many holy angels without number.
Book of Enoch
Behold, I tell you a mystery:
We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed
When the corruptible has put on incorruption, and the mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”
“O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?”
I Corinthians 54-55
“Louis, I have seen and conversed with both, and I know I do not dream. Here, miserable that I am, I am bound to earth; my soul is imprisoned by the chains of force; I am compelled to minister to the insatiate curiosity of the spirits who cannot ascend beyond those mid-regions, and oh! the horror of that bondage would have bereft my soul of reason, had it not been redeemed by forgleams of the more holy and exalted destiny reserved for the soul in the blest sphere of immortality. My sweet brother, dearly, fondly loved by Constance! when I am an enfranchised spirit, I will come to thee, and prove my words by the very presence of an arisen, immortal soul. Remember!”
Ghost Land, Emma Hardinge Britten, William Britten
There was the cycle of the mineral, the rock.
There was the cycle of the plant.
And now we are in the cycle of the animals coming to the
end of that and beginning the cycle of the human being.
When we get into the cycle of the human being
the highest and greatest powers that we have
will be released to us.
Hopi Stone Tablet
“Why,” they say, “have we not had the experiences that you have had, we have not had visions, we have not had premonitions, the custodians of the future have not told us what is to be?”
In the same manner they say to the botanist, “We walked the field you walked in, yet we did not see the rare plant you gathered, or to the gold-seeker who found gold, “We did not find gold though we traveled over the same land.”
Michael Juste, The White Brother
I also wonder about the Tetrarch, who occupies my mind so fully that he is by my side in all but body throughout each day. We are bound, he and I, by ties both seen and unseen. There are ties for all to see because the Tetrarch is an overlord of Delphi and it was he that insisted I should be appointed Pythia when the former priestess was murdered during the war. Then there are the unseen ties, because I alone have understanding of how much he means to me. Even my sisters do not realise the depth of this ocean. To my mind he is the Earthly representation of Apollo himself and loving one enables me to increase my understanding of the other. How fragile we are beneath the ruthless gaze of our Lord, but how sweet is the perfume of crushed flowers, so healing the oil of their divine essence.
My love for Apollo knows no bounds, for his light reaches even into places of darkness, he is my lord and my protector in times of danger, my guide through moments of chaos. He is the husband I cannot have, the mind which inhabits my own and requires me to master this world.
Of all the places that I know to be in existence I have the greatest desire to see Hyperborea, cradle of my Master. It is in Hyperborea that the wax and feathers temple may now be seen, for it was carried there in the chariot of Apollo many moons ago and preserved as a portal to the underworld.
The Tetrarch seldom comes here during the cold and stormy months of Dionysus (The Tyrant Cleisthenes, by contrast, invariably does) but he frequents this place when the God has returned from his travels in Hyperborea. Once – when I was a child and prone to some irrational thinking – I asked Timocrates whether we might follow the God when he journeys through winter to that shining, golden land of sun and ice. His answer was decisive and prevented further query:
“Neither by ship nor on foot could you find the marvellous road to the meeting-place of the Hyperboreans , but in any case it is not for you to pursue Gods or men – wherever they may wander – and if you were ever to leave here in order to do such a thing you could never return and hope to keep your life.”
I never mentioned it again, as I do of course understand perfectly that this life is not my own to have desires with. I have learned to hold my peace, for the war has instilled in me too much knowledge already of the evils men might inflict upon one another and careless tongues or minds can spell catastrophe. As I am under scrutiny from most people for much of the time and some people at all times, I guard my words and deeds minutely, the importance of behaving discreetly having been seriously impressed upon me from an early age.
As a rule, therefore, my thoughts are carefully measured and then voiced with reason, my mind is generally clear and grasps at nothing, for everyone and everything is waiting for the God to speak through me and that is the singular reason for my existence. This is the way it is and always has been and always will be, lest the gods of Olympus are rearranged with another at their pinnacle.
In any case, all of us here are at peace now the war has ended and our fortunes are so very great. Far be it from me to break such peace. Riches beyond most men’s wildest dreams are scattered along our roads as carelessly as leaves, and arts beyond the realms of mortal man’s imagination are conceived of and created quite effortlessly, from beneath the steady gaze of the Master of the Muses. Here it is that the true source of inspiration might be found, the fountain of joy, source of the birdsong.
The production of draughts and medicines is a duty I perform on many occasions, but someone was once foolish enough to ask me what I was ‘cooking’, as if I were a common slave. As it was such an inappropriate question I simply declined to answer, as is my habit whenever a foolish or inappropriate question is asked of me. Then there are the questions to which there are no easy answers.
Once I was asked when he – Dionysus – first came here. At first I could only smile, for what is time to the kingdom of eternity? There are only hours of the day, seasons of the sun and cycles that are marked by the passage of the moon. Most vehemently have I been warned by the Saints to never fall beneath the sway of time because that would bring death to all prophecy. The pendulum might swing, but such as I must master the art of remaining above it in a state of perfect balance, shielded from the terrors of Cronos who yet we must touch without our hearts failing or minds being lost.
Daily am I reminded that ordinary time is of no consequence and fate unfolds precisely as the gods command it. When this occurs is immaterial, the potential for all action being ever-present. We are chiefly concerned here with what is infinite, although men so often desire to make fixed points for the dead books of their history.
“For this reason”, Timocrates informed me – quite gravely, in fact – when I questioned him on the matter, “the League has taken it upon itself to regulate all calendars of the civilised world that we might subjugate for perpetuity the menace of time at the centre of the Earth.”
I privately doubted it would be possible to truly safeguard the world from Time but kept this thought to myself. We were duty bound to try.
For the sake of the inquiry, it was sufficient to say that Dionysus comes at first sighting of the Pleiades, accompanied always by Euterpe, whose hypnotic sounds will soar over Parnassus from flutes poised like spears of moonlight on the muse’s lips. What happens then, who can say? It is one of the mysteries we cannot share easily, for like dreams in the stillness of the night, memories of those days are as mist in the fire of morning.
Though my mind may roam free, my life here is wholly proscribed in many ways. Indeed, it is set in stone. I sometimes dwell on the fact that nothing ever changes and perhaps I wish it might, but I am more aware of my great good fortune and that I enjoy liberties and other privileges the majority of my sex dare only dream of.
All the same – and because of that liberty, I know all too well – that I have seen nothing of the world beyond this temple and its outlying areas, although I frequently hear rousing stories of other lands from the men who come here. Stories I have over-heard, for the most part, or which come to me via my teachers, for it is not permitted for ordinary men to speak freely with a woman who is married to the God.
I most often hear about the great foreign kingdoms of Egypt and Persia – seats of wisdom and warfare, respectively – and of the various colonies founded abroad by generals and merchants of Greece, often upon the advice of my divinatory office. These tales can cause a sense of longing that I find difficult to overcome and there are times when I wonder if it is to the sea that I shall one day return.