The Cry of the 14th Aethyr,
There come into the stone a white goat, a green dragon, and a tawny bull2. But they pass away immediately. There is a veil of such darkness before the Aethyr that it seems impossible to pierce it. But there is a voice saying: Behold, the Great One of the Night of Time3 stirreth, and with his tail he churneth up the slime, and of the foam thereof shall he make stars. And in the battle of the Python4 and the Sphinx shall the glory be to the Sphinx, but the victory to the Python.
Now the veil of darkness is formed of a very great number of exceedingly fine black veils, and one tears them off one at a time. And the voice says, There is no light or knowledge or beauty or stability5 in the Kingdom of the Grave, whither thou goest. And the worm is crowned. All that thou wast hath he eaten up, and all that thou art is his pasture until to-morrow. And all that thou shalt be is nothing. Thou who wouldst enter the domain of the Great One of the Night of Time, this burden must thou take up. Deepen not a superficies6.
But I go on tearing down the veil that I may behold the vision of UTI, and hear the voice thererof. And there is a voice: He hath drawn the black bean. And another voice answers it: Not otherwise could he plant the Rose. And the first voice: He hath drunk of the waters of death. The answer: Not otherwise could he water the Rose. And the first voice: He hath burnt himself at the Fires of life. And the answer: Not otherwise could he sun the Rose. And the first voice is so faint that I cannot hear it. But the answer is: Not otherwise could he pluck the Rose7.
And still I go on, struggling with the blackness. Now there is an earthquake. The veil is torn into thousands of pieces that go flying away in a whirling wind. And there is an all-glorious Angel before me, standing in the sign of Apophis and Typhon8. On his Forehead is a star, but all about him is darkness, and the crying of beasts. And there are lamps moving in the darkness.
And the Angel says: Depart! For thou must invoke me only in the darkness. Therein will I appear, and reveal unto thee the Mystery of UTI. For the Mystery thereof is great and terrible. And it shall not be spoken in sight of the sun.
Therefore I withdraw myself. (Thus far the vision upon Da'leh
Addin, a mountain in the desert near Bou-Sada.9)
The Angel re-appears.
The blackness gathers about, so thick, so clinging, so penetrating, so oppressive, that all the other darkness that I have ever conceived would be like bright light beside it10.
His voice comes in a whisper: O thou that art master of the fifty gates of Understanding, is not my mother a black woman? O thou that art master of the Pentagram, is not the egg of spirit a black egg11? Here abideth terror, and the blind ache of the Soul, and lo! even I, who am the sole light, a spark shut up, stand in the sign of Apophis and Typhon.
I am the snake that devoureth the spirit of man with the lust of light. I am the sightless storm in the night that wrappeth the world about with desolation. Chaos is my name, and thick darkness. Know thou that the darkness of the earth is ruddy, and the darkness of the air is grey, but the darkness of the soul is utter blackness.
The egg of the spirit is a basilisk egg, and the gates of the understanding are fifty, that is the sign of the Scorpion12. The pillars about the neophyte are crowned with flame, and the vault of the Adepts is lighted by the Rose. And in the abyss is the eye of the hawk13. But upon the great sea shall the Master of the Temple find neither star nor moon.
And I was about to answer him: "The light is within me." But before I could frame the words, he answered me with the great word that is the Key of the Abyss14. And he said: Thou hast entered the night; dost thou yet lust for day? Sorrow is my name, and affliction. I am girt about with tribulation. Here still hangs the Crucified One, and here the Mother weeps over the children that she hath not borne. Sterility is my name, and desolation. Intolerable is thine ache, and incurable thy wound. I said, Let the darkness cover me; and behold, I am compassed about with the blackness that hath no name. O thou, who hast cast down the light into the earth, so must thou do for ever. And the light of the sun shall not shine upon thee, and the moon shall not lend thee of her lustre, and the stars shall be hidden, because thou art passed beyond these things, beyond the need of these things, beyond the desire of these things.
What I thought were shapes of rocks, rather felt than seen, now appear to be veiled Masters, sitting absolutely still and silent. Nor can any one be distinguished from the others.
And the Angel sayeth: Behold where thine Angel hath led thee! Thou didst ask fame, power and pleasure, health and wealth and love, and strength, and length of days. Thou didst hold life with eight tentacles, like an octopus. Thou didst seek the four powers and the seven delights and the twelve emancipations and the two and twenty Privileges and the nine and forty Manifestations, and lo! thou art become as one of These. Bowed are their backs, whereon resteth the universe. Veiled are their faces, that have beheld the glory Ineffable.
These adepts seem like Pyramids --- their hoods and robes are like Pyramids.
And the Angel sayeth: Verily is the Pyramid a Temple of Initiation. Verily also is it a tomb15}. Thinkest thou that there is life within the Masters of the Temple, that sit hooded, encamped upon the Sea? Verily, there is no life in them.
Their sandals were the pure light, and they have taken them from their feet and cast them down through the abyss, for this Aethyr is holy ground.
Herein no forms appear, and the vision of God face to face, that is transmuted in the Athanor called dissolution, or hammered into one forge of meditation, is in this place but a blasphemy and a mockery.
And the Beatific Vision is no more, and the glory of the Most High is no more. There is no more knowledge. There is no more bliss. There is no more power. There is no more beauty. For this is the Palace of Understanding: for thou art one with the Primeval things.
Drink in the myrrh of my speech, that is bruised with the gall of the roc, and dissolved in the ink of the cuttle-fish, and perfumed with the deadly nightshade.
This is thy wine, who wast drunk upon the wine of Iacchus. And for bread shalt thou eat salt, O thou on the corn of Ceres that didst wax fat! For as pure being is pure nothing, so is pure wisdom pure ---16, and so is pure understanding silence, and stillness, and darkness. The eye is called seventy, and the triple Aleph whereby thou perceivest it, divideth into the number of the terrible word that is the Key of the Abyss17.
I am Hermes, that am sent from the Father to expound all things discreetly in these the last words that thou shalt hear before thou take thy seat among these, whose eyes are sealed up, and whose ears are stopped, and whose mouths are clenched, who are folded in upon themselves, the liquor of whose bodies is dried up, so that nothing remains but a little pyramid of dust.
And that bright light of comfort, and that piercing sword of truth, and all that power and beauty that they have made of themselves, is cast from them, as it is written, "I saw Satan like lightning fall from Heaven." And as a flaming sword is it dropt through the abyss, where the four beasts keep watch and ward. And it appeareth in the heaven of Jupiter18 as a morning star, or as an evening star19. And the light thereof shineth even unto the earth, and bringeth hope and help to them that dwell in the darkness of thought, and drink of the poison of life. Fifty are the gates20 of understanding, and one hundred and six21 are the seasons thereof. And the name of every season22 is Death.
During all this speech, the figure of the Angel has dwindled and flickered, and now it is gone out.
And I come back in the body, rushing like a flame in a great wind. And the shew-stone has become warm, and in it is its own light.