Sacred texts  Thelema 

The Cry of the 21st Aethyr,
Which is Called ASP

A mighty wind rolls through all the Aethyr; there is a sense of absolute emptiness; no colour, no form, no substance. Only now and then there seem as it were, the shadows of great angels, swept along. No sound; there is something very remorseless about the wind, passionless, that is very terrible. In a way, it is nerve-shaking. It seems as if something kept on trying to open behind the wind, and just as it is about to open, the effort is exhausted. The wind is not cold or hot; there is no sense of any kind connected with it. One does not even feel it, for one is standing in front of it.

Now, the thing opens behind, just for a second, and I catch a glimpse of an avenue of pillars, and at the end a throne, supported by sphinxes. All this is black marble2.

Now I seem to have gone through the wind, and to be standing before the throne; but he that sitteth thereon is invisible. Yet it is from him that all this desolation proceeds3.

He is trying to make me understand by putting tastes in my mouth, very rapidly one after the other. Salt, honey, sugar4, assafoetida, bitumen, honey again, some taste that I don't know at all; garlic, something very bitter like nux vomica, another taste, still more bitter; lemon, cloves, rose-leaves, honey again; the juice of some plant, like a dandelion, I think; honey again, salt, a taste something like phosphorus, honey, laurel, a very unpleasant taste which I don't know, coffee, then a burning taste, then a sour taste that I don't know. All these tastes issue from his eyes; he signals them.

I can see his eyes now. They are very round, with perfectly black pupils, perfectly white iris, and the cornea pale blue. The sense of desolation is so acute that I keep on trying to get away from the vision5.

I told him that I could not understand his taste-language, so instead he set up a humming very much like a big electric plant with dynamos going.

Now the atmosphere is deep night-blue; and by the power of that atmosphere, the pillars kindle to a dull glowing crimson, and the throne is a dull, ruddy gold6. And now, through the humming, come very clear, bell-like notes, and farther still a muttering, like that of a gathering storm.

And now I hear the meaning of the muttering: I am he who was before the beginning, and in my desolation I cried aloud, saying, let me behold my countenance in the concave of the abyss7. And I beheld, and lo! in the darkness of the abyss my countenance was black, and empty, and distorted8, that was (once) invisible and pure.

Then I closed mine eye, that I might not behold it, and for this was it fixed. Now it is written that one glance of mine eye shall destroy it9. And mine eye I dare not open, because of the foulness of the vision. Therefore do I gaze with these two eyes throughout the aeon10. Is there not one of all my adepts that shall come unto me, and cut off mine eyelids, that I may behold and destroy11?

Now I take a dagger, and, searching out his third eye, seek to cut off the eye-lids, but they are of adamant. And the edge of the dagger12 is turned.

And tears13 drop from his eyes, and there is a mournful voice: So it hath been ever: so must it ever be! Though thou hast the strength of five bulls, thou shalt not avail in this14.

And I said to him: Who shall avail? And he answered me: I know not15. But the dagger of penance16 thou shalt temper seven times, afflicting the seven courses of thy soul. And thou shalt sharpen its edge seven times by the seven ordeals.

(One keeps on looking round to try to find something else because of the terror of it. But nothing changes17 at all. Nothing but the empty throne, and the eyes, and the avenue of pillars!)

And I said to him: O thou that art the first countenance before time18; thou of whom it is written that "He, God, is one; He is the eternal one, without equal, son or companion. Nothing shall stand before His face19"; all we have heard of thine infinite glory and holiness, of thy beauty and majesty, and behold! there is nothing but this abomination of desolation.

He speaks; I cannot hear a word; something about The Book of the Law. The answer is written in The Book of the Law, or something of that sort20.

This is a long speech; all that I can hear is: From me pour down the fires of life and increase continually upon the earth. From me flow down the rivers of water and oil and wine. From me cometh forth the wind that beareth the seed of trees and flowers and fruits and all herbs upon its bosom. From me cometh forth the earth in her unspeakable variety. Yea! all cometh from me, naught cometh to me. Therefore am I lonely and horrible upon this unprofitable throne. Only those who accept nothing from me can bring anything to me.

(He goes on speaking again: I cannot hear a word. I may have got about a twentieth of what he said.) And I say to him: It was written that his name is Silence, but thou speakest continually.

And he answers: Nay, the muttering that thou hearest is not my voice. It is the voice of the ape21.

(When I say that he answers, it means that it is the same voice. The being on the throne has not uttered a word.) I say: O thou ape that speakest for Him whose name is Silence, how shall I know that thou speakest truly His thought? And the muttering continues: Nor speaketh He nor thinketh, so that which I say is true, because I lie in speaking His thoughts22.

He goes on, nothing stops him; and the muttering comes so fast that I cannot hear him at all.

Now the muttering has ceased, or is overwhelmed by the bells, and the bells in their turn are overwhelmed by the whirring, and now the whirring is overwhelmed by the silence. And the blue light is gone, and the throne and the pillars are returned to blackness, and the eyes of him that sitteth upon the throne are no more visible.

I seek to go up close to the throne, and I am pushed back, because I cannot give the sign. I have given all the signs I know and am entitled to23, and I have tried to give the sign that I know and am not entitled to24, but have not the necessary appurtenance; and even if I had, it would be useless; for there are two more signs necessary25.

I find that I was wrong in suggesting26 that a Master of the Temple had a right to enter the temple of a Magus or an Ipsissimus. On the contrary, the rule that holds below, holds also above. The higher you go, the greater is the distance from one grade to another27.

I am being slowly pushed backwards down the avenue, out into the wind. And this time I am caught up by the wind and whirled away down it like a dead leaf.

And a great Angel sweeps through the wind, and catches hold of me, and bears me up against it; and he sets me down on the hither side of the wind, and he whispers in my ear: Go thou forth into the world, O thrice and four times blessed who hast gazed upon the horror of the loneliness of The First28. No man shall look upon his face and live. And thou hast seen his eyes, and understood his heart, for the voice of the ape is the pulse of his heart and the labouring of his breast. Go, therefore, and rejoice, for thou art the prophet of the Aeon arising, wherein He is not29.

Give thou praise unto thy lady Nuit, and unto her lord Hadit, that are for thee and thy bride, and the winners of the ordeal X30.

And with that we are come to the wall of the Aethyr, and there is a little narrow gate, and he pushes me through it, and I am suddenly in the desert.

The Desert, near Bou Sada31.
November 29, 1909. 1:30 - 2:50 p.m.

  1. ASP = {Taurus}{Virgo}{Leo} = {HEB:Vau}{HEB:Yod}{HEB:Tet} = 25 = {HEB:Dalet} {HEB:Vau} {HEB:Heh} {HEB:Yod} = Jehevid, God of Geburah of Briah = {HEB:Aleph} {HEB:Vau}{HEB:Yod} {HEB:Chet} The Beast. The aire shows the supplanting of that by this. (A's MS. has "Mythus (?)" for "by this".) Taurus is Osiris. Virgo the Virgin (the lonely one). These are the Dying God symbols, which Leo --- the Lion, Atu XI, The Beast --- replaces.
  2. This setting symbolizes the Way of Time in the Temple of Inscrutable Destiny.
  3. This Deity is Necessity or Fate. This whole Aire is of a metaphysic more difficult to understand than any of the earlier. The student must have finally shut out of his mind not only the crude ideas of Good and Evil, but the most fundamental logical conceptions, such as that of being obliged to think of a state of mind, or an individual, as being true to itself. This God is at the same time an Abomination and a supreme Overlord. One may indeed say that the student ought to be in a state not far from Samadhi before meditating the meaning of the Aire.
  4. Salt Water or Earth, probably ............................ M
    Honey Bees: feminine symbol. Binah. Probably ............. E (This E is not a real vowel. It enables consonants to join with the minimum of disturbance. This is exactly the role of the feminine passive element.)
    Sugar Venus ............................................... D
    Assafoetida Saturn --- Capricornus = {HEB:Ayin} .......... {Taurus}
    Bitumen Fiery --- Water = {HEB:Nun-final} ................... N
    Honey ..................................................... E
    Unknown Possibly Kether .................................... St
    Garlic Saturnian element of Venus .......................... L
    Nux vomica Tonic. Geburah.
    Still more bitter. Lemon Mercury Cloves Venus --- earthy. Taurus ........................ U or V Rose Leaves Venus. Mercury ..................................... I Honey ..................................................... E Dandelion Solar. Tiphereth ................................... O Honey ..................................................... E Salt ..................................................... M Phosphorus Sol. Leo or Geburah ................................ Th
    Honey ..................................................... E
    Laurel Apollo .............................................. R
    Very unpleasant --- ? --- the insipidness of Mercury ................ I
    Coffee Stimulant --- wakeful. Erectile ............. {Taurus}
    Burning Scorpio ............................................. N
    Sour End of oxidation --- acid --- Sagittarius ........... S
    Translation: "The Earth is sick of love; with disease and death is she sick ... the natural lust, fierce as it is, is not enough; virgins, boys woman (make men) sick, weak of semen and sick. The earth shall be cured of her sickness by true Art-of-Sun, and thine own pleasures, and thou ..., shall abolish the world's woe, and bring on the Age of Righteousness.
  5. Black, white, and pale blue, there is no warmth in Destiny. It is intolerable to see the mere mechanism of life.
  6. Now comes the warm Night-Blue of Nuit and of Ra-Hoor-Khuit. The pillars assume the crimson of Binah, and the throne, the gold of Tiphereth. Thus is it as if Ra-Hoor-Khuit were alive in the midst of the Womb of His Mother.
  7. cf. the account of the beginning in the Upanishads.
  8. See Eliphaz Levi's drawing of the two Countenances.
  9. The Shivaite Dogma. (This is a reference to the philosophical notion that if Shiva opened his eyes, the universe would be destryed. I. R.)
  10. See the Kaballah Unveiled by McGregor Mathers. The Most Holy Ancient One has One Eye: Microprosophus two.
  11. Shiva again. For the eyelids, see above, the 22nd Aire, the speech of the Babe Horus.
  12. This minor elemental weapon is evidently useless against fundamental ideas like force and matter, of which it is itself but a trivial complex.
  13. Binah, Mother of Sorrow - the tears from the Great Sea, her symbol. The first issue of understanding of the trance of sorrow.
  14. The Bull = Taurus = Vau = V. The motto of the Seer is in the grade of Binah, 8° = 3°, is V.V.V.V.V., the five bulls. He had already chosen this motto, though he had refused to accept the grade when offered to him three years before by the chiefs, after the episode of crossing the Abyss during the walk across the lower borders of China. We now approach those Aethyrs in which his full initiation to that grade was accomplished.
  15. I = {HEB:Yod}{HEB:Nun}{HEB:Aleph} = 61. Know = No ={HEB:Aleph} {HEB:Lamed} = 31. Not = {HEB:Nun-final}{HEB:Yod}{HEB:Aleph} = 61. Also I know not --- I know that which is Not. Such are the roots of the Equation of Ambiguity, used often by Higher Intelligences (especially in The Book of the Law, q.v.) to prove their identity as Individuals separate from the Seer, and superior to him.
  16. This rebukes the Seer for having tried to use the elemental Dagger. Perhaps the four sevens in the injunction refer to Netzach, Victory. For Netzach = 7; and 28 = {GRK:Sigma}1-7 as well as 4x7, 28 is a "perfect" number; its factors add up to itself.
  17. That is the extreme horror: for Change is Life, the issue of love.
  18. {HEB:Nun-final}{HEB:Yod}{HEB:Peh}{HEB:Nun}{HEB:Aleph} {HEB:Koph- final}{HEB:Yod}{HEB:Resh}{HEB:Aleph} The Great Countenance (which beheld not Countenance).
  19. The Chapter of the Unity, in the Qu'ran.
  20. This may refer to the Formula 0 = 2.
  21. Kether, of course, does not speak. His Nature is made apparent by Thoth, the Logos, the Creative Word. But this Word must evidently be false, since He is Silence. Thoth, however, is himself accompanied by the Cynocephalos, the dog-headed Ape, who imitates and caricatures all His actions, and misinterprets His speech.
  22. The idea is that Truth may be stated by denying a falsehood. This lands us in the quagmires of "Zigzagginess", the paradox of Epaminoneas, et hoc genus omne. One great point of the Initiated Doctrine is that the Ruach (the Mechanism of Thought) is in its essential nature self-contradictory. From now on, the Angels of the Aethyrs begin to speak in the language of Neshamah; they use the logic which pertains above the Abyss. The student will, accordingly, find statements which must be reversed and reversed again and again; both are true and false at once; neither is true or false --- and so on.
  23. The sign of the Grades up to 7x = 4{square x}.
  24. the sign of 8x = 3{square x}.
  25. The signs of 9x = 2{square x} and 10x = 1{square x}; necessary because this Vision pertains to Kether.
  26. See the "Wake World" in Konx Om Pax.
  27. See One Star in Sight.
  28. Observe the point-of-view, so totally opposite to any ever previously set forth, about the psychology of Kether.
  29. In the Ontology of the New Aeon, whose prime theorem is 0 = 2, Kether exists only as the Child of any Marriage of one particular Hadit with one particular aspect of Nuit. There are thus as many Kethers as there are positive possibilities. More, Kether is not in any case a sole Unity, for each Marriage produces a Twin, {HEB:Heh} + {HEB:Yod} = {HEB:Heh} + {HEB:Vau}. There is a positive "Third Being", a Kether; and there is an Ecstasy, or dissolution into Nothing, by the same Event. One is the Magical, the other the Mystical, Result of an Act of Love under Will.
  30. See Liber AL III, v. 22.
  31. this night I took the shew-stone to my breast to sleep, and immediately a Dhyana arose of the sun, seen more clearly afterwards as the Star. Exceeding was its brilliance.