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Chapter 14

  • AN INFORMATIVE DISCOURSE UPON THE OCCULT CHARACTER OF THE MOON,HER THREEFOLD NATURE, HER FOURFOLD PHASES, AND HER EIGHT-AND-TWENTY MANSIONS;WITH AN ACCOUNT OF THE EVENTS THAT PRECEDED THE CLIMAX OF THE GREA_XPERIMENT, BUT ESPECIALLY OF THE 
  • THE Ancients, whose wisdom is so much despised by those who have never studie_t, but content themselves with a pretence of understanding modern scienc_hich deceives nobody, would have smiled to observe how often the "lates_iscoveries" are equivalent to some fancy of Aristotle, or some speculation o_eracleitus. The remoter Picay-universities of America, which teach farming o_ining, with a little "useless" knowledge as a side-course, for show, are ful_f bumptious little professors who would not be allowed to sweep out _aboratory in London or Berlin. The ambition of such persons is to obtain a_llustrated interview in a Sunday supplement, with a full account of thei_onderful discoveries, which have revolutionized the art of sucking eggs. The_re peculiarly severe upon back numbers like Charles Darwin. Their ignoranc_eads them to believe the bombast of democracy-flatterers, who scream weekl_f Progress, and it really appears to them that anything more than six month_ld is out-of-date. They do not know that this is only true of loud-shoute_ushroom rubbish such as they call truth. [185]
  • The fundamental difference between ancient and modern science is not at all i_he field of theory. Sir William Thomson was just as metaphysical a_ythagoras or Raymond Lully, and Lucretius quite as materialistic as Erns_aeckel or Buchner.
  • But we have devised means of accurate measurement which they had not, and i_onsequence of this our methods of classification are more quantitative tha_ualitative. The result has been to make much of their science unintelligible; we no longer know exactly what they meant by the four elements, or by th_hree active principles, sulphur, mercury, and salt. Some tradition has bee_reserved by societies of wise men, who, because of the persecutions, when t_ossess any other book than a missal might be construed as heresy, conceale_hemselves and whispered the old teaching one to another.
  • The nineteenth century saw the overthrow of most of the old ecclesiastica_yranny, and in the beginning of the twentieth it was found once more possibl_o make public the knowledge. The wise men gathered together, discovered _tudent who was trustworthy and possessed of the requisite literary ability; and by him the old knowledge was revised and made secure; it was finall_ublished in a sort of periodical encyclopedia (already almost impossible t_ind, such was the demand for it) entitled  _The Equinox_.
  • Now in the science of antiquity, much classification depended upon th_lanets. Those things which were hot and fiery in their nature, lions, an_epper, and fevers, were classed under the Sun or Jupiter or Mars; thing_wift and subtle under Mercury; things cold and heavy under Saturn, and s_orth.
  • Yet the principles of most of the planets appeared in varying proportions i_lmost everything; and the more equally these proportions were balanced an_ombined, the more complete was anything supposed to be, the nearer modelle_n the divine perfection. Man himself was called a microcosm, a littl_niverse, an image of the Creator. In him all the planets and elements ha_ourse, and even the Signs of the Zodiac were represented in his nature. Th_nergy of the ram was in his head; the bull gave the laborious endurance t_is shoulders; the lion represented the courage of his heart, and the fire o_is temper; his knees, which help him to spring, are under the goat — al_orks in, and is divided and subdivided in, beauty and harmony.
  • In this curious language the moon signifies primarily all receptive things, because moonlight is only reflected sunlight. Hence "lunar" is almost _ynonym of "feminine." Woman changes; all depends upon the influence of th_an; and she is now fertile, now barren, according to her phase. But on eac_ay of her course she passes through a certain section of the Zodiac; an_ccording to the supposed nature of the stars beyond her was her influence i_hat phase, or, as they called it, mansion. It was in order to bring Ilie_nto harmony with every quality of the moon that her daily routine wa_rdered.
  • But beyond such minuteness of detail is the grand character of the Moon, whic_s threefold. For she is Artemis or Diana, sister of the Sun, a shining Virgi_oddess; then Isis-initiatrix, who brings to man all light and purity, and i_he link of his animal soul with his eternal self; and she is Persephone o_roserpine, a soul of double nature, living half upon earth and half in Hades, because, having eaten the pomegranate offered her by its lord, her mothe_ould not bring her wholly back to earth; and thirdly, she is Hecate, a thin_ltogether of Hell, barren, hideous and malicious, the queen of death and evi_itchcraft. [187]
  • All these natures are combined in woman. Artemis is unassailable, a being fin_nd radiant; Hecate is the crone, the woman past all hope of motherhood, he_oul black with envy and hatred of happier mortals; the woman in the fullnes_f life is the sublime Persephone, for whose sake Demeter cursed the field_hat they brought forth no more corn, until Hades consented to restore her t_arth for half the year. So this "moon" of the ancients has a tru_sychological meaning, as sound to-day as when the priest of Mithras slew th_ull; she is the soul, not the eternal and undying sun of the true soul, bu_he animal soul which is a projection of it, and is subject to change an_orrow, to the play of all the forces of the universe, and whose "redemption"
  • is the solution of the cosmic problem. For it is the seed of the woman tha_hall bruise the serpent's head; and this is done symbolically by every woma_ho wins to motherhood.
  • Others may indeed be chaste unto Artemis, priestesses of a holy and ineffabl_ite; but with this exception, failure to attain the appointed goal bring_hem into the dark side of the moon, the cold and barren house of Hecate th_ccursed.
  • It will be seen how wide is the range of these ideas, how sensitive is th_ormula of woman, that can touch such extremes, springing often from one t_he other in a moment — according to the nature of the influence then at wor_pon her.
  • Cyril Grey had once said, speaking at a Woman's Suffrage Meeting:
  • "Woman has no soul, only sex; no morals, only moods; her mind is mob-rule; therefore she, and she only, ought to Vote."
  • He had sat down amid a storm of hisses; and received fourteen proposals o_arriage within the next twenty-four hours. [188]
  • Ever since the beginning of the second stage of the Great Experiment, Ilie_ad become deffinitely a Spirit of the Moon While Cyril was with her, sh_eflected him, she clung to him, she was one with him, Isis to his Osiris, sister as well as spouse; and every thought of her mind being but the harmoni_f his, there was no possibility of any internal disturbance.
  • But now she was torn suddenly from her support; she could not even speak t_er man; and she discovered her own position as the mere centre of a_xperiment.
  • She knew now that she was not of scientific mind; that her aspirations to th_nknown had been fully satisfied by mere love; and that she would have bee_uch happier in a commonplace cottage. It says much for the personality o_ister Clara, and the force of her invocations, that this first impulse neve_ame to so much as a word. But the priestess of Artemis took hold of he_lmost with the violence of a lover, and whisked her away into a langui_cstasy of reverie. She communicated her own enthusiasm to the girl, and kep_er mind occupied with dreams, faery-fervid, of uncharted seas of glory o_hich her galleon might sail, undiscovered countries of spice and sweetness, Eldorado and Utopia and the City of God.
  • The hour of the rising of the moon was always celebrated by an invocation upo_he terrace consecrated to that planet. A few minutes earlier Iliel rose an_athed, then dressed herself in the robes, and placed upon her head th_rescent-shaped tiara, with its nine great moonstones. In this the younge_irls took turns to assist her. When she was ready, she joined the other girl, and together they went down to the terrace, where Sister Clara would be read_o begin the invocations. [189]
  • Of course, owing to the nature of the ceremony, it took place an hour late_very day; and at first Iliel found a difficulty in accommodating herself t_he ritual. The setting of the moon witnessed a second ceremony, directly fro_hich she retired to her bed. It was part of the general theory of th_peration thus to keep her concealed and recumbent for the greater part of th_ay; which, as has been seen, really lasted nearer 25 hours than 24.
  • But with soft singing and music, or with the recital of slow voluptuou_oetry, her natural disinclination to sleep was overcome, and she began t_njoy the delicious laziness of her existence, and to sleep the clock roun_ithout turning in her bed. She lived almost entirely upon milk, and cream, and cheese soft-curded and mild, with little crescent cakes made of rye wit_hite of egg and cane sugar; as for meat, venison, as sacred to the huntres_rtemis, was her only dish. But certain shell-fish were permitted, and al_oft and succulent vegetables and fruits.
  • She put on flesh rapidly; the fierce, active, impetuous girl of October, wit_aut muscles and dark-flushed mobile face, had become pale, heavy, languid, and indifferent to events, all before the beginning of February.
  • And it was early in this month that she was encouraged by her first wakin_ision of the Moon. Naturally her sleep had already been haunted by this ide_rom the beginning; it could hardly have been otherwise with the inveterat_ersistence of the ceremonies. The three women always chanted a sacre_entence,  _Epelthon   Epeltho_rtemis_[[1]](http://hermetic.com/crowley/moonchild/mc14.html#_ftn1) continuously for an hour after her couching; and then one of them went o_hile the others slept. They would each take a shift of three hours. The word_ere rather droned than sung, to an old magical chant, which Sister  Clara, who was half Greek, half [190] Italian, born of a noble family of Mitylene, had inherited from some of the women of the island at her initiation as _oung girl into some of their mysteries. They claimed that it had come dow_naltered from the great singers of history. It was a drowsy lilt, yet in i_as a current of fierce heat like that of the sun, and an undertone of sobbin_ike the sea.
  • So Iliel's dreams were always of the moon. If the watcher beheld trouble upo_er face, as if disturbing influences were upon her, she would breathe softl_n her ear, and bring her thoughts back to the infinite calm which was desire_or her.
  • For Cyril Grey in devising the operation had by no means been blind to th_angers involved in choosing a symbol so sensitive as Luna. There is all th_niverse between her good and evil sides; in the case of a comparativel_imple and straightforward planet like Saturn, this is not the case. And th_lanets with a backbone are far easier to control. If you once get Mars going, so to speak, it is easy to make him comply with Queensberry rules; but th_oon is so passive that the slightest new influence throws her entirely out.
  • And, of course, the calmer the pool the bigger the splash! Hence, in order t_raw down to Iliel only the holiest and serenest of the lunar souls, n_recaution could be too great, no assiduity too intense.
  • The waking vision which came to her after about a month of the changed routin_as of good cheer and great encouragement.
  • It was an hour after sunset; the night was curiously warm, and a soft breez_lew from the sea. It was part of the duty of Iliel to remain in th_oonlight, with her gaze and her desire fixed upon the orb, whenever possible.
  • From her room a stairway led [191] to a tall turret, circular, with a glas_ome, so as to favour all such observations. But on this night the garde_empted her. Nox erat et caelo fulgebat Luna sereno inter minora  sidera. Th_oon hung above Capri, two hours from her setting. Iliel held her vigil upo_he terrace, by the side of the basin of the fountain. When the moon was no_isible, she would always replace her by looking upon the sea, or upon stil_ater, for these have much in common with the lunar influence.
  • Something — she never knew what — drew her eyes from the moon to the water.
  • She was so placed that the reflexion appeared in the basin, at the very edg_f the marble, where the water flowed over into the little rivulets tha_oursed the terrace. There was a tremulous movement, almost like a timid kiss, as the water touched the edge.
  • And, to the eye of Iliel, it seemed as if the trembling of the moon's imag_ere a stirring of vitality.
  • The thought that followed was a mystery. She said that she looked up, as i_ecalled to her vigil, and found that the moon was no longer in the sky. No_ndeed was there any sky; she was in a grotto whose walls, fantasticall_raped with stalactites, glimmered a faint purplish blue — very much th_ffect, she explained, of luminous paint. She looked down again; the basin wa_one; at her feet was a young fawn, snow-white, with a collar of silver. Sh_as impelled to read the engraving upon the collar, and was able to make ou_hese words:
  • Siderum regina bicornis audi,
  • Luna, puellas.
  • Iliel had learnt no Latin. But these words were not only Latin, but the Lati_f Horace; and they were exactly appropriate to the nature of the Great [192] Experiment, "Luna" she had heard, and "regina";  and she might have guessed
  • "puellas" and even "siderum"; but that is one thing, and an accurate quotatio_rom the Carmen Saeculare is another. Yet they stood in her mind as if she ha_lways known them, perhaps even as if they were innate in her. She repeate_loud:
  • "Siderum regina bicornis audi,
  • Luna, puellas.
  • "List, o moon, o queen of the stars, two-horned,
  • List to the maidens!"
  • At the time, she had, of course, no idea of the meaning of the words.
  • When she had read the inscription, she stroked the fawn gently; and, lookin_p, perceived that a child, clad in a kirtle, with a bow and quiver slung fro_er shoulders, was standing by her.
  • But the vision passed in a flash; she drew her hand across her brow, as if t_uscultate her mental condition, for she had a slight feeling of bewilderment.
  • No, she was awake; for she recognized the sacred oak under which she wa_tanding. It was only a few paces from the door of the temple where she wa_riestess. She remembered perfectly now: she had come out to bid the heral_low his horn. And at that moment its mountainous music greeted her.
  • But what was this? From every tree in the wood, from every blade of grass, from under every stone, came running little creatures in answer to th_ummons. They were pale, semi-transparent, with oval (but rather flattened) heads quite disproportionately large, thin, match-like bodies and limbs, an_nake-like tails attached to the base of their skulls. They wer_xtraordinarily light and active on their feet, [193] and the tails kept up _ashing movement. The whole effect was comic, at the first sight; one migh_ave said tadpoles on stilts.
  • But a closer inspection stayed her laughter. Each of these creatures had _ingle eye, and in this eye was expressed such force and energy that it wa_errifying. The effect was heightened by the sagacity, the occult and profoun_nowledge of all possible things, which dwelt behind those fiery wills. In th_arriage of the head was something leonine as well as serpentine; there wa_xtraordinary pride and courage to match the fierce persistency.
  • Yet there seemed no object in the movements of these strange beings; thei_mmense activity was unintelligible. It seemed as if they were going throug_hysical exercises — yet it was something more than that. At one moment sh_ancied that she could distinguish leaders, that this was a body of troop_eing rallied to some assault.
  • And then her attention was distracted. From her feet arose a swan, and too_ing over the forest. It must have been there for a long time, for it had lai_n egg directly between her sandalled feet. She suddenly realized that she wa_readfully hungry. She would go into the temple and have the egg fo_reakfast. But no sooner had she picked it up than she saw that it, like th_ollar of the fawn in her dream, was inscribed with a Latin sentence. She rea_t aloud: the words were absolutely familiar. They were those of the labaru_f Constantine "In hoc signo vinces." "In this sign thou shalt conquer." Bu_er,eyes gave the lie to her ears; for the word "signo" was spelt "Cygno"! Th_hrase was then a pun — " In this Swan thou shalt conquer." At the time sh_id not understand; but she was sure of the spelling, when she came afterward_o report her vision to Sister Clara. [194]
  • It then came into her mind that this egg was a great treasure, and that it wa_er duty to guard it against all comers; and at the same moment she saw tha_he creatures of the wood — "sons of the oak" she called them instinctively — were advancing toward her.
  • She prepared to fight or fly. But, with a fearful crackling, the lightning — which was, in the strange way of dreams, identical with the oak — burst i_very direction, enveloping her with its blaze; and the crash of the thunde_as the fall of the oak. It struck her to the ground. The world went ou_efore her eyes, dissolved into a rainbow rush of stars; and she heard th_houts of triumph of the "sons of the oak" as they dashed forward upon he_avished treasure. "Mitos ho Theos!" they shouted — Sister Clara did not know, or would not tell, its meaning.
  • As the iridiscent galaxy in which she was floating gradually faded, she becam_ware that she was no longer in the wood, but in a strange city. It wa_rowded with men and women, of many a race and colour. In front of her was _mall house, very poor and squalid, in whose doorway an old man was sitting. _ong staff was by his side, leaning against the door; and at his feet was _antern — was it a lantern? It was more like the opposite of one; for in th_ull daylight it burned, and shed forth rays of darkness. The ancient wa_ressed in grey rags; his long unkempt hair and beard had lacked a barber fo_any a day. But his right arm was wholly bare, and around it was coiled _erpent, gold and green, with a triple crown sparkling with ruby, sapphire, and with it he was engraving a great square tablet of emerald. [195]
  • She watched him for some time; when he had finished, he went away with th_taff, and the lamp, and the tablet, to the sea shore. Along the coast h_roceeded for some time, and came at last to a cave. Iliel followed him to it_arkest corner; and there she saw a corpse lying. Strangely, it was the bod_f the old scribe himself. It came to her very intensely that he had tw_odies, and that he always kept one of them buried, for safety. The old scrib_eft the tablet upon the breast of the dead man, and went very quickly out o_he cave.
  • But Iliel remained to read what was written.
  • It was afterwards translated by Cyril Grey, and there is no need to give th_riginal.
  • "Utter the Word of Majesty and Terror!
  • True without lie, and certain without error,
  • And of the essence of The Truth. I know
  • The things above are as the things below,
  • The things below are as the things above,
  • To wield the One Thing's Thaumaturgy — Love.
  • As all from one sprang, by one contemplation,
  • So all from one were born, by permutation.
  • Sun sired, Moon bore, this unique Universe;
  • Air was its chariot, and Earth its nurse.
  • Here is the root of every talisman
  • Of the whole world, since the whole world began.
  • Here is the fount and source of every soul.
  • Let it be spilt on earth! its strength is whole.
  • Now gently, subtly, with thine Art conspire
  • To fine the gross, dividing earth and fire.
  • Lo! it ascendeth and descendeth, even
  • And swift, an endless band of earth and heaven;
  • Thus it receiveth might of duplex Love,
  • The powers below conjoined with those above,
  • So shall the glory of the world be thine
  • And darkness flee before thy SOVRAN shrine.
  • This is the strong strength of all strength; surpass
  • The subtle and subdue it; pierce the crass
  • And salve it; so bring all things to their fated
  • Perfection: for by this was all created. [196]
  • O marvel of miracle! O magic mode!
  • All things adapted to one circling code!
  • Since three parts of all wisdom I may claim,
  • Hermes thrice great, and greatest, is my name.
  • What I have written of the one sole Sun,
  • His work, is here divined, and dared, and done."
  • In this obscure and antique oracle, so Simon Iff himself subsequently agreed, the secret of the Universe is revealed to those who are worthy to partake o_t.
  • Iliel could not understand a word of what was written, but she realized tha_t must be valuable, and, taking the tablet, she hid it in her robe and cam_ut of the cave. Then she saw that the coast was changed: it was the familia_osilippo which hung above her, and she could see Vesuvius away to the right.
  • She turned to breast the steep slope between her and the road, when she foun_erself confronted by something that she could not see. She had only a feelin_hat it was black, that it was icy cold, and that it wished to take the table_rom her. Her first sentiment was that of acute hatred and repulsion; but th_hing, whatever it was, seemed so wretched, that she felt she would like t_elp it. Then she suddenly glowed hot — the arms of Abdul Bey were round her, and his face was looking into hers. She dropped the tablet hastily; she wa_ack again in a ball-room somewhere, thousands of miles and thousands of year_way. And then she saw the moon, near her setting, over Capri; she was on th_errace, seated on the ground, perfectly awake, but with the silver crescen_rom her hair lying upon the marble before her.
  • Sister Clara, on her knees beside her, was trying to decipher the scratche_hat she had made.
  • "That is the writing on the tablet," said Iliel, as if Sister Clara alread_new all about it,  "that the old man hid in the cave." [197]
  • It was now the hour for her to cradle her limbs in slumber; but, while th_onotonous chant of her hand-maidens wooed the soft air, Cyril Grey an_rother Onofrio were at work upon the inscription.
  • Almost until dawn they toiled; and, down in another villa, another labou_eached its climax. Arthwait had finished his Grimoire. He was just in time.
  • For the great operation of necromancy should properly begin on the second da_f the waning of the moon, and there were nine previous days of most arduou_reparation, no longer of the materials, but of the sorcerers themselves.
  • They must eat dog's flesh, and black bread baked without salt or leaven, an_hey must drink unfermented grape-juice — the vilest of all black magica_oncoctions, for it implies the denial of the divine beatitude, and affirm_od to be a thing of wood. There were many other precautions also to be taken.
  • The atmosphere of the charnel must be created about them; they must abstai_rom so much as the sight of women; their clothing might not be changed eve_or an hour, and its texture was to be that of cerements, for, filching th_rave-clothes from corpses of the unassoiled, they must wrap themselve_losely round in them, with some hideous travesty of the words of the Buria_ervice.
  • A visit to the Jewish graveyard put them in possession of the necessar_arments; and Arthwait's palinode upon the "resurrection unto damnation" lef_n each mind due impression of the ghastliness of their projected rite.
  • And, in Paris, Douglas, smashing the neck of a bottle of whisky on the edge o_he table, was drinking the good health of his visitor, an American woman o_he name of Cremers.
  • Her squat stubborn figure was clad in rusty-black clothes, a man's except fo_he skirt; it was [198] surmounted by a head of unusual size, and still mor_nusual shape, for the back of the skull was entirely flat, and the lef_rontal lobe much more developed than the right; one could have thought tha_t had been deliberately knocked out of shape, since nature, fond, it may be, of freaks, rarely pushes asymmetry to such a point.
  • There would have been more than idle speculation in such a theory; for she wa_he child of hate, and her mother had in vain attempted every violence agains_er before her birth.
  • The face was wrinkled parchment, yellow and hard; it was framed in short, thick hair, dirty white in colour; and her expression denoted that the utmos_unning and capacity were at the command of her rapacious instincts. But he_overty was no indication that they had served her; and those primitiv_ualities had in fact been swallowed up in the results of thei_isappointment. For in her eye raved bitter a hate of all things, born of th_elfish envy which regarded the happiness of any other person as an outrag_nd affront upon her. Every thought in her mind was a curse — against God, against man, against love, or beauty, against life itself. She was _ombination of the witch-burner with the witch; an incarnation of the spiri_f Puritanism, from its sourness to its sexual degeneracy and perversion.
  • Douglas put the broken glass to his mouth, and gulped down a bumper of whisky.
  • Then he offered the bottle to his visitor. She refused by saying that it
  • "played hell with the astral body," and asked her host to give her the pric_f the drink instead. Douglas laughed like a madman — a somewhat disguste_adman, for in him was some memory of his former state, and even his fall ha_een comparatively decent, the floor of his hell a ceiling to her heaven.
  • [199] But he had a use for the hag, and he contemptuously tossed her a franc.
  • She crawled over the floor, like some foul insect, in search of it, for it ha_olled to a corner; and, having retrieved it, she forgot her mannis_ssumptions in her excitement at the touch of silver, and thrust it into he_tocking. [200]