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I A O the supreme One of the Gnostics, the true God, isthe Lord of this
work. Let us therefore invoke Him by that name whichthe Companions of the
royal Arch blaspheme to aid us in the essay to declarethe means which He has
bestowed upon us!


The divine consciousness which is reflected and refractedin the works of
Genius feeds upon a certain secretion, as I believe.This secretion is
analogous to semen, but not identical with it. Thereare but few men and
fewer women, those women being invariably androgyne,who possess it at any
time in any quantity.
So closely is this secretion connected with the sexualeconomy that it
appears to me at times as if it might be a by-productof that process which
generates semen. That some form of this doctrine hasbeen generally accepted
is shown in the prohibitions of all religions. Sanctityhas been assumed to
depend on chastity, and chastity has nearly always beeninterpreted as
abstinence. But I doubt whether the relation is so simpleas this would
imply; for example, I find in myself that manifestationsof mental
creative force always concur with some abnormal conditionof the physical
powers of generation. But it is not the case that longperiods of chastity,
on the one hand, or excess of orgies, on the other, arefavourable to its
manifestation or even to its formation.
I know myself, and in me it is extremely strong; itsresults are
For example, I wrote "Tannhauser," complete from conceptionto execution,
in sixty-seven consecutive hours. I was unconscious ofthe fall of nights and
days, even after stopping; nor was there any reactionof fatigue. This work
was written when I was twenty-four years old, immediatelyon the completion of
an orgie which would normally have tired me out.
Often and often have I noticed that sexual satisfactionso-called has left
me dissatisfied and unfatigued, and let loose the floodsof verse which have
disgraced my career.
Yet, on the contrary, a period of chastity has sometimesfortified me for a
great outburst. This is far from being invariably thecase. At the
conclusion of the K 2 expedition, after five months ofchastity, I did no work
whatever, barring very few odd lyrics, for months afterwards.
I may mention the year 1911. At this time I was living,in excellent good
health, with the woman whom I loved. Her health was,however, variable, and
we were both constantly worried.
The weather was continuously fine and hot. For a periodof about three
months I hardly missed a morning; always on waking Iburst out with a new idea
which had to be written down.
The total energy of my being was very high. My weightwas 10 stone 8 lb.,
which had been my fighting weight when I was ten yearsyounger. We walked
some twenty miles daily through hilly forest.
The actual amount of MSS. written at this time is astounding;their variety
is even more so; of their excellence I will not speak.
Here is a rough list from memory; it is far from exhaustive:

(1) Some dozen books of A.'. A.'. instruction, includingliber Astarte,
and the Temple of Solomon the King for "Equinox VII."
(2) Short Stories: The Woodcutter.
His Secret Sin.
(3) Plays: His Majesty's Fiddler
Elder Eel
Adonis . written straight off, one
The Ghouls. after the other
(4) Poems: The Sevenfold Sacrament
A Birthday.
(5) Fundamentals of the Greek Qabalah (involving thecollection and
analysis of several thousand words).

I think this phenomenon is unique in the history of literature.
I may further refer to my second journey to Algeria,where my sexual life,
though fairly full, had been unsatisfactory.
On quitting Biskra, I was so full of ideas that I hadto get off the train
at El-Kantara, where I wrote "The Scorpion." Five orsix poems were written
on the way to Paris; "The Ordeal of Ida Pendragon" duringmy twenty-four
hours' stay in Paris, and "Snowstorm" and "The ElectricSilence" immediately
on my return to England.
To sum up, I can always trace a connection between mysexual condition and
the condition of artistic creation, which is so closeas to approach identity,
and yet so loose that I cannot predicate a single importantproposition.
It is these considerations which give me pain when Iam reproached by the
ignorant with wishing to produce genius mechanically.I may fail, but my
failure is a thousand times greater than their utmostsuccess.
I shall therefore base my remarks not so much on theobservations which I
have myself made, and the experiments which I have tried,as on the accepted
classical methods of producing that energized enthusiasmwhich is the lever
that moves God.


The Greeks say that there are three methods of dischargingthe genial
secretion of which I have spoken. They thought perhapsthat their methods
tended to secrete it, but this I do not believe altogether,or without a
qualm. For the manifestation of force implies force,and this force must have
come from somewhere. Easier I find it to say "subconsciousness"and
"secretion" than to postulate an external reservoir,to extend my connotation
of "man" than to invent "God."
However, parsimony apart, I find it in my experiencethat it is useless to
flog a tired horse. There are times when I am absolutelybereft of even one
drop of this elixir. Nothing will restore it, neitherrest in bed, nor
drugs, nor exercise. On the other hand, sometimes whenafter a severe spell
of work I have been dropping with physical fatigue, perhapssprawling on the
floor, too tired to move hand or foot, the occurrenceof an idea has restored
me to perfect intensity of energy, and the working outof the idea has
actually got rid of the aforesaid physical fatigue, althoughit involved a
great additional labour.
Exactly parallel (nowhere meeting) is the case of mania.A madman may
struggle against six trained athletes for hours, andshow no sign of fatigue.
Then he will suddenly collapse, but at a second's noticefrom the irritable
idea will resume the struggle as fresh as ever. Untilwe discovered
"unconscious muscular action" and its effects, it wasrational to suppose such
a man "possessed of a devil"; and the difference betweenthe madman and the
genius is not in the quantity but in the quality of theirwork. Genius is
organized, madness chaotic. Often the organization ofgenius is on original
lines, and ill-balanced and ignorant medicine-men mistakeit for disorder.
Time has shown that Whistler and Gauguin "kept rules"as well as the masters
whom they were supposed to be upsetting.


The Greeks say that there are three methods of dischargingthe Lyden Jar of
Genius. These three methods they assign to three Gods.
These three Gods are Dionysus, Apollo, Aphrodite. InEnglish: wine, woman
and song.
Now it would be a great mistake to imagine that the Greekswere
recommending a visit to a brothel. As well condemn theHigh Mass at St.
Peter's on the strength of having witnessed a Protestantrevival meeting.
Disorder is always a parody of order, because there isno archetypal disorder
that it might resemble. Owen Seaman can parody a poet;nobody can parody Owen
Seaman. A critic is a bundle of impressions; there isno ego behind it. All
photographs are essentially alike; the works of all goodpainters essentially
Some writers suppose that in the ancient rites of Eleusisthe High Priest
publicly copulated with the High Priestess. Were thisso, it would be no more
"indecent" than it is "blasphemous" for the priest tomake bread and wine into
the body and blood of God.
True, the Protestants say that it is blasphemous; buta Protestant is one
to whom all things sacred are profane, whose mind beingall filth can see
nothing in the sexual act but a crime or a jest, whoseonly facial gestures
are the sneer and the leer.
Protestantism is the excrement of human thought, andaccordingly in
Protestant countries art, if it exist at all, only existsto revolt. Let us
return from this unsavoury allusion to our considerationof the methods of the


Agree then that it does not follow from the fact thatwine, woman and song
make the sailor's tavern that these ingredients mustnecessarily concoct a
There are some people so simple as to think that, whenthey have proved
the religious instinct to be a mere efflorescence ofthe sex-instinct, they
have destroyed religion.
We should rather consider that the sailor's tavern giveshim his only
glimpse of heaven, just as the destructive criticismof the phallicists has
only proved sex to be a sacrament. Consciousness, saysthe materialist, axe
in hand, is a function of the brain. He has only re-formulatedthe old
saying, "Your bodies are the temples of the Holy Ghost."!
Now sex is justly hallowed in this sense, that it isthe eternal fire of
the race. Huxley admitted that "some of the lower animalculaeare in a sense
immortal," because they go on reproducing eternally byfission, and however
often you divide "x" by 2 there is always something left.But he never seems
to have seen that mankind is immortal in exactly thesame sense, and goes on
reproducing itself with similar characteristics throughthe ages, changed by
circumstance indeed, but always identical in itself.But the spiritual flower
of this process is that at the moment of discharge aphysical ecstasy occurs,
a spasm analogous to the mental spasm which meditationgives. And further, in
the sacramental and ceremonial use of the sexual act,the divine consciousness
may be attained.


The sexual act being then a sacrament, it remains to considerin what
respect this limits the employment of the organs.
First, it is obviously legitimate to employ them fortheir natural physical
purpose. But if it be allowable to use them ceremoniallyfor a religious
purpose, we shall find the act hedged about with manyrestrictions.
For in this case the organs become holy. It matters littleto mere
propagation that men should be vicious; the most debauchedroue might and
almost certainly would beget more healthy children thana semi-sexed prude.
So the so-called "moral" restraints are not based onreason; thus they are
But admit its religious function, and one may at oncelay down that the act
must not be profaned. It must not be undertaken lightlyand foolishly without
It may be undertaken for the direct object of continuingthe race.
It may be undertaken in obedience to real passion; forpassion, as the name
implies, is rather inspired by a force of divine strengthand beauty without
the will of the individual, often even against it.
It is the casual or habitual --- what Christ called "idle"--- use or
rather abuse of these forces which constitutes theirprofanation. It will
further be obvious that, if the act in itself is to bethe sacrament in a
religious ceremony, this act must be accomplished solelyfor the love of God.
All personal considerations must be banished utterly.Just as any priest can
perform the miracle of transubstantiation, so can anyman, possessing the
necessary qualifications, perform this other miracle,whose nature must form
the subject of a subsequent discussion.
Personal aims being destroyed, it is "a fortiori" necessaryto neglect
social and other similar considerations.
Physical strength and beauty are necessary and desirablefor aesthetic
reasons, the attention of the worshippers being liableto distraction if the
celebrants are ugly, deformed, or incompetent. I needhardly emphasize the
necessity for the strictest self-control and concentrationon their part. As
it would be blasphemy to enjoy the gross taste of thewine of the sacrament,
so must the celebrant suppress even the minutest manifestationof animal
Of the qualifying tests there is no necessity to speak;it is sufficient to
say that the adepts have always known how to secure efficiency.
Needless also to insist on a similar quality in the assistants;the sexual
excitement must be suppressed and transformed into itsreligious equivalent.


With these preliminaries settle in order to guard againstforeseen
criticisms of those Protestants who, God having madethem a little lower than
the Angels, have made themselves a great deal lower thanthe beasts by their
consistently bestial interpretation of all things humanand divine, we may
consider first the triune nature of these ancient methodsof energizing
Music has two parts; tone or pitch, and rhythm. The latterquality
associates it with the dance, and that part of dancingwhich is not rhythm is
sex. Now that part of sex which is not a form of thedance, animal movement,
is intoxication of the soul, which connects it with wine.Further identities
will suggest themselves to the student.
By the use of the three methods in one the whole beingof man may thus be
The music will create a general harmony of the brain,leading it in its own
paths; the wine affords a general stimulus of the animalnature; and the sex-
excitement elevates the moral nature of the man by itsclose analogy with the
highest ecstasy. It remains, however, always for himto make the final
transmutation. Unless he have the special secretion whichI have postulated,
the result will be commonplace.
So consonant is this system with the nature of man thatit is exactly
parodied and profaned not only in the sailor's tavern,but in the society
ball. Here, for the lowest natures the result is drunkenness,disease and
death; for the middle natures a gradual blunting of thefiner feelings; for
the higher, an exhilaration amounting at the best tothe foundation of a life-
long love.
If these Society "rites" are properly performed, thereshould be no
exhaustion. After a ball, one should feel the need ofa long walk in the
young morning air. The weariness or boredom, the headacheor somnolence, are
Nature's warnings.


Now the purpose of such a ball, the moral attitude onentering, seems to
me to be of supreme importance. If you go with the ideaof killing time, you
are rather killing yourself. Baudelaire speaks of thefirst period of love
when the boy kisses the trees of the wood, rather thankiss nothing. At the
age of thirty-six I found myself at Pompeii, passionatelykissing that
great grave statue of a woman that stands in the avenueof the tombs. Even
now, as I wake in the morning, I sometimes fall to kissingmy own arms.
It is with such a feeling that one should go to a ball,and with such a
feeling intensified, purified and exalted, that one shouldleave it.
If this be so, how much more if one go with the directreligious purpose
burning in one's whole being! Beethoven roaring at thesunrise is no strange
spectacle to me, who shout with joy and wonder, whenI understand (without
which one cannot really be said ever to see) a bladeof grass. I fall upon my
knees in speechless adoration at the moon; I hide myeyes in holy awe from a
good Van Gogh.
Imagine then a ball in which the music is the choir celestial,the wine
the wine of the Graal, or that of the Sabbath of theAdepts, and one's partner
the Infinite and Eternal One, the True and Living GodMost High!
Go even to a common ball --- the Moulin de la Galettewill serve even the
least of my magicians --- with your whole soul aflamewithin you, and your
whole will concentrated on these transubstantiations,and tell me what miracle
takes place!
It is the hate of, the distaste for, life that sendsone to the ball when
one is old; when one is young one is on springs untilthe hour falls; but the
love of God, which is the only true love, diminishesnot with age; it grows
deeper and intenser with every satisfaction. It seemsas if in the noblest
men this secretion constantly increases --- which certainlysuggests an
external reservoir --- so that age loses all its bitterness.We find "Brother
Lawrence," Nicholas Herman of Lorraine, at the age ofeighty in continuous
enjoyment of union with God. Buddha at an equal age wouldrun up and
down the Eight High Trances like an acrobat on a ladder;stories not too
dissimilar are told of Bishop Berkeley. Many personshave not attained union
at all until middle age, and then have rarely lost it.
It is true that genius in the ordinary sense of the wordhas nearly always
showed itself in the young. Perhaps we should regardsuch cases as Nicholas
Herman as cases of acquired genius.
Now I am certainly of opinion that genius can be acquired,or, in the
alternative, that it is an almost universal possession.Its rarity may be
attributed to the crushing influence of a corrupted society.It is rare to
meet a youth without high ideals, generous thoughts,a sense of holiness, of
his own importance, which, being interpreted, is, ofhis own identity with
God. Three years in the world, and he is a bank clerkor even a government
official. Only those who intuitively understand fromearly boyhood that they
must stand out, and who have the incredible courage andendurance to do so in
the face of all that tyranny, callousness, and the scornof inferiors can do;
only these arrive at manhood uncontaminated.
Every serious or spiritual thought is made a jest; poetsare thought "soft"
and "cowardly," apparently because they are the onlyboys with a will of their
own and courage to hold out against the whole school,boys and masters in
league as once were Pilate and Herod; honour is replacedby expediency,
holiness by hypocrisy.
Even where we find thoroughly good seed sprouting infavourable ground, too
often is there a frittering away of the forces. Facileencouragement of a
poet or painter is far worse for him than any amountof opposition. Here
again the sex question (S.Q. so-called by Tolstoyans,chastity-mongers, nut-
fooders, and such who talk and think of nothing else)intrudes its horrid
head. I believe that every boy is originally consciousof sex as sacred. But
he does not know what it is. With infinite diffidencehe asks. The master
replies with holy horror; the boy with a low leer, afurtive laugh, perhaps
I am inclined to agree with the Head Master of Eton thatpaederastic
passions among schoolboys "do no harm"; further, I thinkthem the only
redeeming feature of sexual life at public schools.
The Hindoos are wiser. At the well-watched hour of pubertythe boy is
prepared as for a sacrament; he is led to a duly consecratedtemple, and there
by a wise and holy woman, skilled in the art, and devotedto this end, he is
initiated with all solemnity into the mystery of life.
The act is thus declared religious, sacred, impersonal,utterly apart from
amorism and eroticism and animalism and sentimentalismand all the other
vilenesses that Protestantism has made of it.
The Catholic Church did, I believe, to some extent preservethe Pagan
tradition. Marriage is a sacrament.<<Of coursethere has been a school of
devilish ananders that has held the act in itself tobe "Wicked." Of such
blasphemers of Nature let no further word be said.>>But in the attempt to
deprive the act of all accretions which would profaneit, the Fathers of the
Church added in spite of themselves other accretionswhich profaned it more.
They tied it to property and inheritance. They wishedit to serve both God
and Mammon.
Rightly restraining the priest, who should employ hiswhole energy in the
miracle of the Mass, they found their counsel a counselof perfection. The
magical tradition was in part lost; the priest couldnot do what was expected
of him, and the unexpended portion of his energy turnedsour.
Hence the thoughts of priests, like the thoughts of modernfaddists,
revolved eternally around the S.Q.
A special and Secret Mass, a Mass of the Holy Ghost,a Mass of the Mystery
of the Incarnation, to be performed at stated intervals,might have saved both
monks and nuns, and given the Church eternal dominionof the world.


To return. The rarity of genius is in great part due tothe destruction
of its young. Even as in physical life that is a favouredplant one of whose
thousand seeds ever shoots forth a blade, so do conditionskill all but the
strongest sons of genius.
But just as rabbits increased apace in Australia, whereeven a missionary
has been known to beget ninety children in two years,so shall we be able to
breed genius if we can find the conditions which hamperit, and remove them.
The obvious practical step to take is to restore therites of Bacchus,
Aphrodite and Apollo to their proper place. They shouldnot be open to every
one, and manhood should be the reward of ordeal and initiation.
The physical tests should be severe, and weaklings shouldbe killed out
rather than artificially preserved. The same remark appliesto intellectual
tests. But such tests should be as wide as possible.I was an absolute
duffer at school in all forms of athletics and games,because I despised
them. I held, and still hold, numerous mountaineeringworld's records.
Similarly, examinations fail to test intelligence. CecilRhodes refused to
employ any man with a University degree. That such degreeslead to honour in
England is a sign of England's decay, though even inEngland they are usually
the stepping-stones to clerical idleness or pedagogicslavery.
Such is a dotted outline of the picture that I wish todraw. If the power
to possess property depended on a man's competence, andhis perception of real
values, a new aristocracy would at once be created, andthe deadly fact that
social consideration varies with the power of purchasingchampagne would cease
to be a fact. Our pluto-hetairo-politicocracy would fallin a day.
But I am only too well aware that such a picture is notlikely to be
painted. We can then only work patiently and in secret.We must select
suitable material and train it in utmost reverence tothese three master-
methods, or aiding the soul in its genial orgasm.


This reverent attitude is of an importance which I cannotover-rate.
Normal people find normal relief from any general orspecial excitement in the
sexual act.
Commander Marston, R.N., whose experiments in the effectof the tom-tom on
the married Englishwoman are classical and conclusive,has admirably described
how the vague unrest which she at first shows graduallyassumes the sexual
form, and culminates, if allowed to do so, in shamelessmasturbation or
indecent advances. But this is a natural corollary ofthe proposition
that married Englishwomen are usually unacquainted withsexual satisfaction.
Their desires are constantly stimulated by brutal andignorant husbands, and
never gratified. This fact again accounts for the amazingprevalence of
Sapphism in London Society.
The Hindus warn their pupils against the dangers of breathingexercises.
Indeed the slightest laxness in moral or physical tissuesmay cause the energy
accumulated by the practice to discharge itself by involuntaryemission. I
have known this happen in my own experience.
It is then of the utmost importance to realize that therelief of the
tension is to be found in what the Hebrews and the Greekscalled prophesying,
and which is better when organized into art. The disorderlydischarge is mere
waste, a wilderness of howlings; the orderly dischargeis a "Prometheus
unbound," or a L'age d'airain," according to the specialaptitudes of the
enthused person. But it must be remembered that specialaptitudes are very
easy to acquire if the driving force of enthusiasm begreat. If you cannot
keep the rules of others, you make rules of your own.One set turns out in
the long run to be just as good as another.
Henry Rousseau, the duanier, was laughed at all his life.I laughed as
heartily as the rest; though, almost despite myself,I kept on saying (as the
phrase goes) "that I felt something; couldn't say what."
The moment it occurred to somebody to put up all hispaintings in one room
by themselves, it was instantly apparent that his "naivete"was the simplicity
of a Master.
Let no one then imagine that I fail to perceive or underestimatethe
dangers of employing these methods. The occurrence evenof so simple a
matter as fatigue might change a LasMeninas into a stupidsexual crisis.
It will be necessary for most Englishmen to emulate theself-control of the
Arabs and Hindus, whose ideal is to deflower the greatestpossible number of
virgins --- eighty is considered a fairly good performance--- without
completing the act.
It is, indeed, of the first importance for the celebrantin any phallic
rite to be able to complete the act without even onceallowing a sexual or
sensual thought to invade his mind. The mind must beas absolutely detached
from one's own body as it is from another person's.


Of musical instruments few are suitable. The human voiceis the best, and
the only one which can be usefully employed in chorus.Anything like an
orchestra implies infinite rehearsal, and introducesan atmosphere of
artificiality. The organ is a worthy solo instrument,and is an orchestra in
itself, while its tone and associations favour the religiousidea.
The violin is the most useful of all, for its every moodexpresses the
hunger for the infinite, and yet it is so mobile thatit has a greater
emotional range than any of its competitors. Accompanimentmust be dispensed
with, unless a harpist be available.
The harmonium is a horrible instrument, if only becauseof its
associations; and the piano is like unto it, although,if unseen and played by
a Paderewski, it would serve.
The trumpet and the bell are excellent, to startle, atthe crisis of a
Hot, drubbing, passionate, in a different class of ceremony,a class more
intense and direct, but on the whole less exalted, thetom-tom stands alone.
It combines well with the practice of mantra, and isthe best accompaniment
for any sacred dance.


Of sacred dances the most practical for a gathering isthe seated dance.
One sits cross-legged on the floor, and sways to andfro from the hips in time
with the mantra. A solo or duet of dancers as a spectaclerather distracts
from this exercise. I would suggest a very small andvery brilliant light on
the floor in the middle of the room. Such a room is bestfloored with mosaic
marble; an ordinary Freemason's Lodge carpet is not abad thing.
The eyes, if they see anything at all, see then onlythe rhythmical or
mechanical squares leading in perspective to the simpleunwinking light.
The swinging of the body with the mantra (which has ahabit of rising and
falling as if of its own accord in a very weird way)becomes more accentuated;
ultimately a curiously spasmodic stage occurs, and thenthe consciousness
flickers and goes out; perhaps breaks through into thedivine consciousness,
perhaps is merely recalled to itself by some variablein external impression.
The above is a very simple description of a very simpleand earnest form of
ceremony, based entirely upon rhythm.
It is very easy to prepare, and its results are usuallyvery encouraging
for the beginner.


Wine being a mocker and strong drink raging, its use ismore likely to
lead to trouble than mere music.
One essential difficulty is dosage. One needs exactlyenough; and, as
Blake points out, one can only tell what is enough bytaking too much. For
each man the dose varies enormously; so does it for thesame man at different
The ceremonial escape from this is to have a noiselessattendant to bear
the bowl of libation, and present it to each in turn,at frequent intervals.
Small doses should be drunk, and the bowl passed on,taken as the worshipper
deems advisable. Yet the cup-bearer should be an initiate,and use his own
discretion before presenting the bowl. The slightestsign that intoxication
is mastering the man should be a sign to him to passthat man. This practice
can be easily fitted to the ceremony previously described.
If desired, instead of wine, the elixir introduced byme to Europe may be
employed. But its results, if used in this way, havenot as yet been
thoroughly studied. It is my immediate purpose to repairthis neglect.


The sexual excitement, which must complete the harmonyof method, offers a
more difficult problem.
It is exceptionally desirable that the actual bodilymovements involved
should be decorous in the highest sense, and many peopleare so ill-trained
that they will be unable to regard such a ceremony withany but critical or
lascivious eyes; either would be fatal to all the goodalready done. It
is presumably better to wait until all present are greatlyexalted before
risking a profanation.
It is not desirable, in my opinion, that the ordinaryworshippers should
celebrate in public.
The sacrifice should be single.
Whether or no ...


Thus far had I written when the distinguished poet, whoseconversation with
me upon the Mysteries had incited me to jot down thesefew rough notes,
knocked at my door. I told him that I was at work onthe ideas suggested by
him, and that --- well, I was rather stuck. He askedpermission to glance at
the MS. (for he reads English fluently, though speakingbut a few words), and
having done so, kindled and said: "If you come with menow, we will finish
your essay." Glad enough of any excuse to stop working,the more plausible
the better, I hastened to take down my coat and hat.
"By the way," he remarked in the automobile, "I takeit that you do not
mind giving me the Word of Rose Croix." Surprised, Iexchanged the secrets of
I.N.R.I. with him. "And now, very excellent and perfectPrince," he said,
"what follows is under this seal." And he gave me themost solemn of all
Masonic tokens. "You are about," said he, "to compareyour ideal with our
He touched a bell. The automobile stopped, and we gotout. He dismissed
the chauffeur. "Come," he said, "we have a brisk half-mile."We walked
through thick woods to an old house, where we were greetedin silence by
a gentleman who, though in court dress, wore a very "practicable"sword. On
satisfying him, we were passed through a corridor toan anteroom, where
another armed guardian awaited us. He, after a furtherexamination, proceeded
to offer me a court dress, the insignia of a SovereignPrince of Rose Croix,
and a garter and mantle, the former of green silk, thelatter of green velvet,
and lined with cerise silk. "It is a low mass," whisperedthe guardian. In
this anteroom were three or four others, both ladiesand gentlemen, busily
In a third room we found a procession formed, and joinedit. There were
twenty-six of us in all. Passing a final guardian wereached the chapel
itself, at whose entrance stood a young man and a youngwoman, both dressed in
simple robes of white silk embroidered with gold, redand blue. The former
bore a torch of resinous wood, the latter sprayed usas we passed with attar
of roses from a cup.
The room in which we now were had at one time been achapel; so much its
shape declared. But the high altar was covered with acloth that displayed
the Rose and Cross, while above it were ranged sevencandelabra, each of seven
The stalls had been retained; and at each knight's handburned a taper of
rose-coloured wax, and a bouquet of roses was beforehim.
In the centre of the nave was a great cross --- a "calvarycross of ten
squares," measuring, say, six feet by five --- paintedin red upon a white
board, at whose edge were rings through which passedgilt staves. At each
corner was a banner, bearing lion, bull, eagle and man,and from the top of
their staves sprang a canopy of blue, wherein were figuredin gold the
twelve emblems of the Zodiac.
Knights and Dames being installed, suddenly a bell tinkledin the
architrave. Instantly all rose. The doors opened at atrumpet peal from
without, and a herald advanced, followed by the HighPriest and Priestess.
The High Priest was a man of nearly sixty years, if Imay judge by the
white beard; but he walked with the springy yet assuredstep of the thirties.
The High Priestess, a proud, tall sombre woman of perhapsthirty summers,
walked by his side, their hands raised and touching asin the minuet. Their
trains were borne by the two youths who had admittedus.
All this while an unseen organ played an Introit.
This ceased as they took their places at the altar. Theyfaced West,
On the closing of the doors the armed guard, who wasclothed in a scarlet
robe instead of green, drew his sword, and went up anddown the aisle,
chanting exorcisms and swinging the great sword. Allpresent drew their
swords and faced outward, holding the points in frontof them. This part of
the ceremony appeared interminable. When it was overthe girl and boy
reappeared; bearing, the one a bowl, the other a censer.Singing some litany
or other, apparently in Greek, though I could not catchthe words, they
purified and consecrated the chapel.
Now the High Priest and High Priestess began a litanyin rhythmic lines of
equal length. At each third response they touched handsin a peculiar manner;
at each seventh they kissed. The twenty-first was a completeembrace. The
bell tinkled in the architrave; and they parted. TheHigh Priest then
took from the altar a flask curiously shaped to imitatea phallus. The High
Priestess knelt and presented a boat-shaped cup of gold.He knelt opposite
her, and did not pour from the flask.
Now the Knights and Dames began a long litany; firsta Dame in treble, then
a Knight in bass, then a response in chorus of all presentwith the organ.
This Chorus was:
and fell. Towards its close, whether by "stage effect"or no I could not
swear, the light over the altar grew rosy, then purple.The High Priest
sharply and suddenly threw up his hand; instant silence.
He now poured out the wine from the flask. The High Priestessgave it to
the girl attendant, who bore it to all present.
This was no ordinary wine. It has been said of vodkithat it looks like
water and tastes like fire. With this wine the reverseis the case. It was
of a rich fiery gold in which flames of light dancedand shook, but its taste
was limpid and pure like fresh spring water. No soonerhad I drunk of it,
however, that I began to tremble. It was a most astonishingsensation; I can
imagine a man feel thus as he awaits his executioner,when he has passed
through fear, and is all excitement.
I looked down my stall, and saw that each was similarlyaffected. During
the libation the High Priestess sang a hymn, again inGreek. This time I
recognized the words; they were those of an ancient Odeto Aphrodite.
The boy attendant now descended to the red cross, stoopedand kissed it;
then he danced upon it in such a way that he seemed tobe tracing the
patterns of a marvellous rose of gold, for the percussioncaused a shower of
bright dust to fall from the canopy. Meanwhile the litany(different words,
but the same chorus) began again. This time it was aduet between the High
Priest and Priestess. At each chorus Knights and Damesbowed low. The girl
moved round continuously, and the bowl passed.
This ended in the exhaustion of the boy, who fell faintingon the cross.
The girl immediately took the bowl and put it to hislips. Then she raised
him, and, with the assistance of the Guardian of theSanctuary, led him out of
the chapel.
The bell again tinkled in the architrave.
The herald blew a fanfare.
The High Priest and High Priestess moved stately to eachother and
embraced, in the act unloosing the heavy golden robeswhich they wore. These
fell, twin lakes of gold. I now saw her dressed in agarment of white watered
silk, lined throughout (as it appeared later) with ermine.
The High Priest's vestment was an elaborate embroideryof every colour,
harmonized by exquisite yet robust art. He wore alsoa breastplate
corresponding to the canopy; a sculptured "beast" ateach corner in gold,
while the twelve signs of the Zodiac were symbolizedby the stones of the
The bell tinkled yet again, and the herald again soundedhis trumpet. The
celebrants moved hand in hand down the nave while theorgan thundered forth
its solemn harmonies.
All the knights and Dames rose and gave the secret signof the Rose Croix.
It was at this part of the ceremony that things beganto happen to me.
I became suddenly aware that my body had lost both weightand tactile
sensibility. My consciousness seemed to be situated nolonger in my body. I
"mistook myself," if I may use the phrase, for one ofthe stars in the canopy.
In this way I missed seeing the celebrants actually approachthe cross.
The bell tinkled again; I came back to myself, and thenI saw that the High
Priestess, standing at the foot of the cross, had thrownher robe over it, so
that the cross was no longer visible. There was onlya board covered with
ermine. She was now naked but for her coloured and jewelledhead-dress and
the heavy torque of gold about her neck, and the armletsand anklets that
matched it. She began to sing in a soft strange tongue,so low and smoothly
that in my partial bewilderment I could not hear all;but I caught a few
words, Io Paian! Io Pan! and a phrase in which the wordsIao Sabao ended
emphatically a sentence in which I caught the words Eros,Thelema and Sebazo.
While she did this she unloosed the breastplate and gaveit to the girl
attendant. The robe followed; I saw that they were nakedand unashamed. For
the first time there was absolute silence.
Now, from an hundred jets surrounding the board pouredforth a perfumed
purple smoke. The world was wrapt in a fond gauze ofmist, sacred as the
clouds upon the mountains.
Then at a signal given by the High Priest, the bell tinkledonce more. The
celebrants stretched out their arms in the form of across, interlacing their
fingers. Slowly they revolved through three circles anda half. She then
laid him down upon the cross, and took her own appointedplace.
The organ now again rolled forth its solemn music.
I was lost to everything. Only this I saw, that the celebrantsmade no
expected motion. The movements were extremely small andyet extremely strong.
This must have continued for a great length of time.To me it seemed as if
eternity itself could not contain the variety and depthof my experiences.
Tongue nor pen could record them; and yet I am fain toattempt the impossible.
1. I was, certainly and undoubtedly, the star in thecanopy. This star was
an incomprehensibly enormous world of pure flame.
2. I suddenly realized that the star was of no size whatever.It was not
that the star shrank, but that it (= I) became suddenlyconscious of infinite
3. An explosion took place. I was in consequence a pointof light,
infinitely small, yet infinitely bright, and this pointwas "without
4. Consequently this point was ubiquitous, and therewas a feeling of
infinite bewilderment, blinded after a very long timeby a gush of infinite
rapture (I use the word "blinded" as if under constraint;I should have
preferred to use the words "blotted out" or "overwhelmed"or "illuminated").
5. This infinite fullness --- I have not described itas such, but it was
that --- was suddenly changed into a feeling of infiniteemptiness, which
became conscious as a yearning.
6. These two feelings began to alternate, always withsuddenness, and
without in any way overlapping, with great rapidity.
7. This alternation must have occurred fifty times ---I had rather have
said an hundred.
8. The two feelings suddenly became one. Again the wordexplosion is the
only one that gives any idea of it.
9. I now seemed to be conscious of everything at once,that it was at the
same time "one" and "many." I say "at once," that is,I was not successively
all things, but instantaneously.
10. This being, if I may call it being, seemed to dropinto an infinite
abyss of Nothing.
11. While this "falling" lasted, the bell suddenly tinkledthree times. I
instantly became my normal self, yet with a constantawareness, which has
never left me to this hour, that the truth of the matteris not this normal
"I" but "That" which is still dropping into Nothing.I am assured by those
who know that I may be able to take up the thread ifI attend another
The tinkle died away. The girl attendant ran quicklyforward and folded
the ermine over the celebrants. The herald blew a fanfare,and the Knights
and Dames left their stalls. Advancing to the board,we took hold of the
gilded carrying poles, and followed the herald in processionout of the
chapel, bearing the litter to a small side-chapel leadingout of the middle
anteroom, where we left it, the guard closing the doors.
In silence we disrobed, and left the house. About a milethrough the woods
we found my friend's automobile waiting.
I asked him, if that was a low mass, might I not be permittedto witness a
High Mass?
"Perhaps," he answered with a curious smile, "if allthey tell of you is
In the meanwhile he permitted me to describe the ceremonyand its results
as faithfully as I was able, charging me only to giveno indication of the
city near which it took place.
I am willing to indicate to initiates of the Rose Croixdegree of Masonry
under proper charter from the genuine authorities (forthere are spurious
Masons working under a forged charter) the address ofa person willing to
consider their fitness to affiliate to a Chapter practisingsimilar rites.


I consider it supererogatory to continue my essay on theMysteries and my
analysis of "Energized Enthusiasm."

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