The Wizard Way

Velvet soft the night-star glowed 
Over the untrodden road, 
Through the giant glades of yew 
Where its ray fell light as dew 
Lighting up the shimmering veil 
Maiden pure and aery frail 
That the spiders wove to hide 
Blushes of the sylvan bride 
Earth, that trembled with delight 
At the male caress of Night. 
Velvet soft the wizard trod 
To the Sabbath of his God. 
With his naked feet he made 
Starry blossoms in the glade, 
Softly, softly, as he went 
To the sombre sacrament, 
Stealthy stepping to the tryst 
In his gown of amethyst. 
Earlier yet his soul had come 
To the Hill of Martyrdom, 
Where the charred and crooked stake 
Like a black envenomed snake 
By the hangman’s hands is thrust 
Through the wet and writhing dust, 
Never black and never dried 
Heart’s blood of a suicide. 
He had plucked the hazel rod 
From the rude and goatish god, 
Even as the curved moon’s waning ray 
Stolen from the King of Day. 
He had learnt the elvish sign; 
Given the Token of the Nine: 
Once to rave, and once to revel, 
Once to bow before the devil, 
Once to swing the thurible, 
Once to kiss the goat of hell, 
Once to dance the aspen spring, 
Once to croak, and once to sing, 
Once to oil the savoury thighs 
Of the witch with sea-green eyes 
With the unguents magical. 
Oh the honey and the gall 
Of that black enchanter’s lips 
As he croons to the eclipse 
Mingling that most puissant spell 
Of the giant gods of hell 
With the four ingredients 
Of the evil elements; 
Ambergris from golden spar, 
Musk of ox from Mongol jar,
Civet from a box of jade, 
Mixed with fat of many a maid 
Slain by the inchauntments cold 
Of the witches wild and old. 
He had crucified a toad 
In the basilisk abode, 
Muttering the Runes averse 
Mad with many a mocking curse. 
He had traced the serpent sigil 
In his ghastly virgin vigil. 
Sursum cor! the elfin hill, 
Where the wind blows deadly chill 
From the world that wails beneath 
Death’s black throat and lipless teeth. 
There he had stood – his bosom bare – 
Tracing Life upon the Air 
With the crook and with the flail 
Lashing forward on the gale, 
Till its blade that wavereth 
Like the flickering of Death 
Sank before his subtle fence 
To the starless sea of sense. 
Now at last the man is come 
Haply to his halidom. 
Surely as he waves his rod 
In a circle on the sod 
Springs the emerald chaste and clean 
From the duller paler green. 
Surely in the circle millions 
Of immaculate pavilions 
Flash upon the trembling turf 
Like the sea-stars in the surf –
Millions of bejewelled tents 
For the warrior sacraments. 
Vaster, vaster, vaster, vaster, 
Grows the stature of the master; 
All the ringed encampment vies 
With the infinite galaxies. 
In the midst a cubic stone 
With the Devil set thereon; 
Hath a lamb’s virginal throat; 
Hath the body of a stoat; 
Hath the buttocks of a goat; 
Hath the sanguine face and rod 
Of a goddess and a god! 
Spell by spell and pace by pace! 
Mystic flashes swing and trace 
Velvet soft the sigils stepped 
By the silver-starred adept. 
Back and front, and to and fro, 
Soul and body sway and flow 
In vertiginous caresses 
To imponderable recesses, 
Till at last the spell is woven, 
And the faery veil is cloven 
That was Sequence, Space, and Stress 
Of the soul-sick consciousness. 
‘Give thy body to the beasts! 
Give thy spirit to the priests! 
Break in twain the hazel rod 
On the virgin lips of God! 
Tear the Rosy Cross asunder! 
Shatter the black bolt of thunder! 
Suck the swart ensanguine kiss 
Of the resolute abyss! ‘ 
Wonder-weft the wizard heard 
This intolerable word. 
Smote the blasting hazel rod 
On the scarlet lips of God; 
Trampled Cross and rosy core; 
Brake the thunder-tool of Thor; 
Meek and holy acolyte 
Of the priestly hells of spite,
Sleek and shameless catamite 
Of the beasts that prowl the night! 
Like a star that streams from heaven 
Through the virgin airs light-riven, 
From the lift there shot and fell 
An admirable miracle. 
Carved minute and clean, a key 
Of purest lapis-lazuli 
More blue than the blind sky that aches 
(Wreathed with the stars, her torturing snakes) , 
For the dead god’s kiss that never wakes; 
Shot with golden specks of fire 
Like a virgin with desire. 
Look, the levers! fern-frail fronds 
Of fantastic diamonds, 
Glimmering with ethereal azure 
In each exquisite embrasure. 
On the shaft the letters laced, 
As if dryads lunar-chaste 
With the satyrs were embraced, 
Spelled the secret of the key: 
Sic pervenias. And he 
Went his wizard way, inweaving 
Dreams of things beyond believing. 
When he will, the weary world 
Of the senses closely curled 
Like a serpent round his heart 
Shakes herself and stands apart. 
So the heart’s blood flames, expanding, 
Strenuous, urgent, and commanding; 
And the key unlocks the door 
Where his love lives evermore. 
She is of the faery blood; 
All smaragdine flows its flood. 
Glowing in the amber sky 
To ensorcelled porphyry 
She hath eyes of glittering flake 
Like a cold grey water-snake. 
She hath naked breasts of amber 
Jetting wine in her bed-chamber, 
Whereof whoso stoops and drinks 
Rees the riddle of the Sphinx. 
She hath naked limbs of amber 
Whereupon her children clamber. 
She hath five navels rosy-red 
From the five wounds of God that bled; 
Each wound that mothered her still bleeding, 
And on that blood her babes are feeding. 
Oh! like a rose-winged pelican 
She hath bred blessed babes to Pan! 
Oh! like a lion-hued nightingale 
She hath torn her breast on thorns to avail 
The barren rose-tree to renew 
Her life with that disastrous dew, 
Building the rose o’ the world alight 
With music out of the pale moonlight! 
O She is like the river of blood 
That broke from the lips of the bastard god, 
When he saw the sacred mother smile 
On the ibis that flew up the foam of Nile 
Bearing the limbs unblessed, unborn, 
That the lurking beast of Nile had torn! 
So (for the world is weary) I 
These dreadful souls of sense lay by. 
I sacrifice these impure shoon 
To the cold ray of the waning moon. 
I take the forked hazel staff, 
And the rose of no terrene graff, 
And the lamp of no olive oil 
With heart’s blood that alone may boil. 
With naked breast and feet unshod 
I follow the wizard way to God. 
Wherever he leads my foot shall follow; 
Over the height, into the hollow, 
Up to the caves of pure cold breath, 
Down to the deeps of foul hot death, 
Across the seas, through the fires, 
Past the palace of desires; 
Where he will, whether he will or no, 
If I go, I care not whither I go. 
For in me is the taint of the faery blood. 
Fast, fast its emerald flood 
Leaps within me, violent rude 
Like a bestial faun’s beatitude. 
In me the faery blood runs hard: 
My sires were a druid, a devil, a bard, 
A beast, a wizard, a snake and a satyr; 
For – as my mother said – what does it matter? 
She was a fay, pure of the faery; 
Queen Morgan’s daughter by an aery 
Demon that came to Orkney once 
To pay the Beetle his orisons. 
So, it is I that writhe with the twitch 
Of the faery blood, and the wizard itch 
To attain a matter one may not utter 
Rather than sink in the greasy splutter 
Of Britons munching their bread and butter; 
Ailing boys and coarse-grained girls 
Grown to sloppy women and brutal churls. 
So, I am off with staff in hand 
To the endless light of the nameless land. 
Darkness spreads its sombre streams, 
Blotting out the elfin dreams. 
I might haply be afraid, 
Were it not the Feather-maid 
Leads me softly by the hand, 
Whispers me to understand. 
Now (when through the world of weeping 
Light at last starrily creeping 
Steals upon my babe-new sight, 
Light – O light that is not light!) 
On my mouth the lips of her 
Like a stone on my sepulchre 
Seal my speech with ecstasy, 
Till a babe is born of me 
That is silent more than I; 
For its inarticulate cry 
Hushes as its mouth is pressed 
To the pearl, her honey breast; 
While its breath divinely ripples 
The rose-petals of her nipples, 
And the jetted milk he laps
From the soft delicious paps, 
Sweeter than the bee-sweet showers 
In the chalice of the flowers, 
More intoxicating than
All the purple grapes of Pan. 
Ah! my proper lips are stilled. 
Only, all the world is filled 
With the Echo, that drips over 
Like the honey from the clover. 
Passion, penitence, and pain 
Seek their mother’s womb again, 
And are born the triple treasure, 
Peace and purity and pleasure. 
– Hush, my child, and come aloft 
Where the stars are velvet soft! 
Aleister Crowley
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