Transcription by M.R.J.
AE In The Irish Theosophist —By "AE" (George William Russell)
1—A Word Upon the Objects of the Theosophical Society 2—The Twilight Hour 3—The Mask of Apollo 4—The Secret of Power 5—The Priestess of the Woods 6—A Tragedy in the Temple 7—Jagrata, Svapna and Sushupti 8—Concentration 9—Verse by AE in "The Irish Theosophist" (39 verses) 10—The Element Language 11—At the Dawn of the Kali Yuga 12—The Meditation of Parvati 13—A Talk by the Euphrates 14—The Cave of Lilith 15—A Strange Awakening 16—The Midnight Blossom 17—The Story of a Star 18—How Theosophy Affects One's View of Life 19—Comfort 20—The Ascending Cycle 21—The Mystic Night's Entertainment 22—On the Spur of the Moment 23—The Legends of Ancient Eire 24—Review: Lyrics of Fitzpatrick 25—"Yes, And Hope" 26—Content 27—The Enchantment of Cuchullain 28—Shadow and Substance 29—On the Passing of W.Q. Judge 30—Self-Reliance 31—The Mountains 32—Works and Days 33—The Childhood of Apollo 34—The Awakening of the Fires 35—Our Secret Ties 36—Priest or Hero? 37—The Age of the Spirit 38—A Thought Along the Road 39—The Fountains of Youth
A Word Upon the Objects of the Theosophical Society
1st:—To form the nucleus of a Universal Brotherhood of Humanity, without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste or color.
2nd:—-To promote the study of Aryan and other Eastern literatures, religions, philosophies and sciences, and demonstrate the importance of that study.
3rd:—-To investigate unexplained laws of nature and the psychic powers latent in man.
Started a little under a quarter of a century ago, in an age grown cold with unbelief and deadened by inexplicable dogmas, the Theosophical Society has found adherents numerous enough to make it widely known, and enthusiastic enough to give it momentum and make it a living force. The proclamation of its triple objects— brotherhood, wisdom and power, acted like a trumpet call, and many came forth to join it, emerging from other conflicts; and out of silence and retirement came many who had grown hopeless but who had still the old feeling at heart.
For the first object no explanation is necessary; but a word or two of comment upon the second and third may help to show how they do not weaken, by turning into other channels, the intellectual energies and will, which might serve to carry out the first. In these old philosophies of the East we find the stimulus to brotherly action which might not be needed in an ideal state, but which is a help to the many, who, born into the world with a coldness of heart as their heritage, still wish to do their duty. Now out duty alters according to our conception of nature, and in the East there has been put forward, by men whom we believe to be the wise and great of the earth, a noble philosophy, a science of life itself, and this, not as a hypothesis, but as truth which is certain, truth which has been verified by eyes which see deeper than ours, and proclaimed by the voices of those who have become the truth they speak of; for as Krishna teaches Arjuna in the Dayanishvari: "on this Path to whatever place one would go that place one's self becomes!" The last word of this wisdom is unity. Underneath all phenomena and surviving all changes, a great principle endures for ever. At the great white dawn of existence, from this principle stream spirit and primordial matter; as they flow away further from their divine source, they become broken up, the one life into countless lives, matter into countless forms, which enshrine these lives; spirit involves itself into matter and matter evolves, acted upon by this informing fire.
These lives wander on through many a cycle's ebb and flow, in separation and sorrow, with sometimes the joy of a momentary meeting. Only by the recognition of that unity, which spiritually is theirs, can they obtain freedom.
It is true in the experience of the race that devotion of any life to universal ends brings to that life a strange subtle richness and strength; by our mood we fasten ourselves into the Eternal; hence these historic utterances, declarations of permanence and a spiritual state of consciousness, which have been the foundation of all great religious movements. Christ says, "I and my Father are one." "Before Abraham was I am." Paul says, "In him we live and move and have our being."
In the sacred books of India it is the claim of many sages that they have recognised "the ancient constant and eternal which perishes not through the body be slain," and there are not wanting to-day men who speak of a similar expansion of their consciousness, out of the gross and material, into more tender, wise and beautiful states of thought and being. Tennyson, in a famous letter published some time ago, mentioned that he had at different times experienced such a mood; the idea of death was laughable; it was not thought, but a state; "the clearest of the clearest, the surest of the surest." It would be easy to do on multiplying instances.
Now in a nature where unity underlies all differences, where soul is bound to soul more than star to star; where if one falters or fails the order of all the rest is changed; the duty of any man who perceives this unity is clear, the call for brotherly action is imperative, selfishness cannot any longer wear the mask of wisdom, for isolation is folly and shuts us out from the eternal verities.
The third object of the society defined as "the study of the psychic powers latent in man" is pursued only by a portion of the members; those who wish to understand more clearly the working of certain laws of nature and who wish to give themselves up more completely to that life in which they live and move and have their being; and the outward expression of the occult life is also brotherhood.
—Nov. 15, 1892
The Hour of Twilight
For the future we intend that at this hour the Mystic shall be at home, less metaphysical and scientific than is his wont, but more really himself. It is customary at this hour, before the lamps are brought in, to give way a little and dream, letting all the tender fancies day suppresses rise up in out minds. Wherever it is spent, whether in the dusky room or walking home through the blue evening, all things grow strangely softened and united; the magic of the old world reappears. The commonplace streets take on something of the grandeur and solemnity of starlit avenues of Egyptian temples the public squares in the mingled glow and gloom grow beautiful as the Indian grove where Sakuntala wandered with her maidens; the children chase each other through the dusky shrubberies, as they flee past they look at us with long remembered glances: lulled by the silence, we forget a little while the hard edges of the material and remember that we are spirits.
Now is the hour for memory, the time to call in and make more securely our own all stray and beautiful ideas that visited us during the day, and which might otherwise be forgotten. We should draw them in from the region of things felt to the region of things understood; in a focus burning with beauty and pure with truth we should bind them, for from the thoughts thus gathered in something accrues to the consciousness; on the morrow a change impalpable but real has taken place in our being, we see beauty and truth through everything.
It is in like manner in Devachan, between the darkness of earth and the light of spiritual self-consciousness, that the Master in each of us draws in and absorbs the rarest and best of experiences, love, self-forgetfulness, aspiration, and out of these distils the subtle essence of wisdom, so that he who struggles in pain for his fellows, when he wakens again on earth is endowed with the tradition of that which we call self-sacrifice, but which is in reality the proclamation of our own universal nature. There are yet vaster correspondences, for so also we are told, when the seven worlds are withdrawn, the great calm Shepherd of the Ages draws his misty hordes together in the glimmering twilights of eternity, and as they are penned within the awful Fold, the rays long separate are bound into one, and life, and joy, and beauty disappear, to emerge again after rest unspeakable on the morning of a New Day.
Now if the aim of the mystic be to fuse into one all moods made separate by time, would not the daily harvesting of wisdom render unnecessary the long Devachanic years? No second harvest could be reaped from fields where the sheaves are already garnered. Thus disregarding the fruits of action, we could work like those who have made the Great Sacrifice, for whom even Nirvana is no resting place. Worlds may awaken in nebulous glory, pass through their phases of self-conscious existence and sink again to sleep, but these tireless workers continue their age-long task of help. Their motive we do not know, but in some secret depth of our being we feel that there could be nothing nobler, and thinking this we have devoted the twilight hour to the understanding of their nature.
—February 15, 1893
There are dreams which may be history or may be allegory. There is in them nothing grotesque, nothing which could mar the feeling of authenticity, the sense of the actual occurence of the dream incident. The faces and figures perceived have the light shade and expression which seems quite proper to the wonderworld in which the eye of the inner man has vision; and yet the story may be read as a parable of spiritual truth like some myth of ancient scripture. Long ago I had may such dreams, and having lately become a student of such things, I have felt an interest in recalling the more curious and memorable of these early vision.
The nebulous mid-region between waking and unconsciousness was the haunt of many strange figures, reflections perhaps from that true life led during sleep by the immortal man. Among these figures two awoke the strangest feelings of interest. One was an old man with long grey hair and beard, whose grey-blue eyes had an expression of secret and inscrutable wisdom; I felt an instinctive reverence for this figure, so expressive of spiritual nobility, and it became associated in my mind with all aspiration and mystical thought. The other figure was that of a young girl. These two appeared again and again in my visions; the old man always as instructor, the girl always as companion. I have here written down one of these adventures, leaving it to the reader to judge whether it is purely symbolical, or whether the incidents related actually took place, and were out-realized from latency by the power of the Master within.
With the girl as my companion I left an inland valley and walked towards the sea. It was evening when we reached it and the tide was far out. The sands glimmered away for miles on each side of us; we walked outwards through the dim coloured twilight, I was silent; a strange ecstacy slowly took possession of me, as if drop by drop an unutterable life was falling within; the fever grew intense, then unbearable as it communicated itself to the body; with a wild cry I began to spin about, whirling round and round in ever increasing delirium; Some secretness was in the air; I was called forth by the powers of invisible nature and in a swoon I fell. I rose again with sudden memory, but my body was lying upon the sands; with a curious indifference I saw that the tide was on the turn and the child was unable to remove the insensible form beyond its reach; I saw her sit down beside it and place the head upon her lap; she sat there quietly waiting, while all about her little by little the wave of the Indian sea began to ripple inwards, and overhead the early stars began softly to glow.
After this I forgot completely the child and the peril of the waters, I began to be conscious of the presence of a new world. All around me currents were flowing, in whose waves dance innumerable lives; diaphanous forms glided about, a nebulous sparkle was everywhere apparent; faces as of men in dreams glimmered on me, or unconsciously their forms drifted past, and now and then a face looked sternly upon me with a questioning glance. I was not to remain long in this misty region, again I felt the internal impulse and internally I was translated into a sphere of more pervading beauty and light; and here with more majesty and clearness than I had observed before was the old man of my dreams.
I had though of him as old but there was an indescribable youth pervading the face with its ancient beauty, and then I knew it was neither age nor youth, it was eternalness. The calm light of thought played over features clear cut as a statue's, and an inner luminousness shone through the rose of his face and his silver hair.
There were others about but of them I had no distinct vision.
He said, "You who have lived and wandered through our own peculiar valleys look backwards now and learn the alchemy of thought." He touched me with his hand and I became aware of the power of these strange beings. I felt how they had waited in patience, how they had worked and willed in silence; from them as from a fountain went forth peace; to them as to the stars rose up unconsciously the aspirations of men, the dumb animal cravings, the tendrils of the flowers. I saw how in the valley where I lived, where naught had hindered, their presence had drawn forth in luxuriance all dim and hidden beauty, a rarer and pure atmosphere recalled the radiant life of men in the golden dawn of the earth.
With wider vision I saw how far withdrawn from strife they had stilled the tumults of nations; I saw how hearing far within the voices, spiritual, remote, which called, the mighty princes of the earth descended from their thrones becoming greater than princes; under this silent influence the terrible chieftains flung open the doors of their dungeons that they themselves might become free, and all these joined in that hymn which the quietude of earth makes to sound in the ears of the gods.—Overpowered I turned round, the eyes of light were fixed upon me.
"Do you now understand?"
"I do not understand," I replied. I see that the light and the beauty and the power that enters the darkness of the world comes from these high regions; but I do not know how the light enters, no how beauty is born, I do not know the secret of power."
"You must become as one of us," he answered.
I bowed my head until it touched his breast; I felt my life was being drawn from me, but before consciousness utterly departed and was swallowed up in that larger life, I learned something of the secret of their being; I lived within the minds of men, but their thoughts were not my thoughts; I hung like a crown over everything, yet age was no nearer than childhood to the grasp of my sceptre and sorrow was far away when it wept for my going, and very far was joy when it woke at my light; yet I was the lure that led them on; I was at the end of all ways, and I was also in the sweet voice that cried "return;" and I had learned how spiritual life is one in all things, when infinite vistas and greater depths received me, and I went into that darkness out of which no memory can ever return.
—March 15, 1893
The Mask of Apollo
A tradition rises up within me of quiet, unrumoured years, ages before the demigods and heroes toiled at the making of Greece, long ages before the building of the temples and sparkling palaces of her day of glory. The land was pastoral, all over its woods hung a stillness as of dawn and of unawakened beauty deep-breathing in rest. Here and there little villages sent up their smoke and a dreamy people moved about; they grew up, toiled a little at their fields, followed their sheep and goats, they wedded and grey age overtook them, but they never ceased to be children. They worshiped the gods with ancient rites in little wooden temples and knew many things which were forgotten in later years.
Near one of these shrines lived a priest, an old man whose simple and reverend nature made him loved by all around. To him, sitting one summer evening before his hut, came a stranger whom he invited to share his meal. The stranger sat down and began to tell him many wonderful things, stories of the magic of the sun and of the bright beings who moved at the gates of the day. The old priest grew drowsy in the warm sunlight and fell asleep. Then the stranger who was Apollo arose and in the guise of the old priest entered the little temple, and the people came in unto him one after the other.
Agathon, the husbandman. "Father, as I bend over the fields or fasten up the vines, I sometimes remember how you said that the gods can be worshiped by doing these things as by sacrifice. How is it, father, that the pouring of cool water over roots, or training up the branches can nourish Zeus? How can the sacrifice appear before his throne when it is not carried up in the fire and vapour."
Apollo. "Agathon, the father omnipotent does not live only in the aether. He runs invisibly within the sun and stars, and as they whirl round and round, they break out into woods and flowers and streams, and the winds are shaken away from them like leaves from off the roses. Great, strange and bright, he busies himself within, and at the end of time his light shall shine through and men shall see it, moving in a world of flame.
Think then, as you bend over your fields, of what you nourish and what rises up within them. Know that every flower as it droops in the quiet of the woodland feels within and far away the approach of an unutterable life and is glad, they reflect that life even as the little pools take up the light of the stars. Agathon, Agathon, Zeus is no greater in the aether than he is in the leaf of grass, and the hymns of men are no sweeter to him than a little water poured over one of his flowers."
Agathon the husbandman went away and bent tenderly over his fruits and vines, and he loved each one of them more than before, and he grew wise in many things as he watched them and he was happy working for the gods.
Then spake Damon the shepherd, "Father, while the flocks are browsing dreams rise up within me; they make the heart sick with longing; the forests vanish, I hear no more the lamb's bleat or the rustling of the fleeces; voices from a thousand depths call me, they whisper, they beseech me, shadows lovelier than earth's children utter music, not for me though I faint while I listen. Father, why do I hear the things others hear not, voices calling to unknown hunters of wide fields, or to herdsmen, shepherds of the starry flocks"?
Apollo answered, "Damon, a song stole from the silence while the gods were not yet, and a thousand ages passed ere they came, called forth by the music, and a thousand ages they listened then joined in the song; then began the worlds to glimmer shadowy about them and bright beings to bow before them. These, their children, began in their turn to sing the song that calls forth and awakens life. He is master of all things who has learned their music. Damon, heed not the shadows, but the voices, the voices have a message to thee from beyond the gods. Learn their song and sing it over again to the people until their hearts too are sick with longing and they can hear the song within themselves. Oh, my son, I see far off how the nations shall join in it as in a chorus, and hearing it the rushing planets shall cease from their speed and be steadfast; men shall hold starry sway." The face of the god shone through the face of the old man, and filled with awe, it was so full of secretness. Damon the herdsman passed from his presence and a strange fire was kindled in his heart. Then the two lovers, Dion and Neaera, came in and stood before Apollo.
Dion spake, "Father, you who are so wise can tell us what love is, so that we shall never miss it. Old Tithonius nods his grey head at us as we pass; he says, 'only with the changeless gods has love endurance, for men the loving time is short and its sweetness is soon over.'"
Neaera added. "But it is not true, father, for his drowsy eyes light when he remembers the old days, when he was happy and proud in love as we are."
Apollo. "My children, I will tell you the legend how love came into the world and how it may endure. It was on high Olympus the gods held council at the making of man; each had brought a gift, they gave to man something of their own nature. Aphrodite, the loveliest and sweetest, paused and was about to add a new grace to his person, but Eros cried, "let them not be so lovely without, let them be lovelier within. Put you own soul in, O mother." The mighty mother smiled, and so it was; and now whenever love is like hers, which asks not return but shines on all because it must, within that love Aphrodite dwells and it becomes immortal by her presence."
Then Dion and Neaera went out, and as they walked homewards through the forest, purple and vaporous in the evening light, they drew closer together; and Dion looking into her eyes saw there a new gleam, violet, magical, shining, there was the presence of Aphrodite, there was her shrine.
Then came in unto Apollo the two grandchildren of old Thithonius and they cried, "See the flowers we have brought you, we gathered them for you down in the valley where they grow best." Then Apollo said, "What wisdom shall we give to children that they may remember? Our most beautiful for them!" As he stood and looked at them the mask of age and secretness vanished, he stood before them radiant in light; they laughed in joy at his beauty; he bent down and kissed them each upon the forehead then faded away into the light which was his home. As the sun sank down amid the blue hills the old priest awoke with a sigh and cried out, "Oh that we could talk wisely as we do in our dreams."
—April 15, 1893
The Secret of Power
It is not merely because it is extraordinary that I wish to tell you this story. I think mere weirdness, grotesque or unusual character, are not sufficient reasons for making public incidents in which there is an element of the superhuman. The world, in spite of its desire to understand the nature of the occult is sick of and refuses to listen to stories of apparitions which betray no spiritual character or reveal no spiritual law. The incident here related is burned into my mind and life, not because of its dramatic intensity or personal character, but because it was a revelation of the secret of power, a secret which the wise in good and the wise in evil alike have knowledge of.
My friend Felix was strangely disturbed; not only were his material affairs unsettled, but he was also passing through a crisis in his spiritual life. Two paths were open before him; On one side lay the dazzling mystery of passion; on the other "the small old path" held out its secret and spiritual allurements. I had hope that he would choose the latter, and as I was keenly interested in his decision. I invested the struggle going on in his mind with something of universal significance, seeing in it a symbol of the strife between "light and darkness which are the world's eternal ways." He came in late one evening. I saw at once by the dim light that there was something strange in his manner. I spoke to him in enquiry; he answered me in a harsh dry voice quite foreign to his usual manner. "Oh, I am not going to trouble myself any more, I will let things take their course." This seemed the one idea in his mind, the one thing he understood clearly was that things were to take their own course; he failed to grasp the significance of any other idea or its relative importance. He answered "Aye, indeed," with every appearance of interest and eagerness to some trivial remark about the weather, and was quite unconcerned about another and most important matter which should have interested him deeply. I soon saw what had happened; his mind, in which forces so evenly balanced had fought so strenuously, had become utterly wearied out and could work no longer. A flash of old intuition illumined it at last,— it was not wise to strive with such bitterness over life,—therefore he said to me in memory of this intuition, "I am going to let things take their course." A larger tribunal would decide; he had appealed unto Caesar. I sent him up to his room and tried to quiet his fever by magnetization with some success. He fell asleep, and as I was rather weary myself I retired soon after.
This was the vision of the night. It was surely in the room I was lying and on my bed, and yet space opened on every side with pale, clear light. A slight wavering figure caught my eye, a figure that swayed to and fro; I was struck with its utter feebleness, yet I understood it was its own will or some quality of its nature which determined that palpitating movement towards the poles between which it swung. What were they? I became silent as night and thought no more.
Two figures awful in their power opposed each other; the frail being wavering between them could by putting out its arms have touched them both. It alone wavered, for they were silent, resolute and knit in the conflict of will; they stirred not a hand nor a foot; there was only a still quivering now and then as of intense effort, but they made no other movement. Their heads were bent forward slightly, their arms folded, their bodies straight, rigid, and inclined slightly backwards from each other like two spokes of a gigantic wheel. What were they, these figures? I knew not, and yet gazing upon them, thought which took no words to clothe itself mutely read their meaning. Here were the culminations of the human, towering images of the good and evil man may aspire to. I looked at the face of the evil adept. His bright red-brown eyes burned with a strange radiance of power; I felt an answering emotion of pride, of personal intoxication, of psychic richness rise up within me gazing upon him. His face was archetypal; the abstract passion which eluded me in the features of many people I knew, was here declared, exultant, defiant, giantesque; it seem to leap like fire, to be free. In this face I was close to the legendary past, to the hopeless worlds where men were martyred by stony kings, where prayer was hopeless, where pity was none. I traced a resemblance to many of the great Destroyers in history whose features have been preserved, Napoleon, Ramses and a hundred others, named and nameless, the long line of those who were crowned and sceptered in cruelty. His strength was in human weakness, I saw this, for space and the hearts of men were bare before me. Out of space there flowed to him a stream half invisible of red; it nourished that rich radiant energy of passion; it flowed from men as they walked and brooded in loneliness, or as they tossed in sleep. I withdrew my gaze from this face which awoke in me a lurid sense accompaniment, and turned it on the other. An aura of pale soft blue was around this figure through which gleamed an underlight as of universal gold. The vision was already dim and departing, but I caught a glimpse of a face godlike in its calm, terrible in the beauty of a life we know only in dreams, with strength which is the end of the hero's toil, which belongs to the many times martyred soul; yet not far away not in the past was its power, it was the might of life which exists eternally. I understood how easy it would have been for this one to have ended the conflict, to have gained a material victory by its power, but this would not have touched on or furthered its spiritual ends. Only its real being had force to attract that real being which was shrouded in the wavering figure. This truth the adept of darkness knew also and therefore he intensified within the sense of pride and passionate personality. Therefore they stirred not a hand nor a foot while under the stimulus of their presence culminated the good and evil in the life which had appealed to a higher tribunal to decide. Then this figure wavering between the two moved forward and touched with its hand the Son of Light. All at once the scene and actors vanished, and the eye that saw them was closed, I was alone with darkness and a hurricane of thoughts.
Strange and powerful figures! I knew your secret of strength, it is only to be, nature quickened by your presence leaps up in response. I knew no less the freedom of that human soul, for your power only revealed its unmanifest nature, it but precipitated experience. I knew that although the gods and cosmic powers may war over us for ever, it is we alone declare them victors or vanquished.
For the rest the vision of that night was prophetic, and the feet of my friend are now set on that way which was the innermost impulse of his soul.
—May 15, 1893
The Priestess of the Woods
Here is a legend whispered to me, the land or time I cannot tell, it may have been in the old Atlantean days. There were vast woods and a young priestess ruled them; she presided at the festivals and sacrificed at the altar for the people, interceding with the spirits of fire, water air and earth, that the harvest might not be burned up, nor drenched with the floods, nor town by storms and that the blight might not fall upon it, which things the elemental spirits sometimes brought about. This woodland sovereignty was her heritage from her father who was a mighty magician before her. Around her young days floated the faery presences; she knew them as other children know the flowers having neither fear nor wonder for them. She saw deeper things also; as a little child, wrapped up in her bearskin, she watched with awe her father engaged in mystic rites; when around him the airy legions gathered from the populous elements, the spirits he ruled and the spirits he bowed down before: fleeting nebulous things white as foam coming forth from the great deep who fled away at the waving of his hand; and rarer the great sons of fire, bright and transparent as glass, who though near seemed yet far away and were still and swift as the figures that glance in a crystal. So the child grew up full of mystery; her thoughts were not the thoughts of the people about her, nor their affections her affections. It seemed as if the elf-things or beings carved by the thought of the magician, pushed aside by his strong will and falling away from him, entering into the child became part of her, linking her to the elemental beings who live in the star-soul that glows within the earth. Her father told her such things as she asked, but he died while she was yet young and she knew not his aim, what man is, or what is his destiny; but she knew the ways of every order of spirit that goes about clad in a form, how some were to be dreaded and some to be loved; By reason of this knowledge she succeeded as priestess to the shrine, and held the sway of beauty and youth, of wisdom and mystery over the people dwelling in the woods.
It was the evening of the autumn festival, the open grassy space before the altar was crowded with figures, hunters with their feathered heads; shepherds, those who toil in the fields, the old and hoary were gathered around.
The young priestess stood up before them; she was pale from vigil, and the sunlight coming through the misty evening air fell upon her swaying arms and her dress with its curious embroidery of peacock's feathers; the dark hollows of her eyes were alight and as she spoke inspiration came to her; her voice rose and fell, commanding, warning, whispering, beseeching; its strange rich music flooded the woods and pierced through and through with awe the hearts of those who listened. She spoke of the mysteries of that unseen nature; how man is watched and ringed round with hosts who war upon him, who wither up his joys by their breath; she spoke of the gnomes who rise up in the woodland paths with damp arms grasping from their earthy bed.
"Dreadful" she said "are the elementals who live in the hidden waters: they rule the dreaming heart: their curse is forgetfulness; they lull man to fatal rest, with drowsy fingers feeling to put out his fire of life. But the most of all, dread the powers that move in air; their nature is desire unquenchable; their destiny is—never to be fulfilled—never to be at peace: they roam hither and thither like the winds they guide; they usurp dominion over the passionate and tender soul, but they love not in our way; where they dwell the heart is a madness and the feet are filled with a hurrying fever, and night has no sleep and day holds no joy in its sunlit cup. Listen not to their whisper; they wither and burn up the body with their fire; the beauty they offer is smitten through and through with unappeasable anguish." She paused for a moment; here terrible breath had hardly ceased to thrill them, when another voice was heard singing; its note was gay and triumphant, it broke the spell of fear upon the people,
"I never heed by waste or wood The cry of fay or faery thing Who tell of their own solitude; Above them all my soul is king.
The royal robe as king I wear Trails all along the fields of light; Its silent blue and silver bear For gems the starry dust of night.
The breath of joy unceasingly Waves to and fro its fold star-lit, And far beyond earth's misery I live and breathe the joy of it."
The priestess advanced from the altar, her eyes sought for the singer; when she came to the centre of the opening she paused and waited silently. Almost immediately a young man carrying a small lyre stepped out of the crowd and stood before her; he did not seem older than the priestess; he stood unconcerned though her dark eyes blazed at the intrusion; he met her gaze fearlessly; his eyes looked into hers—in this way all proud spirits do battle. Her eyes were black with almost a purple tinge, eyes that had looked into the dark ways of nature; his were bronze, and a golden tinge, a mystic opulence of vitality seemed to dance in their depths; they dazzled the young priestess with the secrecy of joy; her eyes fell for a moment. He turned round and cried out, "Your priestess speaks but half truths, her eyes have seen but her heart does not know. Life is not terrible but is full of joy. Listen to me. I passed by while she spake, and I saw that a fear lay upon every man, and you shivered thinking of your homeward path, fearful as rabbits of the unseen things, and forgetful how you have laughed at death facing the monsters who crush down the forests. Do you not know that you are greater than all these spirits before who you bow in dread; your life springs from a deeper source. Answer me, priestess, where go the fire-spirits when winter seizes the world?"
"Into the Fire-King they go, they dream in his heart." She half chanted, the passion of her speech not yet fallen away from her. "And where go the fires of men when they despair"? She was silent; then he continued half in scorn, "Your priestess is the priestess of ghouls and fays rather than a priestess of men; her wisdom is not for you; the spirits that haunt the elements are hostile because they see you full of fear; do not dread them and their hatred will vanish. The great heart of the earth is full of laughter; do not put yourselves apart from its joy, for its soul is your soul and its joy is your true being."
He turned and passed through the crowd; the priestess made a motion as if she would have stayed him, then she drew herself up proudly and refrained. They heard his voice again singing as he passed into the darkening woods,
"The spirits to the fire-king throng Each in the winter of his day: And all who listen to their song Follow them after in that way.
They seek the heart-hold of the king, They build within his halls of fire, Their dreams flash like the peacock's wing, They glow with sun-hues of desire.
I follow in no faery ways; I heed no voice of fay or elf; I in the winter of my days Rest in the high ancestral self."
The rites interrupted by the stranger did not continue much longer; the priestess concluded her words of warning; she did not try to remove the impression created by the poet's song, she only said, "His wisdom may be truer. It is more beautiful than the knowledge we inherit."
The days passed on; autumn died into winter, spring came again and summer, and the seasons which brought change to the earth brought change to the young priestess. She sought no longer to hold sway over the elemental tribes, and her empire over them departed: the song of the poet rang for ever in her ears; its proud assertion of kingship and joy in the radiance of a deeper life haunted her like truth; but such a life seemed unattainable by her and a deep sadness rested in her heart. The wood-people often saw her sitting in the evening where the sunlight fell along the pool, waving slowly its azure and amethyst, sparkling and flashing in crystal and gold, melting as if a phantom Bird of Paradise were fading away; her dark head was bowed in melancholy and all the great beauty flamed and died away unheeded. After a time she rose up and moved about, she spoke more frequently to the people who had not dared to question her, she grew into a more human softness, they feared her less and loved her more; but she ceased not from her passionate vigils and her step faltered and her cheek paled, and her eager spirit took flight when the diamond glow of winter broke out over the world. The poet came again in the summer; they told him of the change they could not understand, but he fathomed the depths of this wild nature, and half in gladness, half in sorrow, he carved an epitaph over her tomb near the altar,
Where is the priestess of this shrine, And by what place does she adore? The woodland haunt below the pine Now hears her whisper nevermore.
Ah, wrapped in her own beauty now She dreams a dream that shall not cease; Priestess, to her own soul to bow Is hers in everlasting peace.
—July 15, 1893
A Tragedy in the Temple
I have often thought with sadness over the fate of that comrade. That so ardent and heroic a spirit, so much chivalry and generosity should meet such a horrible fate, has often made me wonder if there is any purpose in this tangled being of ours; I have hated life and the gods as I thought of it. What brought him out of those great deserts where his youth was spent, where his soul grew vast knowing only of two changes, the blaze of day and night the purifier, blue, mysterious, ecstatic with starry being? Were not these enough for him? Could the fire of the altar inspire more? Could he be initiated deeper in the chambers of the temple than in those great and lonely places where God and man are alone together? This was my doing; resting in his tent when I crossed the desert, I had spoken to him of that old wisdom which the priests of the inner temple keep and hand down from one to the other; I blew to flame the mystic fire which already smouldered within him, and filled with the vast ambition of God, he left his tribe and entered the priesthood as neophyte in the Temple of Isthar, below Ninevah.
I had sometimes to journey thither bearing messages from our high priest, and so as time passed my friendship with Asur grew deep. That last evening when I sat with him on the terrace that roofed the temple, he was more silent than I had known him before to be; we had generally so many things to speak of; for he told me all his dreams, such vague titanic impulses as the soul has in the fresh first years of its awakening, when no experience hinders with memory its flights of aspiration, and no anguish has made it wise. But that evening there was, I thought, something missing; a curious feverishness seemed to have replaced the cool and hardy purity of manner which was natural to him; his eyes had a strange glow, fitful and eager; I saw by the starlight how restless his fingers were, they intertwined, twisted, and writhed in and out.
We sat long in the rich night together; then he drew nearer to me and leaned his head near my shoulder; he began to whisper incoherently a wild and passionate tale; the man's soul was being tempted.
"Brother" he said, "I am haunted by a vision, by a child of the stars as lovely as Isthar's self; she visits my dreaming hours, she dazzles me with strange graces, she bewilders with unspeakable longing. Sometime, I know, I must go to her, though I perish. When I see her I forget all else and I have will to resist no longer. The vast and lonely inspiration of the desert departs from my thought, she and the jewel-light she lives in blot it out. The thought of her thrills me like fire. Brother give me help, ere I go mad or die; she draws me away from earth and I shall end my days amid strange things, a starry destiny amid starry races."
I was not then wise in these things, I did not know the terrible dangers that lurk in the hidden ways in which the soul travels. "This" I said " is some delusion. You have brooded over a fancy until it has become living; you have filled your creation with your own passion and it lingers and tempts you; even if it were real, it is folly to think of it, we must close our hearts to passion if we would attain the power and wisdom of Gods."
He shook his head, I could not realize or understand him. Perhaps if I had known all and could have warned him, it would have been in vain; perhaps the soul must work out its own purification in experience and learn truth and wisdom through being. Once more he became silent and restless. I had to bid him farewell as I was to depart on the morrow, but he was present in my thoughts and I could not sleep because of him; I felt oppressed with the weight of some doom about to fall. To escape from this feeling I rose in adoration to Hea; I tried to enter into the light of that Wisdom; a sudden heart-throb of warning drew me back; I thought of Asur instinctively, and thinking of him his image flashed on me. He moved as if in trance through the glassy waves of those cosmic waters which everywhere lave and permeate the worlds, and in which our earth is but a subaqueous mound. His head was bowed, his form dilated to heroic stature, as if he conceived of himself as some great thing or as moving to some high destiny; and this shadow which was the house of his dreaming soul grew brilliant with the passionate hues of his thought; some power beyond him drew him forth. I felt the fever and heat of this inner sphere like a delirious breath blow fiercely about me; there was a phosphorescence of hot and lurid colours. The form of Asur moved towards a light streaming from a grotto, I could see within it burning gigantic flowers. On one, as on a throne, a figure of weird and wonderful beauty was seated. I was thrilled with a dreadful horror, I thought of the race of Liliths, and some long forgotten and tragic legends rose up in my memory of these beings whose soul is but a single and terrible passion; whose love too fierce for feebler lives to endure, brings death or madness to men. I tried to warn, to awaken him from the spell; my will-call aroused him; he turned, recognized me and hesitated; then this figure that lured him rose to her full height; I saw her in all her plume of a peacock, it was spotted with gold and green and citron dyes, she raised her arms upwards, her robe, semi-transparent, purple and starred over with a jewel lustre, fell in vaporous folds to her feet like the drift over a waterfall. She turned her head with a sudden bird-like movement, her strange eyes looked into mine with a prolonged and snaky glance; I saw her move her arms hither and thither, and the waves of this inner ocean began to darken and gather about me, to ripple through me with feverish motion. I fell into a swoon and remembered nothing more.
I was awakened before dawn, those with whom I was to cross the desert were about to start and I could remain no longer. I wrote hurriedly to Asur a message full of warning and entreaty and set out on my return journey full of evil forebodings. Some months after I had again to visit the temple; it was evening when I arrived; after I had delivered the message with which I was charged, I asked for Asur. The priest to whom I spoke did not answer me. He led me in silence up to the terrace that overlooked the desolate eastern desert. The moon was looming white upon the verge, the world was trembling with heat, the winged bulls along the walls shone with a dull glow through the sultry air. The priest pointed to the far end of the terrace. A figure was seated looking out over the desert, his robes were motionless as if their wrinkles were carved of stone, his hands lay on his knees, I walked up to him; I called his name; he did not stir. I came nearer and put my face close to his, it was as white as the moon, his eyes only reflected the light. I turned away from him sick to the very heart.
—September 15, 1893
Jagrata, Svapna and Sushupti
While the philosophical concepts of ancient India, concerning religion and cosmogony, are to some extent familiar and appreciated in these countries, its psychology, intimately related with its religion and metaphysics, is comparatively unknown. In Europe the greatest intellects have been occupied by speculations upon the laws and aspects of physical nature, while the more spiritual Hindus were absorbed in investigations as to the nature of life itself; by continual aspiration, devotion, introspection and self-analysis, they had acquired vast knowledge of the states of consciousness possible for man to enter upon; they had laid bare the anatomy of the mind, and described the many states that lay between the normal waking condition of man, and the final state of spiritual freedom and unity with BRAHMA, which it was the aim alike of religion and science to bring about. Most interesting among their ideas, was their analysis of the states of consciousness upon which we enter during sleep. Roughly speaking, they may be divided into two, which together with the waking state, make a trinity of states through which every person passes, whether he be aware of it or not. These states are known as:—-Jagrata, waking; Svapna, dreaming; and Sushupti, deep sleep. The English equivalents of these words give no idea of the states. Passing our of Jagrata, the Indians held that, beyond the chaotic borderland, we entered, in Svapna and Sushupti, upon real states of being. Sushupti, the highest, was accounted a spiritual state; here the soul touches vaster centres in the great life and has communion with celestial intelligences. The unification of these states into one is one of the results of Raj-Yoga; in this state the chela keeps memory of what occurred while his consciousness was in the planes of Svapna and Sushupti. Entrance upon these states should not I think be understood as meaning that the mind has deserted its fleshly tabernacle in search of such experience. Departure from the physical form is no more necessary for this than for clairvoyence, but a transfer of the consciousness in us from one plane to another is necessary.
Now as we generate Karma in the dreaming and deep sleep states which may either help or hinder the soul in its evolution, it is a matter of importance that we should take steps to promote the unification of these states, so that the knowledge and wisdom of any one state may be used to perfect the others. Our thoughts and actions in the waking state react upon the dreaming and deep sleep, and our experiences in the latter influence us in the waking state by suggestion and other means. The reason we do not remember what occurs in Svapna and Sushupti is because the astral matter which normally surrounds the thinking principle is not subtle enough to register in its fullness the experience of any one upon the more spiritual planes of consciousness. To increase the responsiveness upon the more spiritual planes of consciousness. To increase the responsiveness of this subtle matter we have to practise concentration, and so heighten the vibrations, or in other words to evolve or perfect the astral principle. Modern science is rapidly coming to the conclusion that the differences perceived in objects around us, are not differences in substance, but differences of vibration in one substance. Take a copper wire; pass electrical currents through it, gradually increasing their intensity, and phenomena of sound, heat and light will be manifest, the prismatic colours appearing one after the other. Similarly by an increased intensity in the performance of every action, the consciousness is gradually transferred from the lower to the higher planes. In order to give a point, or to direct the evolving faculties into their proper channel, continual aspiration is necessary. Take some idea—the spiritual unity of all things, for example—something which can only be realized by our complete absorption in spiritual nature; let every action be performed in the light of this idea, let it be the subject of reverent thought. If this is persisted in, we will gradually begin to become conscious upon the higher planes, the force of concentration carrying the mind beyond the waking into Svapna and Sushupti. The period between retiring to rest and awakening, formerly a blank, will begin to be spotted with bright lights of consciousness, or, as we walk about during the day such knowledge will visit us. "He who is perfected in devotion findeth spiritual knowledge springing up spontaneously in himself" say Krishna. Patanjali recommends dwelling on the knowledge that presents itself in dreams; if we think over any such experience, many things connected with it will be revealed, and so gradually the whole shadowy region will become familiar and attractive, and we will gain a knowledge of our own nature which will be invaluable and which cannot otherwise be acquired.
—January 15, 1893
Beyond waking, dreaming and deep sleep is Turya. Here there is a complete change of condition; the knowledge formerly sought in the external world is now present within the consciousness; the ideations of universal mind are manifest in spiritual intuitions. The entrance to this state is through Jagrata, Svapna, and Sushupti, and here that spiritual unity is realized, the longing for which draws the soul upwards through the shadowy worlds of dreaming and deep sleep. I have thought it necessary to supplement the brief statement made in the previous number by some further remarks upon concentration, for the term applied without reference to the Turya state is liable to be misunderstood and a false impression might arise that the spiritual is something to be sought for outside ourselves. The waking, dreaming and deep sleep states correspond to objective worlds, while Turya is subjective, including in itself all ideals. If this is so, we can never seek for the true beyond ourselves; the things we suppose we shall come sometime realize in spiritual consciousness must be present in it now, for to spirit all things are eternally present. Advance to this state is measured by the realization of moods: we are on the path when there surges up in the innermost recesses of our being the cry of the long imprisoned souls of men; we are then on our way to unity.
The Bhagavad-Gita which is a treatise on Raj Yoga, gives prominence to three aspects of concentration. Liberation is attained by means of action, by devotion, by spiritual discernment; these aspects correspond respectively to three qualities in man and nature, known as Tamas, Rajas and Satva. The Tamas is the gross, material or dark quality; Rajas is active and passional; the attributes of Satva are light, peace, happiness, wisdom. No one while in the body can escape from the action of the three qualities, for they are brought about by nature which is compounded of them. We have to recognize this, and to continue action, aspiration and thought, impersonally or with some universal motive, in the manner nature accomplishes these things. Not one of these methods can be laid aside or ignored, for the Spirit moveth within all, these are its works, and we have to learn to identify ourselves with the moving forces of nature.
Having always this idea of brotherhood or unity in mind, by action— which we may interpret as service in some humanitarian movement— we purify the Tamas.
By a pure motive, which is the Philosopher's Stone, a potent force in the alchemy of nature, we change the gross into the subtle, we initiate that evolution which shall finally make the vesture of the soul of the rare, long-sought-for, primordial substance. Devotion is the highest possibility for the Rajas; that quality which is ever attracted and seduced by the beautiful mayas of fame, wealth and power, should be directed to that which it really seeks for, the eternal universal life; the channels through which it must flow outwards are the souls of other men, it reaches the One Life through the many. Spiritual discernment should be the aim of the Satva, "there is not anything, whether animate or inanimate which is without me," says Krishna, and we should seek for the traces of THAT in all things, looking upon it as the cause of the alchemical changes in the Tamas, as that which widens the outflowing love of the Rajas. By a continued persistence of this subtle analytic faculty, we begin gradually to perceive that those things which we formerly thought were causes, are in reality not causes at all; that there is but one cause for everything, "The Atma by which this universe is pervaded. By reason of its proximity alone the body, the organs, Manas and Buddhi apply themselves to their proper objects as if applied (by some one else)." (The Crest Jewel of Wisdom). By uniting these three moods, action, devotion and spiritual discernment, into one mood, and keeping it continuously alight, we are accompanying the movements of spirit to some extent. This harmonious action of all the qualities of our nature, for universal purposes without personal motive, is in synchronous vibration with that higher state spoken of at the beginning of the paper; therefore we are at one with it. "When the wise man perceiveth that the only agents of action are these qualities, and comprehends that which is superior to the qualities of goodness, action and indifference—which are co-existent with the body, it is released from rebirth and death, old age and pain, and drinketh of the water of immortality."
—February 15, 1893
Verse by AE in the "Irish Theosophist"
1—"While the yellow constellations...." (untitled) 2—Om 3—Krishna 4—Pain 5—Three Councelors 6—Dusk 7—Dawn 8—Desire 9—Deep Sleep 10—Day 11—To A Poet 12—The Place of Rest 13—Comfort 14—H.P.B. (In Memoriam.) 15—By the Margin of the Great Deep 16—The Secret 17—Dust 18—Magic 19—Immortality 20—The Man to the Angel 21—The Robing of the King 22—Brotherhood 23—In the Womb 24—In the Garden of God 25—The Breath of Light 26—The Free 27—The Magi 28—W.Q.J. (?) 29—From the Book of the Eagle 30—The Protest of Love 31—The King Initiate 32—The Dream of the Children 33—The Chiefs of the Air 34—The Palaces of the Sidhe 35—The Voice of the Wise 36—A Dawn Song 37—The Fountain of Shadowy Beauty 38—A New Earth 39—Duality
While the yellow constellations shine with pale and tender glory, In the lilac-scented stillness, let us listen to Earth's story. All the flow'rs like moths a-flutter glimmer rich with dusky hues, Everywhere around us seem to fall from nowhere the sweet dews. Through the drowsy lull, the murmur, stir of leaf and sleep hum We can feel a gay heart beating, hear a magic singing come. Ah, I think that as we linger lighting at Earth's olden fire Fitful gleams in clay that perish, little sparks that soon expire, So the mother brims her gladness from a life beyond her own, From whose darkness as a fountain up the fiery days are thrown Starry worlds which wheel in splendour, sunny systems, histories, Vast and nebulous traditions told in the eternities: And our list'ning mother whispers through her children all the story: Come, the yellow constellations shine with pale and tender glory!
—October 15, 1892
Faint grew the yellow buds of light Far flickering beyond the snows, As leaning o'er the shadowy white Morn glimmered like a pale primrose.
Within an Indian vale below A child said "Om" with tender heart, Watching with loving eyes the glow In dayshine fade and night depart.
The word which Brahma at his dawn Outbreathes and endeth at his night; Whose tide of sound so rolling on Gives birth to orbs of golden light;
And beauty, wisdom, love, and youth, By its enchantment, gathered grow In age-long wandering to the truth, Through many a cycle's ebb and flow.
And here all lower life was stilled, The child was lifted to the Wise: A strange delight his spirit filled, And Brahm looked from his shining eyes.
—December 15, 1892
The East was crowned with snow-cold bloom And hung with veils of pearly fleece; They died away into the gloom, Vistas of peace, and deeper peace.
And earth and air and wave and fire In awe and breathless silence stood, For One who passed into their choir Linked them in mystic brotherhood.
Twilight of amethyst, amid The few strange stars that lit the heights, Where was the secret spirit hid, Where was Thy place, O Light of Lights?
The flame of Beauty far in space— When rose the fire, in Thee? in Me? Which bowed the elemental race To adoration silently.
—February 15, 1893
Men have made them gods of love, Sun gods, givers of the rain, Deities of hill and grove, I have made a god of Pain.
Of my god I know this much, And in singing I repeat, Though there's anguish in his touch Yet his soul within is sweet.
—March 15, 1893
It was the fairy of the place Moving within a little light, Who touched with dim and shadowy grace The conflict at its fever height.
It seemed to whisper "quietness," Then quietly itself was gone; Yet echoes of its mute caress Still rippled as the years flowed on.
It was the Warrior within Who called "Awake! prepare for fight, "Yet lose not memory in the din; "Make of thy gentleness thy might.
"Make of thy silence words to shake "The long-enthroned kings of earth; "Make of thy will the force to break "Their towers of wantonness and mirth."
It was the wise all-seeing soul Who counseled neither war nor peace "Only be thou thyself that goal "In which the wars of time shall cease."
—April 15, 1893
Dusk wraps the village in its dim caress; Each chimney's vapour, like a thin grey rod, Mounting aloft through miles of quietness, Pillars the skies of God.
Far up they break or seem to break their line, Mingling their nebulous crests that bow and nod Under the light of those fierce stars that shine Out of the house of God.
Only in clouds and dreams I felt those souls In the abyss, each fire hid in its clod, From which in clouds and dreams the spirit rolls Into the vast of God.
—May 15, 1893
Still as the holy of holies breathes the vast, Within its crystal depths the stars grow dim, Fire on the altar of the hills at last Burns on the shadowy rim.
Moment that holds all moments, white upon The verge it trembles; then like mists of flowers Break from the fairy fountain of the dawn The hues of many hours.
Thrown downward from that high companionship Of dreaming inmost heart with inmost heart, Into the common daily ways I slip My fire from theirs apart.
—June 15, 1893
With Thee a moment! then what dreams have play! Traditions of eternal toil arise, Search for the high, austere and lonely way, Where Brahma treads through the eternities. Ah, in the soul what memories arise!
And with what yearning inexpressible, Rising from long forgetfulness I turn To Thee, invisible, unrumoured, still: White for Thy whiteness all desires burn! Ah, with what longing once again I turn!
—August 15, 1893
Heart-hidden from the outer things I rose, The spirit woke anew in nightly birth Into the vastness where forever glows The star-soul of the earth.
There all alone in primal ecstasy, Within her depths where revels never tire, The olden Beauty shines; each thought of me Is veined through with its fire.
And all my thoughts are throngs of living souls; They breath in me, heart unto heart allied With joy undimmed, though when the morning tolls The planets may divide.
—September 15, 1893
In day from some titanic past it seems As if a thread divine of memory runs; Born ere the Mighty One began his dreams, Or yet were stars and suns.
But here an iron will has fixed the bars; Forgetfulness falls on earth's myriad races, No image of the proud and morning stars Looks at us from their faces.
Yet yearning still to reach to those dim heights, Each dream remembered is a burning-glass, Where through to darkness from the light of lights Its rays in splendour pass.
—September 15, 1893
To A Poet
Oh, be not led away. Lured by the colour of the sun-rich day. The gay romances of song Unto the spirit-life doth not belong. Though far-between the hours In which the Master of Angelic Powers Lightens the dusk within The Holy of Holies; be it thine to win Rare vistas of white light, Half-parted lips, through which the Infinite Murmurs her ancient story; Hearkening to whom the wandering planets hoary Waken primeval fires, With deeper rapture in celestial choirs Breathe, and with fleeter motion Wheel in their orbits through the surgeless ocean. So, hearken thou like these, Intent on her, mounting by slow degrees, Until thy song's elation Echoes her multitudinous meditation.
—November 15, 1893
The Place of Rest
—The soul is its own witness and its own refuge.
Unto the deep the deep heart goes. It lays its sadness nigh the breast: Only the mighty mother knows The wounds that quiver unconfessed.
It seeks a deeper silence still; It folds itself around with peace, Where thoughts alike of good or ill In quietness unfostered, cease.
It feels in the unwounding vast For comfort for its hopes and fears: The mighty mother bows at last; She listens to her children's tears.
Where the last anguish deepens—there— The fire of beauty smites through pain, A glory moves amid despair, The Mother takes her child again.
—December 15, 1893
Dark head by the fireside brooding, Sad upon your ears Whirlwinds of the earth intruding Sound in wrath and tears:
Tender-hearted, in your lonely Sorrow I would fain Comfort you, and say that only Gods could feel such pain.
Only spirits know such longing For the far away; And the fiery fancies thronging Rise not out of clay.
Keep the secret sense celestial Of the starry birth; Though about you call the bestial Voices of the earth.
If a thousand ages since Hurled us from the throne: Then a thousand ages wins Back again our own.
Sad one, dry away your tears: Sceptred you shall rise, Equal mid the crystal spheres With seraphs kingly wise.
H. P. B. (In Memoriam.)
Though swift the days flow from her day, No one has left her day unnamed: We know what light broke from her ray On us, who in the truth proclaimed
Grew brother with the stars and powers That stretch away—away to light, And fade within the primal hours, And in the wondrous First unite.
We lose with her the right to scorn The voices scornful of her truth: With her a deeper love was born For those who filled her days with ruth.
To her they were not sordid things: In them sometimes—her wisdom said— The Bird of Paradise had wings; It only dreams, it is not dead.
We cannot for forgetfulness Forego the reverence due to them, Who wear at times they do not guess The sceptre and the diadem.
With wisdom of the olden time She made the hearts of dust to flame; And fired us with the hope sublime Our ancient heritage to claim;
That turning from the visible, By vastness unappalled nor stayed, Our wills might rule beside that Will By which the tribal stars are swayed;
And entering the heroic strife, Tread in the way their feet have trod Who move within a vaster life, Sparks in the Fire—Gods amid God.
—August 15, 1894
By the Margin of the Great Deep
When the breath of twilight blows to flame the misty skies, All its vapourous sapphire, violet glow and silver gleam With their magic flood me through the gateway of the eyes; I am one with the twilight's dream.
When the trees and skies and fields are one in dusky mood, Every heart of man is rapt within the mother's breast: Full of peace and sleep and dreams in the vasty quietude, I am one with their hearts at rest.
From our immemorial joys of hearth and home and love, Strayed away along the margin of the unknown tide, All its reach of soundless calm can thrill me far above Word or touch from the lips beside.
Aye, and deep, and deep, and deeper let me drink and draw From the olden Fountain more than light or peace or dream, Such primeval being as o'erfills the heart with awe, Growing one with its silent stream.
—March 15, 1894
One thing in all things have I seen: One thought has haunted earth and air; Clangour and silence both have been Its palace chambers. Everywhere
I saw the mystic vision flow, And live in men, and woods, and streams, Until I could no longer know The dream of life from my own dreams.
Sometimes it rose like fire in me, Within the depths of my own mind, And spreading to infinity, It took the voices of the wind.
It scrawled the human mystery, Dim heraldry—on light and air; Wavering along the starry sea, I saw the flying vision there.
Each fire that in God's temple lit Burns fierce before the inner shrine, Dimmed as my fire grew near to it, And darkened at the light of mine.
At last, at last, the meaning caught: When spirit wears its diadem, It shakes its wondrous plumes of thought, And trails the stars along with them.
—April 15, 1894
I heard them in their sadness say, "The earth rebukes the thought of God: We are but embers wrapt in clay A little nobler than the sod."
But I have touched the lips of clay— Mother, thy rudest sod to me Is thrilled with fire of hidden day, And haunted by all mystery.
—May 15, 1894
Magic —After reading the Upanishads
Out of the dusky chamber of the brain Flows the imperial will through dream on dream; The fires of life around it tempt and gleam; The lights of earth behind it fade and wane.
Passed beyond beauty tempting dream on dream, The pure will seeks the hearthold of the light; Sounds the deep "OM," the mystic word of might; Forth from the hearthold breaks the living stream.
Passed out beyond the deep heart music-filled, The kingly Will sits on the ancient throne, Wielding the sceptre, fearless, free, alone, Knowing in Brahma all it dared and willed.
—June 15, 1894
We must pass like smoke, or live within the spirits' fire; For we can no more than smoke unto the flame return. If our thought has changed to dream, or will into desire, As smoke we vanish o'er the fires that burn.
Lights of infinite pity star the grey dusk of our days; Surely here is soul; with it we have eternal breath; In the fire of love we live or pass by many ways, By unnumbered ways of dream to death.
—July 15, 1894
The Man to the Angel
I have wept a million tears; Pure and proud one, where are thine? What the gain of all your years That undimmed in beauty shine?
All your beauty cannot win Truth we learn in pain and sighs; You can never enter in To the Circle of the Wise.
They are but the slaves of light Who have never known the gloom, And between the dark and bright Willed in freedom their own doom.
Think not in your pureness there That our pain but follows sin; There are fires for those who dare Seek the Throne of Might to win.
Pure one, from your pride refrain; Dark and lost amid the strife, I am myriad years of pain Nearer to the fount of life.
When defiance fierce is thrown At the God to whom you bow, Rest the lips of the Unknown Tenderest upon the brow.
—September 15, 1894
Songs of Olden Magic—II.
The Robing of the King —"His candle shined upon my head, and by his light I walked through darkness."—Job, xxix. 3
On the bird of air blue-breasted glint the rays of gold, And a shadowy fleece above us waves the forest old, Far through rumorous leagues of midnight stirred by breezes warm. See the old ascetic yonder, Ah, poor withered form! Where he crouches wrinkled over by unnumbered years Through the leaves the flakes of moonfire fall like phantom tears. At the dawn a kingly hunter passed proud disdain, Like a rainbow-torrent scattered flashed his royal train. Now the lonely one unheeded seeks earth's caverns dim, Never king or princes will robe them radiantly as him. Mid the deep enfolding darkness, follow him, oh seer, While the arrow will is piercing fiery sphere on sphere. Through the blackness leaps and sparkles gold and amethyst, Curling, jetting and dissolving in a rainbow mist. In the jewel glow and lunar radiance rise there One, a morning star in beauty, young, immortal, fair. Sealed in heavy sleep, the spirit leaves its faded dress, Unto fiery youth returning out of weariness. Music as for one departing, joy as for a king, Sound and swell, and hark! above him cymbals triumphing. Fire an aureole encircling suns his brow with gold Like to one who hails the morning on the mountains old. Open mightier vistas changing human loves to scorns, And the spears of glory pierce him like a Crown of Thorns. As the sparry rays dilating o'er his forehead climb Once again he knows the Dragon Wisdom of the prime. High and yet more high to freedom as a bird he springs, And the aureole outbreathing, gold and silver wings Plume the brow and crown the seraph. Soon his journey done He will pass our eyes that follow, sped beyond the sun. None may know the darker radiance, King, will there be thine. Rapt above the Light and hidden in the Dark Divine.
—September 15, 1895
Twilight a blossom grey in shadowy valleys dwells: Under the radiant dark the deep blue-tinted bells In quietness reimage heaven within their blooms, Sapphire and gold and mystery. What strange perfumes, Out of what deeps arising, all the flower-bells fling, Unknowing the enchanted odorous song they sing! Oh, never was an eve so living yet: the wood Stirs not but breathes enraptured quietude. Here in these shades the Ancient knows itself, the Soul, And out of slumber waking starts unto the goal. What bright companions nod and go along with it! Out of the teeming dark what dusky creatures flit, That through the long leagues of the island night above Come wandering by me, whispering and beseeching love,— As in the twilight children gather close and press Nigh and more nigh with shadowy tenderness, Feeling they know not what, with noiseless footsteps glide Seeking familiar lips or hearts to dream beside. Oh, voices, I would go with you, with you, away, Facing once more the radiant gateways of the day; With you, with you, what memories arise, and nigh Trampling the crowded figures of the dawn go by; Dread deities, the giant powers that warred on men Grow tender brothers and gay children once again; Fades every hate away before the Mother's breast Where all the exiles of the heart return to rest.
—July 15, 1895
In the Womb
Still rests the heavy share on the dark soil: Upon the dull black mould the dew-damp lies: The horse waits patient: from his lonely toil The ploughboy to the morning lifts his eyes.
The unbudding hedgerows, dark against day's fires, Glitter with gold-lit crystals: on the rim Over the unregarding city's spires The lonely beauty shines alone for him.
And day by day the dawn or dark enfolds, And feeds with beauty eyes that cannot see How in her womb the Mighty Mother moulds The infant spirit for Eternity.
—January 15, 1895
In the Garden of God
Within the iron cities One walked unknown for years, In his heart the pity of pities That grew for human tears
When love and grief were ended The flower of pity grew; By unseen hands 'twas tended And fed with holy dew.
Though in his heart were barred in The blooms of beauty blown; Yet he who grew the garden Could call no flower his own.
For by the hands that watered, The blooms that opened fair Through frost and pain were scattered To sweeten the dull air.
—February 15, 1895
The Breath of Light
From the cool and dark-lipped furrows breathes a dim delight Aureoles of joy encircle every blade of grass Where the dew-fed creatures silent and enraptured pass: And the restless ploughman pauses, turns, and wondering Deep beneath his rustic habit finds himself a king; For a fiery moment looking with the eyes of God Over fields a slave at morning bowed him to the sod. Blind and dense with revelation every moment flies, And unto the Mighty Mother gay, eternal, rise All the hopes we hold, the gladness, dreams of things to be. One of all they generations, Mother, hails to thee! Hail! and hail! and hail for ever: though I turn again For they joy unto the human vestures of pain. I, thy child, who went forth radiant in the golden prime Find thee still the mother-hearted through my night in time; Find in thee the old enchantment, there behind the veil Where the Gods my brothers linger, Hail! for ever, Hail!
—May 15, 1895
They bathed in the fire-flooded fountains; Life girdled them round and about; They slept in the clefts of the mountains: The stars called them forth with a shout.
They prayed, but their worship was only The wonder at nights and at days, As still as the lips of the lonely Though burning with dumbness of praise.
No sadness of earth ever captured Their spirits who bowed at the shrine; They fled to the Lonely enraptured And hid in the Darkness Divine.
At twilight as children may gather They met at the doorway of death, The smile of the dark hidden Father The Mother with magical breath.
Untold of in song or in story, In days long forgotten of men, Their eyes were yet blind with a glory Time will not remember again.
—November 15, 1895
Songs of Olden Magic—IV
"The mountain was filled with the hosts of the Tuatha de Dannan." —Old Celtic Poem
See where the auras from the olden fountain Starward aspire; The sacred sign upon the holy mountain Shines in white fire: Waving and flaming yonder o'er the snows The diamond light Melts into silver or to sapphire glows Night beyond night; And from the heaven of heavens descends on earth A dew divine. Come, let us mingle in the starry mirth Around the shrine! Enchantress, mighty mother, to our home In thee we press, Thrilled by the fiery breath and wrapt in some Vast tenderness The homeward birds uncertain o'er their nest Wheel in the dome, Fraught with dim dreams of more enraptured rest, Wheel in the dome, But gather ye to whose undarkened eyes The night is day: Leap forth, Immortals, Birds of Paradise, In bright array Robed like the shining tresses of the sun; And by his name Call from his haunt divine the ancient one Our Father Flame. Aye, from the wonder-light that wraps the star, Come now, come now; Sun-breathing Dragon, ray thy lights afar, Thy children bow; Hush with more awe the breath; the bright-browed races Are nothing worth By those dread gods from out whose awful faces The earth looks forth Infinite pity, set in calm; their vision cast Adown the years Beholds how beauty burns away at last Their children's tears. Now while our hearts the ancient quietness Floods with its tide, The things of air and fire and height no less In it abide; And from their wanderings over sea and shore They rise as one Unto the vastness and with us adore The midnight sun; And enter the innumerable All, And shine like gold, And starlike gleam in the immortals' hall, The heavenly fold, And drink the sun-breaths from the mother's lips Awhile—and then Fail from the light and drop in dark eclipse To earth again, Roaming along by heaven-hid promontory And valley dim. Weaving a phantom image of the glory They knew in Him. Out of the fulness flow the winds, their son Is heard no more, Or hardly breathes a mystic sound along The dreamy shore: Blindly they move unknowing as in trance, Their wandering Is half with us, and half an inner dance Led by the King.
—January 15, 1896
W. Q. J. *
O hero of the iron age, Upon thy grave we will not weep, Nor yet consume away in rage For thee and thy untimely sleep. Our hearts a burning silence keep.
O martyr, in these iron days One fate was sure for soul like thine: Well you foreknew but went your ways. The crucifixion is the sign, The meed of all the kingly line.
We may not mourn—though such a night Has fallen on our earthly spheres Bereft of love and truth and light As never since the dawn of years;— For tears give birth alone to tears.
One wreath upon they grave we lay (The silence of our bitter thought, Words that would scorch their hearts of clay), And turn to learn what thou has taught, To shape our lives as thine was wrought.
—April 15, 1896
[* This is unsigned but is very possibly G.W. Russell's. It was a memoriam to William Quan Judge (W.Q.J), the leader of the American and European Theosophical Societies at the time, one of the original founders of the Theosophical Society, and close co-worker with H.P. Blavatsky.]
Fron the Book of the Eagle —[St. John, i. 1-33]
In the mighty Mother's bosom was the Wise With the mystic Father in aeonian night; Aye, for ever one with them though it arise Going forth to sound its hymn of light.
At its incantation rose the starry fane; At its magic thronged the myriad race of men; Life awoke that in the womb so long had lain To its cyclic labours once again.
'Tis the soul of fire within the heart of life; From its fiery fountain spring the will and thought; All the strength of man for deeds of love or strife, Though the darkness comprehend it not.
In the mystery written here John is but the life, the seer; Outcast from the life of light, Inly with reverted sight Still he scans with eager eyes The celestial mysteries. Poet of all far-seen things At his word the soul has wings, Revelations, symbols, dreams Of the inmost light which gleams.
The winds, the stars, and the skies though wrought By the one Fire-Self still know it not; And man who moves in the twilight dim Feels not the love that encircles him, Though in heart, on bosom, and eyelids press Lips of an infinite tenderness, He turns away through the dark to roam Nor heeds the fire in his hearth and home.
They whose wisdom everywhere Sees as through a crystal air The lamp by which the world is lit, And themselves as one with it; In whom the eye of vision swells, Who have in entranced hours Caught the word whose might compels All the elemental powers; They arise as Gods from men Like the morning stars again. They who seek the place of rest Quench the blood-heat of the breast, Grow ascetic, inward turning Trample down the lust from burning, Silence in the self the will For a power diviner still; To the fire-born Self alone The ancestral spheres are known.
Unto the poor dead shadows came Wisdom mantled about with flame; We had eyes that could see the light Born of the mystic Father's might. Glory radiant with powers untold And the breath of God around it rolled.
Life that moved in the deeps below Felt the fire in its bosom glow; Life awoke with the Light allied, Grew divinely stirred, and cried: "This is the Ancient of Days within, Light that is ere our days begin.
"Every power in the spirit's ken Springs anew in our lives again. We had but dreams of the heart's desire Beauty thrilled with the mystic fire. The white-fire breath whence springs the power Flows alone in the spirit's hour."
Man arose the earth he trod, Grew divine as he gazed on God: Light in a fiery whirlwind broke Out of the dark divine and spoke: Man went forth through the vast to tread By the spirit of wisdom charioted.
There came the learned of the schools Who measure heavenly things by rules, The sceptic, doubter, the logician, Who in all sacred things precision, Would mark the limit, fix the scope, "Art thou the Christ for whom we hope? Art thou a magian, or in thee Has the divine eye power to see?" He answered low to those who came, "Not this, nor this, nor this I claim. More than the yearning of the heart I have no wisdom to impart. I am the voice that cries in him Whose heart is dead, whose eyes are dim, 'Make pure the paths where through may run The light-streams from that golden one, The Self who lives within the sun.' As spake the seer of ancient days." The voices from the earthly ways Questioned him still: "What dost thou here, If neither prophet, king nor seer? What power is kindled by they might?" "I flow before the feet of Light: I am the purifying stream. But One of whom ye have no dream, Whose footsteps move among you still, Though dark, divine, invisible. Impelled by Him, before His ways I journey, though I dare not raise Even from the ground these eyes so dim Or look upon the feet of Him."
When the dead or dreamy hours Like a mantle fall away, Wakes the eye of gnostic powers To the light of hidden day,
And the yearning heart within Seeks the true, the only friend, He who burdened with our sin Loves and loves unto the end.
Ah, the martyr of the world, With a face of steadfast peace Round whose brow the light is curled: 'Tis the Lamb with golden fleece.
So they called of old the shining, Such a face the sons of men See, and all its life divining Wake primeval fires again.
Such a face and such a glory Passed before the eyes of John, With a breath of olden story Blown from ages long agone
Who would know the God in man. Deeper still must be his glance. Veil on veil his eye must scan For the mystic signs which tell If the fire electric fell On the seer in his trance: As his way he upward wings From all time-encircled things, Flames the glory round his head Like a bird with wings outspread. Gold and silver plumes at rest: Such a shadowy shining crest Round the hero's head reveals him To the soul that would adore, As the master-power that heals him And the fount of secret lore. Nature such a diadem Places on her royal line, Every eye that looks on them Knows the Sons of the Divine.
—April 15, 1896
The Protest of Love "Those who there take refuge nevermore return."—Bhagavad Gita
Ere I lose myself in the vastness and drowse myself with the peace, While I gaze on the light and beauty afar from the dim homes of men, May I still feel the heart-pang and pity, love-ties that I would not release, May the voices of sorrow appealing call me back to their succour again.
Ere I storm with the tempest of power the thrones and dominions of old, Ere the ancient enchantment allures me to roam through the star- misty skies, I would go forth as one who has reaped well what harvest the earth may unfold: May my heart be o'erbrimmed with compassion, on my brow be the crown of the wise.
I would go as the dove from the ark sent forth with wishes and prayers To return with the paradise-blossoms that bloom in the eden of light: When the deep star-chant of the seraphs I hear in the mystical airs May I capture one tone of their joy for the sad ones discrowned in the night.
Not alone, not alone would I go to my rest in the Heart of the Love: Were I tranced in the innermost beauty, the flame of its tenderest breath, I would still hear the plaint of the fallen recalling me back from above To go down to the side of the mourners who weep in the shadow of death.
—May 15, 1896
The King Initiate "They took Iesous and scourged him."—St. John
Age after age the world has wept A joy supreme—I saw the hands Whose fiery radiations swept And burned away his earthly bands: And where they smote the living dyes Flashed like the plumes of paradise.
Their joys the heavy nations hush— A form of purple glory rose Crowned with such rays of light as flush The white peaks on their towering snows: It held the magic wand that gave Rule over earth, air, fire and wave.
What sorrow makes the white cheeks wet: The mystic cross looms shadowy dim— There where the fourfold powers have met And poured their living tides through him, The Son who hides his radiant crest To the dark Father's bosom pressed.
—June 15, 1896
The Dream of the Children
The children awoke in their dreaming While earth lay dewy and still: They followed the rill in its gleaming To the heart-light of the hill.
Its sounds and sights were forsaking The world as they faded in sleep, When they heard a music breaking Out from the heart-light deep.
It ran where the rill in its flowing Under the star-light gay With wonderful colour was glowing Like the bubbles they blew in their play.
From the misty mountain under Shot gleams of an opal star: Its pathways of rainbow wonder Rayed to their feet from afar.
From their feet as they strayed in the meadow It led through caverned aisles, Filled with purple and green light and shadow For mystic miles on miles.
The children were glad; it was lonely To play on the hill-side by day. "But now," they said, "we have only To go where the good people stray."
For all the hill-side was haunted By the faery folk come again; And down in the heart-light enchanted Were opal-coloured men.
They moved like kings unattended Without a squire or dame, But they wore tiaras splendid With feathers of starlight flame.
They laughed at the children over And called them into the heart: "Come down here, each sleepless rover: We will show you some of our art."
And down through the cool of the mountain The children sank at the call, And stood in a blazing fountain And never a mountain at all.
The lights were coming and going In many a shining strand, For the opal fire-kings were blowing The darkness out of the land.
This golden breath was a madness To set a poet on fire, And this was a cure for sadness, And that the ease of desire.
And all night long over Eri They fought with the wand of light And love that never grew weary The evil things of night.
They said, as dawn glimmered hoary, "We will show yourselves for an hour;" And the children were changed to a glory By the beautiful magic of power.
The fire-kings smiled on their faces And called them by olden names, Till they towered like the starry races All plumed with the twilight flames.
They talked for a while together, How the toil of ages oppressed; And of how they best could weather The ship of the world to its rest.
The dawn in the room was straying: The children began to blink, When they heard a far voice saying, "You can grow like that if you think!"
The sun came in yellow and gay light: They tumbled out of the cot, And half of the dream went with daylight And half was never forgot.
—July 15, 1896
The Chiefs of the Air
Their wise little heads with scorning They laid the covers between: "Do they think we stay here till morning?" Said Rory and Aileen.
When out their bright eyes came peeping The room was no longer there, And they fled from the dark world creeping Up a twilight cave of air.