The Sword Radiant

“If there was ever a thing of beauty among our race, it was the part that held the light of the star and the crash of the waves upon a rocky, inhospitable shore.”

From Ramon Elani

“The spirit of the depths spoke to me: ‘Look into your depths, pray to your depths, waken the dead.’”

“There is a desert on the moon where the dreamer sinks so deeply into the ground that she reaches hell.”— C.G. Jung

I stand upon a hill and gaze to the north, where the sky is filled with flames. The whispering trees sway gently. Urging me to wander, filling my heart with the bittersweet madness of wandering. But I have walked so long already. I have wandered and now have finished with wandering. All will happen as it has happened a thousand times. This is the curse of wandering. Again and again, the wanderer finds himself standing before monuments he cannot remember. Only that he stood he before and he will stand here again. Onward and onward he will be driven, pursued by maddening storms. The self runs but its path is only to circle the endless stones. Life and the cosmos will always be elsewhere. The beast will always be full of bitterness and hunger, as it runs across the plains. Because what it hunts is its own self.

*Who liveth alone longeth for mercy,

Maker’s mercy. Though he must traverse

Tracts of sea, sick at heart,

Trouble with oars ice-cold waters,

The ways of exile—Weird is set fast.

But I bind myself to this hill. Here I will stand until ruination. I will not find my home and my mother through movement. I will find her by digging my grave and standing within it. My mother, the moon, gazes down upon me. I can sense her light from beneath, as well. A pillar of light, extending into infinity. Where shall I seek the barrows? Where are the ancient kings buried, with all their war-gear? Where does the radiant blade shine beneath the dark earth? I know, I know.

Thus spoke such a ‘grasshopper’, old griefs in his mind,

Cold slaughters, the death of dear kinsmen.

What is there to search for that you will not find within yourself? We have buried much of ourselves with them, the dead kings. We have put aside their cruelty, their bloody masks. And yet we have torn from our hearts the beating drum of life and the cosmos. What is left of humanity? What force ever animated these sickly limbs with a sublimity to match the soaring falcon above the dusky hill? The falcon soars that he might rend the flesh and bathe himself in blood. We know, we know.

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No weary mind may stand against Weird

Nor may a wrecked will work new hope;

Wherefore, most often, those eager for fame

Bind the dark mood fast in their breasts.

If there was ever a thing of beauty among our race, it was the part that held the light of the star and the crash of the waves upon a rocky, inhospitable shore. Where has it been driven? Driven beneath the barrow, denied with the blood. For, do not mistake, the blood and the light are of the same substance. We can extinguish the one only by hiding them both in the darkest places of soul. One hand holds the fire, and the other holds a blade dripping with gore. And yet, whose blood? Our own, of course. But we are done with fathers and the things of the father. The prohibition against blood-letting is the domain of the father, as are all prohibitions and the logic of law.

There stands in the stead of staunch thanes

A towering wall wrought with worm-shapes;

The earls are off-taken by the ash-spear’s point,

That thirsty weapon. Their Weird is glorious.

Dig, then. Dig into the black and musty earth. Dig out the sparkling blade from a realm of worms and rot. The sword carried aloft, the moon shining at its apex, for I am of the moon. Never forget: “Who would be born must first destroy a world.” The sword shines in the heart of the jewel. And the one who wields it is the maker and annihilator of worlds. Hesse once wrote, “I am a star in the firmament.” The star knows not morality or mercy. Seek not, nor ask for mercy. Mercy is not a quality given from one divine thing to another, but from a master to a slave. Blazing in the void of space, the glory of the star is combustion and the gentle light that it shines upon the faces of the dreamers, who gaze up at the night sky. Gentleness we may find, perhaps forgiveness as well. But never mercy. To struggle into becoming is the fate of the world.

A wise man may grasp how ghastly it shall be

When all this world’s wealth standeth waste,

Even as now, in many places, over the earth

Walls stand, wind-beaten,

Hung with hoar-frost; ruined habitations.

The wine-halls crumble; their wielders lie

Bereft of bliss, the band all fallen

Proud by the wall.

We have come unto our kingdom and found it ashen and decayed. A lie was written somewhere. We followed a path that circled the tower but never approached the steps. So we flee to distant places. The soul is thrown beyond. The horn is heard among the standing stones upon the hill, where the wolf moans to the wind and the bear digs among the moss and roots and the hawk shrieks for slaughter. The song echoes among the bogs and watery places, where dark things slither and dim lights shine beneath the murky water. Reason has made a waste of the world and buried the flaming heart and the weeping sword. Wraiths wandering among the fallen stones speak to us of times gone by. The White Bull and the crescent blade that slit his divine throat. Even as now, even as now. Like Hesse, we are doomed to endlessly traverse the “hell of inner being.”

Where is that horse now? Where are those men? Where is the hoard-sharer?

Where is the house of the feast? Where is the hall’s uproar?

Alas, bright cup! Alas, burnished fighter!

Alas, proud prince! How that time has passed,

Dark under night’s helm, as though it never had been!

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There is no pain we cannot endure, for indeed, we carry with us the sorrows of the eternal courses of the world within us. Within the heart, all has come and gone and come again. There is no death we have not suffered. The cup is filled and drained and will be filled again. Yet here we stand, alive in a morning world, though our souls dwell in the evening. We have been raised by the Sun, in a Sun land, but we long for our mother the Moon and the icy mists of the forest in twilight. The noumenon rises like a mountain into the sky within the soul. It is not outside of us. Its fragment pulses in the moments that we truly live, like a germ of ice that brings with it the promise of a demon called the glacier that grinds down the ages of the world.

Storms break on the stone hillside,

The ground bound by driving sleet,

Winter’s wrath. Then wanness cometh,

Night’s shade spreadeth, sendeth from north

The rough hail to harry mankind.

The dead live within us. They slumber in the hidden places of the psyche. In this ancestor-less time we have sealed their tombs. And we evoke their names in a manner both crass and profane to strike out against anything as long as it is not within ourselves. There must be a surrogate for the slaughter. Those who will not battle within their hearts will seek a victim for their impotent rage. May they be buried by grains of hail, that nothing will grow from their malice and I will cast a shadow upon them from the north that will bind their vulgar tongues and feed the monster within them, who they will not fight, and who in time will make their existence an inescapable hell. And I will curse them to wander forever among the lost stones of their own fear and stupidity and self hatred. Woe unto them who run from their demons, for they will bring ruin upon ruin to the world. The creature will be fed, one way or another. One war or another. One sacrifice or another.

In the earth-realm all is crossed;

Weird’s will changeth the world.

Wealth is lent us, friends are lent us,

Man is lent, kin is lent;

All this earth’s frame shall stand empty.

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Dive down and waken the dead! Find the demon that time immemorial has twisted and generations of denial and repression has cursed. There lies your foe. Unearth the tombs, shatter the bands of iron that seal them. And the spirits, faced and bested, will fight for us, will trace the edge of the rusted blade until it shines like a beacon through the ages. And the sword held on high will burst into flames and radiate its light into the heart of the star that beats dimly within our blood. And a flame will rise in the north, where I stand upon my hill. And I will not weep for the end of a world. And I will plant the tip of my spear in the dark earth. And I will raise the sword to the moon!

*Excerpts of “The Wanderer” as translated by Michael J. Alexander


Ramon Elani

Ramon Elani holds a PhD in literature and philosophy. He is a teacher, a poet, a husband, and a father, as well as a muay thai fighter. He wanders in oak groves. He casts the runes and sings to trolls. He lives among mountains and rivers in Western New England

More of his writing can be found here. You can also support him on Patreon.


Through The Archonic Looking Glass

 

 

William Blake's America. A Prophecy, (Frontpiece) (1793)
William Blake’s America. A Prophecy, (Frontpiece) (1793)

By Michael Strojan

Because today we live in a society in which spurious realities are manufactured by the media, by governments, by big corporations, by religious groups, political groups… So I ask, in my writing, What is real? Because unceasingly we are bombarded with pseudo-realities manufactured by very sophisticated people using very sophisticated electronic mechanisms. I do not distrust their motives; I distrust their power. They have a lot of it. And it is an astonishing power: that of creating whole universes, universes of the mind. I ought to know. I do the same thing.

– Philip K. Dick, How To Build A Universe That Doesn’t Fall Apart Two Days Later

THEN

In 1945, three months after the end of the Second World War, twelve leather-bound papyrus codices where found by a local farmer in the upper Egyptian city of Nag Hammadi. What was unearthed comprised fifty two treatises possibly buried by monks of the nearby Pachomian monastery after Athanasius’ condemnation of non-canonical books in 367 C.E. Like the mythical genie in a bottle, what these texts would reveal would be nothing less than a miracle accounting for the largest cache of literature which would not only shake the foundations of academia, but also reveal the sacred literature of orthodox Christianity’s greatest threat which was long thought extinguished.

Writing in the second century, Iraneus of Lyons composed a text describing a number of Christian sects called On the Detection and Overthrow of Knowledge Falsely So Called, commonly referred to as by its Latin title, Adversus Haereses. In it he describes multiple groups that believed in salvation and transcendence by way of interior, intuitive means. These groups expressed themselves not through the language of theology or philosophy – though many were preeminent theologians – but through the medium of myth. These groups would come to be known as Gnostics.

As expressed by Philip K. Dick, the Gnostics recognized that we live in a spurious reality. This reality is flawed precisely because it was created in a flawed and absurd manner. This, naturally, would catch the ire of early Christians who interpreted the Genesis myths declaring that the world is flawed by human transgression. To them, the Gnostic position was nothing short of a blasphemy. For the Gnostics, the Creator of the world was not an omniscient and benign Godhead, but rather a lesser divine figure which they called the Demiurge (literally and perhaps ironically, “a worker for the people”). It’s from this seemingly absurd premise that we can start analyzing the structure of Gnostic as a mythic poetry of resistance.

By its basic common usage, myth refers to an imaginative and seductive lie. This derogatory qualification traces itself back to Plato was frequently employed by ancient anti-gnostic polemicists. In his attempt to discredit the reality experienced by the Gnostics, Iranaeus of Lyons:

 

“By means of specious and plausible words, they cunningly allure the simple-minded to inquire into their system; but they nevertheless clumsily destroy them, while they initiate them into their blasphemous and impious opinions respecting the Demiurge; and these simple ones are unable, even in such a matter, to distinguish falsehood from truth.” (Ad Haer I:1)1

The poetry of resistance in Gnosticism is dangerous precisely because it presents the gods as developing human beings and the reality they create as a sequence of cognitive dispositions and qualities. With the Demiurge at the top of this sequence, he Gnostics turned the rational mental faculties such as reason, intelligence and wisdom into independent entities responsible for the negative aspects of an imperfect world. These independent entities in turn create pseudo-realities which affect rational beings are the archons.

In ancient Gnosticism the archons were often linked to the celestial spheres through which descending and ascending souls must pass in generation. Differing from the Platonic perspective that “[deliverance] from fate can be achieved by mastering bodily passions and by nurturing the divine portion of the ‘self’, viz. intellect (nous), not bound up with stellar influences. ‘Gnostics’, on the other hand, tend to relate salvation to the unsolicited event of divine revelation.” 2 In short, the Gnostics planned a jail-break through attaining true knowledge about the nature of reality and the controllers.

By its basic common usage, myth refers to an imaginative and seductive lie. This derogatory qualification traces itself back to Plato was frequently employed by ancient anti-gnostic polemicists. In his attempt to discredit the reality experienced by the Gnostics, Iranaeus of Lyons:

“By means of specious and plausible words, they cunningly allure the simple-minded to inquire into their system; but they nevertheless clumsily destroy them, while they initiate them into their blasphemous and impious opinions respecting the Demiurge; and these simple ones are unable, even in such a matter, to distinguish falsehood from truth.” (Ad Haer I:1)

The chiefest ‘lie’ to Iranaeus and other heresy hunters was that the world and God could be anything but good – to the Gnostic, this god and the entire system he created was counterfeit.

 

NOW

In the twilight of Belle Époque France, Gnosticism returned to the world as an organized religion and public church. Jules-Benoit Doinel, a scholarly esotericist and spiritualist who had been a devoted researcher of Albigensianism, had a mystical experience in which he received spiritual empowerment to reconstitute the Gnostic church declaring the “Era of the Gnosis Restored” and assuming the title of Patriarch of the Gnostic Church under the mystic name of Valentin II, in homage to Valentinus, the 5th century founder of the Valentinian school of Gnosticism. Until this point, Gnosticism – or, more correctly gnosis – was only discussed primarily within the confines of academia or amongst esoteric Freemasons and Theosophists in Romantic terms. 3

The new Gnostic Church, Église Gnostique, quickly gained a number of followers with Doinel consecrating a number of bishops – both men and women – to assist in the Restauration de la Gnose. The Gnostic Restoration quickly captivated the Bohemian scene of Paris with well-known figures of the burgeoning occult scene such as Gerard Encausse, Jean Bricaud and Theodor Reuss as well as artists and literati such as Joséphin Péladan, Claude Debussy amongst others.

Central to Péladan’s vision was his idea of the artist as an explorer of themysteries; select individuals who could bring forth the divine light trapped in matter and alchemically transform it. In his manifesto, L’Art Idealiste et Mystique, he writes:

“Artist, you are a priest: Art is the great mystery and, if your effort results in a masterpiece, a ray of the divine will descend as on an altar. Artist, you are a king: Art is the true empire, if your hand draws a perfect line, the Cherubim themselves will descend to revel in their reflection. Spiritual design, a line of the soul, form of understanding, you make our dreams incarnate. Artist, you are a mage: Art is the great mystery, it only proves our immortality.”4

Mirroring the ancient Gnostics, modern Gnostic of the Restoration seeks to create beauty in a world that has become demystified and whose edifices are decaying. It challenges the nihilism of modernism and the lies of progression, seeking to new heights and experiential knowledge of the divine (γνῶσις). It is in this that the Gnostic shows their path against the archons which keep the majority of humanity trapped through the mechanisms of societal conditioning and systems of oppression. To be Gnostic is to organize the supreme jail-break and reconcile themselves with the oppression of humanity.

1 Irenaeus: Against Heresies – Book 1 (Irenaeus: Against Heresies – Book 1)

http://www.gnosis.org/library/advh1.htm

2 Fate, Providence and Astrology in Gnosticism (1): The Apocryphon of John (Fate, Providence and Astrology in Gnosticism (1): The Apocryphon of John) http://www.academia.edu/3063711/Fate_Providence_and_Astrology_in_Gnosticism_1_The_Apocryphon_of_John

3 Hoeller, S. A. (2002). Gnosticism: New light on the ancient tradition of inner knowing. Wheaton, Ill: Quest Books.

4 L’art idéaliste et mystique : doctrine de l’Ordre et du salon annuel des Roses-croix / Sar Peladan (Gallica)http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k81589t

Michael Strojan

michael stroMichael Strojan serves as Deacon to Holy Paraclete Community of the Apostolic Johannite Church in Seattle, Washington. A native Washingtonian and resident of Seattle, Michael studied psychology and social anthropology at Saint Martin’s University in Lacey, Washington. He has been described as the John Yarker of the Twenty-First Century, is a member of a number of esoteric orders and has the audacity to “learn all the things”. He has a strong passion for social justice issues and its intersection with modern Gnosticism as a path of personal and social liberation.