Showing posts with label Hades. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hades. Show all posts

Saturday, 30 December 2017

Hades - Lord of the Underworld and The Fredo of The Olympians


ZEUS
Fredo-- ah, he's got a good heart -- 
but he's week, and he's stupid, 
and this is Life and Death. 

******



ZEUS
I've always taken care of you Fredo.

HADES
Taken care of me. You're my kid brother and you take care of me.
Did you ever think about that -- did you ever once think about that? 
Send Fredo off to do this -- send Fredo off to do that! 

Let Fredo to take care of some Mickey Mouse night club somewhere! 
Send Fredo to pick somebody up at the airport! 
I'm your older brother Mike and I was stepped over!

ZEUS
That's the way Pop wanted it.

HADES
It ain't the way I wanted it! 
I can handle things, I'm smart 
-- not like everyone says --
 not dumb, smart and I want respect!



ZEUS
Fredo - you're nothing to me now.
You're not a brother, you're not a friend,
 I don't want to know you or what you do -- 
I don't want to see you at the hotels -- 
I don't want you near my house -- 
when you see our mother I want to know a day in advance, so I won't be there -- 

You understand?



Thousands of years ago, Myths were used to help frame the world of the ancients, and dictate the guidelines of their societies. Today, they are often the first stories we learn as children, iconic tales in which good and evil clash, and humanity and fantasy collide. But what is the reality behind these stories? 

From the epic tragedy of Medusa, Greek mythology's most infamous femme fatale, to Hercules, its greatest action hero, and Hades, master of the land of the dead and a god so feared no one would speak his name, explore these myths and the legendary figures who inspired them in CLASH OF THE GODS. Each episode connects ancient myths to actual historical events, as well as to events in the Bible and other cultures mythologies, gaining important historical insight from renowned scholars in search of the truth behind the legends.









(ll. 306-332) Men say that Typhaon the terrible, outrageous and lawless, was joined in love to her, the maid with glancing eyes. So she conceived and brought forth fierce offspring; first she bare Orthus the hound of Geryones, and then again she bare a second, a monster not to be overcome and that may not be described, Cerberus who eats raw flesh, the brazen-voiced hound of Hades, fifty-headed, relentless and strong. And again she bore a third, the evil-minded Hydra of Lerna, whom the goddess, white-armed Hera nourished, being angry beyond measure with the mighty Heracles. And her Heracles, the son of Zeus, of the house of Amphitryon, together with warlike Iolaus, destroyed with the unpitying sword through the plans of Athene the spoil-driver. She was the mother of Chimaera who breathed raging fire, a creature fearful, great, swift-footed and strong, who had three heads, one of a grim-eyed lion; in her hinderpart, a dragon; and in her middle, a goat, breathing forth a fearful blast of blazing fire. Her did Pegasus and noble Bellerophon slay; but Echidna was subject in love to Orthus and brought forth the deadly Sphinx which destroyed the Cadmeans, and the Nemean lion, which Hera, the good wife of Zeus, brought up and made to haunt the hills of Nemea, a plague to men. There he preyed upon the tribes of her own people and had power over Tretus of Nemea and Apesas: yet the strength of stout Heracles overcame him.



(ll. 453-491) But Rhea was subject in love to Cronos and bare splendid children, Hestia (18), Demeter, and gold-shod Hera and strong Hades, pitiless in heart, who dwells under the earth, and the loud-crashing Earth-Shaker, and wise Zeus, father of gods and men, by whose thunder the wide earth is shaken.




(ll. 644-653) `Hear me, bright children of Earth and Heaven, that I may say what my heart within me bids. A long while now have we, who are sprung from Cronos and the Titan gods, fought with each other every day to get victory and to prevail. But do you show your great might and unconquerable strength, and face the Titans in bitter strife; for remember our friendly kindness, and from what sufferings you are come back to the light from your cruel bondage under misty gloom through our counsels.'

(ll. 654-663) So he said. And blameless Cottus answered him again: `Divine one, you speak that which we know well: nay, even of ourselves we know that your wisdom and understanding is exceeding, and that you became a defender of the deathless ones from chill doom. And through your devising we are come back again from the murky gloom and from our merciless bonds, enjoying what we looked not for, O lord, son of Cronos. And so now with fixed purpose and deliberate counsel we will aid your power in dreadful strife and will fight against the Titans in hard battle.'

(ll. 664-686) So he said: and the gods, givers of good things, applauded when they heard his word, and their spirit longed for war even more than before, and they all, both male and female, stirred up hated battle that day, the Titan gods, and all that were born of Cronos together with those dread, mighty ones of overwhelming strength whom Zeus brought up to the light from Erebus beneath the earth. An hundred arms sprang from the shoulders of all alike, and each had fifty heads growing upon his shoulders upon stout limbs. These, then, stood against the Titans in grim strife, holding huge rocks in their strong hands. And on the other part the Titans eagerly strengthened their ranks, and both sides at one time showed the work of their hands and their might. The boundless sea rang terribly around, and the earth crashed loudly: wide Heaven was shaken and groaned, and high Olympus reeled from its foundation under the charge of the undying gods, and a heavy quaking reached dim Tartarus and the deep sound of their feet in the fearful onset and of their hard missiles. So, then, they launched their grievous shafts upon one another, and the cry of both armies as they shouted reached to starry heaven; and they met together with a great battle-cry.

(ll. 687-712) Then Zeus no longer held back his might; but straight his heart was filled with fury and he showed forth all his strength. From Heaven and from Olympus he came forthwith, hurling his lightning: the bold flew thick and fast from his strong hand together with thunder and lightning, whirling an awesome flame. The life-giving earth crashed around in burning, and the vast wood crackled loud with fire all about. All the land seethed, and Ocean's streams and the unfruitful sea. The hot vapour lapped round the earthborn Titans: flame unspeakable rose to the bright upper air: the flashing glare of the thunder- stone and lightning blinded their eyes for all that there were strong. Astounding heat seized Chaos: and to see with eyes and to hear the sound with ears it seemed even as if Earth and wide Heaven above came together; for such a mighty crash would have arisen if Earth were being hurled to ruin, and Heaven from on high were hurling her down; so great a crash was there while the gods were meeting together in strife. Also the winds brought rumbling earthquake and duststorm, thunder and lightning and the lurid thunderbolt, which are the shafts of great Zeus, and carried the clangour and the warcry into the midst of the two hosts. An horrible uproar of terrible strife arose: mighty deeds were shown and the battle inclined. But until then, they kept at one another and fought continually in cruel war.

(ll. 713-735) And amongst the foremost Cottus and Briareos and Gyes insatiate for war raised fierce fighting: three hundred rocks, one upon another, they launched from their strong hands and overshadowed the Titans with their missiles, and buried them beneath the wide-pathed earth, and bound them in bitter chains when they had conquered them by their strength for all their great spirit, as far beneath the earth to Tartarus. For a brazen anvil falling down from heaven nine nights and days would reach the earth upon the tenth: and again, a brazen anvil falling from earth nine nights and days would reach Tartarus upon the tenth. Round it runs a fence of bronze, and night spreads in triple line all about it like a neck-circlet, while above grow the roots of the earth and unfruitful sea. There by the counsel of Zeus who drives the clouds the Titan gods are hidden under misty gloom, in a dank place where are the ends of the huge earth. And they may not go out; for Poseidon fixed gates of bronze upon it, and a wall runs all round it on every side. There Gyes and Cottus and great-souled Obriareus live, trusty warders of Zeus who holds the aegis.

(ll. 736-744) And there, all in their order, are the sources and ends of gloomy earth and misty Tartarus and the unfruitful sea and starry heaven, loathsome and dank, which even the gods abhor.

It is a great gulf, and if once a man were within the gates, he would not reach the floor until a whole year had reached its end, but cruel blast upon blast would carry him this way and that. And this marvel is awful even to the deathless gods.

(ll. 744-757) There stands the awful home of murky Night wrapped in dark clouds. In front of it the son of Iapetus (22) stands immovably upholding the wide heaven upon his head and unwearying hands, where Night and Day draw near and greet one another as they pass the great threshold of bronze: and while the one is about to go down into the house, the other comes out at the door.

And the house never holds them both within; but always one is without the house passing over the earth, while the other stays at home and waits until the time for her journeying come; and the one holds all-seeing light for them on earth, but the other holds in her arms Sleep the brother of Death, even evil Night, wrapped in a vaporous cloud.

(ll. 758-766) And there the children of dark Night have their dwellings, Sleep and Death, awful gods. The glowing Sun never looks upon them with his beams, neither as he goes up into heaven, nor as he comes down from heaven. And the former of them roams peacefully over the earth and the sea's broad back and is kindly to men; but the other has a heart of iron, and his spirit within him is pitiless as bronze: whomsoever of men he has once seized he holds fast: and he is hateful even to the deathless gods.

(ll. 767-774) There, in front, stand the echoing halls of the god of the lower-world, strong Hades, and of awful Persephone. A fearful hound guards the house in front, pitiless, and he has a cruel trick. On those who go in he fawns with his tail and both is ears, but suffers them not to go out back again, but keeps watch and devours whomsoever he catches going out of the gates of strong Hades and awful Persephone.

(ll. 775-806) And there dwells the goddess loathed by the deathless gods, terrible Styx, eldest daughter of back-flowing (23) Ocean. She lives apart from the gods in her glorious house vaulted over with great rocks and propped up to heaven all round with silver pillars. Rarely does the daughter of Thaumas, swift- footed Iris, come to her with a message over the sea's wide back.

But when strife and quarrel arise among the deathless gods, and when any of them who live in the house of Olympus lies, then Zeus sends Iris to bring in a golden jug the great oath of the gods from far away, the famous cold water which trickles down from a high and beetling rock. Far under the wide-pathed earth a branch of Oceanus flows through the dark night out of the holy stream, and a tenth part of his water is allotted to her. With nine silver-swirling streams he winds about the earth and the sea's wide back, and then falls into the main (24); but the tenth flows out from a rock, a sore trouble to the gods. For whoever of the deathless gods that hold the peaks of snowy Olympus pours a libation of her water is forsworn, lies breathless until a full year is completed, and never comes near to taste ambrosia and nectar, but lies spiritless and voiceless on a strewn bed: and a heavy trance overshadows him. But when he has spent a long year in his sickness, another penance and an harder follows after the first. For nine years he is cut off from the eternal gods and never joins their councils of their feasts, nine full years. But in the tenth year he comes again to join the assemblies of the deathless gods who live in the house of Olympus. Such an oath, then, did the gods appoint the eternal and primaeval water of Styx to be: and it spouts through a rugged place.

(ll. 807-819) And there, all in their order, are the sources and ends of the dark earth and misty Tartarus and the unfruitful sea and starry heaven, loathsome and dank, which even the gods abhor.

And there are shining gates and an immoveable threshold of bronze having unending roots and it is grown of itself (25). And beyond, away from all the gods, live the Titans, beyond gloomy Chaos. But the glorious allies of loud-crashing Zeus have their dwelling upon Ocean's foundations, even Cottus and Gyes; but Briareos, being goodly, the deep-roaring Earth-Shaker made his son-in-law, giving him Cymopolea his daughter to wed.

(ll. 820-868) But when Zeus had driven the Titans from heaven, huge Earth bare her youngest child Typhoeus of the love of Tartarus, by the aid of golden Aphrodite. Strength was with his hands in all that he did and the feet of the strong god were untiring. From his shoulders grew an hundred heads of a snake, a fearful dragon, with dark, flickering tongues, and from under the brows of his eyes in his marvellous heads flashed fire, and fire burned from his heads as he glared. And there were voices in all his dreadful heads which uttered every kind of sound unspeakable; for at one time they made sounds such that the gods understood, but at another, the noise of a bull bellowing aloud in proud ungovernable fury; and at another, the sound of a lion, relentless of heart; and at anothers, sounds like whelps, wonderful to hear; and again, at another, he would hiss, so that the high mountains re-echoed. And truly a thing past help would have happened on that day, and he would have come to reign over mortals and immortals, had not the father of men and gods been quick to perceive it. But he thundered hard and mightily: and the earth around resounded terribly and the wide heaven above, and the sea and Ocean's streams and the nether parts of the earth. Great Olympus reeled beneath the divine feet of the king as he arose and earth groaned thereat. And through the two of them heat took hold on the dark-blue sea, through the thunder and lightning, and through the fire from the monster, and the scorching winds and blazing thunderbolt. The whole earth seethed, and sky and sea: and the long waves raged along the beaches round and about, at the rush of the deathless gods: and there arose an endless shaking. Hades trembled where he rules over the dead below, and the Titans under Tartarus who live with Cronos, because of the unending clamour and the fearful strife. So when Zeus had raised up his might and seized his arms, thunder and lightning and lurid thunderbolt, he leaped form Olympus and struck him, and burned all the marvellous heads of the monster about him. But when Zeus had conquered him and lashed him with strokes, Typhoeus was hurled down, a maimed wreck, so that the huge earth groaned. And flame shot forth from the thunder- stricken lord in the dim rugged glens of the mount (26), when he was smitten. A great part of huge earth was scorched by the terrible vapour and melted as tin melts when heated by men's art in channelled (27) crucibles; or as iron, which is hardest of all things, is softened by glowing fire in mountain glens and melts in the divine earth through the strength of Hephaestus (28). Even so, then, the earth melted in the glow of the blazing fire. And in the bitterness of his anger Zeus cast him into wide Tartarus.

(ll. 869-880) And from Typhoeus come boisterous winds which blow damply, except Notus and Boreas and clear Zephyr. These are a god-sent kind, and a great blessing to men; but the others blow fitfully upon the seas. Some rush upon the misty sea and work great havoc among men with their evil, raging blasts; for varying with the season they blow, scattering ships and destroying sailors. And men who meet these upon the sea have no help against the mischief. Others again over the boundless, flowering earth spoil the fair fields of men who dwell below, filling them with dust and cruel uproar.

(ll. 881-885) But when the blessed gods had finished their toil, and settled by force their struggle for honours with the Titans, they pressed far-seeing Olympian Zeus to reign and to rule over them, by Earth's prompting. So he divided their dignities amongst them.

Friday, 22 December 2017

The Man Who Isn't Quite There




Ethros Demon: 
I am Ethros. 
I corrupted the spirits of men before they had speech to name me. 
The child was but the last among tens of thousands. One more pure heart to corrupt, one more soul to suck dry.

Wesley Wyndam-Pryce: 
Well chalk up one exciting failure. You didn't get that boy's soul.

Ethros Demon: 

Hmph. What soul? 


Do you know what the most frightening thing in the world is? 

Nothing. 

That's what I found in the boy. 
No conscience, no fear, no humanity. 

Just a black void. 
I couldn't control him. 

I couldn't get out. 

I never even manifested until you brought me forth. 


I just sat there and watched as he destroyed everything around him, not for a belief in evil, not for any reason at all. 

That boy's mind was the blackest hell I've ever known.

Angel: 
The marbles. That was you.


Ethros Demon: 
When he slept, I could whisper in him. 
I tried to get him to end his life, even if it meant ending mine.

Angel: 
You sleepwalked him in front of the car.

Ethros Demon: 

I had given up... hope. 

I know you bring death, I do not fear it. 

The only thing I've ever feared is... in that house.






“On my 40th Birthday, rather than merely bore my friends by having anything as mundane as a midlife crisis, I decided it might be more interesting to terrify them, by going completely mad, and declaring myself as a magician. This had been something that had been coming for a while. 

It seemed to be a logical end step in my career as a writer, and the problem is that with magic, being in many respects a science of language, you have to be very careful of what you say. 

Because if you suddenly declare yourself to be a magician, without any knowledge of what that entails, then one day you are likely to wake up and to discover that is exactly what you are.

There is some confusion as to what magic actually is. I think this can be cleared up if you just look at the very earliest descriptions of magic. Magic in its earliest form is often referred to as “the art”. I believe this is completely literal. I believe that magic IS art, and that art, whether it be writing, music, sculpture, or any other form, IS literally magic. Art is, like magic, the science of manipulating symbols, words, or images, to achieve changes in consciousness. 

The very language of magic seems to be talking as much about writing or art, as it about supernatural events. A “Grimoire” for example, “the book of spells”, is simply a fancy way of saying “grammar”. Indeed, to cast a spell, is simply “to spell”, to manipulate words, to change people’s consciousness. And I believe that this is why an artist or a writer is the closest thing, in the contemporary world, you are likely to see to a shaman.
I believe that all culture must have arisen from cult. Originally, all of the facets of our culture, whether they be in the arts or the sciences, were the providence of the shaman. The fact that in present times, this magical power has degenerated to the level of cheap entertainment and manipulation is, I think, a tragedy. At the moment, the people who are using shamanism and magic to shape our culture are advertisers. Rather than trying to wake people up, THEIR shamanism is used as an opiate, to tranquilize people, to make people more manipulable Their “magic box” of television, and by their “magic words”, their jingles, can cause everybody in the country to be thinking the same words, and have the same banal thoughts, all at exactly the same moment…

In all of magic, there is an incredibly large linguistic component. The “Bardic” tradition of magic would place a Bard as being much higher and more fearsome than a magician. A magician might curse you, That might make your hands lay funny, or you might have a child born with a clubbed food. If a bard were to place, not a curse upon you, but a satire, that could destroy you. If it was a clever satire, it might not just destroy you in the eyes of your associates, it would destroy you in the eyes of your family. It would destroy you in your own eyes. And if it was a (extremely) finely worded and clever satire, that might survive and be remembered for decades, even centuries, then years after you were dead, people still might be reading it, and laughing… at you, your wretchedness, and absurdity. 

Writers, and people who had command of words were respected and feared, (just) as people who manipulated magic.
In latter times, I think the artists and writers have allowed themselves to be ‘sold down the river’ :-They have ACCEPTED the prevailing belief that art, that writing, are merely forms of entertainment. 

They’re not seen as transformative forces… that can change a human being, that can change a society. 

They are seen as simple entertainment Things with which we can fill 20 minutes, half an hour, while we’re waiting to die…

It is not the job of the artist to give the audience what the audience WANTS.

If the audience knew what they needed, then they wouldn’t be the audience. 

They would be The artist.

It is the job of artists to give the audience what they NEED.
My career as a magician continues to evolve. Since I, to a certain degree, believe art and magic to be interchangeable, it has seemed only natural that art should be the means by which I express magical ideas. This has found its way into my prose writing, in works such as “Voice of the Fire”, and probably most visibly has found its way into the performance pieces that i’ve done in various locations over the past 8 years. Beautiful little psychedelic artifacts in their own right, which actually capture the kind of narrative journey that we’ve tried to take the readers on as part of these performances; to overwhelm the sensibilities of the audience; to tip them over into a kind of psychedelic state where we can hopefully actually change their consciousness and direct it to different places, different levels, hopefully into new and magical spaces.

When we are doing the will of our True Self, we are inevitably doing the Will of the Universe. 

In Magick these are seen as indistinguishable; that Every human soul is in fact One human soul. 

It is the soul of the Universe itself, and as long as you are doing the Will of the Universe, then it is impossible to do anything wrong.

The one place in which Gods and Demons inarguably exist is in the human mind, where they are real in all their grandeur and monstrosity

Much of magick, as I understand it in the Western occult tradition, is a search for the Self, with a capital ‘S’. This is understood as being The ‘Great Work’, as being the Gold the Alchemists sought, as being the Will, the Soul, the thing that we have inside us that is behind the intellect, the body, the dreams. The “inner dynamo of us” if you like.

Now this is the Single. Most. Important. Thing. that we can ever attain, the knowledge of our own Self. And yet, there are a frightening amount of people who seem to have the urge to, not just IGNORE the self, but actually seem to have the urge to OBLITERATE themselves. This is horrific… but you can almost understand the desire to simply “wipe out” that awareness, because it’s too much of a responsibility to actually POSSESS such a thing as a “soul”. Such a precious thing. ‘What if you break it? What if you lose it?’ Mightn’t it be best to anaesthetize it, to deaden it, to destroy it, to not have to live with the pain of struggling towards it and trying to keep it pure. I think that the way that people immerse themselves in alcohol, in drugs, in television, in any of the addictions that our culture throws up, can be seen as a deliberate attempt to destroy any connection between themselves and the responsibility of accepting and owning a higher Self, and then having to maintain it.


I’ve been looking at the history of magical thinking, and where it starts to go wrong. And, for my money, where it starts to go wrong is “monotheism”. I mean, if you look at the history of magic, you’ve got its origins in the caves, you’ve got its origins in shamanism, in animism, in a belief that everything around you (every tree, every rock, every animal) was inhabited by some sort of ‘essence’, some sort of spirit, that could perhaps be communicated with. You would have had some central shaman or visionary who would have been responsible for channeling ideas that were useful for survival. By the time you have reached the classical civilizations, you can see that this has formalized to a degree. The shaman was acting purely as an intermediary between the spirits and the people. He was, in his position in the village or community, I should imagine very much like a spiritual plumber. 

The people in the group would have had their own roles.. The person who was best at hunting would’ve been a hunter. The person who was best at talking to the spirits, perhaps because he or she was a bit crazy, a bit detached from our normal, material World, then they would have been the Shaman. 

They would not have been the masters of a ‘sacred craft’. They would have simply been dispensing their information throughout the community because it was believed to be helpful to the community.

When you get the actual classical cultures emerging, this has been formalized so that you’ve now got pantheons of gods, and each of those gods have a priest caste, that will act (to a certain degree) as intermediaries, who will instruct you in the worship of that god. So the relationship between ‘humans and their gods’, which could be seen a relationship between ‘humans & their highest Selves’, that was still a very direct one… When Christianity & monotheism comes in, then all of a sudden you’ve got a priest caste moving between the worshipper and the object of worship. You’ve got a priest caste becoming a kind of ‘spiritual middle management’ between humanity and the divine within itself that it is seeking. You no longer have a direct relationship with the godhead. The Priests don’t really necessarily have a direct relationship with the godhead. 

They’ve just got a book that tells you about some people who lived a long time ago who DID have a direct relationship with the godhead… and that’s alright.  

“You don’t need to have miraculous visions. You don’t need to have gods talking to you. In fact if you do have any of that stuff, you’re probably insane.” 

 In the modern world, that stuff doesn’t happen. 

The only people who are allowed to talk to gods, and in a very kind of one-sided way, are priests…
Monotheism, to me, is a great simplification. I mean, the Kabbalah has a great mulitiplicity of gods, but at the very top of the Kabbalistic diagram —the tree of life—who have this one sphere that is absolute God. The Monad. Something that is indivisible, you know? And all of the other gods, and indeed everything else in the Universe, is a kind of emanation of that God. Now that’s fine, but it’s when you suggest that there is ‘only that one God’, at this kind of unreachable height above humanity, and there is nothing in between, you’re limiting and simplifying the thing… I mean I tend to think of Paganism as a kind of alphabet, as a language. It’s like all of the Gods are letters in this alphabet. They express nuances, shades of meaning, or certain subtleties of ideas. Whereas monotheism tends to be just one vowel, and it’s just something like “ooooh”. It’s like this monkey sound. 

You can almost imagine the Gods becoming frustrated, contemptuous.. that with all this richness of spiritual concepts that are available, why reduce it to one plaintive single note that the utterer does not even understand?


The alchemists had two components to their philosophy. These were the principles of “solve” and “coagula”.
 

Solve was basically the equivalent of ‘analysis’. It was taking things apart to see how they worked. [Breaking].  

Coagula was basically ‘synthesis’. It was trying to put the disassembled pieces back together so that they worked more efficiently.

These are two very important principles which can be applied to almost anything in culture. Recently in literature, for example, there has been a wave of post-modernism, deconstructionism. This is Solve. Perhaps it’s time, in the arts, for a little more Coagula. Having deconstructed everything, perhaps we really should be starting to think about putting everything back together.
Spiritualism was the natural state of human thinking up until the Renaissance and the subsequent age of reason that grew out of it. Our original way of seeing the world, was as a place entirely inhabited by spirits, where everything had its indwelling essence, where everything was, in some sense, sacred, including ourselves. The age of reason changed all that. While it’s inarguable that Reason brought many great benefits, and was a necessary stage of our development, unfortunately this lead to materialism, where the physical material world was seen as the be-all and end-all of existence, where inevitably, we are seen as creatures that have no spiritual dimensions, that have no souls, in a soulless Universe of dead matter…”

Monday, 18 December 2017

Bhakti Yoga



"In Aleister Crowley's work entitled Astarte vel Liber Berylli sub-figura CLXXV, he advocates a form of yoga called Bhakti or love yoga, where one devotes oneself to a particular deity and establishes a loving relationship with it. 

It is originally a Hindu form of yoga, and it is quite interesting from a magickal perspective. The idea is that you form a particular bond with a God, Goddess or Spirit and practice everything in your life in the context of this bond.

I think this form of yoga is particularly appropriate when discussing Hecate, as she has the characteristics and qualities of a Goddess to whom you devote yourself rather than a simple Spirit you evoke for a specific task. 

Although I haven't written about it in this book, I would like to suggest to those interested in Hecate and magick involving the Goddess to research Bhakti yoga also. 

Some of the principles and practices of Bhakti yoga are very complementary to evoking and working with Goddesses in a magickal context, as it seems that devotion and love come very natural to us when encountering these beings. 

After all, Hecate is the Greek Goddess of magick and, therefore, the patroness of all magicians.



vel
Liber BERYLLI
sub figura CLXXV

A.·. A.·.
Publication in Class B.
Imprimatur:
N. Fra A.·. A.·.

0. This is the Book of Uniting Himself to a particular Deity by devotion.
  1. Considerations before the Threshold. First concerning the choice of a particular Deity. This matter is of no import, sobeit that thou choose one suited to thine own highest nature. Howsoever, this method is not so suitable for gods austere as Saturn, or intellectual as Thoth. But for such deities as in themselves partake in anywise of love it is a perfect mode. 
  2. Concerning the prime method of this Magick Art. Let the devotee consider well that although Christ and Osiris be one, yet the former is to be worshipped with Christian, and the latter with Egyptian rites. And this although the rites themselves are ceremonially equivalent. There should, however, be one symbol declaring the transcending of such limitations; and with regard to the Deity also, there should be some one affirmation of his identity both with all other similar gods of other nations, and with the Supreme of whom all are but partial reflections. 
  3. Concerning the chief place of devotion. This is the Heart of the Devotee, and should be symbolically represented by that room or spot which he loves best. And the dearest spot therein shall be the shrine of his temple. It is most convenient if this shrine and altar should be sequestered in woods, or in a private grove, or garden. But let it be protected from the profane. 
  4. Concerning the Image of the Deity. Let there be an image of the Deity; first because in meditation there is mindfulness induced thereby; and second because a certain power enters and inhabits it by virtue of the ceremonies; or so it is said, and We deny it not. Let this image be the most beautiful and perfect which the devotee is able to procure; or if he be able to paint or to carve the same, it is all the better. As for Deities with whose nature no Image is compatible, let them be worshipped in an empty shrine. Such are Brahma, and Allah. Also some postcaptivity conceptions of Jehovah. 
  5. Further concerning the shrine. Let this shrine be furnished approÿriately as to its ornaments, according to the book 777. With ivy and pine-cones, that is to say, for Bacchus, and let lay before him both grapes and wine. So also for Ceres let there be corn, and cakes; or for Diana moon-wort and pale herbs, and pure water. Further it is well to support the shrine with talismans of the planets, signs and elements appropriate. But these should be made according to the right Ingenium of the Philosophus by the light of the Book 777 during the course of his Devotion. It is also well, nevertheless, if a magick circle with the right signs and names be made beforehand. 
  6. Concerning the Ceremonies. Let the Philosophus prepare a powerful Invocation of the particular Deity according to his Ingenium. But let it consist of these several parts:
    First, an Imprecation, as of a slave unto his Lord.
    Second, an Oath, as of a vassal to his Liege.
    Third, a Memorial, as of a child to his Parent.
    Fourth, an Orison, as of a Priest unto his God.
    Fifth, a Colloquy, as of a Brother with his Brother.
    Sixth, a Conjuration, as to a Friend with his Friend.
    Seventh, a Madrigal, as of a Lover to his Mistress.
    And mark well that the first should be of awe, the second of fealty, the third of dependence, the fourth of adoration, the fifth of confidence, the sixth of comradeship, the seventh of passion. 
  7. Further concerning the ceremonies. Let then this Invocation be the principal part of an ordered ceremony. And in this ceremony let the Philosophus in no wise neglect the service of a menial. Let him sweep and garnish the place, sprinkling it with water or with wine as is appropriate to the particular Deity, and consecrating it with oil, and with such ritual as may seem him best. And let all be done with intensity and minuteness. 
  8. Concerning the period of devotion, and the hours thereof. Let a fixed period be set for the worship; and it is said that the least time is nine days by seven, and the greatest seven years by nine. And concerning the hours, let the Ceremony be performed every day thrice, or at least once, and let the sleep of the Philosophus be broken for some purpose of devotion at least once in every night.
    Now to some it may seem best to appoint fixed hours for the ceremony, to others it may seem that the ceremony should be performed as the spirit moves them so to do: for this there is no rule.
  9. Concerning the Robes and Instruments. The Wand and Cup are to be chosen for this Art; never the Sword or Dagger, never the Pantacle, unless that Pantacle chance to be of a nature harmonious. But even so it is best to keep the Wand and Cup, and if one must choose, the Cup.
    For the Robes, that of a Philosoÿhus, or that of an Adept Within is most suitable; or, the robe best fitted for the service of the particular Deity, as a bassara for Bacchus, a white robe for Vesta. So also, for Vesta, one might use for instrument the Lamp; or the sickle, for Chronos. 
  10. Concerning the Incense and Libations. The incense should follow the nature of the particular Deity; as, mastic for Mercury, dittany for Persephone. Also the libations, as, a decoction of nightshade for Melancholia, or of Indian hemp for Uranus. 
  11. Concerning the harmony of the ceremonies. Let all these things be rightly considered, and at length, in language of the utmost beauty at the command of the Philosophus, accompanied, if he has skill, by music, and interwoven, if the particular Deity be jocund, with dancing. And all being carefully prepared and rehearsed, let it be practised daily until it be wholly rhythmical with his aspiration, and as it were, a part of his being. 
  12. Concerning the variety of the ceremonies. Now, seeing that every man differeth essentially from every other man, albeit in essence he is identical, let also these ceremonies assert their identity by their diversity. For this reason do We leave much herein to the right Ingenium of the Philosophus. 
  13. Concerning the life of the devotee. First, let his way of life be such as is pleasing to the particular Deity. Thus to invoke Neptune, let him go a-fishing; but if Hades, let him not approach the water that is hateful to Him. 
  14. Further, concerning the life of the devotee. Let him cut away from his life any act, word, or thought, that is hateful to the particular Deity; as, unchastity in the case of Artemis, evasions in the case of Ares. Besides this, he should avoid all harshness or unkindness of any kind in thought, word, or deed, seeing that above the particular Deity is One in whom all is One. Yet also he may deliberately practise cruelties, where the particular Deity manifests His Love in that manner, as in the case of Kali, and of Pan. And therefore, before the beginning of his period of devotion, let him practise according to the rules of Liber Jugorum. 
  15. Further concerning the life of the devotee. Now, as many are fully occupied with their affairs, let it be known that this method is adaptable to the necessities of all.
    And We bear witness that this which followeth is the Crux and Quintessence of the whole Method.
    First, if he have no Image, let him take anything soever, and consecrate it as an Image of his God. Likewise with his robes and instruments, his suffumigations and libations: for his Robe hath he not a nightdress; for his instrument a walking stick; for his suffumigation a burning match; for his libation a glass of water?
    But let him consecrate each thing that he useth to the service of that particular Deity, and not profane the same to any other use. 
  16. Continuation. Next, concerning his time, if it be short. Let him labour mentally upon his Invocation, concentrating it, and let him perform this Invocation in his heart whenever he hath the leisure. And let him seize eagerly upon every opportunity for this. 
  17. Continuation. Third, even if he have leisure and preparation, let him seek ever to bring inward the symbols, so that even in his well ordered shrine the whole ceremony revolve inwardly in his heart, that is to say in the temple of his body, of which the outer temple is but an image. For in the brain is the shrine, and there is no Image therein; and the breath of man is the incense and the libation. 
  18. Continuation. Further concerning occupation. Let the devotee transmute within the alembic of his heart every thought, or word, or act into the spiritual gold of his devotion.
    As thus: eating. Let him say: "I eat this food in gratitude to my Deity that hath sent it to me, in order to gain strength for my devotion to Him."
    Or: sleeping. Let him say: "I lie down to sleep, giving thanks for this blessing from my Deity, in order that I may be refreshed for new devotion to Him."
    Or: reading. Let him say: "I read this book that I may study the nature of my Deity, that further knowledge of Him may inspire me with deeper devotion to Him."
    Or: working. Let him say: "I drive my spade into the earth that fresh flowers (fruit, or what not) may spring up to His glory, and that I, purified by toil, may give better devotion to Him."
    Or: whatever it may be that he is doing, let him reason it out in his own mind, drawing it through circumstance and circumstance to that one end and conclusion of the matter. And let him not perform the act until he hath done this.
    As it is written: Liber VII, cap. v. --- 
    22. Every breath, every word, every thought is an
    act of love with thee.
    23. The beat of my heart is the pendulum of love.
    24. The songs of me are the soft sighs:
    25. The thoughts of me are very rapture:
    26. And my deeds are the myriads of Thy Children,
    the stars and the atoms.
    And Remember Well, that if thou wert in truth a lover, all this wouldst thou do of thine own nature without the slightest flaw or failure in the minutest part thereof. 
  19. Concerning the Lections. Let the Philosoÿhus read solely in his copies of the holy books of Thelema, during the whole period of his devotion. But if he weary, then let him read books which have no part whatever in love, as for recreation.
    But let him copy out each verse of Thelema which bears upon this matter, and ponder them, and comment thereupon. For therein is a wisdom and a magic too deep to utter in any other wise. 
  20. Concerning the Meditations. Herein is the most potent method of attaining unto the End, for him who is thoroughly prepared, being purified by the practice of the Transmutation of deed into devotion, and consecrated by the right performance of the holy ceremonies. Yet herein is danger, for that the Mind is fluid as quicksilver, and bordereth upon the Abyss, and is beset by many sirens and devils that seduce and attack it to destroy it. Therefore let the devotee beware, and precise accurately his meditations, even as a man should build a canal from sea to sea. 
  21. Continuation. Let then the Philosophus meditate upon all love that hath ever stirred him. There is the love of David and of Jonathan, and the love of Abraham and Isaac, and the love of Lear and Cordelia, and the love of Damon and Pythias, and the love of Sappho and Atthis, and the love of Romeo and Juliet, and the love of Dante and Beatrice, and the love of Paolo and Francesca, and the love of Caesar and Lucrezia Borgia, and the love of Aucassin and Nicolette, and the love of Daphnis and Chloe, and the love of Cornelia and Caius Gracchus, and the love of Bacchus and Ariadne, and the love of Cupid and Psyche, and the love of Endymion and Artemis, and the love of Demeter and Persephone, and the love of Venus and Adonis, and the love of Lakshmi and Vishnu, and the love of Siva and Bhavani, and the love of Buddha and Ananda, and the love of Jesus and John, and many more.
    Also there is the love of many saints for their particular deity, as of St. Francis of Assisi for Christ, of Sri Sabhapaty Swami for Maheswara, of Abdullah Haji Shirazi for Allah, of St Ignatius Loyola for Mary, and many more.
    Now do thou take one such story every night, and enact it in thy mind, grasping each identity with infinite care and zest, and do thou figure thyself as one of the lovers and thy Deity as the other. Thus do thou pass through all adventures of love, not omitting one; and to each do thou conclude: How pale a reflection is this of my love for this Deity!
    Yet from each shalt thou draw some knowledge of love, some intimacy with love, that shall aid thee to perfect thy love. Thus learn the humility of love from one, its obedience from another, its intensity from a third, its purity from a fourth, its peace from yet a fifth.
    So then thy love being made perfect, it shall be worthy of that perfect love of His. 
  22. Further concerning meditation. Moreover let the Philosophus imagine to himself that he hath indeed succeeded in his devotion, and that his Lord hath appeared to him, and that they converse as may be fitting. 
  23. Concerning the Mysterious Triangle. Now then as three cords separately may be broken by a child, while those same cords duly twisted may bind a giant, let the Philosophus learn to entwine these three methods of Magic into a Spell.
    To this end let him understand that as they are One, because the end is one, so are they One because the method is One, even the method of turning the mind toward the particular Deity by love in every act.
    And lest thy twine slip, here is a little cord that wrappeth tightly round and round all, even the Mantram or Continuous Prayer. 
  24. Concerning the Mantram or Continuous Prayer. Let the Philosophus weave the Name of the Particular Deity into a sentence short and rhythmical, as, for Artemis: epsilon-pi-epsilon-lambda-theta-omicron-nu, epsilon-pi-epsilon-lambda-theta-omicron-nu, Alpha-rho-tau-epsilon-mu-iota-sigma; or, for Shiva: Namo Shivaya namaha Aum; or, for Mary: Ave Maria; or for Pan, chi-alpha-iota-rho-epsilon Sigma-omega-tau-eta-rho kappa-omicron-sigma-mu-omicron-upsilon, Iota-omega Pi-alpha-nu, Iota-omega Pi-alpha-nu; or, for Allah: Hua Allahu alazi lailaha illa Hua.
    Let him repeat this day and night without cessation mechanically in his brain, which is thus made ready for the advent of that Lord, and armed against all other. 
  25. Concerning the Active and the Passive. Let the Philosophus change from the active love of his particular Deity to a state of passive waiting, even almost a repulsion, the repulsion not of distaste, but of sublime modesty.
    As it is written, Liber LXV.ii.59. I have called unto Thee, and I have journeyed unto Thee, and it availed me not. 60. I waited patiently, and Thou wast with me from the beginning.
    Then let him change back to the Active, until a veritable rhythm is established between the states, as it were the swinging of a Pendulum. But let him reflect that a vast intelligence is required for this; for he must stand as it were almost without himself to watch those phases of himself, And to do this is a high Art, and pertaineth not altogether to the grade of Philosoÿhus. Neither is it of itself helpful, but rather the reverse, in this especial practice. 
  26. Concerning silence. Now there may come a time in the course of this practice when the outward symbols of devotion cease, when the soul is as it were dumb in the presence of its God. Mark that this is not a cessation, but a transmutation of the barren seed of prayer into the green shoot of yearning. This yearning is spontaneous, and it shall be left to grow, whether it be sweet or bitter. For often times it is as the torment of hell in which the soul burns and writhes unceasingly. Yet it ends, and at its end continue openly thy Method. 
  27. Concerning Dryness. Another state wherein at times the soul may fall is this dark night. And this is indeed purifying in such depths that the soul cannot fathom it. It is less like pain than like death. But it is the necessary death that comes before the rising of a body glorified.
    This state must be endured with fortitude; and no means of alleviating it may be employed. It may be broken up by the breaking up of the whole Method, and a return to the world without. This cowardice not only destroys the value of all that has gone before, but destroys the value of the Oath of Fealty that thou hast sworn, and makes thy Will a mockery to men and gods. 
  28. Concerning the Deceptions of the Devil. Note well that in this state of dryness a thousand seductions will lure thee away; also a thousand means of breaking thine oath in spirit without breaking it in letter. Against this thou mayst repeat the words of thine oath aloud again and again until the temptation be overcome.
    Also the devil will represent to thee that it were much better for this operation that thou do thus and thus, and seek to affright thee by fears for thy health or thy reason.
    Or he may send against thee visions worse than madness.
    Against all this there is but one remedy, the Discipline of thine Oath. So then thou shalt go through ceremonies meaningless and hideous to thee, and blaspheme shalt thou against thy Deity and curse Him. And this mattereth little, for it is not thou, so be that thou adhere to the Letter of thine Obligation. For thy Spiritual Sight is closed, and to trust it is to be led unto the precipice, and hurled therefrom. 
  29. Further of this matter. Now also subtler than all these terrors are the Illusions of Success. For one instant's {WEH NOTE: Magick in Theory and Practice has "But one instant's..."} self-satisfaction or Expansion of thy Spirit, especially in this state of dryness, and thou art lost. For thou mayst attain the False Union with the Demon himself. Beware also of even the pride which rises from having resisted the temptations.
    But so many and so subtle are the wiles of Choronzon that the whole world could not contain their enumeration.
    The answer to one and all is the persistence in the literal fulfilment of the routine. Beware, then, last, of that devil {49} who shall whisper in thine ear that the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life, and answer: Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground, and die, it abideth alone, but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.
    Yet shalt thou also beware of disputation with the devil, and pride in the cleverness of thine answers to him. Therefore, if thou hast not lost the power of silence, let it be first and last employed against him. 
  30. Concerning the Enflaming of the Heart. Now learn that thy methods are dry, one and all. Intellectual exercises, moral exercises, they are not Love. Yet as a man, rubbing two dry sticks together for long, suddenly found a spark, so also from time to time will true love leap unasked into thy mediation. Yet this shall die and be reborn again and again. It may be that thou hast no tinder near.
    In the end shall come suddenly a great flame and a devouring, and burn thee utterly.
    Now of these sparks, and of these splutterings of flame, and of these beginnings of the Infinite Fire, thou shalt thus be aware. For the sparks thy heart shall leap up, and thy ceremony or meditation or toil shall seem of a sudden to go of its own will; and for the little flames this shall be increased in volume and intensity; and for the beginnings of the Infinite Fire thy ceremony shall be caught up unto ravishing song, and thy meditation shall be ecstasy, and thy toil shall be a delight exceeding all pleasure thou hast ever known.
    And of the Great Flame that answereth thee it may not be spoken; for therein is the End of this Magick Art of Devotion. 
  31. Considerations with regard to the use of symbols. It is to be noted that persons of powerful imagination, will, and intelligence have no need of these material symbols. There have been certain saints who are capable of love for an idea as such without it being otherwise than degraded by "idolising" it, to use this word in its true sense. Thus one may be impassioned of beauty, without even the need of so small a concretion of it as "The beauty of Apollo", the "beauty of roses", the "beauty of Attis". Such persons are rare; it may be doubted whether Plato himself attained to any vision of absolute beauty without attaching to it material objects in the first place. A second class is able to contemplate ideals through this veil; a third class need a double veil, and cannot think of the beauty of a rose without a rose before them. For such is this Method of most use; yet let them know that there is this danger therein, that they may mistake the gross body of the symbol for the idea made concrete thereby. 
  32. Considerations of further danger to those not purged of material thought. Let it be remembered that in the nature of the love itself is danger. The lust of the satyr for the nymph is indeed of the same nature as the affinity of Quicklime for water on the one hand, and of love of Ab for Ama on the other; so also is the triad Osiris, Isis, Horus like that of a horse, mare, foal, and of red, blue, purple. And this is the foundation of Correspondences.
    But it were false to say "Horus is a foal" or "Horus is purple". One may say: "Horus resembles a foal in this respect, that he is the offspring of two complementary beings". 
  33. Further of this matter. So also many have said truly that all is one, and falsely that since earth is That One, and ocean is That One, therefore earth is ocean. Unto Him good is illusion, and evil is illusion; therefore good is evil. By this fallacy of logic are many men destroyed.
    Moreover, there are those who take the image for the God; as who should say, my heart is in Tiphereth, and an Adeptus is in Tiphereth; I am therefore an adept.
    And in this practice the worst danger is this, that the love which is its weapon should fail in one of two ways.
    First, if the love lack any quality of love, so long is it not ideal love. For it is written of the Perfected One: "There is no member of my body which is not the member of some god." Therefore let not the Philosophus despise any form of love, but harmonise all. As it is written: Liber LXV, 32. "So therefore Perfection abideth not in the Pinnacles or in the Foundation, but in the harmony of One with all."
    Second, if any part of this love exceed, there is disease therein. As, in the love of Othello for Desdemona, love's jealousy overcame love's tenderness, so may it be in this love of a particular Deity. And this is more likely, since in this divine love no element may be omitted.
    It is by virtue of this completeness that no human love may in any way attain to more than to foreshadow a little part thereof. 
  34. Concerning Mortifications. These are not necessary to this method. On the contrary, they may destroy the concentration, as counter-irritants to, and so alleviations of, the supreme mortification which is the Absence of the Deity invoked.
    Yet as in mortal love arises a distaste for food, or a pleasure in things naturally painful, this perversion should be endured and allowed to take its course. Yet not to the interference with natural bodily health, whereby the instrument of the soul might be impaired.
    And concerning sacrifices for love's sake, they are natural to this Method, and right.
    But concerning voluntary privations and tortures, without use save as against the devotee, they are generally not natural to healthy natures, and wrong. For they are selfish. To scourge one's self serves not one's master; yet to deny one's self bread that one's child may have cake is the act of a true mother. 
  35. Further concerning Mortifications. If thy body, on which thou ridest, be so disobedient a beast that by no means will he travel in the desired direction, or if thy mind be baulkish and eloquent as Balaam's fabled Ass, then let the practice be abandoned. Let the shrine be covered in sackcloth, and do thou put on habits of lamentation, and abide alone. And do thou return most austerely to the practice of Liber Jugorum, testing thyself by a standard higher than that hitherto accomplished, and punishing effractions with a heavier goad. Nor do thou return to thy devotion until that body and mind are tamed and trained to all manner of peaceable going. 
  36. Concerning minor methods adjuvant in the ceremonies. I. Rising on the planes. By this method mayst thou assist the imagination at the time of concluding thine Invocation. Act as taught in Liber O, by the light of Liber 777. 
  37. Concerning minor methods adjuvant in the ceremonies. II. Talismanic Magic. Having made by thine Ingenium a talisman or pantacle to represent the particular Deity, and consecrated it with infinite love and care, do thou burn it ceremonially before the shrine, as if thereby giving up the shadow for the substance. But it is useless to do this unless thou do really in thine heart value the talisman beyond all else that thou hast. 
  38. Concerning minor methods adjuvant in the ceremonies. III. Rehearsal. It may assist if the traditional history of the particular Deity be rehearsed before him; perhaps this is best done in dramatic form. This method is the main one recommended in the "Exercitios Espirituales" of St Ignatius, whose work may be taken as a model. Let the Philosophus work out the legend of his own particular Deity, and apportioning days to events, live that life in imagination, exercising the five senses in turn, as occasion arises. 
  39. Concerning minor matters adjuvant in the ceremonies. IV. Duresse. This method consists in cursing a deity recalcitrant; as, threatening ceremonially "to burn the blood of Osiris, and to grind down his bones to power." This method is altogether contrary to the spirit of love unless the particular Deity be himself savage and relentless; as Jehovah or Kali. In such a case the desire to perform constraint and cursing may be the sign of the assimilation of the spirit of the devotee with that of his God, and so an advance to the Union with HIm. 
  40. Concerning the value of this particular form of Union or Samadhi. All Samadhi is defined as the ecstatic union of a subject and object in consciousness, with the result that a third thing arises which partakes in no way of the nature of the two.
    It would seem at first sight that it is of no importance whatever to choose an object of meditation. For example, the Samadhi called Atmadarshana might arise from simple concentration of the thought on an imagined triangle, or on the heart.
    But as the union of two bodies in chemistry may be endothermic or exothermic, the combination of Oxygen with Nitrogen is gentle, while that of Oxygen with Hydrogen is explosive; and as it is found that the most heat is disengaged as a rule by the union of bodies most opposite in character, and that the compound resulting from such is most stable, so it seems reasonable to suggest that the most important and enduring Samadhi results from the contemplation of the Object most pposite to the devotee. [On other planes, it has been suggested that the most opposed types make the best marriages and produce the healthiest children. The greatest pictures and operas are those in which violent extremes are blended, and so generally in every field of activity. Even in mathematics, the greatest parallelogram is formed if the lines composing it are set at right angles. ED.] 
  41. Conclusions from the foregoing. It may then be suggested to the Philosophus, that although his work will be harder his reward will be greater if he choose a Deity most remote from his own nature. This method is harder and higher than that of Liber E. For a simple object as there suggested is of the same nature as the commonest things of life, while even the meanest Deity is beyond uninitiated human understanding. On the same plane, too, Venus is nearer to man than Aphrodite, Aphrodite than Isis, Isis than Babalon, Babalon than Nuit.
    Let him decide therefore according to his discretion on the one hand and his aspiration on the other; and let not one outrun his fellow. 
  42. Further concerning the value of this Method. Certain objections arise. Firstly, in the nature of all human love is illusion, and a certain blindness. Nor is there any true love below the Veil of the Abyss. For this reason we give this method to the Philosoÿhus, as the reflection of the Exempt Adept, who reflects the Magister Templi and the Magus. Let then the Philosophus attain this Method as a foundation of the higher Methods to be given to him when he attains those higher grades.
    Another objection lies in the partiality of this Method. This is equally a defect characteristic of the Grade. 
  43. Concerning a notable danger of Success. It may occur that owing to the tremendous power of the Samadhi, overcoming all other memories as it should and does do, that the mind of the devotee may be obsessed, so that he declare his particular Deity to be sole God and Lord. This error has been the foundation of all dogmatic religions, and so the cause of more misery than all other errors combined.
    The Philosophus is peculiarly liable to this because from the nature of the Method he cannot remain sceptical; he must for the time believe in his particular Deity. But let him (1) consider that this belief is only a weapon in his hands, (2) affirm sufficiently that his Deity is but an emanation or reflection or eidolon of a Being beyond him, as was said in Paragraph 2. For if he fail herein, since man cannot remain permanently in Samadhi, the memorised Image in his mind will be degraded, and replaced by the corresponding Demon, to his utter ruin.
    Therefore, after Success, let him not delight overmuch in his Deity, but rather busy himself with his other work, not permitting that which is but a step to become a goal. As it is written also, Liber CLXXXV.: "remembering that Philosophy is the Equilibrium of him that is in the House of Love." 
  44. Concerning the secrecy and the rites of Blood. During this practice it is most wise that the Philosophus utter no word concerning his working, as if it were a Forbidden Love that consumeth him. But let him answer fools according to their folly; for since he cannot conceal his love from his fellows, he must speak to them as they may understand.
    And as many Deities demand sacrifice, one of men, another of cattle, a third of doves, let these sacrifices be replaced by the true sacrifices in thine own heart. Yet if thou must symbolise them outwardly for the hardness of thine heart, let thine own blood, and not another's, be spilt before that altar. [The exceptions to this rule pertain neither to this practice, nor to this grade. N. Fra. A.·. A.·..]

  45. Nevertheless, forget not that this practice is dangerous, and may cause the manifestation of evil things, hostile and malicious, to thy great hurt. 
  46. Concerning a further sacrifice. Of this it shall be understood that nothing is to be spoken; nor need anything be spoken to him that hath wisdom to comprehend the number of the paragraph. And this sacrifice is fatal beyond all, unless it be a sacrifice indeed. Yet there are those who have dared and achieved thereby. 
  47. Concerning yet a further sacrifice. Here it is spoken of actual mutilation. Such acts are abominable; and while they may bring success in this Method, form an absolute bar to all further progress.
    And they are in any case more likely to lead to madness than to Samadhi. He indeed who purposeth them is already mad. 
  48. Concerning human affection. During this practice thou shalt in no wise withdraw thyself from human relations, only figuring to thyself that thy father or thy brother or thy wife is as it were an image of thy particular Deity. Thus shall they gain, and not lose, by thy working. Only in the case of thy wife this is difficult, since she is more to thee than all others, and in this case thou mayst act with temperance, lest her personality overcome and destroy that of thy Deity. 
  49. Concerning the Holy Guardian Angel. Do thou in no wise confuse this invocation with that. 
  50. The Benediction. And so may the love that passeth all Understanding keep your hearts and minds through Iota-Alpha-Omega Alpha-Delta-Omicron-Nu-Alpha-Iota Sigma-Alpha-Beta-Alpha-Omega and through BABALON of the City of the Pyramids, and through Astarte, the Starry One green-girdled, in the name ARARITA. AMN.

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Charlie Was Dead to Begin With


CHARLIE was dead: to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of his burial was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner. Scrooge signed it: and Scrooge's name was good upon 'Change, for anything he chose to put his hand to. Old Charlie was as dead as a door-nail.

Mind! I don't mean to say that I know, of my own knowledge, what there is particularly dead about a door-nail. I might have been inclined, myself, to regard a coffin-nail as the deadest piece of ironmongery in the trade. But the wisdom of our ancestors is in the simile; and my unhallowed hands shall not disturb it, or the Country's done for. You will therefore permit me to repeat, emphatically, that Charlie was as dead as a door-nail.

Scrooge knew he was dead? Of course he did.

How could it be otherwise? Scrooge and he were partners for I don't know how many years. Scrooge was his sole executor, his sole administrator, his sole assign, his sole residuary legatee, his sole friend, and sole mourner. And even Scrooge was not so dreadfully cut up by the sad event, but that he was an excellent man of business on the very day of the funeral, and solemnised it with an undoubted bargain.

The mention of Charlie's funeral brings me back to the point I started from. There is no doubt that Charlie was dead. This must be distinctly understood, or nothing wonderful can come of the story I am going to relate. If we were not perfectly convinced that Hamlet's Father died before the play began, there would be nothing more remarkable in his taking a stroll at night, in an easterly wind, upon his own ramparts, than there would be in any other middle-aged gentleman rashly turning out after dark in a breezy spot--say Saint Paul's Churchyard for instance-literally to astonish his son's weak mind.


Scrooge never painted out Old Charlie's name. There it stood, years afterwards, above the warehouse door: Scrooge and Charlie.  The firm was known as Scrooge and Charlie.  Sometimes people new to the business called Scrooge Scrooge, and sometimes Charlie, but he answered to both names: it was all the same to him.

Oh!  But he was a tight-fisted hand at the grind- stone, Scrooge! a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner!  Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire; secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster.  The cold within him froze his old features, nipped his pointed nose, shriveled his cheek, stiffened his gait; made his eyes red, his thin lips blue and spoke out shrewdly in his grating voice.  A frosty rime was on his head, and on his eyebrows, and his wiry chin.  He carried his own low temperature always about with him; he iced his office in the dogdays; and didn't thaw it one degree at Christmas.

External heat and cold had little influence on Scrooge.  No warmth could warm, no wintry weather chill him.  No wind that blew was bitterer than he, no falling snow was more intent upon its purpose, no pelting rain less open to entreaty.  Foul weather didn't know where to have him.  The heaviest rain, and snow, and hail, and sleet, could boast of the advantage over him in only one respect.  They often "came down" handsomely, and Scrooge never did.

Nobody ever stopped him in the street to say, with gladsome looks, "My dear Scrooge, how are you?  When will you come to see me?"  No beggars implored him to bestow a trifle, no children asked him what it was o'clock, no man or woman ever once in all his life inquired the way to such and such a place, of Scrooge.  Even the blind men's dogs appeared to know him; and when they saw him coming on, would tug their owners into doorways and up courts; and then would wag their tails as though they said, "No eye at all is better than an evil eye, dark master!"

But what did Scrooge care?  It was the very thing he liked.  To edge his way along the crowded paths of life, warning all human sympathy to keep its distance, was what the knowing ones call "nuts" to Scrooge.

Once upon a time -- of all the good days in the year, on Christmas Eve -- old Scrooge sat busy in his counting-house.  It was cold, bleak, biting weather: foggy withal: and he could hear the people in the court outside go wheezing up and down, beating their hands upon their breasts, and stamping their feet upon the pavement stones to warm them.  The city clocks had only just gone three, but it was quite dark already -- it had not been light all day: and candles were flaring in the windows of the neighbouring offices, like ruddy smears upon the palpable brown air.  The fog came pouring in at every chink and keyhole, and was so dense without, that although the court was of the narrowest, the houses opposite were mere phantoms.  To see the dingy cloud come drooping down, obscuring everything, one might have thought that Nature lived hard by, and was brewing on a large scale.

The door of Scrooge's counting-house was open that he might keep his eye upon his clerk, who in a dismal little cell beyond, a sort of tank, was copying letters.  Scrooge had a very small fire, but the clerk's fire was so very much smaller that it looked like one coal.  But he couldn't replenish it, for Scrooge kept the coal-box in his own room; and so surely as the clerk came in with the shovel, the master predicted that it would be necessary for them to part.  Wherefore the clerk put on his white comforter, and tried to warm himself at the candle; in which effort, not being a man of a strong imagination, he failed.

"A merry Christmas, uncle!  God save you!" cried a cheerful voice.  It was the voice of Scrooge's nephew, who came upon him so quickly that this was the first intimation he had of his approach.

"Bah!" said Scrooge, "Humbug!"

He had so heated himself with rapid walking in the fog and frost, this nephew of Scrooge's, that he was all in a glow; his face was ruddy and handsome; his eyes sparkled, and his breath smoked again.

"Christmas a humbug, uncle!" said Scrooge's nephew.  "You don't mean that, I am sure."

"I do," said Scrooge.  "Merry Christmas!  What right have you to be merry?  What reason have you to be merry?  You're poor enough."

"Come, then," returned the nephew gaily.  "What right have you to be dismal?  What reason have you to be morose?  You're rich enough."

Scrooge having no better answer ready on the spur of the moment, said "Bah!" again; and followed it up with "Humbug."

"Don't be cross, uncle!" said the nephew.

"What else can I be," returned the uncle, "when I live in such a world of fools as this?  Merry Christmas!  Out upon merry Christmas!  What's Christmas time to you but a time for paying bills without money; a time for finding yourself a year older, but not an hour richer; a time for balancing your books and having every item in 'em through a round dozen of months presented dead against you?  If I could work my will," said Scrooge indignantly, "every idiot who goes about with 'Merry Christmas' on his lips, should be boiled with his own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through his heart.  He should!"

"Uncle!" pleaded the nephew.

"Nephew!" returned the uncle, sternly, "keep Christmas in your own way, and let me keep it in mine."

"Keep it!" repeated Scrooge's nephew.  "But you don't keep it."

"Let me leave it alone, then," said Scrooge.  "Much good may it do you!  Much good it has ever done you!"

"There are many things from which I might have derived good, by which I have not profited, I dare say," returned the nephew.  "Christmas among the rest.  But I am sure I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round -- apart from the veneration due to its sacred name and origin, if anything belonging to it can be apart from that -- as a good time: a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time: the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys.  And therefore, uncle, though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe that it has done me good, and will do me good; and I say, God bless it!"

The clerk in the tank involuntarily applauded: becoming immediately sensible of the impropriety, he poked the fire, and extinguished the last frail spark for ever.

"Let me hear another sound from you," said Scrooge, "and you'll keep your Christmas by losing your situation.  You're quite a powerful speaker, sir," he added, turning to his nephew.  "I wonder you don't go into Parliament."

"Don't be angry, uncle.  Come!  Dine with us tomorrow."

Scrooge said that he would see him -- yes, indeed he did.  He went the whole length of the expression, and said that he would see him in that extremity first.

"But why?"  cried Scrooge's nephew.  "Why?"

"Why did you get married?"  said Scrooge.

"Because I fell in love."

"Because you fell in love!" growled Scrooge, as if that were the only one thing in the world more ridiculous than a merry Christmas.  "Good afternoon!"

"Nay, uncle, but you never came to see me before that happened.  Why give it as a reason for not coming now?"

"Good afternoon," said Scrooge.

"I want nothing from you; I ask nothing of you; why cannot we be friends?"

"Good afternoon," said Scrooge.

"I am sorry, with all my heart, to find you so resolute.  We have never had any quarrel, to which I have been a party.  But I have made the trial in homage to Christmas, and I'll keep my Christmas humour to the last.  So A Merry Christmas, uncle!"

"Good afternoon," said Scrooge.

"And A Happy New Year!"

"Good afternoon!" said Scrooge.

His nephew left the room without an angry word, notwithstanding.  He stopped at the outer door to bestow the greetings of the season on the clerk, who cold as he was, was warmer than Scrooge; for he returned them cordially.

"There's another fellow," muttered Scrooge; who overheard him: "my clerk, with fifteen shillings a week, and a wife and family, talking about a merry Christmas.  I'll retire to Bedlam."

This lunatic, in letting Scrooge's nephew out, had let two other people in.  They were portly gentlemen, pleasant to behold, and now stood, with their hats off, in Scrooge's office.  They had books and papers in their hands, and bowed to him.

"Scrooge and Charlie's, I believe," said one of the gentlemen, referring to his list.  "Have I the pleasure of addressing Mr. Scrooge, or Mr. Charlie?"

"Mr. Charlie has been dead these seven years," Scrooge replied.  "He died seven years ago, this very night."

"We have no doubt his liberality is well represented by his surviving partner," said the gentleman, presenting his credentials.

It certainly was; for they had been two kindred spirits.  At the ominous word "liberality," Scrooge frowned, and shook his head, and handed the credentials back.

"At this festive season of the year, Mr. Scrooge," said the gentleman, taking up a pen, "it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the Poor and Destitute, who suffer greatly at the present time.  Many thousands are in want of common necessaries; hundreds of thousands are in want of common comforts, sir."

"Are there no prisons?" asked Scrooge.

"Plenty of prisons," said the gentleman, laying down the pen again.

"And the Union workhouses?"  demanded Scrooge.  "Are they still in operation?"

"They are.  Still," returned the gentleman, "I wish I could say they were not."

"The Treadmill and the Poor Law are in full vigour, then?"  said Scrooge.

"Both very busy, sir."

"Oh!  I was afraid, from what you said at first, that something had occurred to stop them in their useful course," said Scrooge.  "I'm very glad to hear it."

"Under the impression that they scarcely furnish Christian cheer of mind or body to the multitude," returned the gentleman, "a few of us are endeavouring to raise a fund to buy the Poor some meat and drink and means of warmth.  We choose this time, because it is a time, of all others, when Want is keenly felt, and Abundance rejoices.  What shall I put you down for?"

"Nothing!" Scrooge replied.

"You wish to be anonymous?"

"I wish to be left alone," said Scrooge.  "Since you ask me what I wish, gentlemen, that is my answer.  I don't make merry myself at Christmas and I can't afford to make idle people merry.  I help to support the establishments I have mentioned -- they cost enough; and those who are badly off must go there."

"Many can't go there; and many would rather die."

"If they would rather die," said Scrooge, "they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.  Besides -- excuse me -- I don't know that."

"But you might know it," observed the gentleman.

"It's not my business," Scrooge returned.  "It's enough for a man to understand his own business, and not to interfere with other people's.  Mine occupies me constantly.  Good afternoon, gentlemen!"

Seeing clearly that it would be useless to pursue their point, the gentlemen withdrew.  Scrooge returned his labours with an improved opinion of himself, and in a more facetious temper than was usual with him.

Meanwhile the fog and darkness thickened so, that people ran about with flaring links, proffering their services to go before horses in carriages, and conduct them on their way.  The ancient tower of a church, whose gruff old bell was always peeping slyly down at Scrooge out of a Gothic window in the wall, became invisible, and struck the hours and quarters in the clouds, with tremulous vibrations afterwards as if its teeth were chattering in its frozen head up there.  The cold became intense.  In the main street at the corner of the court, some labourers were repairing the gas-pipes, and had lighted a great fire in a brazier, round which a party of ragged men and boys were gathered: warming their hands and winking their eyes before the blaze in rapture.  The water-plug being left in solitude, its overflowing sullenly congealed, and turned to misanthropic ice.  The brightness of the shops where holly sprigs and berries crackled in the lamp heat of the windows, made pale faces ruddy as they passed.  Poulterers' and grocers' trades became a splendid joke; a glorious pageant, with which it was next to impossible to believe that such dull principles as bargain and sale had anything to do.  The Lord Mayor, in the stronghold of the mighty Mansion House, gave orders to his fifty cooks and butlers to keep Christmas as a Lord Mayor's household should; and even the little tailor, whom he had fined five shillings on the previous Monday for being drunk and bloodthirsty in the streets, stirred up to-morrow's pudding in his garret, while his lean wife and the baby sallied out to buy the beef.

Foggier yet, and colder!  Piercing, searching, biting cold.  If the good Saint Dunstan had but nipped the Evil Spirit's nose with a touch of such weather as that, instead of using his familiar weapons, then indeed he would have roared to lusty purpose.  The owner of one scant young nose, gnawed and mumbled by the hungry cold as bones are gnawed by dogs, stooped down at Scrooge's keyhole to regale him with a Christmas carol: but at the first sound of --

"God bless you, merry gentleman!
May nothing you dismay!"
Scrooge seized the ruler with such energy of action, that the singer fled in terror, leaving the keyhole to the fog and even more congenial frost.

At length the hour of shutting up the countinghouse arrived.  With an ill-will Scrooge dismounted from his stool, and tacitly admitted the fact to the expectant clerk in the Tank, who instantly snuffed his candle out, and put on his hat.

"You'll want all day to-morrow, I suppose?" said Scrooge.

"If quite convenient, sir."

"It's not convenient," said Scrooge, "and it's not fair.  If I was to stop half-a-crown for it, you'd think yourself ill-used, I'll be bound?"

The clerk smiled faintly.

"And yet," said Scrooge, "you don't think me ill-used, when I pay a day's wages for no work."

The clerk observed that it was only once a year.

"A poor excuse for picking a man's pocket every twenty-fifth of December!" said Scrooge, buttoning his great-coat to the chin.  "But I suppose you must have the whole day.  Be here all the earlier next morning."

The clerk promised that he would; and Scrooge walked out with a growl.  The office was closed in a twinkling, and the clerk, with the long ends of his white comforter dangling below his waist (for he boasted no great-coat), went down a slide on Cornhill, at the end of a lane of boys, twenty times, in honour of its being Christmas Eve, and then ran home to Camden Town as hard as he could pelt, to play at blindman's-buff.

Scrooge took his melancholy dinner in his usual melancholy tavern; and having read all the newspapers, and beguiled the rest of the evening with his banker's-book, went home to bed.  He lived in chambers which had once belonged to his deceased partner.  They were a gloomy suite of rooms, in a lowering pile of building up a yard, where it had so little business to be, that one could scarcely help fancying it must have run there when it was a young house, playing at hide-and-seek with other houses, and forgotten the way out again.  It was old enough now, and dreary enough, for nobody lived in it but Scrooge, the other rooms being all let out as offices.  The yard was so dark that even Scrooge, who knew its every stone, was fain to grope with his hands.  The fog and frost so hung about the black old gateway of the house, that it seemed as if the Genius of the Weather sat in mournful meditation on the threshold.

Now, it is a fact, that there was nothing at all particular about the knocker on the door, except that it was very large.  It is also a fact, that Scrooge had seen it, night and morning, during his whole residence in that place; also that Scrooge had as little of what is called fancy about him as any man in the city of London, even including -- which is a bold word -- the corporation, aldermen, and livery.  Let it also be borne in mind that Scrooge had not bestowed one thought on Charlie, since his last mention of his seven years' dead partner that afternoon.  And then let any man explain to me, if he can, how it happened that Scrooge, having his key in the lock of the door, saw in the knocker, without its undergoing any intermediate process of change -- not a knocker, but Charlie's face.

Charlie's face.  It was not in impenetrable shadow as the other objects in the yard were, but had a dismal light about it, like a bad lobster in a dark cellar.  It was not angry or ferocious, but looked at Scrooge as Charlie used to look: with ghostly spectacles turned up on its ghostly forehead.  The hair was curiously stirred, as if by breath or hot air; and, though the eyes were wide open, they were perfectly motionless.  That, and its livid colour, made it horrible; but its horror seemed to be in spite of the face and beyond its control, rather than a part or its own expression.

As Scrooge looked fixedly at this phenomenon, it was a knocker again.

To say that he was not startled, or that his blood was not conscious of a terrible sensation to which it had been a stranger from infancy, would be untrue.  But he put his hand upon the key he had relinquished, turned it sturdily, walked in, and lighted his candle.

He did pause, with a moment's irresolution, before he shut the door; and he did look cautiously behind it first, as if he half-expected to be terrified with the sight of Charlie's pigtail sticking out into the hall. But there was nothing on the back of the door, except the screws and nuts that held the knocker on, so he said "Pooh, pooh!" and closed it with a bang.

The sound resounded through the house like thunder.  Every room above, and every cask in the wine-merchant's cellars below, appeared to have a separate peal of echoes of its own.  Scrooge was not a man to be frightened by echoes.  He fastened the door, and walked across the hall, and up the stairs; slowly too: trimming his candle as he went.

You may talk vaguely about driving a coach-and-six up a good old flight of stairs, or through a bad young Act of Parliament; but I mean to say you might have got a hearse up that staircase, and taken it broadwise, with the splinter-bar towards the wall and the door towards the balustrades: and done it easy.  There was plenty of width for that, and room to spare; which is perhaps the reason why Scrooge thought he saw a locomotive hearse going on before him in the gloom.  Half a dozen gas-lamps out of the street wouldn't have lighted the entry too well, so you may suppose that it was pretty dark with Scrooge's dip.

Up Scrooge went, not caring a button for that. Darkness is cheap, and Scrooge liked it.  But before he shut his heavy door, he walked through his rooms to see that all was right.  He had just enough recollection of the face to desire to do that.

Sitting-room, bedroom, lumber-room.  All as they should be.  Nobody under the table, nobody under the sofa; a small fire in the grate; spoon and basin ready; and the little saucepan of gruel (Scrooge had a cold in his head) upon the hob.  Nobody under the bed; nobody in the closet; nobody in his dressing-gown, which was hanging up in a suspicious attitude against the wall.  Lumber-room as usual.  Old fire-guards, old shoes, two fish-baskets, washing-stand on three legs, and a poker.

Quite satisfied, he closed his door, and locked himself in; double-locked himself in, which was not his custom.  Thus secured against surprise, he took off his cravat; put on his dressing-gown and slippers, and his nightcap; and sat down before the fire to take his gruel.

It was a very low fire indeed; nothing on such a bitter night.  He was obliged to sit close to it, and brood over it, before he could extract the least sensation of warmth from such a handful of fuel.  The fireplace was an old one, built by some Dutch merchant long ago, and paved all round with quaint Dutch tiles, designed to illustrate the Scriptures.  There were Cains and Abels, Pharaohs' daughters; Queens of Sheba, Angelic messengers descending through the air on clouds like feather-beds, Abrahams, Belshazzars, Apostles putting off to sea in butter-boats, hundreds of figures to attract his thoughts -- and yet that face of Charlie, seven years dead, came like the ancient Prophet's rod, and swallowed up the whole.  If each smooth tile had been a blank at first, with power to shape some picture on its surface from the disjointed fragments of his thoughts, there would have been a copy of old Charlie's head on every one.

"Humbug!" said Scrooge; and walked across the room.

After several turns, he sat down again.  As he threw his head back in the chair, his glance happened to rest upon a bell, a disused bell, that hung in the room, and communicated for some purpose now forgotten with a chamber in the highest story of the building.  It was with great astonishment, and with a strange, inexplicable dread, that as he looked, he saw this bell begin to swing.  It swung so softly in the outset that it scarcely made a sound; but soon it rang out loudly, and so did every bell in the house.

This might have lasted half a minute, or a minute, but it seemed an hour.  The bells ceased as they had begun, together.  They were succeeded by a clanking noise, deep down below; as if some person were dragging a heavy chain over the casks in the wine merchant's cellar.  Scrooge then remembered to have heard that ghosts in haunted houses were described as dragging chains.

The cellar-door flew open with a booming sound, and then he heard the noise much louder, on the floors below; then coming up the stairs; then coming straight towards his door.

"It's humbug still!" said Scrooge.  "I won't believe it."

His colour changed though, when, without a pause, it came on through the heavy door, and passed into the room before his eyes.  Upon its coming in, the dying flame leaped up, as though it cried, "I know him; Charlie's Ghost!" and fell again.

The same face: the very same.  Charlie in his pigtail, usual waistcoat, tights and boots; the tassels on the latter bristling, like his pigtail, and his coat-skirts, and the hair upon his head.  The chain he drew was clasped about his middle.  It was long, and wound about him like a tail; and it was made (for Scrooge observed it closely) of cash-boxes, keys, padlocks, ledgers, deeds, and heavy purses wrought in steel. His body was transparent, so that Scrooge, observing him, and looking through his waistcoat, could see the two buttons on his coat behind.

Scrooge had often heard it said that Charlie had no bowels, but he had never believed it until now.

No, nor did he believe it even now.  Though he looked the phantom through and through, and saw it standing before him; though he felt the chilling influence of its death-cold eyes; and marked the very texture of the folded kerchief bound about its head and chin, which wrapper he had not observed before: he was still incredulous, and fought against his senses.

"How now!" said Scrooge, caustic and cold as ever. "What do you want with me?"

"Much!" -- Charlie's voice, no doubt about it.

"Who are you?"

"Ask me who I was."

"Who were you then?"  said Scrooge, raising his voice.  "You're particular, for a shade." He was going to say "to a shade," but substituted this, as more appropriate.

"In life I was your partner, Jacob Charlie."

"Can you -- can you sit down?"  asked Scrooge, looking doubtfully at him.

"I can."

"Do it then."

Scrooge asked the question, because he didn't know whether a ghost so transparent might find himself in a condition to take a chair; and felt that in the event of its being impossible, it might involve the necessity of an embarrassing explanation.  But the ghost sat down on the opposite side of the fireplace, as if he were quite used to it.

"You don't believe in me," observed the Ghost.

"I don't." said Scrooge.

"What evidence would you have of my reality, beyond that of your senses?"

"I don't know," said Scrooge.

"Why do you doubt your senses?"

"Because," said Scrooge, "a little thing affects them. A slight disorder of the stomach makes them cheats.  You may be an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of an underdone potato.  There's more of gravy than of grave about you, whatever you are!"

Scrooge was not much in the habit of cracking jokes, nor did he feel, in his heart, by any means waggish then.  The truth is, that he tried to be smart, as a means of distracting his own attention, and keeping down his terror; for the spectre's voice disturbed the very marrow in his bones.

To sit, staring at those fixed glazed eyes, in silence for a moment, would play, Scrooge felt, the very deuce with him.  There was something very awful, too, in the spectre's being provided with an infernal atmosphere of its own.  Scrooge could not feel it himself, but this was clearly the case; for though the Ghost sat perfectly motionless, its hair, and skirts, and tassels, were still agitated as by the hot vapour from an oven.

"You see this toothpick?"  said Scrooge, returning quickly to the charge, for the reason just assigned; and wishing, though it were only for a second, to divert the vision's stony gaze from himself.

"I do," replied the Ghost.

"You are not looking at it," said Scrooge.

"But I see it," said the Ghost, "notwithstanding."

"Well!" returned Scrooge, "I have but to swallow this, and be for the rest of my days persecuted by a legion of goblins, all of my own creation.  Humbug, I tell you!  humbug!"

At this the spirit raised a frightful cry, and shook its chain with such a dismal and appalling noise, that Scrooge held on tight to his chair, to save himself from falling in a swoon.  But how much greater was his horror, when the phantom taking off the bandage round its head, as if it were too warm to wear indoors, its lower jaw dropped down upon its breast!

Scrooge fell upon his knees, and clasped his hands before his face.

"Mercy!" he said.  "Dreadful apparition, why do you trouble me?"

"Man of the worldly mind!" replied the Ghost, "do you believe in me or not?"

"I do," said Scrooge.  "I must.  But why do spirits walk the earth, and why do they come to me?"

"It is required of every man," the Ghost returned, "that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellowmen, and travel far and wide; and if that spirit goes not forth in life, it is condemned to do so after death.  It is doomed to wander through the world -- oh, woe is me! -- and witness what it cannot share, but might have shared on earth, and turned to happiness!"

Again the spectre raised a cry, and shook its chain and wrung its shadowy hands.

"You are fettered," said Scrooge, trembling.  "Tell me why?"

"I wear the chain I forged in life," replied the Ghost. "I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it.  Is its pattern strange to you?"

Scrooge trembled more and more.

"Or would you know," pursued the Ghost, "the weight and length of the strong coil you bear yourself?  It was full as heavy and as long as this, seven Christmas Eves ago.  You have laboured on it, since. It is a ponderous chain!"

Scrooge glanced about him on the floor, in the expectation of finding himself surrounded by some fifty or sixty fathoms of iron cable: but he could see nothing.

"Jacob," he said, imploringly.  "Old Jacob Charlie, tell me more.  Speak comfort to me, Jacob!"

"I have none to give," the Ghost replied.  "It comes from other regions, Ebenezer Scrooge, and is conveyed by other ministers, to other kinds of men.  Nor can I tell you what I would.  A very little more, is all permitted to me.  I cannot rest, I cannot stay, I cannot linger anywhere.  My spirit never walked beyond our counting-house -- mark me! -- in life my spirit never roved beyond the narrow limits of our money-changing hole; and weary journeys lie before me!"

It was a habit with Scrooge, whenever he became thoughtful, to put his hands in his breeches pockets.  Pondering on what the Ghost had said, he did so now, but without lifting up his eyes, or getting off his knees.

"You must have been very slow about it, Jacob," Scrooge observed, in a business-like manner, though with humility and deference.

"Slow!" the Ghost repeated.

"Seven years dead," mused Scrooge.  "And travelling all the time!"

"The whole time," said the Ghost.  "No rest, no peace.  Incessant torture of remorse."

"You travel fast?"  said Scrooge.

"On the wings of the wind," replied the Ghost.

"You might have got over a great quantity of ground in seven years," said Scrooge.

The Ghost, on hearing this, set up another cry, and clanked its chain so hideously in the dead silence of the night, that the Ward would have been justified in indicting it for a nuisance.

"Oh!  captive, bound, and double-ironed," cried the phantom, "not to know, that ages of incessant labour, by immortal creatures, for this earth must pass into eternity before the good of which it is susceptible is all developed.  Not to know that any Christian spirit working kindly in its little sphere, whatever it may be, will find its mortal life too short for its vast means of usefulness.  Not to know that no space of regret can make amends for one life's opportunity misused!  Yet such was I!  Oh!  such was I!"

"But you were always a good man of business, Jacob," faltered Scrooge, who now began to apply this to himself.

"Business!" cried the Ghost, wringing its hands again.  "Mankind was my business.  The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were, all, my business.  The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!"

It held up its chain at arm's length, as if that were the cause of all its unavailing grief, and flung it heavily upon the ground again.

"At this time of the rolling year," the spectre said "I suffer most.  Why did I walk through crowds of fellow-beings with my eyes turned down, and never raise them to that blessed Star which led the Wise Men to a poor abode!  Were there no poor homes to which its light would have conducted me!"

Scrooge was very much dismayed to hear the spectre going on at this rate, and began to quake exceedingly.

"Hear me!" cried the Ghost.  "My time is nearly gone."

"I will," said Scrooge.  "But don't be hard upon me!  Don't be flowery, Jacob!  Pray!"

"How it is that I appear before you in a shape that you can see, I may not tell.  I have sat invisible beside you many and many a day."

[ Because Scrooge, by sitting alone in the dark in a bare, cavernous, hollow, empty house is unwittingly performing a ritual invocation of Pluto, by recreating the conditions and the environment of the throneroom of the King of the Underworld in Hades (which, unlike Christian Hell is always cold, not hot.). 

Thus, he magickally gains the ability to see and talk to dead people via a ritual invocation of Hades. Without having any notion that he might be doing anything of the sort.

Marley, as the wraith of a Christian soul is forbidden from explaining this to him, since the invocation of Pagan Deities is taboo and a forbidden practice, not to ever br discussed or spoken-of openly, even to the invoker who does not actually realise that they are doing it. ]

It was not an agreeable idea.  Scrooge shivered, and wiped the perspiration from his brow.

"That is no light part of my penance," pursued the Ghost.  "I am here to-night to warn you, that you have yet a chance and hope of escaping my fate.  A chance and hope of my procuring, Ebenezer."

"You were always a good friend to me," said Scrooge.  "Thank `ee!"

"You will be haunted," resumed the Ghost, "by Three Spirits."

Scrooge's countenance fell almost as low as the Ghost's had done.

"Is that the chance and hope you mentioned, Jacob?"  he demanded, in a faltering voice.

"It is."

"I -- I think I'd rather not," said Scrooge.

"Without their visits," said the Ghost, "you cannot hope to shun the path I tread.  Expect the first tomorrow, when the bell tolls one."

"Couldn't I take `em all at once, and have it over, Jacob?"  hinted Scrooge.

"Expect the second on the next night at the same hour.  The third upon the next night when the last stroke of twelve has ceased to vibrate.  Look to see me no more; and look that, for your own sake, you remember what has passed between us!"

When it had said these words, the spectre took its wrapper from the table, and bound it round its head, as before.  Scrooge knew this, by the smart sound its teeth made, when the jaws were brought together by the bandage.  He ventured to raise his eyes again, and found his supernatural visitor confronting him in an erect attitude, with its chain wound over and about its arm.

The apparition walked backward from him; and at every step it took, the window raised itself a little, so that when the spectre reached it, it was wide open.  It beckoned Scrooge to approach, which he did.  When they were within two paces of each other, Charlie's Ghost held up its hand, warning him to come no nearer.  Scrooge stopped.

Not so much in obedience, as in surprise and fear: for on the raising of the hand, he became sensible of confused noises in the air; incoherent sounds of lamentation and regret; wailings inexpressibly sorrowful and self-accusatory.  The spectre, after listening for a moment, joined in the mournful dirge; and floated out upon the bleak, dark night.

Scrooge followed to the window: desperate in his curiosity.  He looked out.

The air was filled with phantoms, wandering hither and thither in restless haste, and moaning as they went.  Every one of them wore chains like Charlie's Ghost; some few (they might be guilty governments) were linked together; none were free.  Many had been personally known to Scrooge in their lives.  He had been quite familiar with one old ghost, in a white waistcoat, with a monstrous iron safe attached to its ankle, who cried piteously at being unable to assist a wretched woman with an infant, whom it saw below, upon a door-step.  The misery with them all was, clearly, that they sought to interfere, for good, in human matters, and had lost the power for ever.

Whether these creatures faded into mist, or mist enshrouded them, he could not tell.  But they and their spirit voices faded together; and the night became as it had been when he walked home.

Scrooge closed the window, and examined the door by which the Ghost had entered.  It was double-locked, as he had locked it with his own hands, and the bolts were undisturbed.  He tried to say "Humbug!" but stopped at the first syllable.  And being, from the emotion he had undergone, or the fatigues of the day, or his glimpse of the Invisible World, or the dull conversation of the Ghost, or the lateness of the hour, much in need of repose; went straight to bed, without undressing, and fell asleep upon the instant.