Selected Works of George William Russell (A. E.)

George Russel AE 1
George William Russell, AE (1867-1935)

 “Radiant life at its fountain feels that in seeking for beauty she is growing more into her own ancestral being, that divine energy which is wisdom, consciousness, and  energy all in one.” –  AE

Compiled by Douglas Gabriel 


George Russell (AE) wrote some of the most beautifully crafted poems and essays in the English language and is yet virtually unknown. He was also a brilliant Theosophist and philosopher who touched the lives of spiritual seekers profoundly. But his love was painting and the arts where he excelled and some might say, has yet to be surpassed.

George William Russell was an Irish poet, painter, essayist, and mystic, who wrote under the pseudonym “A. E.” Born April 10, 1867, at Lurgan, County Armagh, Northern Ireland, his family moved to Dublin when he was ten, where he was able to attend Rathmines School. He had a natural talent for painting and attended the Metropolitan School of Art in Dublin, where he met William Butler Yeats, who introduced him to Theosophy. At that time, Russell earned his living by working as a clerk and soon began contributing poems and articles to The Irish Theosophist.

Theosophical teachings and the literature of Hindu philosophy opened his mind to heightened consciousness of Celtic myth and nature spirits. He painted visionary pictures of the Irish landscape. He felt a strange impulse to call one of his paintings “The Birth of Aeon”, a Gnostic concept, and signed one of his articles “AEON.” A proof reader rendered this as “AE?” and thereafter Russell used the initials for his poems.

In 1894, he allowed some of his poems to be published as a book, Homeward: Songs of the Way, and the response thrust him to the fore of Ireland’s literary community. In 1913, the first edition of his collected poems was published. He also wrote many political articles and became an organizer for the Irish Agriculture Organization, successfully combining his mystical visions with everyday practical tasks, in the spirit of the ancient Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad Gita, a work which greatly impressed him.

A chance reading of the Upanishads in the mid-1880s, and a friendship with Charles Johnston from 1885, led Russell to a study of the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita. Russell was drawn into Theosophical circles through Johnston and W. B. Yeats. In 1885, he met Mohini Chatterjee in Dublin and was greatly impressed by him. This acquaintance encouraged Russell to pursue his study of Indian philosophy and literature further. In 1890, Russell gave up Art School, formally joined the Theosophical Society and dedicated the next seven years to pursuing ‘the path of mysticism.’ Russell spent a lot of time in meditation and became interested in yoga. Hindu and Buddhist philosophy became an influence on his poetry and artistic works, although he was also inspired by visions and his ‘natural mysticism.’

Russell was known for his thorough knowledge of the Bhagavad Gita and this led to interactions with South Asian visitors to the UK, as did his friendship with Yeats. When Purohit Swami arrived in the UK in 1930, he came bearing a letter of introduction to Russell written by E. E. Speight. In Yeats’s introduction to the translation of The Ten Principal Upanishads by Yeats and Purohit Swami (1937), he drew attention to the influence of Russell on him. Yeats told how Russell had been quoting the Upanishads for the ‘last forty years.’ Russell also had connections with Rabindranath Tagore and Ranjee G. Shahani. Shahani remarks in a letter to Tagore in 1934 that AE had often spoken of Tagore to him. In 1931, Russell was invited to meet Mahatma Gandhi in London, whose theory of non-violence had been advocated by Russell in The Interpreters, but was unable to meet him as his wife fell ill.

Yeats was influenced by Russell’s wide knowledge of esoteric philosophies and Irish mythology; The Candle of Vision (1918) is the fullest exposition of his mystical beliefs. His first collection of verse, Homeward: Songs by the Way (1894), contained numerous fusions of Theosophy and Irish mythology. His subsequent collections include The Earth Breath (1897), The Divine Vision (1904), Voices of the Stones (1925), and Midsummer Eve (1928). Collected Poems appeared in 1913. While much of his verse is of a rather nebulously visionary character, occasional pieces form attractively simple adaptations of folk themes; elsewhere, touches of wry humor and idiosyncratically precise diction produce memorable effects.

As a leader of the Irish Revival, Russell was involved in the establishment of the Abbey Theatre, which produced his play Deirdre in 1902. Between 1905 and 1923 he was editor of The Irish Homestead; he wrote prolifically on cultural and agricultural topics, outlining his ideas on rural economy in Co-operation and Nationality (1912). From 1923 to 1930 he edited The Irish Statesman, a literary and political journal which encouraged numerous distinguished authors. Although a proponent of Irish independence since his youth, and an eminent public figure, he declined the invitation to become a senator of the Irish Free State. His later publications include The Avatars (1933), a prose fantasy based on his mystical conceptions of evolution, which forms his most compellingly imaginative work.

He edited the Irish Homestead for the Organization from 1906 to 1923. In 1923, he became the editor of the Irish Statesman in which he tried to steer a moderate course for the newly founded Irish Free States. He worked with Sir Horace Plunkett for Irish agricultural improvement, and he was also a talented painter and a renowned conversationalist. Russell was one of the major writers in the Irish literary renaissance. His poems and plays are noted for their mystical tone, their delicate melodious style, and their view of humanity’s spiritual nature.

His first collection of poetry, Homeward: Songs by the Way (1894), contained ethereal poems, intent on evoking spiritual and contemplative states. His other collections continued, more or less, in this vein and include The Earth Breath and Other Poems (1897), The Divine Vision and Other Poems (1904), and Collected Poems (1913). In 1897, Russell joined Sir Horace Plunkett’s Irish Agricultural Organization Society (IAOS), supervising the setting-up of co-operative banks in the west of Ireland.

He edited The Irish Homestead, the journal of the IAOS, 1905-23, using its columns to encourage many young writers, including Padraic Colum, Seumas O’Sullivan, and Eva Gore-Booth. In “On Behalf of Some Irishmen Not Followers of Tradition”, he attacked the deployment of myth to enlist nationalist feelings, a poem fiercely criticized by Joseph Mary Plunkett in 1913. In that year, he supported the Dublin Strikers during the Lock-out.

The outbreak of the First World War seemed to confirm humanity’s severance from the sources of wisdom, and Gods of War, With Other Poems (1915) challenges the prevailing war fever. The National Being (1916) presents a synthesis of his ideas on non-militant nationalism, spiritual concerns, and idealistic principles. Another prose work was The Candle of Vision (1918), a collection of essays describing his inner life. Two novels, The Interpreters (1922) and The Avatars (1933), outline his spiritual message.

In 1922, he became editor of The Irish Statesman, which incorporated The Irish Homestead, and continued in that role until 1930. He went on writing poems and prose, publishing collections such as Enchantment and Other Poems (1930) and The House of the Titans and Other Poems (1934). The prose work, Song and Its Fountains (1932), continues the enquiry begun in The Candle of Vision. Escaping from a ‘nation run by louts’ he went to live in England after 1933, first in London and then in Bournemouth.

He gave expression to his political idealism in two novels, The Interpreters (1922) and The Avatars (1932). His major mystical book was The Candle of Vision (1918). His book Song and Its Fountains (1932) developed the mystical meditations of Candle of Vision and spoke of poetry as “oracles breathed from inner to outer being.” The Avatars: A Futurist Fantasy (1933) indicated his debt to Hindu philosophy.

Russell’s work speaks for itself and moves the soul and spirit as profoundly as any yogic sutra or Celtic triad, advancing the beholder’s imaginative capacities and enkindling distinct heart-warmth and luminous thinking.

His Love of the Land

George William Russell was a typical Hibernian, a man with a mind perfectly attuned to the poetic, the mystical, the beautiful; but a man, too, with an eminently practical side to his nature. Such rare beings make an invaluable contribution to the spiritual and material progress of the race, for while their minds are in the clouds, their feet are planted firmly upon the solid earth. They make a universal appeal in their writings. AE had an authentic message. His was the voice of the inspired monitor, warning a world which was wantonly over-emphasizing the pursuit of luxury, and sinking into the idolatry of mammon.

His love of the countryside, his real sympathy with the husbandman, laboring at his ordained task, the cultivation of the soil, earning his living “by the sweat of his face” – his determination that greater justice should be done to the peasant and that they should not be sacrificed to the insatiable demands of the cities – in these earnest efforts the Poet became the Reformer, which true poets always are. For poetry is not merely a sweet acquiescence in things as they are, but a prophetic determination to make them better.

“The decay of civilization comes from the neglect of agriculture,” AE said; “there is need to create, consciously, a rural civilization.” His was not the ordinary “back-to-the-land” mentality, which condemned civilization and all its works; but he would bring the benefits of urban life to the country; his land workers would be instructed, cultured, people in a completely congenial environment, with no urge to forsake the farm for the city. It is an ideal which is not impossible of fulfilment.

All his life he retained his love of the country. For years he went through the countryside forming cooperative societies and explaining to farmers the importance of cooperative creameries and cooperative credit groceries. Russell considered cities “an actual danger to life itself,” and United States cities as sharing in that danger.
On several visits to the United States, he warned that city life received too much emphasis and that American civilization was threatened by its lack of “a satisfying village life.”

As a Theosophist

Before all else, AE was a Theosophist. With the crystal sincerity, and childlike simplicity which at all times distinguished him, he revealed that his aim in life overriding all else was to bring knowledge of the World of Spirit “where all hearts and minds are one” into the clouded sphere of human thought. AE belonged to none of the great Theosophical societies. In his early youth he had been a member of the Dublin lodge of Helena Blavatsky’s Theosophical Society.

At the time of the “Judge split”, he and the whole lodge followed W. Q. Judge, but after the death of the latter he resigned, feeling that under the new regime the spiritual light so evident in earlier times in the society had become somewhat clouded. It is not so generally known perhaps, that from 1898 down to 1933 when he left Ireland, AE kept alive in Ireland a nucleus of genuine students under the name of the Hermetic Society. He held it a sacred duty as one who had become conscious of the truth of the Message brought by Blavatsky to keep, as she herself had adjured her followers, “the link unbroken.”

The Hermetic Society was founded by Charles Johnston in 1886, and is therefore the oldest Theosophical body in Ireland. AE joined it on resigning from the Point Loma Universal Brotherhood in 1898, and led it from that time until he finally handed over his charge in 1933. The society had no formulated objects, and was in character rather a free and easy club than an organized society.

In an early letter AE says:

“Sometimes it (The Hermetic Society) had a big membership, sometimes a small. It waxed and waned, and waxed again, people coming and going here and there; and I felt inwardly satisfied that they all more or less passed through a bath of Theosophical ideas.”

“I had no private doctrine: nothing but H.P.B. eked out for beginners by W.Q.J.; the Bhagavad Gita; Upanishads; Patanjali; and one or two other classics. I did what I could to keep always in line with the Message of Blavatsky, and to preserve it from admixture with the ideas of imitators who I found could give me nothing.”

“My own writing is trivial, and whatever merit is to be found in it is due to its having been written in a spiritual atmosphere generale by study of H.P.B. and the sacred books of the East. If it has given some temporary light to those that read it, I am happy…”

There speaks the real Theosophist, which is equivalent to saying the “spiritual man.”  No words which another could speak concerning AE could reveal his nature half so surely as those brief unconsidered remarks of his own. They show like a lightning flash the great, simple, selfless spirit of the man which lives on, though the shape through which it manifested to our dull senses goes back to the dust that it was.

Out of the Dublin Theosophical Group of which he was the chief light, and without disparagement of his friends Charles Johnston or Daniel Nicol Dunlop or others of that little band who contributed out of their own measure to the establishment of new ideals and new principles and new methods of life in our time, it is to his credit that he led the way in many paths of action, and as a literary man, a poet, a journalist, an artist, and finally as an economist and a statesman, he built up the model of a national life in which the national spirit could embody itself without debasement, bringing all its varied resources into play, giving liberty to those who lived under it to evolve their own soul-structure, and attain outwardly the spiritual stature of their own inner Selves. Following these inner promptings enables all to live in that concordant harmony which so enriches social life; encouraging those less mature mentally, yet allowing them an independence of development which is the basis of true personhood.

George Russell showed that Theosophy, when properly understood, can be applied to all kinds of life socially and politically, promoting a nobler sense of right living, while recognizing that the life of the flesh is but a transiting experience.

Russell toiled unremittingly with body, mind and spirit, to carry on his self-appointed task and if ever a god labored with men and for their benefit, Russell’s body was the cross on which it was lifted up.  Yet he was the humblest, the most modest of men.  He looked for no leadership, no elevation, no homage.  He did his work and has gone to his peace.  He has evoked the passionate love of all who knew and understood him. He is a monument to Theosophy, and his name should be honored in the annals of the Movement while it continues to inspire the world. And beyond all, what a power of love of his fellow men flooded his great heart, a heart loyal only to Eternal Law.

Remembrances of AE

An English poet said of AE:

“He stood apart and stammered golden things. But he did not stand apart. His personality was rich enough to suffer no mirage nor aloofness. He was the most amiable and magnanimous soul that Ireland has ever had. His love of Ireland consisted of more than the antithesis of a hatred of England, and therefore it may be some time before he comes into his own.”

James Stephens contributed an obituary notice filling a column of the Observer, London, July 21. Among other things, he said that AE had told him that he was not originally robust physically or intellectually, nor of a fundamentally decided character, nor of an especially psychic nature. That he made himself over from very little by a gradual increasing interest in and application of the thought and methods of the Vedanta. He held that to meditate on the ideas of the Bhagavad Gita and to practice the psychological disciplines systematized by Patanjali must astonishingly energize any person, and that these ideas and this discipline had transformed him from a shy, self-doubting youth to the cheerful, courageous personage he certainly became.
Steven Boyd tells us:

“AE came forward primarily as an exponent of mysticism, though in such an early pamphlet as Priest or Hero one can discern the later polemicist on behalf of intellectual freedom. With ‘John Eglinton’ (W.K. Magee), Charles Johnston, W.B. Yeats and Charles Weekes, he was one of a group of young men who met together in Dublin some 20 to 25 years ago (1917), for the discussion and reading of the Vedas and Upanishads.

These young enthusiasts created, in time, a regular center of intellectual activity, which was translated in part into some of the most interesting literature of the Irish Revival. Their journals, The Irish Theosophist, The Internationalist, and The International Theosophist, contained, a great deal of matter, which has since taken a high place in modern Anglo-Irish literature. It was in the pages of those reviews that the first poems of AE were published, and to them we owe a great number of essays afterwards collected by John Eglinton under the title Pebbles from a Brook.”

“Of all who contributed to that intellectual awakening few remain in the Hermetic Society, as it is now called. But AE waw still the mystic teacher, the ardent seer, whose visions and eloquence continue to influence those about him. One no longer enjoys the spectacle described by Standish O’Grady, of the youthful AE, his hair flying in the wind, perched on the hillside, preaching pantheism to the idle crowd. His friends Johnston and Weekes are elsewhere, the heroic days of intellectual and spiritual revolt have passed; but AE may yet be seen in less romantic surroundings, constantly preaching the gospel of freedom and idealism.”

“From that Dublin group which included W.B. Yeats, John Todhunter, T.W. Rolleston, as well as those already mentioned, and also Fred J. Dick and his wife, Violet North, who died in 1932, Daniel N. Dunlop, Kenneth Morris, Arthur O’Dwyer, Paul Gregan, and subsequently J. M Synge, and Lady Gregory in their literary capacity, there came what is known as the Irish literary revival.” 

George Russel AE 2

Katherine Tynan Hinkson has said of AE:

“But to return to the Johnstons and Theosophy. Their most considerable recruit – apart from W B. Yeats, who I think, was so passionately absorbed in literature as to have only a transient and hardly sincere interest in other matters – was George Russell, whom we know now as AE, our George then, the world’s now. I find this entry in my diary for a day in December, 1887: ‘W.Y. brought a boy, George Russell, with him. Fond of mysticism, and extraordinarily interesting. Another William Blake!”

“George Russell was very boyish when I first saw him – shy, gentle, incapable of the lightest form of insincerity, a most lovable creature, as he is today. He is of the world, unworldly – the world’s stain has never touched him – without religion, yet profoundly religious; the peace of God which passeth understanding lies all about him now as it did then. He was brought up in the narrowest tenets of Irish Evangelism. I remember when his family was sorely distressed by his association with Willie Yeats.

Leaving behind him the narrow and ugly creeds to which he was born, he has adopted no other form of Christian religion: he finds gods in the earth and the air – rather I would say, he finds God; and his life unconsciously has cast incense on the altars of the Unknown God.

“I have known in my time some few undoubted geniuses, three certainly in literature – W.B. Yeats, Francis Thompson, and George Russell.

To which I believe I have a fourth in James Stephens. In none of these have I found the beauty of genius as I find it in George Russell. His flame has always burnt upward clearly. There is no room in him for any of the small meannesses of humanity. There is something strangely benign about him. He keeps his image of God undistorted, undefaced, as few of us have kept it. When I am struck cold, remembering that such and such a one, something uniquely previous of God’s making, is no longer of this world, I turn to think upon George Russell, that untroublesome genius.

I am glad that, in all probability, he will survive me, for of him more than anyone else I have ever known, I would say: ‘We shall never look on his like again.’“He painted the walls and ceilings of the Theosophical Society’s rooms with his wonderful angels and fairies, his mystical dreams and fancies; for he is a mystic to the lips and further as much akin to the Eastern as to the Christian mystic.” 

Robert Lynd, in the London News-Chronicle described Russell:

“AE was the practical mystic of his nation, always a passionate believer that the future would make up for the miserable present. Magnanimity is the rarest of the virtues, and AE contrived to distribute it to every one of the many controversies in which he took part. He was a champion of freedom, of freedom of mind no less than of political freedom, and a champion of the poor and defenseless at all times.”

Let us, therefore, accept the conditions and address ourselves with wonder, with awe, with love, as we well may, to that being in whom we move. Life is one; nature is living; the surface is a veil tremulous with light – lifting that veil sages of old went outwards into the vast and looked on the original. All that they beheld they once were, and it was again their heritage, for in essence they were one with it – children of Deity.”   – A. E.

AE painting

The Place of Rest

The soul is its own witness and its own refuge.

Unto the deep the deep heart goes,
It lays its sadness nigh the breast:
Only the Mighty Mother knows
The wounds that quiver unconfessed.

It seeks a deeper silence still;
It folds itself around with peace,
Where thoughts alike of good or ill
In quietness unfostered cease.

It feels in the unwounding vast
For comfort for its hopes and fears:
The Mighty Mother bows at last;
She listens to her children’s tears.

Where the last anguish deepens — there
The fire of beauty smites through pain:
A glory moves amid despair,
The Mother takes her child again.


AE 2

Star Teacher

Even as a bird sprays many-colored fires,
The plumes of paradise, the dying light
Rays through the fevered air in misty spires
That vanish in the heights.

These myriad eyes that look on me are mine;
Wandering beneath them I have found again
The ancient ample moment, the divine,
The God-root within men.

For this, for this the lights innumerable
As symbols shine that we the true light win:
For every star and every deep they fill
Are stars and deeps within.


AE 3

Love, a fierce and tender flame, arose;

Pity, a breath from the vast;

Sympathy, born of unity.

This triple fire sent forth its rays;

They surrounded those dark souls;

They pervaded them;

they beat down oppression.


AE 4


    I heard them in their sadness say,
“The earth rebukes the thought of God:
We are but embers wrapt in clay
A little nobler than the sod.”

But I have touched the lips of clay-
Mother, thy rudest sod to me
Is thrilled with fire of hidden day,
And haunted by all mystery.


AE 5

Divine Visitation

The heavens lay hold on us: the starry rays
Fondle with flickering fingers brow and eyes:
A new enchantment lights the ancient skies.
What is it looks between us gaze on gaze;
Does the wild spirit of the endless days
Chase through my heart some lure that ever flies?
Only I know the vast within me cries
Finding in thee the ending of all ways.
Ah, but they vanish; the immortal train
From thee, from me, depart, yet take from thee
Memorial grace: laden with adoration
Forth from this heart they flow that all in vain
Would stay the proud eternal powers that flee
After the chase in burning exultation.


AE 6


One thing in all things have I seen:
One thought has haunted earth and air:
Clangor and silence both have been
Its palace chambers. Everywhere

I saw the mystic vision flow
And live in men and woods and streams,
Until I could no longer know
The dream of life from my own dreams.

Sometimes it rose like fire in me
Within the depths of my own mind,
And spreading to infinity,
It took the voices of the wind:

It scrawled the human mystery —
Dim heraldry — on light and air;
Wavering along the starry sea
I saw the flying vision there.

Each fire that in God’s temple lit
Burns fierce before the inner shrine,
Dimmed as my fire grew near to it
And darkened at the light of mine.

At last, at last, the meaning caught —
The spirit wears its diadem;
It shakes its wondrous plumes of thought
And trails the stars along with them.


AE 7

      The Unknown God

Far up the dim twilight fluttered
Moth-wings of vapor and flame:
The lights danced over the mountains,
Star after star they came.

The lights grew thicker unheeded,
For silent and still were we;
Our hearts were drunk with a beauty
Our eyes could never see.


AE 8

“Imagination is the opening or the closing of a door to the divine world.” – A. E.


Selections from The Irish Theosophist, by AE

Downward from sphere to sphere the Immortal works its way into the flesh, and the soul has adventures in dream whose resultant wisdom is not lost.

Nature has a rhythm, and that part of us which is compounded of her elements shares in it.

You were taught that nature is forever becoming: the first emanation in the great deep is wisdom: wisdom changes into desire, and an unutterable yearning to go outward darkens the primeval beauty.

We came out of the Great Mother-Life for the purposes of soul. Thus the warrior within us works, or, if we choose to phrase it so, it is the action of the spiritual will.

For the soul is a midnight blossom which opens its leaves in dream, and its perfect bloom is unfolded only where another sun shines in another heaven: there it feels what celestial dews descend on it, and what influences draw it up to its divine archetype.

Every word which really inspires is spoken as if the Golden Age had never passed.  The great teachers ignore the personal identity and speak to the eternal pilgrim. They speak words full of love, kindliness, and pity, the eternal truths which make the soul grow full of sweetness and youth.

The great heart of the earth is full of laughter; do not put yourselves apart from its joy, for its soul is your soul and its joy is your true being.

We rise up intoxicated with the thought, and reel out seeking an equal companionship under the great night and the stars.

Nothing that we read is useful unless it calls up living things in the soul. To read a mystic book truly is to invoke the powers.

Gain one drop of the magical elixir love distills! Love, the secret tender germ of an infinite forgiveness. Buried treasure-houses in the bosom of the heart have been opened to endow it with more light, to fill it with more power. The divine ascetics stand with torches lit before the temple of wisdom. Swift, beautiful, flashing presences.

Thought is the lightning-conductor between heaven and earth. We hear the chant of the seraphs in our heart, and we are made luminous by the lighting of a sudden aureole. Whose mind gives out light – it is the haunt of the Gods.

Without danger there is no passage to eternal things. Storm the heavens!

We are the bright children of the dawn, for the infinite is forever within us. Awaken eternal endurance by finding the honey in the heart. All things return to their source, their cycles accomplished.

Learn to know the hidden ways, to use the luminous rivers for the commerce of thought, then lightning will once more begin to play through us and animate our will.

The ideations of universal mind are manifest in spiritual intuitions through the eternal present. The temple of Spirit is inviolate. When the personal tumult is silence, then arises the meditation of the Wise within.

Liberation is attained by means of right action, devotion, and spiritual discernment.

While the currents circulate we are to see to it that they part from us no less pure than they came. To this dawn of an inner day may in some measure be traced sudden inspirations.

The fiery power, mounting from heart to head, went forth in radiance. The wizard power of Self!

Love, faith and gratitude shall write our history in flame on the aura of the world, and the Watchers shall record it. Our only right is in the action, and half the sweetness of life consists in loving much.

God, the angelic hierarchies, the powers divine and infernal, are but names for the mightier Adam in whose image man was made and who is the forgotten Self in humanity. The Highest is a motion, a breath. We become it only in the imparting.  It is in all, for all and goes out to all. It will not be restrained in a narrow basin, but through the free-giver it freely flows.

The star-soul that glows within the earth.

They are no true teachers who cannot rise beyond the world of sense and darkness and awaken the links within us from earth to heaven, who cannot see within the heart what are its needs, and who have not the power to open the poor blind eyes and touch the ears that have heard no sound of the heavenly harmonies.

I am one of those who would bring back the old reverence for the Mother, the magic, the love. I think, metaphysician, you have gone astray. You would seek within yourself for the fountain of life. Yes, there is the true, the only light. But do not dream it will lead you further away from the earth, but rather deeper into its heart. By it you are nourished with those living waters you would drink. You are yet in the womb and unborn, and the Mother breathes for thee the diviner airs.

There are two kinds of love men know of. There is one which begins with a sudden sharp delight-it dies away into infinite tones of sorrow. There is a love which wakes up amid dead things: it is a chill at first, but it takes root, it warms, it expands, it lays hold of universal joys. So the man loves: so the God loves. Those who know this divine love are wise indeed. They love not one or another: they are love itself.

It is in like manner in Devachan, between the darkness of earth and the light of spiritual self-consciousness, that the Master in each of us draws in and absorbs the rarest and best of experiences, love, self-forgetfulness, aspiration, and out of these distils the subtle essence of wisdom, so that he who struggles in pain for his fellows, when he wakens again on earth is endowed with the tradition of that which we call self-sacrifice, but which is in reality the proclamation of our own universal nature. There are yet vaster correspondences, for so also we are told, when the seven worlds are withdrawn, the great calm Shepherd of the Ages draws his misty hordes together in the glimmering twilights of eternity, and as they are penned within the awful Fold, the rays long separate are bound into one, and life, and joy, and beauty disappear, to emerge again after rest unspeakable on the morning of a New Day.

By a pure motive, which is the Philosopher’s Stone, a potent force in the alchemy of nature, we change the gross into the subtle, we initiate that evolution which shall finally make the vesture of the soul of the rare, long-sought-for, primordial substance. Devotion is the highest possibility for the Rajas; that quality which is ever attracted and seduced by the beautiful mayas of fame, wealth and power, should be directed to that which it really seeks for, the eternal universal life; the channels through which it must flow outwards are the souls of other men, it reaches the One Life through the many.  Spiritual discernment should be the aim of the Satva, “there is not anything, whether animate or inanimate which is without me,” says Krishna, and we should seek for the traces of THAT in all things, looking upon it as the cause of the alchemical changes in the Tamas, as that which widens the outflowing love of the Rajas. By a continued persistence of this subtle analytic faculty, we begin gradually to perceive that those things which we formerly thought were causes, are in reality not causes at all; that there is but one cause for everything, “The Atma by which this universe is pervaded. By reason of its proximity alone the body, the organs, Manas and Buddhi apply themselves to their proper objects as if applied (by someone else).” By uniting these three moods, action, devotion and spiritual discernment, into one mood, and keeping it continuously alight, we are accompanying the movements of spirit to some extent. This harmonious action of all the qualities of our nature, for universal purposes without personal motive, is in synchronous vibration with that higher state.

The Element Language

In a chapter in the Secret Doctrine dealing with the origin of language, H.P. Blavatsky makes some statements which are quoted here and which should be borne well in mind in considering what follows.  “The Second Race had a ‘Sound Language,’ to wit, chant-like sounds composed of vowels alone.” From this developed “monosyllabic speech which was the vowel parent, so to speak, of the monosyllabic languages mixed with hard consonants still in use among the yellow races which are known to the anthropologist. The linguistic characteristics developed into the agglutinative languages.  The inflectional speech, the root of the Sanskrit, was the first language (now the mystery tongue of the Initiates) of the Fifth Race.”

The nature of that language has not been disclosed along with other teaching concerning the evolution of the race, but like many other secrets the details of which are still preserved by the Initiates, it is implied in what has already been revealed. The application to speech of the abstract formula of evolution which they have put forward should result in its discovery, for the clue lies in correspondences; know the nature of any one thing perfectly, learn its genesis, development and consummation, and you have the key to all the mysteries of nature. The microcosm mirrors the macrocosm. But, before applying this key, it is well to glean whatever hints have been given, so that there may be less chance of going astray in our application. First, we gather from the Secret Doctrine that the sounds of the human voice are correlated with the forces, colors, numbers and forms. “Every letter has its occult meaning, the vowels especially contain the most occult and formidable potencies.” And again it is said, “The magic of the ancient priests consisted in those days in addressing their gods in their own language. The speech of the men of earth cannot reach the Lords, each must be addressed in the language of his respective element.

“The book of rules” cited adds as an explanation of the nature of that element- language: “It is composed of Sounds, not words; of sounds, numbers and figures.  He who knows how to blend the three, will call forth the response of the superintending Power” (the regent-god of the specific element needed). Thus this “language is that of incantations or of Mantras, as they are called in India, sound being the most potent and effectual magic agent, and the first of the keys which opens the door of communication between mortals and immortals.” 

The Birth of a Planet

At first silence and then an inner music, and then the sounds of song throughout the vastness of its orbit grew as many in number as there were stars at gaze. Avenues and vistas of sound! They reeled to and fro.  They poured from a universal stillness quick with unheard things.  They rushed forth and broke into myriad voices joyous with childhood. From age and the eternal they rushed forth into youth. They filled the void with reveling and exultation.  In rebellion they then returned and entered the dreadful Fountain. Again they came forth, and the sounds faded into whispers; they rejoiced once again, and again died into silence.

And now all around glowed a vast twilight; it filled the cradle of the planet with colorless fire. I felt a rippling motion which impelled me away from the center to the circumference. At that center a still flame began to lighten; a new change took place, and space began to curdle, a milky and nebulous substance rocked to and fro. At every motion the pulsation of its rhythm carried it farther and farther away from the center, it grew darker, and a great purple shadow covered it so that I could see it no longer. I was now on the outer verge, where the twilight still continued to encircle the planet with zones of clear transparent light.

As night after night I rose up to visit it they grew many-colored and brighter. I saw the imagination of nature visibly at work. I wandered through shadowy immaterial forests, a titanic vegetation built up of light and color; I saw it growing denser, hung with festoons and trailers of fire, and spotted with the light of myriad flowers such as earth never knew.  Coincident with the appearance of these things I felt within myself, as if in harmonious movement, a sense of joyousness, an increase of self-consciousness; I felt full of gladness, youth, and the mystery of the new.  I felt that greater powers were about to appear, those who had thrown outwards this world and erected it as a place in space.

I could not tell half the wonder of this strange race.  I could not myself comprehend more than a little of the mystery of their being. They recognized my presence there, and communicated with me in such a way that I can only describe it by saying that they seemed to enter into my soul breathing a fiery life; yet I knew that the highest I could reach to was but the outer verge of their spiritual nature, and to tell you but a little I have many times to translate it, for in the first unity with their thought I touched on an almost universal sphere of life, I peered into the ancient heart that beats throughout time; and this knowledge became change in me, first, into a vast and nebulous symbology, and so down through many degrees of human thought into words which hold not at all the pristine and magical beauty.

I stood before one of this race, and I thought, “What is the meaning and end of life here?” Within me I felt the answering ecstasy that illuminated with vistas of dawn and rest, it seemed to say:

“Our spring and our summer are unfolding into light and form, and our autumn and winter are a fading into the infinite soul.”

I thought, “To what end is this life poured forth and withdrawn?”

He came nearer and touched me; once more I felt the thrill of being that changed itself into vision.

“The end is creation, and creation is joy: the One awakens out of quiescence as we come forth, and knows itself in us; as we return we enter it in gladness, knowing ourselves. After long cycles the world you live in will become like ours; it will be poured forth and withdrawn; a mystic breath, a mirror to glass your being.”

He disappeared while I wondered what cyclic changes would transmute our ball of mud into the subtle substance of thought. In that world I dared not stay during its period of withdrawal; having entered a little into its life, I became subject to its laws: the Power on its return would have dissolved my being utterly. I felt with a wild terror its clutch upon me, and I withdrew from the departing glory, from the greatness that was my destiny-but not yet.

Of these visions in the light of after thought I would speak a little. All this was but symbol, requiring to be thrice sublimed in interpretation ere its true meaning can be grasped. I do not know whether worlds are heralded by such glad songs, or whether any have such a fleeting existence, for the mind that reflects truth is deluded with strange phantasies of time and place in which seconds are rolled out into centuries and long cycles are reflected in an instant of time. There is within us a little space through which all the threads of the universe are drawn; and, surrounding that incomprehensible center the mind of man sometimes catches glimpses of things which are true only in those glimpses; when we record them the true has vanished, and a shadowy story – such as this – alone remains. Yet, perhaps, the time is not altogether wasted in considering legends like these, for they reveal, though but in phantasy and symbol, a greatness we are heirs to, a destiny which is ours, though it be yet far away.

We find the elimination of the selfish instinct insisted upon as necessary for the progress of the Ego through its material envelope to a full and complete knowledge of its higher self; we find the doctrine of Brotherhood put forward in its noblest aspects; we find as a necessary corollary that responsibility is increased and widened with an accompanying sense of power to accept and carry on that responsibility; with the growth of higher feeling within us comes a sense of added strength; we learn gradually to work without consideration or anxiety for results; we grow more tolerant of our neighbor’s shortcomings, and less so of our own; we find that by disengaging ourselves from the objects of the senses, we become indifferent to small troubles, and more free to assist our neighbor when they press on him; with the knowledge of the causes of present conditions lying in past action, and our present actions going to be the causes of future conditions, we place ourselves in a position to work to the full extent of our powers to set in motion such causes as will bring about the happiest results for Humanity as a whole; we learn to look upon death, not as the opening of the spiritual life, but as a release from a weight which keeps under the spiritual life, which is always with us, now as well as before birth and after death; we learn to sense the methods by which the universe works out its destiny; we find every day growing stronger that sense of immortality, of absolute union with the universal soul, which at first merely manifested itself in strange feelings and emotions; we find the clues to the control of our physical and mental faculties, and are not surprised to discover the ten-thousand- fold increase in value these faculties then bear; we put ourselves more and more in harmony with what we feel to be the source of all Truth; we find ourselves gradually able to give expression to those dumb feelings which we could not find words for, of its grandeur and greatness; until finally we come, after many incarnations, after suffering, after despair sometimes, to a knowledge which transcends all human knowledge, to a bliss which is above our present ideas, to a peace which the world cannot give, which surpasseth all understanding.

It is not, we say, a pain imposed upon us by any eternal power; but the path we tread is one which we ourselves very long ago determined. To the question, “What have we to do with God?” we make answer that we are the children of Deity – bright sparks born in the Divine flame, the spirit in its primal ecstasy reflected in itself the multitudinous powers that throng in space.  It was nourished by divine love, and all that great beauty thrilled through it and quickened it.  But from this vision which the spirit had, it passed to climb to still greater heights – it was spiritual, it might attain divinity.  The change from the original transcendental state of vision to that other state of being, of all-pervading consciousness, could only be accomplished by what is known as the descent into matter where spirit identifies itself with every form of life, and assimilates their essences.

This cyclic pilgrimage it undertook, foreseeing pain, but “preferring free will to passive slavery, intellectual, self- conscious pain, and even torture, ‘while myriad time shall flow,’ to inane, imbecile, instinctual beatitude,” foreseeing pain, but knowing that out of it all would come a nobler state of life, a divinity capable of rule, a power to assist in the general evolution of nature. It is true in the experience of many that going deep within themselves, an elemental consciousness whispers comfort; it says all will be well with us; it is our primal will which so orders. And so we justify the pain and hearts that break; and that old appeal and fierce revolt we make dies out in the inner light which shines from “the Goal, the Comforter, the Lord, the Witness, the resting-place, the Asylum, the Friend.” We can then once more go forth with the old, heroic, Titan will for mastery, seeking not to escape, but rather to meet, endure, and assimilate sorrow and joy alike; for so we can permeate all life – life which is in its essence one. This is the true center on which all endurance must rest; this is the comfort the soul may take to itself; and beyond and after this we may say we struggle in a chaos indeed, but in a chaos whose very disorder is the result of law. That law is justice that cannot err. Out of confidence in this justice may spring up immortal hopes; our motives, our faith shall save us. We may dare more, give ourselves away more completely, for is not the root of this law declared to be beauty, harmony, compassion. We may trust that our acts shall have full fruition, and remain careless of the manner, nor seek for such results. We may look upon it if we will as the sweetest of the sweetest, the tenderest of the tenderest; and this is true, though still it is master of the fiery pain. Above all it is the law of our own being; it is at one with our ancestral self.  In all this lies, I think, such consolation as we may take and offer for pain. Those who comprehend, in their resignation, shall become one with themselves; and out of this resignation shall arise will to go forth and fulfil our lofty destiny.

We should see at the end of the Kaliyuga a new brotherhood formed from those who have risen out of material life and aims, who have conquered self, who have been purified by suffering, who have acquired strength and wisdom, and who have wakened up to the old magical perception of their unity in true Being.

Passing beyond the turning point of evolution, where the delusion of separateness is complete, and moving on the that future awaiting us in infinite distances, when the Great Breath shall cease its outward motion and we shall merge into the One – on this uphill journey in groups and clusters men will first draw closer together, entering in spirit their own parent rays before being united in the source of all light and life.  Such a brotherhood of men and women we may expect will arise, conscious in unity, thinking from one mind and acting from one soul. All such great achievements of the race are heralded long before by signs which those who study the lives of men may know. There is a gestation in the darkness of the womb before the living being appears. Ideals first exist in thought, and from thought they are out-realized into objective existence.

To achieve this we should continually keep in mind this sense of unity; striving also to rise in meditation until we sense in the vastness the beating of these innumerable hearts glowing with heroic purpose: we should try to humanize our mysticism; “We can only reach the Universal Mind through the minds of humanity,” and we can penetrate into their minds by continual concentration, endeavoring to realize their thoughts and feelings, until we carry always about with us in imagination.

In the recently published Story of Early Gaelic Literature, attention is directed to the curious eastern and pantheistic character of some archaic verse. Critics are forever trying to show how some one particular antique race was the first begetter of religion and mystic symbolism. Perplexed by the identity between the myths and traditions of different countries, they look now here, now there, for the original. But it was not in any land but out of the Christ-Soul of the universe that true wisdom at all times was begotten. Some ignorant peasant, some Jacob Boehme, is pure and aspires, and lo! the God stirs within him and he knows the things that were taught in elder days and by unknown people. Our own land, long ago, had its Initiates in whom the eye of the seer was open. This eye, concealed in the hollow of the brain, is the straight gate and the narrow way through which alone the mortal may pass and behold the immortal. It is now closed in most men. Materialism, sensuality and dogmatic belief have so taken the crown and scepter from their souls that they enter the golden world no more knowingly – they are outcast of Eden. But the Tuatha De Dannans were more than seers or visionaries. They were magicians – God and man in one. Not alone their thought went out into the vast, but the Power went along with it. This mystic Power is called the Serpentine Fire. It is spiritual, electric, creative. It develops spirally in the ascetic, mounting from center to center, from the navel to the heart – “He that believeth on me, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living waters. This spake he of the Spirit.” (John, 7:38) – from thence it rises to the head. He is then no more a man but a God; his vision embraces infinitude.

The action of this Power was symbolized in many ways, notably by the passage of the sun through the zodiacal signs because the twelve signs of the Zodiac are hidden in his body. A stone serpent was found a little while ago in Ireland marked with twelve divisions. The archaic verses alluded to have the same meaning:

“I am the point of the lance of battle.

[The spinal cord, the Sushumna nadi of Indian Psychology.]

I am the God who creates in the head of man the fire of the thought.
Who throws light into the meeting on the mountain?

[The meeting of the mortal and the immortal on Mount Meru, the pineal gland.]

Who announces the ages of the moon?

[The activity of the inner astral man.]

Who teaches the place where courses the sun?”


The Serpentine Power is the couch of the sun, the casket of spirit. Hence the Druids or Magi who had mastered this power were called Serpents. Though St. Patrick is said to have driven the serpents out of Ireland, traces still remain of the serpent wisdom. Lest the interpretation given should seem arbitrary I will trace further explicit references to the third eye. Diarmuid, the hero and darling of so many story-tellers, whose flight with Grania forms one of the most mystic episodes in Celtic romance, is described as having a spot in the center of his forehead which fascinated whoever gazed. He is called the “Son of the Monarch of Light.” He is the Initiate, the twice-born. This divine parentage has the sense in which the words were spoken. “Marvel not that I said unto thee, ye must be born again.” In the same sense a Druid is described as “full of his God.” From the mystic Father descends the Ray, the Child of Light. It is born in man as mind, not reasoning: earthly not sensual, but as the heaven-aspiring, thinking mind. In itself, it is of the nature of fire. The man who knows it becomes filled with light, aye, he moves about in light within himself.

The following description of a giant, taken from the story of Diarmuid, refers to still another aspect of our occult nature.  “He has, but one eye only in the fair middle of his black forehead. …. He is, moreover, so skilled in magic that fire could not burn him, water could not drown him, and weapons would not wound him. …… He is fated not to die until there be struck upon him three blows of the iron club he has.  He sleeps in the top of that Quicken tree by night, and he remains at its foot by day to watch it. …. The berries of the tree have the virtues of the trees of fairyland.”

The Quicken tree is the network of nerves in the magnetic astral body. Readers of the Upanishads will remember the description of the arteries, thin as a hair split a thousand times, which proceed from the heart, and in which the Ego rests during deep sleep. It has just the same significance in the legend.

Divine Darkness we worship with silent breath, hymning it in our hearts with quietude and more enraptured awe. That silence cries aloud to the Gods. Then they will approach us. Then we may learn that speech of many colors, for they will not speak in our mortal tongue; they will not answer to the names of men. Their names are rainbow glories. Yet these are mysteries and they cannot be reasoned out or argued over. A relation to the thing in itself alone is our warrant, and this means we must set aside our intellectual self-sufficiency and await guidance. It will surely come to those who wait in trust, a glow, a heat in the heart announcing the awakening of the Fire. And, as it blows with its mystic breath into the brain, there is a hurtling of visions, a brilliance of lights, a sound as of great waters vibrant and musical in their flowing, and murmurs from a single yet multitudinous being. In such a mood, when the far becomes near, the strange familiar, and the infinite possible, he wrote from whose words we get the inspiration.

We complain of conditions, but this very imperfection it is which urges us to arise and seek for the Isles of the Immortals. What we lack recalls the fullness. The soul has seen a brighter day than this and a sun which never sets.  Hence the retrospect: “Thou has been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, the jasper, the sapphire, emerald …. Thou was upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.” We would point out these radiant avenues of return; but sometimes we feel in our hearts that we sound but cockney choices, as guides amid the ancient temples, the cyclopean crypts sanctified by the mysteries.  To be intelligible we replace the opalescent shining by the terms of the anatomist, and we speak of the pineal gland and the pituitary body in the same breath with the Most High. Yet when the soul has the vision divine it knows not it has a body. Let it remember, and the breath of glory kindles it no more; it is once again a captive. After all, it does not make the mysteries clearer to speak in physical terms and do violence to our intuitions. If we ever use these centers, as fires we shall see them, or they shall well up within us as fountains of potent sound.  We may satisfy people’s minds with a sense correspondence, and their souls may yet hold aloof. We shall only inspire by the magic of a superior beauty.

To childhood once again. We must regain the lost state. But it is to the giant and spiritual childhood of the young immortals we must return, when into their clear and translucent souls first fell the rays of the father-beings. The men of old were intimates of wind and wave and playmates of many a brightness long since forgotten. The rapture of the fire was their rest; their outgoing was still consciously through universal being. By darkened images we may figure something vaguely akin, as when in rare moments under the stars the big dreamy heart of childhood is pervaded with quiet and brimmed full with love. Dear children of the world so tired today – so weary seeking after the light. Would you recover strength and immortal vigor? Not one star alone, your star, shall shed its happy light upon you, but the All you must adore. Something intimate, secret, unspeakable, akin to thee will emerge silently, insensibly, and ally itself with thee as thou gatherest thyself from the four quarters of the earth. We shall go back to the world of the dawn, but to a brighter light than that which opened up this wondrous story of the cycles.

Shadow and Substance

Many are the voices that entreat and warn those who would live the life of the Magi. It is well they should speak. They are voices of the wise. But after having listened and pondered, oh, that someone would arise and shout into our souls how much more fatal it is to refrain. For we miss to hear the fairy tale of time, the aeonian chant radiant with light and color which the spirit prolongs. The warnings are not for those who stay at home, but for those who adventure abroad. They constitute an invitation to enter the mysteries.

We close our eyes from the many-colored mirage of day, and are alone soundless and sightless in the un-illumined cell of the brain.  But there are thoughts that shine, impulses born of fire. Still there are moments when the prison world reels away a distant shadow, and the inner chamber of clay fills full with fiery visions. We choose from the traditions of the past some symbol of our greatness, and seem again the Titans or Morning Stars of the prime. In this self-conception lies the secret of life, the way of escape and return.

But I think wherever there is belief in our transcendent being, in justice, our spiritual unity and destiny, wherever there is brotherhood, there are unseen ties, links, shining cords, influx from and unbroken communication with the divine. So much we have in our own natures, not enough to perfect us in the mysteries, but always enough to light our path, to show us our next step, to give us strength for duty. We have to seek elsewhere for the source of that power which momentarily overflows into our world and transforms it with its enchantment.

On the motions of an inner sphere, we are told, all things here depend; on spheres of the less evanescent which, in their turn, are enclosed in spheres of the real, whose solemn chariot movements again are guided by the inflexible will of Fire. In all of these we have part. This dim consciousness which burns in my brain is not all of myself. Behind me it widens out and upward into God. I feel in some other world it shines with purer light: in some sphere more divine than this it has a larger day and a deeper rest. That day of the inner self illuminates many of our mortal days; its night leaves many of them dark. And so the One Ray expanding lives in many vestures.  It is last of all the King-Self who wakes at the dawn of ages, whose day is the day of Brahma, whose rest is his rest. Here is the clue to cyclic change, to the individual feebleness and power, the gloom of one epoch and the glory of another. The Bright Fortnight, the Northern Sun, Light and Flame name the days of other spheres, and wandering on from day to day man may at last reach the end of his journey.  You would pass from rapidly revolving day and night to where the mystical sunlight streams. The way lies through your self and the portals open as the inner day expands. Who is there who has not felt in some way or other the rhythmic recurrence of light within?

We were weary of life, baffled, ready to forswear endeavor, when half insensibly a change comes over us; we doubt no more but do joyfully our work; we renew the sweet magical affinities with nature: out of a heart more laden with love we think and act; our meditations prolong themselves into the shining wonderful life of soul; we tremble on the verge of the vast halls of the gods where their mighty speech may be heard, their message of radiant will be seen. They speak a universal language not for themselves only but for all. What is poetry but a mingling of some tone of theirs with the sounds that below we utter? What is love but a breath of their very being?  Their every mood has colors beyond the rainbow; every thought rings in far-heard melody. So the gods speak to each other across the expanses of ethereal light, breaking the divine silences with words which are deeds. So, too, they speak to the soul. Mystics of all time have tried to express it, likening it to peals of faery bells, the singing of enchanted birds, the clanging of silver cymbals, the organ voices of wind and water bent together – but in vain, in vain. Perhaps in this there is a danger, for the true is realized in being and not in perception. The gods are ourselves beyond the changes of time which harass and vex us here. They do not demand adoration but an equal will to bind us consciously in unity with themselves. 

What we need is that this interior tenderness shall be elevated into seership, that what in most is only yearning or blind love shall see clearly its way and hope and aim. To this end we have to observe more intently the nature of the interior life. We find, indeed, that it is not a solitude at all, but dense with multitudinous being: instead of being alone we are in the thronged highways of existence. For our guidance when entering here many words of warning have been uttered, laws have been outlined, and beings full of wonder, terror, and beauty described. Yet there is a spirit in us deeper than our intellectual being which I think of as the Hero in man, who feels the nobility of its place in the midst of all this, and who would fain equal the greatness of perception with deeds as great. The weariness and sense of futility which often falls upon the mystic after much thought is due, I think, to this, that here he has duties demanding a more sustained endurance just as the inner life is so much vaster and more intense than the life he has left behind.

Then another transfer took place and I was pondering anew, for a face I had seen flickering through the warm wet mist haunted me; it entered into the realm of the interpreter, and I was made aware by the pale cheeks, and by the close-shut lips of pain, and by some inward knowledge, that there the Tree of Life was beginning to grow, and I wondered why it is that it always springs up through a heart in ashes: I wondered also if that which springs up, which in itself is an immortal joy, has knowledge that its shoots are piercing through such anguish; or again, if it was the piercing of the shoots which caused the pain, and if every throb of the beautiful flame darting upward to blossom meant the perishing of some more earthly growth which had kept the heart in shadow.

And not indirectly through remembrance only, but when touched from within by the living beauty, the soul, the ancient druid in man, renews its league with the elements; and sometimes as the twilight vanishes and night lays on the earth her tender brow, the woods, the mountains, the clouds that tinted like seraphim float in the vast, and the murmur of water, wind and trees, melt from the gaze and depart from the outward ear and become internal reveries and contemplations of the spirit, and are no more separate but are part of us. Yet these vanishings from us and movements in worlds not realized, leave us only more thirsty to drink of a deeper nature where all things are dissolved in ecstasy, and heaven and earth are lost in God. So we turn seeking for the traces of that earlier wisdom which guided man into the Land of Immortal Youth, and assuaged his thirst at a more brimming flood of the Feast of Age, the banquet which Manannan the Danann king instituted in the haunt of the Fire-god, and whoever partook knew thereafter neither weariness, decay, not death.

These mysteries, all that they led to, all that they promised for the spirit of man, are opening today for us in clear light, their fabulous distance lessens, and we hail these kingly ideals with as intense a trust and with more joy, perhaps, than they did who were born in those purple hours, because we are emerging from centuries indescribably meagre and squalid in their thought, and every new revelation has for us the sweetness of sunlight to one after the tears and sorrow of a prison-house. The well at Ballykeele is, perhaps, a humble starting-point for the contemplation of such mighty mysteries; but here where the enchanted world lies so close it is never safe to say what narrow path may not lead through a visionary door into Moy Argatnel, the silver Cloudland of Manannan, where the Mighty Mother through the woman is kindling a symbol of herself in the spirit, and through that symbol she breathes her secret life into the heart, so that it is fed from within and is drawn to herself. We remember that with Dante, the image of a woman became at last the purified vesture of his spirit through which the mysteries were revealed.

Spirituality is the power of apprehending formless spiritual essences, of seeing the eternal in the transitory, and in the things which are seen the unseen things of which they are the shadow. I call Mr. Yeats’ poetry spiritual when it declares that there is no beauty so trivial that it is not the shadow of the Eternal Beauty. A country is religious where it is common belief that all things are instinct with divinity, and where the love between man and woman is seen as a symbol, the highest we have, of the union of spirit and nature, and their final blending in the boundless being. For this reason, the lightest desires even, the lightest graces of women have a philosophical value for what suggestions they bring us of the divinity behind them.

In the free play of the beautiful and natural human relations lie the greatest possibilities of spiritual development, for heaven is not prayer nor praise but the fullness of life, which is only divined through the richness and variety of life on earth. There is a certain infinitude in the emotions of love, tenderness, pity, joy, and all that is begotten in love, and this limitless character of the emotions has never received the philosophical consideration which is due to it, for even laughter may be considered solemnly, and gaiety and joy in us are the shadowy echoes of that joy spoken of the radiant Morning Stars, and there is not an emotion in man or woman which has not, however perverted and muddied in its coming, in some way flowed from the first fountain. We are no more divided from supernature than we are from our own bodies, and where the life of man or woman is naturally most intense it most naturally overflows and mingles with the subtler and more lovely world within.

I hope into some renewal of ancient conceptions of the fundamental purpose of womanhood and its relations to Divine Nature, and that from the temples where woman may be instructed she will come forth, with strength in her to resist all pleading until the lover worship in her a divine womanhood, and that through their love the divided portions of the immortal nature may come together and be one as before the beginning of worlds.

Time, which is forever bringing back the old and renewing it, may yet bring back to us some counterpart of Aphrodite or Hera as they were understood by the most profound thinkers of the ancient world; and women may again have her temples and her mysteries, and renew again her original glory.

A Dream of Angus Oge

As he spoke he paused before a great mound, grown over with trees, and around it silver clear in the moonlight were immense stones piled, the remains of an original circle, and there was a dark, low, narrow entrance leading within. He took Con by the hand, and in an instant they were standing in a lofty, cross-shaped cave, built roughly of huge stones.

“This was my palace. In days past many a one plucked here the purple flower of magic and the fruit of the tree of life.”

“It is very dark,” said the child disconsolately. He had expected something different.

“Nay, but look: you will see it is the palace of a god.” And even as he spoke a light began to glow and to pervade the cave and to obliterate the stone walls and the antique hieroglyphs engraved thereon, and to melt the earthen floor into itself like a fiery sun suddenly uprisen within the world, and there was everywhere a wandering ecstasy of sound: light and sound were one; light had a voice, and the music hung glittering in the air.

“Look, how the sun is dawning for us, ever dawning; in the earth, in our hearts, with ever youthful and triumphant voices. Your sun is but a smoky shadow, ours the ruddy and eternal glow; yours is far way, ours is heart and hearth and home; yours is a light without, ours a fire within, in rock, in river, in plain, everywhere living, everywhere dawning, whence also it cometh that the mountains emit their wondrous rays.”

As he spoke he seemed to breathe the brilliance of that mystical sunlight and to dilate and tower, so that the child looked up to a giant pillar of light, having in his heart a sun of ruddy gold which shed its blinding rays about him, and over his head there was a waving of fiery plumage and on his face an ecstasy of beauty and immortal youth.

“I am Angus,” Con heard; “men call me the Young.  I am the sunlight in the heart, the moonlight in the mind; I am the light at the end of every dream, the voice for ever calling to come away; I am the desire beyond you or tears. Come with me, come with me, I will make you immortal; for my palace opens into the Gardens of the Sun, and there are the fire-fountains which quench the heart’s desire in rapture.” And in the child’s dream he was in a palace high as the stars, with dazzling pillars jeweled like the dawn, and all fashioned out of living and trembling opal. And upon their thrones sat the Danann gods with their scepters and diadems of rainbow light, and upon their faces infinite wisdom and imperishable youth.  In the turmoil and growing chaos of his dream he heard a voice crying out, “You remember, Con, Con, Conaire Mor, you remember!” and in an instant he was torn from himself and had grown vaster, and was with the Immortals, seated upon their thrones, they looking upon him as a brother, and he was flying away with them into the heart of the gold when he awoke, the spirit of childhood dazzled with the vision which is too lofty for princes.

The Gardens of Twilight

I saw in my vision one of the heroes of the antique world. He rode for many, many days, yet saw no kindly human face. After long wanderings and toils he came to the Gardens of Twilight, the rich and rare gardens of the primeval world, known by rumor to the ancient Greeks as the Hesperides. He looked around with wonder; the place was all a misty dazzle with light, a level light as of evening that flowed everywhere about; the air was rich with the scent of many blossoms; from each flower rose an odor that hovered about it as a delicate vapor. While he gazed, one of the spirits of the garden came nigh him in the guise of a beautiful human child.

“How came you here?”

“I wandered for many years,” he said, “I fought with the dragons that lie coiled in citron scales on the highways; I warred against oppression; I made justice to prevail, and now that peace is on the land I might have rested with peace in mine own heart, but I could not yet. So I left behind the happy hearths and homes of men and rode onward, a secret fire burning ceaselessly within me; I know not in what strange home it will be still.  But what gardens are these?”

“They are the Gardens of Twilight,” answered the child.

“How beautiful then must be the Gardens of Day! How like a faint fine dust of amethyst and gold the mist arises from the enchanted odorous flowers! Surely some spirit things must dwell within the air that breaks so perpetually into hues of pearl and shell!”

“They are the servants of Zeus,” the child said. “They live within these wandering airs; they go forth into the world and make mystery in the hearts of men.”

“Was it one such guided me thither?”

“I do not know; but this I know, whether led by the wandering spirits or guided by their own hearts, none can remain here safely and look upon the flowers save those who understand their mystery or those who can create an equal beauty. For all others deadly is the scent of the blossoms; stricken with madness, they are whirled away into the outer world in fever, passion and unending hunger and torment.”

“I do not care if I pass from them,” said the wanderer.  “It is not here my heart could be still and its desire cease, but in the first Fount.”

They passed on and went deeper into the Gardens of Twilight, which were ever-changing, opalescent, ever-blushing with new and momentary beauty, ever-vanishing before the steady gaze to reveal beneath more silent worlds of mystic being. Like vapor, now gorgeous and now delicate, they wavered, or as the giant weeds are shadowing around the diver in the Indian wave sun-drenched through all its deeps of green. Sometimes a path would unfold, with a million shining flowers of blue, twinkling like stars in the Milky Way, beneath their feet, and would wind away delicately into the faery distances.

“Let us rest,” said the child, leaning against a tree. She began swaying a hand to and fro among the flowers; as her fingers touched the bell-like blooms of burning amethyst they became stained with the rich color; she seemed to lose herself in dreams as one who toils not for delight, living ever amid rich joys. He wondered if she was as unreal as the gardens, and remembering her words, they seemed familiar as if they were but echoes of the unuttered thoughts that welled up as he moved about. While he watched the flitting phantasmagoria with a sense expectant of music which never came, there arose before him images of peace, vanishing faster than passion, and forms of steadfast purity came nigh, attired, priestess-like, in white and gold; they laid their heads against his breast; as he looked down, their eyes, eager and flame-like, grew passionate and full of desire. He stretched out his hand to pluck blossoms and twine wreaths for their beautiful heads.

“Do not! Do not!” cried the child. “See how every blossom has its guardian!”

There were serpents coiling about the roots of every flower, or amid the leaves, waiting with undulating head and forked tongue to strike the uncautious hand. He shook off the drowsy influence of the scents and o’er-burdened air; the forms vanished. He remembered the child’s words: “None can remain in safety an equal beauty.”  He began to ponder over the meaning of the gardens.”

“While we sit here, late lingerers in the glory of twilight, I will tell you a story which my fancy brings me,” he said. “I thought one came here long ago and built himself a mighty world in a dream of many hundred years.”

He had lived with kings and counselors; he had wrought in magical arts, and the great and wise of the earth were his fellows. When a time came for him to depart he turned away sadly from the towers of men. He passed, without knowing it, through the strange defiles which lead to these gardens; but the light did not break upon him in iridescent waves foamy with flowers and sparkling with vanishing forms; the light was hidden in the bosom of the twilight; it was all-pervading but invisible; the essence of the light bathed his soul; the light was living; the light was exhaustless; by it everything was born; touched by it everything went forth in ecstasy, blind, seeking for realization.

The magician brought with him the seeds of human desire and wisdom and aspiration. The light broke into his moody forgetfulness and kindled long-forgotten fires. He awoke from his darkness and saw before him in happiest vistas the island city of his lounging. Around him were the men and women he knew; acting on his secret wishes the multitudes hailed him as king, they bowed before him as wise, they worshiped him as all-powerful. It was not strange to him, and rapt in royal imaginations for countless years he held sway over the island city. He dreamed of it as a poet, and there was no more beautiful city than this city of his dream. There were places that shot up, pinnacle upon pinnacle, amid the jewel-light of the stars; there were courts and porticoes full of mysterious glory and gloom, magnificence and darkness; there were fountains that jetted their pearly mists into the light; around them with summer in their hearts lay the island inhabitants, each one an angel for beauty.

As the dream of the magician deepened in rapture, the city wavered and changed more continually; its towers pierced more daringly into the way of the stars; for the darkness below he summoned birds of fire from the aerial deeps; they circled the palaces with flaming wings; they stained the air with richest dyes and rained forth emerald and blue and gold on the streets and sculptured walls and the inhabitants in their strange joys.

His dream changed; he went forth no more but shut himself up in his palace with his wisest princes, and as he took counsel with them, the phantasmal and brilliant towers without faded and fell away as a butterfly droops its wings. For countless years he lived in the intoxication of thought; around him were sages who propounded wisest laws, and poets who sang of love, humanity and destiny. As his dream deepened still more in its rapture, they sang of mightier themes; there was continual music and light; there was no limit of glory or dominion which the human soul might not aspire to; his warriors stepped from star to star in dreams of conquest, and would have stayed the seraph princess of the wind and wave and fire, to make more radiant the retinue of this magician of the Beautiful.

Again his desire changed. He sought to hold no further sway over these wide realms beyond him; he shut himself up in an inner chamber in lonely meditation, and as he entered into a deeper being the sages and poets, who were with him at his royal feasts, vanished and were no more. He, the wise mind, pondered within himself, finding joy in the continual inward birth of thought following thought, as in lonely seas wave rolls upon wave. From all things he had known or experienced he drew forth their essence and hidden meaning, and he found that he had been no less a king in his old unconsciousness than he now was, and that at all times nature had been obeisant and whatever had happened had still been by his own will. Through the light, thin fretted by the fire of his aspirations, he sometimes seemed to see the shining Law in all things and the movement through the thought-swept fields of heaven of the universal imagination. He saw that this, too, had been a minister to him. He drew nigh to himself – divinity. The last rapture of his soul was his radiant self-conception.  Save for this vesture the light of illusion fell from him. He was now in a circle of whitest fire, that girdled and looked in upon the movements of worlds within its breast. He tried to expand and enter this flaming circle; myriads of beings on its verges watched him with pity; I felt their thought thrilling within me.

“He will never attain it!”

“Ah, the Beautiful Bird, his plumage is stained!”

“His glory will drag him down!”

“Only in invisible whiteness can he pass!”

“How he floats upwards, the Beautiful Bird!”

“These voices of universal compassion did not reach him, rapt in aspiration and imperious will. For an instant-an eternity-the infinitudes thrilled him, those infinitudes which in that instant he knew he could never enter but as one with all on the days of the great return. All that longed, all that aspired and dared, all but the immortal were in that movement destroyed, and hurled downwards from the highest heaven of life, the pilgrim spark began once more as a child to live over again the round of human days.”

“The spirit of the place o’ermastered you,” said the child.

“Here may come and dream; and their dream of joy ended, out of each dreaming sphere comes forth again in pain the infant spirit of man. But beyond this illusive light and these ever-changing vistas – what lies? I am weary of their vanishing glories. I would not wish to mount up through dreams to behold the true and fall away powerlessly, but would rather return to earth, though in pain, still eager to take up and renew the cyclic labors.”

“I belong to the gardens,” said the child; “I do not know what lies beyond. But there are many paths leading far away.”

Before them where they stood branched out paths of rich flowers. Here a region of pinks lured on to vistas of delicate glory; there ideal violet hues led to a more solemn beauty; here the eyes were dazzled by avenues of rich, radiant, and sunny green; another in beautiful golden colors seemed to invite to the land of the sun, and yet another winded away through soft and shadowy blues to remote spiritual distances. There was one, a path of white flowers ending in light no eye could pierce.

“I will choose this – the path of white flower,” he said, waving farewell to the child. I watched the antique hero in my vision as he passed into the light; he seemed to shine, to grow larger; as he vanished from my eyes he was transfigured, entering as a god the region of gods.

“What I want to know is how these things enter the imagination at all!”

“Perhaps you might understand if you recall what sometimes happens before sleep. At first you see pictures of things, landscapes, people you know; after a time people and places unknown before begin to mingle with them in an ever-widening circle of visions; the light on which these things are pictured is universal, though everyone has around himself his own special sphere of light; this is the mirror of himself-his memory; but as we go deeper into ourselves in introspection we see beyond our special sphere into the great of universal light, the memorial tablet of nature; there lie hidden the secrets of the past; and so, we can call up and renew the life of legend and tradition. This is the Astral Light of the mystics. Its deeper and more living aspect seems to inflame the principle of desire in us. All the sweet, seductive, bewitching temptations of sense are inspired by it. After death the soul passing into this living light goes on thinking, thinking, goes on aspiring, aspiring, creating unconsciously around itself its own circumstance in which all sweetest desires are self-fulfilled. When this dream-power is exhausted the soul returns again to earth. With some this return is due to the thirst for existence; with some to a perception of the real needs of soul.”

Away upon the dream-built margin of space a thousand tremors fled and chased each other all along the shadowy night. The human traditions, memories of pain, struggle, hope and desire floated away and melted in the quietude until at last only the elemental consciousness remained at gaze. I felt chilled by the vacancies. I wondered what this void was.

A slight upright figure, a child, stood a little apart shedding a delicate radiance upon the dusky air. Curiously innocent, primeval, she moved, withdrawn in a world only half-perceived of gorgeous blossoms and mystic shadows. Through her hair of feathery brown drifting about her the gleam of dust of gold and of rich color seemed to come from her dress. She raised her finger-tips from the flowers and dashed the bright dew aside. I felt something vaguely familiar about the gesture.

It is one of the Children of Twilight. I felt only joyous hopes, saw only ever-widening vistas. The dreams of the Golden Age, of far-off happy times grew full of meaning. I people all the future with their splendor. The air was thronged with bright supernatural beings, they moved in air, in light; and they and we and all together were sustained and thrilled by the breath of the Unknown God.

The Northern Lights

I awoke from sleep with a cry. I was hurled up from the great deep and rejected of the darkness. But out of the clouds and dreams I built up a symbol of the going forth of the spirit – a symbol, not a memory – for if I could remember, I could return again at will and be free of the unknown land.  But in slumber I was free. I sped forth like an arrow. I followed a secret hope, breasting the currents of life flowing all about me. I tracked these streams winding in secretness far away. I said, “I am going to myself. I will bathe in the Fountain of Life”; and so on and on I sped northwards, with dark waters flowing beneath me and stars companioning my flight.

Then a radiance illumined the heavens, the icy peaks and caves, and I saw the Northern Lights. Out of the diamond breast of the air I looked forth. Below the dim world shone all with pale and wintry green; the icy crests flickered with a light reflect from the shadowy auras streaming over the horizon. Then these auras broke out in fire, and the plains of ice were illumined. The light flashed through the goblin caves, and lit up their frosty hearts and the fantastic minarets drooping above them. Light above in solemn array went forth and conquered the night. Light below with a myriad flashing spears pursued the gloom. Its dazzling lances shivered in the heart of the ice: they sped along the ghostly hollows; the hues of the orient seemed to laugh through winter; the peaks blossomed with starry and crystalline flowers, lilac and white and blue; they faded away, pearl, opal and pink in shimmering evanescence; then gleams of rose and amethyst traveled slowly from spar to spar, lightened and departed; there was silence before my eyes; the world once more was all a pale and wintry green. I thought of them no more, but of the mighty and unseen tides going by me with billowy motion.

“Oh, Fountain I seek, thy waters are all about me, but where shall I find a path to Thee?” Something answered my cry, “Look in thy heart!” and, obeying the voice, the seer in me looked forth no more through the eyes of the shadowy form, but sank deep within itself. I knew then the nature of these mystic streams; they were life, joy, love, ardor, light. From these came the breath of life which the heart drew in with every beat, and from thence it was flashed up in illumination through the cloudy hollows of the brain. They poured forth unceasingly; they were life in everyone; they were joy in everyone; they stirred an incommunicable love which was fulfilled only in yielding to and adoration of the vast.

But the Fountain I could not draw nigh unto; I was borne backwards from its unimaginable center, then an arm seized me, and I was stayed. I could see no one, but I grew quiet, full of deep quiet, out of which memory breathes only shadowiest symbols, images of power and Holy Sages, their grand faces turned to the world, as if in the benediction of universal love, pity, sympathy, and peace, ordained by Buddha; the faces of the Fathers, ancient with eternal youth, looking forth as in the imagination of the mystic Blake, the Morning Stars looked forth and sang together. A sound as of an “OM” unceasing welled up and made an auriole of peace around them. I would have joined in the song, but could not attain to them.  I knew if I had a deeper love I could have entered with them into unending labors amid peace; but I could only stand and gaze; in my heart a longing that was worship, in my thought a wonder that was praise.

“Who are these?” I murmured? The Voice answered, “They are the servants of the Nameless One. They do his bidding among men. They awaken the old heroic fire of sacrifice in forgetful hearts.” Then the forms of elder life appeared in my vision. I saw the old earth, a fairy shadow ere it yet had hardened, peopled with ethereal races unknowing of themselves or their destinies and lulled with inward dreams; above and far away I saw how many glittering hosts, their struggle ended, moved onward to the Sabbath of Eternity. Out of these hosts, one dropped as a star from their heart, and overshadowed the olden earth with its love. Wherever it rested I saw each man awakening from his dreams turned away with the thought of sacrifice in his heart, a fire that might be forgotten, but could never die. This was the continual secret whisper of the Fathers in the inmost being of humanity.

“Why do they not listen?” I marveled. Then I heard another cry from the lower pole, the pit; a voice of old despair and protest, the appeal of passion seeking its own fulfilment. Alternate with the dawn of Light was the breath of the expanding Dark where powers of evil were gathered together.

“It is the strife between light and darkness which are the world’s eternal ways,” said the Voice, “but the light shall overcome and the fire in the heart be rekindled; men shall regain their old angelic being, and though the dark powers may war upon them, the angels with their love shall slay them.  Be thou ready for the battle, and see thou use only love in the fight.”

Then I was hurried backward with swift speed, and awoke.  All I knew was but a symbol, but I had the peace of the mystic Fathers in my heart, and the jeweled glory of the Northern Lights all dazzling about my eyes. 

The Candle of Vision


Desire is hidden identity.

I felt the gaiety of childhood springing up through weariness and age, for to come into contact with that which is eternally young is to have that childhood of the spirit it must attain ere it can be molded by the Magician of the Beautiful and enter the House of Many Mansions.

While the child is still in its mother’s arms it is nourished by her, yet it does not know it is a mother which feeds it. It knows later in whose bosom it has lain. As the mother nourishes the body so the Mighty Mother nourishes the soul. Yet there are but few who pay reverence where reverence is due, and that is because this benign deity is like a mother who indulges the fancies of her children. With some she imparts life to their own thoughts. Others she endows with the vision of her own heart. Even of these last some love in silence, being afraid to speak of the majesty which smiled on them, and others deceived think with pride: “This vision is my own.”

As I walked in the evening down the lanes scented by the honeysuckle my senses were expectant of some unveiling about to take place, I felt that beings were looking in upon me out of the true home of man. They seemed to be saying to each other of us, “Soon they will awaken; soon they will come to us again,” and for a moment I almost seemed to mix with their eternity. The tinted air glowed before me with intelligible significance like a face, a voice. The visible world became like a tapestry blown and stirred by winds behind it. If it would but raise for an instant I knew I would be in Paradise. Every form on that tapestry appeared to be the work of gods. Every flower was a word, a thought. The grass was speech; the trees were speech; the waters were speech; the winds were speech.

I said of the earth that we and all things were her dreams:

She is rapt in dreams divine.
As her clouds of beauty pass
On our glowing hearts they shine,
Mirrored there as in a glass.

Earth, whose dreams are we and they,
With her deep heart’s gladness fills
All our human lips can say
Or the dawn-fired singer trills.

We may indeed have a personal wisdom, but spiritual vision is not to speak of as ours any more than we can say at the rising of the sun: “This glory is mine.”

Yet though the imagination apprehended truly that this beauty was not mine, and hailed it by its heavenly name, for some years my heart was proud, for as the beauty sank into memory it seemed to become a personal possession, and I said “I imagined this” when I should humbly have said, “The curtain was a little lifted that I might see.” But the day was to come when I could not deny the Mighty Mother the reverence due, when I was indeed to know by what being I had been nourished, and to be made sweet and mad as a lover with the consciousness of her intermingling spirit.

I, with my imagination more and more drawn to adore an ideal nature, was tending to that vital contact in which what at first was apprehended in fantasy would become the most real of all things. When that certitude came I felt as Dante might have felt after conceiving of Beatrice close at his side and in the Happy World, if, after believing it a dream, half hoping that it might hereafter be a reality, that beloved face before his imagination grew suddenly intense, vivid and splendidly shining, and he knew beyond all doubt that her spirit was truly in that form, and had descended to dwell in it, and would be with him for evermore. So did I feel one warm summer day lying idly on the hillside, not then thinking of anything but the sunlight, and how sweet it was to drowse there, when, suddenly, I felt a fiery heart throb, and knew it was personal and intimate, and started with every sense dilated and intent, and turned inwards, and I heard first a music as of bells going away, away into that wondrous underland whither, as legend relates, the Danaan gods withdrew; and then the heart of the hills was opened to me, and I knew there was no hill for those who were there, and they were unconscious of the ponderous mountain piled above the palaces of light, and the winds were sparkling and diamond clear, yet full of color as an opal, as they glittered through the valley, and I knew the Golden Age was all about me, and it was we who had been blind to it but that it had never passed away from the world.

The Earth Breath

After that awakening, earth began more and more to bewitch me, and to lure me to her heart with honied entreaty.

An interval of inactivity and I would be aware of that sweet eternal presence overshadowing me. I was an exile from living nature but she yet visited me. Her ambassadors were visions that made me part of themselves.

I would be living in the Mother’s being in some pure, remote, elemental region of hers. There would be a sky of rarest amethyst; a snow-cold bloom of cloud; high up in the divine wilderness, solitary, a star; all rapt, breathless and still; rapt the seraph princes of wind and wave and fire, for it was the hour when the King, an invisible presence, moved through His dominions and Nature knew and was hushed at the presence of her Lord. Once, suddenly, I found myself on some remote plain or steppe, and heard unearthly chimes pealing passionately from I know not what far steeples. The earth-breath streamed from the furrows to the glowing heavens. I could see a ploughman lifting himself from his obscure toil and stand with lit eyes as if he too had been fire-smitten and was caught into heaven as I was, and knew for that moment he was a god.

…He waked in his sleep, and some self of him was striding to and fro in the moonlight in an avenue mighty with gigantic images; and that dream self he had surprised had seemed to himself unearthly in wisdom and power.

Comrades in vision soon came to me, they who could see as I saw, and hear as I heard, and there were some who had gone deeper into that being than I have ever traveled.

The Slave of the Lamp

I found every intense imagination, every new adventure of the intellect endowed with magnetic power to attract to it its own kin. Will and desire were as the enchanter’s wand of fable, and they drew to themselves their own affinities.

It is those who live and grow swiftly, and who continually compare what is without with what is within, who have this certainty.

He who has followed even in secrecy many lights of the spirit can see one by one the answering torches gleam.

I knew that all I met was part of myself and that what I could not comprehend was related by affinity to some yet unrealized forces in my being. We have within us the Lamp of the World; and Nature, the genie, is Slave of the Lamp, and must fashion life about us as we fashion it within ourselves. What we are alone has power.

I account it the highest wisdom to know this of the living universe that there is no destiny in it other than that we make for ourselves. How the spirit is kindled, how it feels its power, when, outwardly quiet, it can see the coming and going of life, as it dilates within itself or is still! Then do we move in miracle and wonder.


Meditation, the formulae of that alchemy by which what is gross in us may be transmuted into ethereal fires.

We need a power in ourselves that can confront these mighty powers.

I sought out ways to make more securely my own those magical lights that dawned and faded within me. I wished to evoke them at will and be master of my vision.

I set myself to attain mastery over the will.

Let us persevere in our daily ritual and the turmoil increases; our whole being becomes vitalized, the bad as well as the good. The heat of this fervent concentration acts like fire under a pot, and everything in our being boils up madly. We learn our own hitherto unknown character. We did not know we could feel such fierce desires, never imagined such passionate enmities as now awaken. We have created in ourselves a center of power and grow real to ourselves. It is dangerous, too, for we have flung ourselves into the eternal conflict between spirit and matter, and find ourselves where the battle is hottest, where the foemen are locked in a death struggle. We are in grips with mightier powers than we had before conceived of.

But the ancients who taught us to gain this intensity taught it but as preliminary to a meditation which would not waver and would be full of power. The meditation they urged on us has been explained as “the inexpressible yearning of the inner man to go out into the infinite.” But that Infinite we would enter is living. It is the ultimate being of us. Meditation is a fiery brooding on that majestical Self. We imagine ourselves into Its vastness. We conceive ourselves as mirroring Its infinitudes, as moving in all things, as living in all beings, in earth, water, air, fire, æther. We try to know as It knows, to live as It lives, to be compassionate as It is compassionate. We equal ourselves to It that we may understand It and become It. We do not kneel to It as slaves, but as Children of the King we lift ourselves up to that Glory, and affirm to ourselves that we are what we imagine.

“What a man thinks, that he is: that is the old secret,” said the wise. We have imagined ourselves into this pitiful dream of life. By imagination and will we re-enter true being, becoming that we conceive of. On that path of fiery brooding I entered. At first all was stupor. I felt as one who steps out of day into the colorless night of a cavern, and that was because I had suddenly reversed the habitual motions of life. We live normally seeing through the eyes, hearing through the ears, stirred by the senses, moved by bodily powers, and receiving only such spiritual knowledge as may pass through a momentary purity of our being. On the mystic path we create our own light, and at first we struggle blind and baffled, seeing nothing, hearing nothing, unable to think, unable to imagine. We seem deserted by dream, vision or inspiration, and our meditation barren altogether.

But let us persist through weeks or months, and sooner or later that stupor disappears. Our faculties readjust themselves, and do the work we will them to do. Never did they do their work so well. The dark caverns of the brain begin to grow luminous. We are creating our own light. By heat of will and aspiration we are transmuting what is gross in the subtle æthers through which the mind works. As the dark bar of metal begins to glow, at first redly, and then at white heat, or as ice melts and is alternately fluid, vapour, gas, and at last a radiant energy, so do these æthers become purified and alchemically changed into luminous essences, and they make a new vesture for the soul, and link us to mid-world or heavenward where they too have their true home. How quick the mind is now! How vivid is the imagination!

We are lifted above the tumult of the body. The heat of the blood disappears below us. We draw nigher to ourselves. The heart longs for the hour of meditation and hurries to it; and, when it comes, we rise within ourselves as a diver too long under seas rises to breathe the air, to see the light. We have invoked the God and we are answered according to old promise. As our aspiration so is our inspiration. We imagine It as Love and what a love enfolds us. We conceive of It as Might and we take power from that Majesty. We dream of It as Beauty and the Magician of the Beautiful appears everywhere at Its miraculous art, and the multitudinous lovely creatures of Its thought are busy molding nature and life in their image, and all are hurrying, hurrying to the Golden World. This vision brings its own proof to the spirit, but words cannot declare or explain it. We must go back to lower levels and turn to that which has form from that which is bodiless.

The Many-Colored Land

The highest ecstasy and vision are conditioned by law and attainable by all, and this might be argued as of more importance even than the message of the seers. I attribute to that unwavering meditation and fiery concentration of will a growing luminousness in my brain as if I had unsealed in the body a fountain of interior light. Normally we close our eyes on a cloudy gloom through which vague forms struggle sometimes into definiteness. But the luminous quality gradually became normal in me, and at times in meditation there broke in on me an almost intolerable luster of light, pure and shining faces, dazzling processions of figures, most ancient, ancient places and peoples, and landscapes lovely as the lost Eden. These appeared at first to have no more relation to myself than images from a street without one sees reflected in a glass; but at times meditation prolonged itself into spheres which were radiant with actuality.

There came through meditation a more powerful orientation of my being as if to a hidden sun, and my thoughts turned more and more to the spiritual life of Earth. All the needles of being pointed to it. I felt instinctively that all I saw in vision was part of the life of Earth which is a court where there are many starry palaces. There the Planetary Spirit was King, and that Spirit manifesting through the substance of Earth, the Mighty Mother, was, I felt, the being I groped after as God. The love I had for nature as garment of that deity grew deeper.

I was bare of all but desire for the Eternal. I was once more the child close to the Mother. She rewarded me by lifting for me a little the veil which hides her true face. To those high souls who know their kinship the veil is lifted, her face is revealed, and her face is like a bride’s. In those moments of vision I understood instinctively the high mood they must keep who would walk with the highest; and who with that divine face glimmering before him could do aught but adore!

It is always lawful to speak of that higher wisdom which relates our spiritual being to that multitudinous unity which is God and Nature and Man.

I do not wish to write a book of wonders, but rather to bring thought back to that Being whom the ancient seers worshipped as Deity. I believe that most of what was said of God was in reality said of that Spirit whose body is Earth.

Sometimes lying on the hillside with the eyes of the body shut as in sleep I could see valleys and hills, lustrous as a jewel, where all was self-shining, the colors brighter and purer, yet making a softer harmony together than the colors of the world I know. The winds sparkled as they blew hither and thither, yet far distances were clear through that glowing air. What was far off was precise as what was near, and the will to see hurried me to what I desired. There, too, in that land I saw fountains as of luminous mist jetting from some hidden heart of power, and shining folk who passed into those fountains inhaled them and drew life from the magical air.

Like these were my first visions of super-nature, not spiritual nor of any high import, not in any way so high as those transcendental moments of awe, when almost without vision the Divine Darkness seemed to breathe within the spirit. But I was curious about these forms, and often lured away by them from the highest meditation; for I was dazzled like a child who escapes from a dark alley in one of our cities of great sorrow where its life has been spent, and who comes for the first time upon some rich garden beyond the city where the air is weighted with scent of lilac or rose, and the eyes are made gay with color. Such a beauty begins to glow on us as we journey towards Deity, even as earth grows brighter as we journey from the gloomy pole to lands of the sun; and I would cry out to our humanity, sinking deeper into the Iron Age, that the Golden World is all about us and that beauty is open to all, and none are shut out from it who will turn to it and seek for it.

As the will grew more intense, the longing for the ancestral self more passionate, there came glimpses of more rapturous life in the being of Earth.


Super-nature, which rises like a tower of heaven, above the depths where we move…

I know that my brain is a court where many living creatures throng, and I am never alone in it. You, too, can know that if you heighten the imagination and intensify the will. The darkness in you will begin to glow, and you will see clearly, and you will know that what you thought was but a mosaic of memories is rather the froth of a gigantic ocean of life, breaking on the shores of matter, casting up its own flotsam to mingle with the life of the shores it breaks on. If you will light your lamp you can gaze far over that ocean and even embark on it.

The Mingling of Natures

To move a single step we must have power. To see we must be exalted. Not to be lost in vision we must learn the geography of the spirit and the many mansions in the being of the Father. If we concentrate we shall have power. If we meditate we shall lift ourselves above the dark environment of the brain. The inner shall become richer and more magical to us than the outer which has held us so long. How may I allure to this meditation those who see only by the light of day; who, when their eyes are shut, are as cave-dwellers living in a blackness beneath the hills? The cave of the body can be lit up. If we explore it we shall there find lights by which the lights of day are made dim.

By sustained meditation and by focusing the will to a burning-point, we are raised above the narrow life of the body.

As meditation grows more exalted, the forms traceable to memory tend to disappear and we have access to a memory greater than our own, the treasure-house of august memories in the innumerable being of Earth.

If they will but light the candle on their forehead and examine the denizens in the brain.

We are led by wonder and awe to believe that we and all things swim in an æther of deity.

We discover in ourselves a new sense. By touch with the soul we understand. We realize how profound was that ancient wisdom which told us when we were perfected in concentration we could gain full comprehension of anything we wished by intent brooding. I never attained that perfectness of concentration, but I saw the possibilities in moments of electric intensity of will when I summoned out of the past a knowledge I desired. How is this knowledge possible? Is there a center within us through which all the threads of the universe are drawn, a spiritual atom which mirrors the spiritual infinitudes even as the eye is a mirror of the external heavens? There is not a pin point in visible space which does not contain a microcosm of heaven and earth. We know that, for nowhere do we move where the eye does not receive its vision of infinity. Is it only in the visible world, this condensation of the infinite in the atomic, and not also in the soul and again in the spirit? What would the soul in its perfection mirror? Would it reflect within itself the myriad life of humanity? Would the spirit mirror the heavens, and the imaginations of the Divine Mind well up within it in mystic and transcendental ideations? Or do they already mirror each their own world, and is all knowledge already within us, and is our need but for wisdom to create the links between portions of a single being, dramatically sundered by illusion as the soul is in dream? Is not the gathering of the will and the fiery brooding to this end, and are the glimpses we get of super-nature caused but by the momentary uplifting of an eye, by which, when it is fully awakened, we dead shall be raised?

The Memory of Earth

We soon grow to think our memory but a portion of that eternal memory and that we in our lives are gathering an innumerable experience for a mightier being than our own.

It is an act of vision, a perception of images already existing breathed on some ethereal medium which in no way differs from the medium which holds for us our memories; and the reperception of an image in memory which is personal to us in no way differs as a psychical act from the perception of images in the memory of Earth.

We are led to believe that memory is an attribute of all living creatures and of Earth also, the greatest living creature we know, and that she carries with her, and it is accessible to us, all her long history, cities far gone behind time, empires which are dust, or are buried with sunken continents beneath the waters. The beauty for which men perished is still shining; Helen is there in her Troy, and Deirdre wears the beauty which blasted the Red Branch. No ancient lore has perished. Earth retains for herself and her children what her children might in passion have destroyed, and it is still in the realm of the Ever Living to be seen by the mystic adventurer. We argue that this memory must be universal, for there is nowhere we go where Earth does not breathe fragments from her ancient story to the meditative spirit.

The laws by which this history is made accessible to us seem to be the same as those which make our own learning swift to our service.

If our will is powerful enough and if by concentration and aspiration we have made the gloom in the brain to glow, we can evoke out of the memory of earth images of whatsoever we desire.

Once, when I was considering the play of arcane forces in the body, a book appeared before me, a coloured symbol on each page. I saw the book was magical, for while I looked on one of these the symbol vanished from the page, and the outline of a human body appeared, and then there came an interior revelation of that, and there was a shining of forces and a flashing of fires, rose, gold, azure and silver along the spinal column, and these flowed up into the brain where they struck upon a little ball that was like white sunfire for brilliancy, and they flashed out of that again in a pulsation as of wings on each side of the head; and then the page darkened, and the changing series closed with the Caduceus of Mercury and contained only a symbol once more.

Such pictures come without conscious effort of will, but are clearly evoked by it. The electric intensity of will.

In the future a training in seership might lead to a revolution in human knowledge.

Try to become the master of your vision, and seek for and evoke the greatest of earth memories, not those things which only satisfy curiosity, but those which uplift and inspire, and give us a vision of our own greatness; and the noblest of all Earth’s memories is the august ritual of the ancient mysteries, where the mortal, amid scenes of unimaginable grandeur, was disrobed of his mortality and made of the company of the gods.


By imagination what exists in latency or essence is out-realized and is given a form in thought, and we can contemplate with full consciousness that which hitherto had been unrevealed, or only intuitionally surmised. In imagination there is a revelation of the self to the self, and a definite change in being, as there is in a vapor when a spark ignites it and it becomes an inflammation in the air. Here images appear in consciousness which we may refer definitely to an internal creator, with power to use or remold pre-existing forms, and endow them with life, motion and voice.

The immortal in us has memory of all its wisdom.  There is an ancestral wisdom in man and we can if we wish drink that old wine of heaven. This memory of the spirit is the real basis of imagination, and when it speaks to us we feel truly inspired and a mightier creature than ourselves speaks through us.

To find sentences which seemed noble and full of melody sounding in my brain as if another and greater than I had spoken them

I am convinced that all poetry is, as Emerson said, first written in the heavens, that is, it is conceived by a self deeper than appears in normal life, and when it speaks to us or tells us its ancient story we taste of eternity and drink the Soma juice, the elixir of immortality.


In the heart of sleep there is an intellectual being moving in a world of its own and using transcendental energies.

The ancient seers made earth world, mid-world and heaven world synonyms for three states of consciousness, waking, dreaming and deep sleep.

A breath of power poured upward from below as from a fountain, or as if from here some sidereal river flowed out to the country of the stars. We hovered over the fountain from which came that invisible breath filling us with delight and power. While we hung intent there came the apparition of a vast and glowing orb of light like the radiance about a god, and of those glittering ones some flung themselves into that sphere of light, and were absorbed in it: and it faded away, ebbing from us as if it had been a living galleon come to the hither side of being but for a moment, to carry with it those who might go to the heaven world to be partakers of the divine nature and live in their parent Flame.

In ourselves there are fiery centers undiscovered by the anatomist where thought is born or the will leaps up in flame.

The heavenly city where I found myself among the shining ones… and a many-colored earth above this with temples wherein the gods do truly dwell.

It was the mirroring in the brain of an experience of soul in a real sphere of being.

The Master of Life is in all, and I am as excited with wonder at the creative genius shown in the wildest dream as in the most exalted vision. Not by any power I understand are these images created: but the power which creates them is, I surmise, a mightier self of ours, and yet our slave for purposes of its own. I feel its presence in all I do, think or imagine. It waits on my will.

When thought or imagination is present in me, ideas or images appear on the surface of consciousness, and though I call them my thoughts, my imaginations, they are already formed when I become aware of them. The Indian sage Sankara says by reason of the presence of the highest Self in us, the mind in us is moved as if moved by another than ourselves. Upon its presence depend all motions of body and soul.

The Architecture of Dream

For myself I think man is a protean being, within whose unity there is diversity, and there are creatures in the soul which can inform the images of our memory, or the eternal memory, aye, and speak through them to us in dream, so that we hear their voices, and it is with us in our minute microcosmic fashion even as it was said of the universe that it is a soliloquy of Deity wherein Ain-Soph (Wisdom) talks to Ain-Soph (Wisdom).


Intuition is that sense of a divinity ever present in act or thought my words do not communicate. The ecstatic, half-articulate, with broken words, can make us feel the kingdom of heaven is within him. I choose words with reverence but speak from recollection, and one day does not utter to another its own wisdom. Our highest moments in life are often those of which we hold thereafter the vaguest memories.

Yet Earth seemed to me bathed in an æther of Deity. I felt at times as one raised from the dead, made virginal and pure, who renews exquisite intimacies with the divine companions, with Earth, Water, Air and Fire. To breathe was to inhale magical elixirs. To touch Earth was to feel the influx of power as with one who had touched the mantle of the Lord. Thought, from whatever it set out, forever led to the heavenly city. But these feelings are incommunicable. We have no words to express a thousand distinctions clear to the spiritual sense.

I believe of nature that it is a manifestation of Deity, and that, because we are partakers in the divine nature, all we see has affinity with us; and though now we are as children who look upon letters before they have learned to read, to the illuminated spirit its own being is clearly manifested in the universe even as I recognize my thought in the words I write. Everything in nature has intellectual significance, and relation as utterance to the Thought out of which the universe was born, and we, whose minds were made in its image, who are the microcosm of the macrocosm, have in ourselves the key to unlock the meaning of that utterance. Because of these affinities the spirit swiftly by intuition can interpret nature to itself.

I tried to light the candle on my forehead to peer into every darkness in the belief that the external universe of nature had no more exquisite architecture than the internal universe of being, and that the light could only reveal some lordlier chambers of the soul, and whatever speech the inhabitant used must be fitting for its own sphere, so I became a pupil of the spirit and tried as a child to learn the alphabet at the knees of the gods.

The Language of the Gods

The roots of human speech are the sound correspondences of powers which in their combination and interaction make up the universe. The mind of man is made in the image of Deity, and the elements of speech are related to the powers in his mind and through it to the being of the Oversoul.

The vowels are the sound symbols of consciousness in seven moods or states, while the consonants represent states of matter and modes of energy.

Ancient Intuitions 

I can imagine the spirit struggling outwards making of element, color, form or sound a mirror, on which, outside itself, it would find symbols of all that was pent within itself, and so gradually becoming self-conscious in the material nature in which it was embodied, but which was still effigy or shadow of a divine original.

Divine Mind whose signature is upon us in everything, and whose whole majesty is present in the least thing in nature.

To those whose aspiration heavenward has purified their being there comes at last a moment when at the calling of the Ineffable Name the Holy Breath rises as a flame and the shadow man goes forth to become one with the ancestral self.

What is obvious in that ancient literature is the belief in a complete circle of correspondences between every root sound in the human voice and elements, forms and colors, and that the alphabet was sacred in character.

Every center in the body is named by the name of a divine power. It is only by a spiritual science we can recover identity, renew and make conscious these affinities.

The form of a flower long brooded upon would translate itself into energies, and these would resolve themselves finally into states of consciousness, intelligible to me while I experienced them, but too remote from the normal for words to tell their story.

The works of the Magician of the Beautiful are not like ours and in the least fragment His artistry is no less present than in the stars. We may enter the infinite through the minute no less than through contemplation of the vast.

I thought the letters of the divine utterance might be taught and the spirit in man would leap by intuition to the thought of the Spirit making that utterance.


If in the being of the Ancient of Days there is power, as there is wisdom and beauty, we must liken ourselves to that being, partake, as our nature will permit, of its power, or we can never enter it.

There is no true beauty or wisdom which is not allied with strength. For one who cultivates will in himself there are thousands who cultivate the intellect or follow after beauty, and that is because the intellect can walk easily on the level places, while at first every exercise of the will is laborious as the lift is to the climber of a precipice. Few are those who come to that fullness of power where the will becomes a fountain within them perpetually springing up self-fed, and who feel like the mountain lovers who know that it is easier to tread on the hilltops than to walk on the low and level roads. We tread the royal road, and cultivate power in our being as we cultivate beauty or intellect. Those who have in themselves the highest power, who are miracle-workers, the Buddhas and the Christs, are also the teachers of peace, and they may well be so having themselves attained mastery of the Fire.

I began to feel, after long efforts at concentration and mastery of the will, the beginning of an awakening of the fires, and at times there came partial perception of the relation of these forces to centers in the psychic body. I could feel them in myself; and sometimes see them, or the vibration or light of them, about others who were seekers with myself for this knowledge; so that the body of a powerful person would appear to be throwing out light in radiation from head or heart, or plumes of fire would rise above the head jetting from fountains within, apparitions like wings of fire, plumes or feathers of flame, or dragon-like crests, many-colored.

Once at the apex of intensest meditation I awoke that fire in myself of which the ancients have written, and it ran up like lightning along the spinal cord, and my body rocked with the power of it, and I seemed to myself to be standing in a fountain of flame, and there were fiery pulsations as of wings about my head, and a musical sound not unlike the clashing of cymbals with every pulsation; and if I had remembered the ancient wisdom I might have opened that eye which searches infinitude. I seemed to myself to have opened the seal of a cosmic fountain, so I remained contemplative and was not the resolute guider of the fire. And indeed this rousing of the fire is full of peril; and woe to him who awakens it before he has purified his being into selflessness, for it will turn downward and vitalize his darker passions and awaken strange frenzies and inextinguishable desires.

The turning earthward of that heaven-born power is the sin, against the Holy Breath, for that fire which leaps upon us in the ecstasy of contemplation of Deity is the Holy Breath, the power which can carry us from Earth to Heaven. It is normally known to man only in procreation, but its higher and mightier uses are unknown to him. Even though in our scriptures it is said of it that it gives to this man vision or the discerning of spirits, and to that poetry or eloquence, and to another healing and magical powers, it remains for most a myth of the theologians, and is not mentioned by any of our psychologists though it is the fountain out of which is born all other powers in the body and is the sustainer of all our faculties.

Normally I found this power in myself, not leaping up Titanically as if it would storm the heavens, but a steady light in the brain, “the candle upon the forehead,” and it was revealed in ecstasy of thought or power in speech, and in a continuous welling up from within myself of intellectual energy, vision or imagination. It is the afflatus of the poet or musician. As an ancient scripture says of it, “The Illuminator is the inspirer of the poet, the jeweller, the chiseller and all who work in the arts.” It is the Promethean fire, and only by mastery of this power will man be able to ascend to the ancestral Paradise. Again and again I would warn all who read of the danger of awakening it, and again and again I would say that without this power we are as nothing. We shall never scale the Heavens, and religions, be they ever so holy, will never open the gates to us, unless we are able mightily to open them for ourselves and enter as the strong spirit who cannot be denied.

The Memory of the Spirit

In dream and in the deeps of sleep, they still wear scepter and diadem and partake of the banquet of the gods. The gods are still living. They are our brothers. They await us. They beckon us to come up to them and sit upon equal thrones.

The romance of your spirit is the most marvellous of stories.

If you will but awaken the inner sight, all the lands of Immortal Youth will build themselves up anew for you no longer as fantasy but in vivid actuality. Earth will become magical and sweet as ever. You will be drunken with beauty.

I think our dreams and visions come often in all completeness into our sphere out of other spheres of being and are not built up from memories of earth.

There are few whose intent will has tried to scale the Heavens who have not been met by messages from the gods who are the fountains of this shadowy beauty, and who are, I think, ourselves beyond this mirage of time and space by which we are enchanted.


I think of earth as the floor of a cathedral where altar and Presence are everywhere.

So the lover of Earth obtains his reward, and little by little the veil is lifted of an inexhaustible beauty and majesty. It may be he will be tranced in some spiritual communion, or will find his being overflowing into the being of the elements, or become aware that they are breathing their life into his own. Or Earth may become on an instant all faery to him, and earth and air resound with the music of its invisible people. Or the trees and rocks may waver before his eyes and become transparent, revealing what creatures were hidden from him by the curtain, and he will know as the ancients did of dryad and hamadryad, of genii of wood and mountain.

Or earth may suddenly blaze about him with supernatural light in some lonely spot amid the hills, and he will find he stands as the prophet in a place that is holy ground, and he may breathe the intoxicating exhalations as did the sibyls of old. Or his love may hurry him away in dream to share in deeper mysteries, and he may see the palace chambers of nature where the wise ones dwell in secret, looking out over the nations, breathing power into this man’s heart or that man’s brain, on any who appear to their vision to wear the color of truth. So gradually the earth lover realizes the golden world is all about him in imperishable beauty, and he may pass from the vision to the profounder beauty of being, and know an eternal love is within and around him, pressing upon him and sustaining with infinite tenderness his body, his soul and his spirit.

The Mighty Mother is that Earth on which they tread and whose holy substance they call common clay; or that the Paraclete is the strength of our being, the power which binds atom to atom and Earth to Heaven: or that the Christos is the Magician of the Beautiful and that it is not only the Architect of the God-world but is that in us which sees beauty, creates beauty, and it is verily wisdom in us and is our deepest self; or that the Father is the fountain of substance and power and wisdom, and that we could not lift an eyelash but that we have our being in Him. When we turn from books to living nature we begin to understand the ancient wisdom, and it is no longer an abstraction, for the Great Spirit whose home is in the vast becomes for us a moving glamour in the heavens, a dropping tenderness at twilight, a visionary light in the hills, a voice in the heart, the Earth underfoot becomes sacred, and the air we breathe is like wine poured out for us by some heavenly cupbearer.

As we grow intimate with earth we realize what sweet and august things await humanity when it goes back to that forgotten mother.

Would they not long all of them for the coming of that divine hour in the twilights of time, when out of rock, mountain, water, tree, bird, beast or man the seraph spirits of all that live shall emerge realizing their kinship, and all together, fierce things made gentle, and timid things made bold, and small made great, shall return to the Father Being and be made one in Its infinitudes.

Of the Mother of the gods, I have already said she is the first spiritual form of matter, and therefore Beauty. As every being emerges out of her womb clothed with form, she is the Mighty Mother, and as mother of all she is that divine compassion which exists beyond and is the final arbiter of the justice of the gods. Her heart will be in ours when ours forgive.

Celtic Cosmogony

All these are first in the Divine Darkness and are unrevealed, and Mananan is still the unuttered Word, and is in that state the Chaldaic oracle of Proclus saith of the Divine Mind: “It had not yet gone forth, but abode in the Paternal Depth, and in the adytum of god-nourished Silence.”

But Mananan, while one in essence with the Paternal Lir, is yet, as the divine imagination, a separate being to whom, thus brooding, Lir seems apart, or covered over with a veil, and this aspect of Lir, a mirage which begins to cover over true being, is Dana, the Hibernian Mother of the Gods, or Sinan, deity first viewed externally, and therefore seeming to partake of the nature of substance, and, as the primal form of matter, the Spirit of Nature. Mananan alone of all the gods exists in the inner side of this spirit, and therefore it is called his mantle, which, flung over man or god, wraps them from the gaze of embodied beings. His mantle, the Faed Fia, has many equivalents in other mythologies. It is the Aether within which Zeus runs invisibly, and the Akasa through which Brahm sings his eternal utterance of joy. The mantle of Mananan, the Aether, the Akasa, were all associated with Sound as a creative power, for to the mystic imagination of the past the world was upsung into being; and what other thought inspired the apostle who wrote, “In the beginning was the Word”?

It is the love yet unbreathed, and yet not love, but rather a hidden unutterable tenderness, or joy, or the potency of these, which awakens as the image of the divine imagination is reflected in the being of the Mother, and then it rushes forth to embrace it. The Fountain beneath the Hazel has broken. Creation is astir. The Many are proceeding from the One. An energy or love or eternal desire has gone forth which seeks through myriad forms of illusion for the infinite being it has left. It is Angus the Young, an eternal joy becoming love, a love changing into desire, and leading on to earthly passion and forgetfulness of its own divinity. The eternal joy becomes love when it has first merged itself in form and images of a divine beauty dance before it and lure it afar. This is the first manifested world, the Tirnanoge or World of Immortal Youth.

The love is changed into desire as it is drawn deeper into nature, and this desire builds up the Mid-world or World of the Waters. And, lastly, as it lays hold of the earthly symbol of its desire it becomes on Earth that passion which is spiritual death. In another sense Angus may be described as the passing into activity of a power latent in Lir, working through the divine imagination, impressing its ideations on nature in its spiritual state, and thereby causing its myriad transformations. It is the fountain in which every energy has its birth, from the power which lays the foundations of the world, down through love and every form of desire to chemical affinity, just as Mananan is the root of all conscious life, from the imperial being of the gods down to the consciousness in the ant or amœba. So is Dana also the basis of every material form from the imperishable body of the immortals to the transitory husk of the gnat. As this divinity emerges from its primordial state of ecstatic tenderness or joy in Lir, its divided rays, incarnate in form, enter upon a threefold life of spiritual love, of desire, and the dark shadow of love; and these three states have for themselves three worlds into which they have transformed the primal nature of Dana: a World of Immortal Youth: a Mid-world where everything changes with desire: and which is called from its fluctuations the World of the Waters: and lastly, the Earth-world where matter has assumed that solid form when it appears inanimate or dead. The force of the fountain which whirled Sinan away has been spent and Sinan has met death.

Of Dana, the Hibernian Mother of the gods, I have already said she is the first spiritual form of matter, and therefore Beauty. As every being emerges out of her womb clothed with form, she is the Mighty Mother, and as mother of all she is that divine compassion which exists beyond and is the final arbiter of the justice of the gods. Her heart will be in ours when ours forgive.


Bibliographic Sources 

  • De Zirkoff, Boris, comp. “General Bibliography with Selected Biographical Notes.” In Collected Writings. Vol XII. by H. P. Blavatsky. Wheaton, Ill.: Theosophical Publishing House, 1980.
  • Denson, Alan. Printed writings of George W. Russell (AE): A Bibliography. London: Northwestern University Press, 1961.
  • Eglinton, John. A Memoir of AE: George William Russell. London: Macmillian, 1937.
  • Merchant, Francis. E.: An Irish Promethean. Columbia, S.C.: Benedict College Press, 1954.


AE’s Published Works 

AE’s published numerous volumes of poetry, several volumes of essays, song lyrics, plays, and pamphlets concerning cooperative farming and political topics. These are some of his principal works:

  • Homeward: Songs by the Way. Dublin: Whaley, 1894. Available at Hathitrust.
  • The Earth Breath and Other Poems. New York; London: J. Lane, 1897.
  • The Divine Vision. New York: Macmillan, 1904. Available at Hathitrustand Internet Archive.
  • The Mask of Apollo. 1904.
  • New Poems. 1904.
  • Some Irish Essays. Dublin: Maunsel, 1906.
  • By Still Waters: Lyrical Poems Old and New. Dublin: Dun Emer Press, 1906. Available at Hathitrust.
  • Collected Poems. 1913.
  • The Candle of Vision. London: Macmillan, 1918. Available at Internet Archiveand Hathitrust.
  • Frolic. London: J. Curwen & Sons, 1920. Musical score for voice and piano. Words by A.E.; music by Edgar L. Bainton.
  • Parting. Song: words by “Æ”; music by Arnold Bax.
  • The Interpreters. New York : Macmillan, 1922. Available at Hathitrust.
  • Voices of the Stones. New York: Macmillan, 1925. Limited availability at Hathitrust.
  • Collected Poems, 2nd edition. 1926.
  • Midsummer Eve. 1928.
  • Enchantment and Other Poems. New York: The Fountain press; London: Macmillan & Co., 1930.
  • Vale and Other Poems. London: Macmillan, 1931.
  • Song and Its Fountains. London: Macmillan, 1932.
  • The Avatars: A Futurist Fantasy. London: Macmillan, 1933. Available at Hathitrust.
  • House of the Titans and Other Poems. New York, Macmillan Co., 1934.
  • Selected Poems. New York : Macmillan Co., 1935.
  • The Living Torch. London: Macmillan, 1937. Edited by Monk Gibbon, with an introductory essay.
  • Deirdre. Three-act play
  • Co-operation and Nationality”published by Maunsel of Dublin – pamphlet.