Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Aleister Crowley, Loki’s Brood & the Fury of Hell... pt2

Aleister Crowley, Loki’s Brood & the Fury of Hell...
Part 2 
By Jack Heart & Orage

By the end of WWI, William Butler Yeats knew exactly what was coming. The most famous poem in the Michael Robartes and the Dancer collection is “The Second Coming.” Yeats begins it: 

TURNING and turning in the widening gyre  
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;  
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.”(13)
The Egyptian hieroglyph for Horus is the falcon. In the aftermath of WWI’s carnage, Yeats sees clearly that nothing can control the God of War and Vengeance: “The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere / The ceremony of innocence is drowned.” In the poem’s last line, Yeats asks “And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouches toward Bethlehem to be born?”(14) Yet he has already described the Beast with all the skill that his prodigious talent as a poet would allow: 
A shape with lion body and the head of a man, 
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun. 
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it  
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.  
The darkness drops again but now I know  
That twenty centuries of stony sleep  
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle.” (15)
Yeats had been vacillating ever since 1913, when he had slain Michael Robartes in a short story titled “Rosa Alchemica.” Right before the turn of the century in The Wind Among the Reeds, Yeats had said of his muse: “Michael Robartes is the pride of the imagination brooding upon the greatness of its possessions, or the adoration of the Magi.” (16)

But by 1913, it was entirely different. Michael Robartes had now metastasized into one of the Golden Dawn’s infamous “hidden masters,” the supernatural beings whose disputed existence and direction caused a schism within the group that was settled by Aleister Crowley's pistol. 

In the story, Robartes appears at his door after a fifteen-year hiatus and forces Yeats with mind-bending incenses to accompany him to a temple by the seaside, where they are besieged by an irate Christian mob. During the night, Yeats participates in a ceremony with a cult similar to the Golden Dawn. When he awakens in the morning, he finds that the ornate temple has now become an old barn, and he is unable to rouse Robartes and the rest of the cult who are in a trance-like sleep. As Yeats flees, Robartes and the cult are stoned to death by an enraged Christian mob.

Yeats then waxes poetic as he delivers Robartes’ eulogy, which is a reflection of his own faltering courage. Yeats renounces the deception of “Legion,” like a little Catholic boy renouncing the Devil, wrapped in the imaginary protection of his rosary beads. Yeats’ insecurities didn’t last long, though.  By 1916, his guilt for what they had done combined with his grandiose opinion of himself had convinced him that he was the incarnated Sun God and could pull off the Great Work by himself.

The first two poems in Michael Robartes and the Dancer are about Yeats’ own love life. In the first poem, the title poem, Yeats refers to himself as a “half-dead dragon” in the eyes of the much younger Iseult Gonne, whom it seems Yeats believed to be the incarnated soul of the moon. Iseult was herself of magical birth, being conceived in an act of sexual Magick, as the aristocracy has been practicing for thousands and thousands of years. She was among the kings and queens of Europe a legendary beauty and the daughter of their own residing wild woman Maud Gonne.
Iseult Gonne

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