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The Wizard Way poem – Aleister Crowley poems | Poetry Monster

A poem by Alistar Crowley (1875-1947)

[Dedicated to General J.C.F. Fuller]

Velvet soft the night-star glowed

Over the untrodden road,

Through the giant glades of yew

Where its ray fell light as dew

Lighting up the shimmering veil

Maiden pure and aery frail

That the spiders wove to hide

Blushes of the sylvan bride

Earth, that trembled with delight

At the male caress of Night.

Velvet soft the wizard trod

To the Sabbath of his God.

With his naked feet he made

Starry blossoms in the glade,

Softly, softly, as he went

To the sombre sacrament,

Stealthy stepping to the tryst

In his gown of amethyst.

Earlier yet his soul had come

To the Hill of Martyrdom,

Where the charred and crooked stake

Like a black envenomed snake

By the hangman’s hands is thrust

Through the wet and writhing dust,

Never black and never dried

Heart’s blood of a suicide.

He had plucked the hazel rod

From the rude and goatish god,

Even as the curved moon’s waning ray

Stolen from the King of Day.

He had learnt the elvish sign;

Given the Token of the Nine:

Once to rave, and once to revel,

Once to bow before the devil,

Once to swing the thurible,

Once to kiss the goat of hell,

Once to dance the aspen spring,

Once to croak, and once to sing,

Once to oil the savoury thighs

Of the witch with sea-green eyes

With the unguents magical.

Oh the honey and the gall

Of that black enchanter’s lips

As he croons to the eclipse

Mingling that most puissant spell

Of the giant gods of hell

With the four ingredients

Of the evil elements;

Ambergris from golden spar,

Musk of ox from Mongol jar,

Civet from a box of jade,

Mixed with fat of many a maid

Slain by the inchauntments cold

Of the witches wild and old.

He had crucified a toad

In the basilisk abode,

Muttering the Runes averse

Mad with many a mocking curse.

He had traced the serpent sigil

In his ghastly virgin vigil.

Sursum cor! the elfin hill,

Where the wind blows deadly chill

From the world that wails beneath

Death’s black throat and lipless teeth.

There he had stood; his bosom bare;

Tracing Life upon the Air

With the crook and with the flail

Lashing forward on the gale,

Till its blade that wavereth

Like the flickering of Death

Sank before his subtle fence

To the starless sea of sense.

Now at last the man is come

Haply to his halidom.

Surely as he waves his rod

In a circle on the sod

Springs the emerald chaste and clean

From the duller paler green.

Surely in the circle millions

Of immaculate pavilions

Flash upon the trembling turf

Like the sea-stars in the surf –

Millions of bejewelled tents

For the warrior sacraments.

Vaster, vaster, vaster, vaster,

Grows the stature of the master;

All the ringed encampment vies

With the infinite galaxies.

In the midst a cubic stone

With the Devil set thereon;

Hath a lamb’s virginal throat;

Hath the body of a stoat;

Hath the buttocks of a goat;

Hath the sanguine face and rod

Of a goddess and a god!

Spell by spell and pace by pace!

Mystic flashes swing and trace

Velvet soft the sigils stepped

By the silver-starred adept.

Back and front, and to and fro,

Soul and body sway and flow

In vertiginous caresses

To imponderable recesses,

Till at last the spell is woven,

And the faery veil is cloven

That was Sequence, Space, and Stress

Of the soul-sick consciousness.

“Give thy body to the beasts!

Give thy spirit to the priests!

Break in twain the hazel rod

On the virgin lips of God!

Tear the Rosy Cross asunder!

Shatter the black bolt of thunder!

Suck the swart ensanguine kiss

Of the resolute abyss!”

Wonder-weft the wizard heard

This intolerable word.

Smote the blasting hazel rod

On the scarlet lips of God;

Trampled Cross and rosy core;

Brake the thunder-tool of Thor;

Meek and holy acolyte

Of the priestly hells of spite,

Sleek and shameless catamite

Of the beasts that prowl the night!

Like a star that streams from heaven

Through the virgin airs light-riven,

From the lift there shot and fell

An admirable miracle.

Carved minute and clean, a key

Of purest lapis-lazuli

More blue than the blind sky that aches

(Wreathed with the stars, her torturing snakes),

For the dead god’s kiss that never wakes;

Shot with golden specks of fire

Like a virgin with desire.

Look, the levers! fern-frail fronds

Of fantastic diamonds,

Glimmering with ethereal azure

In each exquisite embrasure.

On the shaft the letters laced,

As if dryads lunar-chaste

With the satyrs were embraced,

Spelled the secret of the key:

Sic pervenias. And he

Went his wizard way, inweaving

Dreams of things beyond believing.

When he will, the weary world

Of the senses closely curled

Like a serpent round his heart

Shakes herself and stands apart.

So the heart’s blood flames, expanding,

Strenuous, urgent, and commanding;

And the key unlocks the door

Where his love lives evermore.

She is of the faery blood;

All smaragdine flows its flood.

Glowing in the amber sky

To ensorcelled porphyry

She hath eyes of glittering flake

Like a cold grey water-snake.

She hath naked breasts of amber

Jetting wine in her bed-chamber,

Whereof whoso stoops and drinks

Rees the riddle of the Sphinx.

She hath naked limbs of amber

Whereupon her children clamber.

She hath five navels rosy-red

From the five wounds of God that bled;

Each wound that mothered her still bleeding,

And on that blood her babes are feeding.

Oh! like a rose-winged pelican

She hath bred blessed babes to Pan!

Oh! like a lion-hued nightingale

She hath torn her breast on thorns to avail

The barren rose-tree to renew

Her life with that disastrous dew,

Building the rose o’ the world alight

With music out of the pale moonlight!

O She is like the river of blood

That broke from the lips of the bastard god,

When he saw the sacred mother smile

On the ibis that flew up the foam of Nile

Bearing the limbs unblessed, unborn,

That the lurking beast of Nile had torn!

So (for the world is weary) I

These dreadful souls of sense lay by.

I sacrifice these impure shoon

To the cold ray of the waning moon.

I take the forked hazel staff,

And the rose of no terrene graff,

And the lamp of no olive oil

With heart’s blood that alone may boil.

With naked breast and feet unshod

I follow the wizard way to God.

Wherever he leads my foot shall follow;

Over the height, into the hollow,

Up to the caves of pure cold breath,

Down to the deeps of foul hot death,

Across the seas, through the fires,

Past the palace of desires;

Where he will, whether he will or no,

If I go, I care not whither I go.

For in me is the taint of the faery blood.

Fast, fast its emerald flood

Leaps within me, violent rude

Like a bestial faun’s beatitude.

In me the faery blood runs hard:

My sires were a druid, a devil, a bard,

A beast, a wizard, a snake and a satyr;

For; as my mother said; what does it matter?

She was a fay, pure of the faery;

Queen Morgan’s daughter by an aery

Demon that came to Orkney once

To pay the Beetle his orisons.

So, it is I that writhe with the twitch

Of the faery blood, and the wizard itch

To attain a matter one may not utter

Rather than sink in the greasy splutter

Of Britons munching their bread and butter;

Ailing boys and coarse-grained girls

Grown to sloppy women and brutal churls.

So, I am off with staff in hand

To the endless light of the nameless land.

Darkness spreads its sombre streams,

Blotting out the elfin dreams.

I might haply be afraid,

Were it not the Feather-maid

Leads me softly by the hand,

Whispers me to understand.

Now (when through the world of weeping

Light at last starrily creeping

Steals upon my babe-new sight,

Light; O light that is not light!)

On my mouth the lips of her

Like a stone on my sepulchre

Seal my speech with ecstasy,

Till a babe is born of me

That is silent more than I;

For its inarticulate cry

Hushes as its mouth is pressed

To the pearl, her honey breast;

While its breath divinely ripples

The rose-petals of her nipples,

And the jetted milk he laps

From the soft delicious paps,

Sweeter than the bee-sweet showers

In the chalice of the flowers,

More intoxicating than

All the purple grapes of Pan.

Ah! my proper lips are stilled.

Only, all the world is filled

With the Echo, that drips over

Like the honey from the clover.

Passion, penitence, and pain

Seek their mother’s womb again,

And are born the triple treasure,

Peace and purity and pleasure.

– Hush, my child, and come aloft

Where the stars are velvet soft!


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