The Triple Gift of Tongues

At the risk of sounding highly megalomaniacal, my life seems to have been guided by one continual succession of hints, secretly signaled by elementals whenever I'm in need of taking the next step. The rationalist would explain this as mere coincidence. The superstitious might claim fate takes a rôle. The optimist will chalk it up to serendipity. The mathematician resorts to the idea of a multiverse. None of these seems a valid explanation. No, someone or something has seen to it (repeatedly) that a key is always provided just when needed. Perhaps that's a fringe benefit of tuning out the din of society, permitting the soft voice of the individual to be heard.

Yes, I think that's it. I wonder if anyone has ever explored the connection between sociopathy and magick (or yoga, for that matter). Dr. Timothy Leary's admirable dictum also comes to mind.

Several times in this blog, I've described instances of a surprising signpost pointing me in a new direction, leading to an unexplored vista. The only thing these have in common is my total disregard for "what's expected by others."

The entry,
On Pornography, describes in some detail exactly what set me on this journey. In particular, meeting D. H. Lawrence and the Marquis de Sade at such an early age was brilliant. I ask you again: how can that possibly have been chance? While my school fellows might have viewed the spicier passages as outré, perhaps even giggling while I remained stoic, I saw something I wanted to experience myself. It never even occurred to me to consider what the rest of the world thought.

No kidding. Had the teachers posed that old chestnut of "What do you want to be when you grow up?," I would have answered promptly, "a libertine."

My point is, those books came along at the just the right time to steer me clear of buying into the neo-Victorianism which dominates our current world. I didn't understand the magick of it all back then, but the outer goal was certainly in sight.

Then it was a leap into the deep end of the pool, as described in God and the Marital Arts. Once more, a nudge from the elementals suggested the time had come for praxis. Thus at age fifteen, still some five years shy of coition, the journey began with...ahem...the other thing.

But just when concentration might have flagged, along comes the next sign: the Fugs. Now this is the sort of influence any red-blooded American boy or girl should meet during the formative years, before society applies its full-nelson of propriety. I've described my encounter elsewhere in And So to Church. Finally: the connection between intellect and unbridled lust I just knew must exist! And language, lots of language. Hearing Ed Sanders--a very fine poet to my mind--sing of "no more slurpings at the narthex" awakened thoughts connecting hedonism with spiritual growth. Hell, just the album title, It Crawled into My Hand, Honest, was a rallying call. In the Fugs' next album, I listened wide-eyed to his description of "slurp-circles." Thanks to the Fugs, this teenager was now spouting such essential Latin as mons veneris. Moreover, Ed's neologism, "spewgasm" entered my vocabulary promptly in 1970.

And so, language became the third tongue.

Next was the avalanche of
249 Norton Street: Sinclair, Oscar and Aleister. Again, no end of signs. By this point, lessons learned unconsciously were coming together (if I may use that phrase) into a unified philosophy. The epiphany that resulted will be most difficult to describe properly; magick can rarely be phrased in ordinary English.

As a fifteen-year-old, thanks to my good friends D. H. and the Marquis
, the whole notion of sexual congress for the purpose of procreation became highly repugnant to my sensibilities. The world around me was still unduly influenced by the foul residuum of religion and Babbittry. I mean, in a couple years my country might want me to go kill people I didn't know in Viet Nam, yet while looking askance at licking. Give me a break!

Let's not mince words. Yodelling in the canyon became a defiant act for me, first as a roustabout in search of rebellion, wishing to leave society in the dust, and then by Norton Street days, as a magickal sacrament. Pure and simple the act says: I know who's in charge here; pumping for posterity belongs to the previous two-thousand years of imprisonment. Rather remarkably I had accidentally hit upon:
Love is the law, love under will.
In all things, the will--and nothing or no one else--determines the rules of the game. That the opinions of others matter not is further assured in The Book of the Law:
So with thy all; thou hast no right but to do thy will.

Do that, and no other shall say nay.

For pure will, unassuaged of purpose, delivered from the lust of result, is every way perfect.
Oscar Wilde's Dorian Gray also comes to mind:
I don't want to be at the mercy of my emotions. I want to use them, to enjoy them, and to dominate them.
In my menagerie, the dog wags the tail, not the other way around.

And then there's the spiritual side feverishly arising from a great orgy of great words, often buttressed by great humor. For example: Chapter 69 in
Aleister Crowley's The Book of Lies entitled "The Way to Succeed--And The Way to Suck Eggs!":
The Red Triangle is the descending tongue of grace;
   the Blue Triangle is the ascending tongue of

This Interchange, the Double Gift of Tongues, the
   Word of Double Power--ABRAHADABRA!--is
   the sign of the GREAT WORK, for the GREAT
   WORK is accomplished in Silence.  And behold is
   not that Word equal to Cheth, that is Cancer.
   whose Sigil is
That Crowley inverted the colors of the two triangles (c.f., Eliphas Levi) grabbed me right away. Again, it's that business of, "who's in charge here, anyway?" And, of course, the chapter number, title and allusion to the Crab remind us that a dirty joke is a joy forever, which unfortunately, Keats didn't live long enough to learn. (But surely it wasn't lost on his buddies Byron and Shelley).

Things were really percolating by the time I matriculated in the great Collegium of Norton Street. Around then, a productive visit to the Atlantis Bookshop in Bloomsbury turned up Crowley's
De Arte Magica, rich in technicality. I was prompted yet again to look behind the curtain. There's going to be quite a lot to learn, I remember telling myself.

So here we are in the present day, and well you may ask, what on earth brought about this somewhat ostrobogulous blog entry? Check out the title again.

Almost always alone, I sit quietly and contemplate Nuit, recalling what I consider one of the most beautiful and incendiary passages ever penned:

Above, the gemmèd azure is
The naked splendour of Nuit;
She bends in ecstasy to kiss
The secret ardours of Hadit.
The wingèd globe, the starry blue,
Are mine, O Ankh-af-na-khonsu!
And, of course, that leads me to praise Nuit yet again, a fine goddess indeed. As I wrote to a friend last year, I see no conflict between atheism and pantheism at all, for they are neatly subsumed by formalism.

While in such reverie, a further passage from The Book of the Law just popped to mind.
Then saith the prophet and slave of the beauteous one: Who am I, and what shall be the sign? So she answered him, bending down, a lambent flame of blue, all-touching, all penetrant, her lovely hands upon the black earth, & her lithe body arched for love, and her soft feet not hurting the little flowers: Thou knowest! And the sign shall be my ecstasy, the consciousness of the continuity of existence, the omnipresence of my body.  
Oh my! Way back in the Aeon of Norton Street, that stanza so stoked the alchemical furnace. The trouble is, for way too many years, as much as I have sought and adored Nuit, and even peeped her once or twice (she trying to remind me not to waste a life), she has always kept just beyond reach; there's Babbitt's fairy child again.

Nuit ever seduces:
Obey my prophet! follow out the ordeals of my knowledge! seek me only! Then the joys of my love will redeem ye from all pain. This is so: I swear it by the vault of my body; by my sacred heart and tongue; by all I can give, by all I desire of ye all.
Synapses zap every which direction. A purely intuitive connection just struck as I pondered " sacred heart and tongue..." A seductive whisper in my ear sent me racing to the reading room to pull down my well worn copy of Skeats Etymological Dictionary to uncover the roots of that word "lambent" from the passage previous to the last, above.

Why the curiosity? Who knows! But as mentioned earlier, there has been this uncanny pattern of hints from the other side for so much of my life. Who am I to ignore the entreaties of Nuit arched over me, surrounded by a lambent flame of blue. What turned up really wasn't a surprise, just further confirmation of what matters in life.

For in fact, lambent derives from the Latin verb meaning "to lick."

Next vignette: Not Quite a Homonym

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