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~ with apologies to Geoffrey Chaucer and his "Canterbury Tales" ~
the 100th anniversary of Aleister Crowley's manifestation of his magickal
document "Liber AL Vel Legis" approaches, more and more devotees
(Thelemites) of said mage and his works do seem to get themselves worked
up to fever-pitch. Feasts and celebrations seem par for the course. Some
plan to seek out distant lands and recapture this moment of so long ago.
Now that got me to thinking. In such a time as this, did Chaucer recount
of other travellers who went on their own pilgrimages more than 700 years
ago. So, with a little help from Chaucer and a 21st century vision, here
find the general prologue to "A Thelemic Tale" and glimpse another
band of intrepid souls journeying forth upon their own spiritual quest.Soror
Teloch_13 aka Medusa161 Note:
No Thelemite got deliberated harmed in the making of this little spoof.
All characters mentioned equate to pure fantasy and have no real bearing
on reality as we know it.
begins the Book of the Tales of ThelemaWhen
April with his showers sweet with fruit
The drought of March has pierced unto the root
One hundred times with liquor that we know
Can generate strange wines and drugs that foam;
When such spring Breezes do with honeyed words,
Quicken again, in every dolt and nerd,
Those tender shoots and buds, those Thelemites
Who seek to run their course with copied rites,
And many novices make Coq Au Vin
A veritable feast for Typhonians
And times long gone doth prick them on to rave
Then do folk long to go on pilgrimage,
And Thelemites go seeking out strange strands,
To distant shrines well known in sundry lands.
And specially from every shire's end
And western cities they to Cairo wend,
The holy blessed Beast they go to seek
Who saved them all from feeling frail and weak.Befell
that, near such season, on a day
In early February as I lay
In bed, I dreamt of such a pilgrimage
To Cairo, where, full of devout homage,
There came at nightfall to that ancient scene
Some six and twenty in a company
Of sundry persons who had chanced to fall
In fellowship, and Thelemites they all.With
nowt else to do, whilst I have this dream,
To understand these Thelemites once seen,
It seems to me accordant with reason
To inform you of the state of every one
Of all of these, as it appeared to me,
And who they were, and what was their degree,
And even how arrayed there at the time;
And with a knight thus will I first define.1.
THE THELEMIC KNIGHT:
A knight there was, and he a noble man,
Who, from the moment that he first began
To ride about the world, loved chivalry,
With Light and Life and Love and Liberty.
Full worthy was he in his Liber Al,
And therein had he ridden (none more far)
The whores of Christendom and heathenness,
And honoured everywhere for worthiness.2.
With him there was his acolyte and squire,
A lover and a lusty bachelor,
With locks well curled, as if they'd laid in press.
Some twenty years of age he was, I guess.
In stature he was of an average length,
Wondrously active, aye, and great of strength.
He'd ridden sometime with the OTO
On man and beast and by degrees you know.3.
THE THELEMIC WITCH:
One tree-hugging hippy travelling light
To do as he wilt with no hint of denial;
And he was clad in coat and hood of green
With sheaf of greenbacks tucked away unseen.
Under his belt he bore right carefully
(Well could he keep his tackle yeomanly:
His mojo had no low-grade stuff inside),
Of healing-craft he knew all the useful wiles.4.
With these a priestess, smiling, sweet and coy;
Her greatest oath was "By Perdurabo!"
And she was known as Madam Babalon.
Full well she sang the Gnostic Mass divine,
Intoning through her nose, becomingly;
And fair she spoke her Greek, and fluently,
That never driblet fell upon her breast
In courtesy she had delight and zest.5.
A self-made guru without a cloister,
But this same text he held not worth an oyster;
And I said his opinion was right good.
What? Should he study as a madman would
Upon a book in cloister cell? Or yet
Go labour with his hands and stink and sweat,
Like Austin Osman Spare? What shall this serve?
Let Austin have his toil to him reserved.6.
A youth there was, a very festive man.
In all the magick Orders none that can
Equal his gossip and his fair language.
He had arranged full many a marriage
Of women young, when in the pagan scene
Unto his Order he an asset seen
Well liked by all and intimate was he
With people everywhere in his country.7.
With them an accountant with ordered way
Who spoke his notions out right pompously,
This worthy man kept all his wits well set;
There was no one could say he was in debt,
So well he governed his Order's own affairs
With bargains and with borrowings and shares.
Indeed, he was a worthy man withal,
But, sooth to say, his name I can't recall.8.
A clerk from somewhere was with them also,
Who'd turned to getting knowledge, long ago.
But he looked hollow and went soberly.
Right threadbare was his overcoat; for he
Declared would rather have at his bed's head
Some twenty books, all bound in black and red,
Of Crowley's works and his philosophy
Than rich robes, fiddle, or gay psaltery.9.
Of law a "bit" priestess, wary and wise,
Who'd talked with future aeons to advise,
There was also, compact of excellence.
Discreet she was, and of great reverence;
At least she seemed with words a work of art
As often she sat in Eleven-Star,
By patent or commission from the crown;
And played at healing World with her renown.10.
An Imperator by every sign,
He loved right well his morning sop in wine.
Delightful living was the goal he'd won,
For he was Crowley's very magick son,
That held opinion that a full delight
Was true felicity, perfect and right.
A king of kings, and that a great, was he;
A very saint he was in his country.11.
A haberdasher and a carpenter,
A businessman, printer and a weaver
Came with them, clothed in similar livery,
All of one sober, great fraternity.
Their gear was new and well adorned it was;
Their weapons were not cheaply trimmed with brass,
But all with silver; chastely made and well
Their lamens and their pouches too, I tell.12.
THE MAN OF EARTH:
A Earthling came with them, just for the day,
To tout the Law and keeps things right in play,
In his heart a passionate fire doth burn
For he would be the one to save the world.
So on he dreams that he some magick childe
That in due course gets noticed should he try
Regenerate the world his sister dear;
If only he could get that last degree.13.
There was a creative Typhonian,
For aught I know, he was of London town.
And certainly he was a good fellow.
Full many a draught of wine he'd drawn, I trow,
Of Bertiaux' vintage, while Cthulhu slept.
Nice conscience was a thing he never kept.
He knew well all dimensions, as they were,
From Azyn to the gate of Ixaxaar.14.
With them there was a doctor of physic;
In all this world was none like him to pick
For talking long on three ordeals in one
For he was grounded well in all and none.
He knew the cause of every malady,
Were it of hot or cold, of moist or dry,
And where engendered, always at the call;
And therefore loved he gold exceeding all.15.
THE SCARLET WOMAN:
She'd been respectable throughout her life,
With five churched husbands bringing joy and strife,
Not counting other company in youth;
But thereof there's no need to speak, in truth.
A wisp of lace wound round her buttocks large,
And on her feet a pair of sharpened spurs.
The remedies of love she knew, perchance,
For of that art she'd learned the old, old dance.16.
THE PARSONS MAN:
A student of the sciences came too,
With dreams of rockets I should warrant you;
Benign he was and wondrous diligent,
Patient in adverse times and well content,
He had no thirst for pomp or reverence,
Nor made himself a special, spiced conscience,
With Babalon as whore and Thelema
He taught, but first he followed it himself.17.
With him there was a lover as his brother,
A burning flame unto the core like many others
Had giveth life as a good true toiler, he,
Living in peace and perfect charity.
He quoted Blake, and that with his whole heart
At all times, as he played or plied his art,
And next, his neighbour, even as himself.
He'd thresh and dig, with never thought of self.18.
His mouth was like a furnace door for size.
He was a jester and could poetise,
But mostly all of sin and ribaldries.
He could steal rites and full thrice charge his fees;
For such he had a tongue of gold, begad.
An ornate robe with hood he wore, this lad.
A pan-pipe he could blow well, with great mirth,
And with that same he robbed us of our worth.19.
MAN OF AIR:
An American in Paris or such court,
There came, from whom all mages might resort
To learn the art of buying secret things;
But whether he paid cash or not, I think
That he so knew the markets, when to buy,
He never found himself left high and dry.
By taxing students did he breeze his way
Or so it seems for still his hand in play. 20.
A slender girl did shadow them alert
To any mention of such holy words
As "Do what thou wilt" to which she would seize
This wondrous self-made opportunity
To lecture on the subtleties of ways
That Rabelais should turn within his grave
And curse the day he ever thought that this
Would end up rendered by some childe artiste.21.
THE SPIDER MAN:
A sorcerer was with them in that place,
Who had a fiery-red, cherubic face,
A tempered wit that little mages feared
And rightly so should they protect their rear.
He was a noble rascal, some would say;
A better comrade 'twould be hard to name.
Le Couleuvre Noire in death and lust and line,
Made many wish to play his concubine.22.
With him there came a gentle voltigeur
Who kept his silence in such company;
A solitary man, the hermit he
Who softly sang "Come hither, love, to me"
For well he knew that when that song was sung,
Then might he teach, and all with polished tongue.
To win some silver, as he right well could;
Having met his ordeals as mages should.
Now have I told you briefly, in a clause,
The state, the array, the number, and the cause
Of the assembling of this company
That met as pilgrims all within my dream.
Also, I pray that you'll forgive it me
If I have not set folk, in their degree
Here in this tale, by rank as they should stand.
My wits are not the best, you'll understand.Now
having stopped for supper every one,
At some small cosy pub "The Red Lion"
The publican did serve them with the best
Strong was the wine and pleasant to each guest.
Also, he was a very merry man,
And after meat, at playing he began,
Speaking of mirth among some other things,
When all of them had paid our reckonings.Then
said their host: "Now fratres, verily
You are all welcome here, and heartily,
For by my truth, and telling you no lie,
I have not seen, this year, such company.
Here in this inn, fitter for sport than now.
Fain would I make you happy, knew I how.
And of a game have I this moment thought
To give you joy, and it shall cost you naught."Continued
on the publican so wise,
"Fratres," quoth he, "here now is my advice;
But take it not, I pray you, in disdain;
This is the point, to put it short and plain,
That each of you, beguiling the long day,
Shall tell two stories as you wend your way
To blessed Crowley's shrine; and each of you
On coming home, shall tell another two.""All
of adventures he has known befall.
And he who plays his part the best of all,
That is to say, who tells upon the road
Tales of best sense, in most amusing mode,
Shall have a supper at the others' cost
Here in this room and sitting by this post,
And I shall fill thy cups with foaming brew
On the house as deserving unto you."Ere
they drew straws to tell Thelemic tales
And win more cups of foaming wine and ale
I woke from sleep with palpitating heart
That I might find myself in such time-locked past;
But with relief tis my own room I spied,
And this a silly tale that should have died
Out long ago, for magick changes face
And paradigmal players hold this day.
~ Completed this day 3rd March 2004.
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