Mabon: Autumn Equinox (an occult poem)

Pears and figs
pregnant and poised
to drop –
all but a few hangers-on
tendering pulpy flesh
for sacramental consumption
construed as high magic
from remotest times.

Tonight an awakening
amid yawning oaks, one,
a three-headed high priest
cloven by lightning, presiding
over a ceremony feting
one-third of the fallen
diadems
and the creatures that sank
into perdition with them.

Tonight
the saturnine portal peels
back as the soul’s eye
fills with half measures
of light and dark.
Tumblers align
with a celestial click.
A stone rolls away.

The grotto’s entrance
gapes like an angry
mouth. Inside, a flickering
altar, its centerpiece
Sheomah’s signet, inlaid
in lapis and orbited
by blue sparks spinning
in a cobalt sky.
With the ring looped
round the finger of the king,
Sheomah commanded
the wind, birds, flowers,
and both men and jinn.

In a tongue spoken
before Babel, when letters
in the aether lived and pranced
like Steeds, a Mage summons
those from below seeking
restoration to their former
unsullied selves, now
a flicker of memory more
distant than galaxies. They
file past, bathed in the blood
of ghealach lan, the full
moon, who rules the King Tide,
on this evening scrubbing
the shores of human sediment,
pebbling tides in whorls
and eddies.

Sirius rises late
in the inky sky
to oversee rites
outlawed from the time
of Cain’s curse, his progeny
bastards by decree, haunt-
ing the marshes, marauding
around desolate fens, brood-
ing in caves in the cold depths.
They drop with a murderer’s
blood.

The Dog is mother
to all, the vesica piscis
for the least of creatures,
stalled in retrograde, doomed
to live backward in cycles
of time. She dazzles them
out of shadows, from under rocks,
and up to the surface of wading
pools trembling in her reflection.

Their names curse them
as being beyond belief,
or worse, mere phantasms
melting as breath in wind.
They parade past, two
of each on display: majestic
centaurs; silver-horned unicorns;
sinuous, slithering basilisks; hell
fire belching chimeras; and
Nereides, naked nymphs
of the waves, empowered
while the moon’s dust hovers.

Moss hangs from the oaken
Mage like an uncombed beard.
Lips rehearse antique formulae,
some sages say, purloined
from Sefir Yetzirah, astrologer
Ab-ra-hem’s handbook of creation.
Out of his mouth, he charged
Golems to enter Bara, dimension
of the living, mute and soulless,
if intact, vessels of the void
to be filled with spirits
in the fullness of time.

The leafy adept revives
ruined choirs of cherubim,
once encryptors of an infinity
of infinite uphers and protectors
of the Lord’s Pen in the Nematon,
most sacred of spaces, before
calamity rent the veil of Sheomah’s
hallowed temple. Once dressed
in white garments, they wear
scarlet, as red as the heart
of a rose, signaling primal
transgression: profiting from
disclosure of secrets to lesser
spirits, violating the first
precept of divine magick:

Whoever would know Secrets,
let him know how to keep secret
things secretly, and to reveal
those things that are to be
revealed, and to seal those
things that are to be sealed.

A single nameless cherub
materializes at the urging
of the leaf-fringed Mage
beholden to the old lore’s
pledge of aid by purgatorial
spirits obliged to conjoin
with the necromancer’s art.

Crossing over a bridge
of moving air, the cherub
arrives extending a scroll,
its incantation intended
as an anodyne to dull
the creatures’ ache for form
and substance in the lifeless
husks of the hapless golem.

The fire-sparking angel warns
to recite the text as inscribed.
Words must leap trippingly
from the tongue without
a bobble, lisp, or stutter,
or else the ritual dooms
the initiates to postpone
their elevation to higher
orbits for another eleven
centuries as humans count
rotation of the spheres.
The ashy cherub takes
to air as light thickens,
and morning’s ambrosial scent
exhales with heaven’s breath.

Only a heart’s tick away
from the liminal threshold
where Nature aborts her
laws, and Pelehs, or miracles,
operate in a sphere of
nothingness, the Mage folds
open the text. Luminant pages
flood his features, all but his
hollowed out eyes recessing
ever deeper from the revealed
to the concealed corners
of a mirror absent of light.

In the language of birds,
beards, and bards, the Mage
invokes the primordial Mother
of Mysteries whose name
uttered by the forest’s shaman,
hums in wavelets insensible
to the human ear. Its pitch
and frequency generate energic
units capable of altering
substance in an insubstantial
plane.

He massages her name
in his mouth, tasting
the shape of each letter
with exquisite delectation,
knowing the physical
movements of the recitation
by Lev, or heart: the first
letter, Peh, pronounced with lips;
second letter, Lamed, pronounced
on tongue, and final, Alef,
concealed in throat innermost.

The Matriarch recites
the Mage’s name, Eon,
kept secret till now, urging
him to intone the liturgy
in language all but lost
to mortals, victims of a false
priesthood whose spells cast
doubt on spirits consigned
to live in shadows. The old
oak possesses secrets springing
from the mists of time, but
lulled to sleep in the roots
of his worshipful ancestors.

With each word
of the liturgical dirge,
they wake branches

sprouting green tips
pregnant with possibility
of leafy redemption, forgetting
a feature of the curse imposing

forgetfulness of the forgotten
outcome of every incantation
ever uttered by generations
of Mages.

The stab of recollection
the rite must always fail
almost topples the old oak.
He shrugs and shudders
as words wobble, collide,
and dissolve in the moon’s glow.
Where “Thy” should be
he stammers out “My”
reenacting the ancient blunder,
source of error, while confounding
his ear’s belief with a single
irretrievable utterance echoing
as a whisper:

“My will be done!”

The oak shrieks and moans
as if tossed by storm winds.
He mistakes his own shadow
for a traitor. With gusty breaths
and sigh tempests, the assembly
of creatures mourns in unison,
swearing oaths not to forget
the crushed hearts of this evening.

The moon fades
with a morning streak of red.
The Mother of Mysteries sings
matins to soothe her children.
The Dog licks her salty wounds
and abandons her litter.
Night-swift dragons retreat to lairs,
ghosts to graves, Leviathan and
his finny-ilk to the sea’s deepest
depths. One and all willingly
exile themselves from light
and the shame it confers
for an accident of birth,
nor more, nor less culpable
than when a name spells
its term of confinement:

Eons.

2 Comments

  1. Wonderful imagery bringing the ancient alive under the moonlight shine. Loved the old oak and intonation.

  2. Wonderful imagery bringing the ancient alive under the moonlight shine. Loved the old oak.

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