Tag Archives: arts and letters

The Builders

If in the rearing of an edifice

We form one stone that makes the perfect whole;

To us ‘twould be the beau-ideal of bliss

And prove glad unction to the work-worn soul.

A Temple with proportions just and true

Can but erected be by Masons skilled,

Instructed by an Architect who knew

Exactly how to tell them what to build.

And he taught us—however small the stone—

To plumb and level by th’ unerring Square—

To make it pattern, so that all might own

‘Twas strong and beautiful beyond compare,—

With Chisel and with Gavel we have wrought

To gain “Well Done,”—The Tongue of Good Report.

— Charles F Forshaw, 1916

The Master Degree

Life’s brief moments, swiftly flying,

Speed us near and nearer Death;

Earth and Time are quickly dying,

Passing like a vapour breath.


Earth and all its passions perish,

Time and all its duties cease;

Wealth and power, that mankind cherish,

Bring us here no joy and peace.


Swift, swifter still ar every breath,

Near, and more near, steals silent Death;

Help! help us now, O Thou Most High!

In this dread hour of mystery.

Fellowcraft Degree

Onward moves the whole Creation,

Working out the eternal plan;

Sun and planet, stream and ocean,

Flower and forest, beast and man,

Never resting, ever going

Forward on their destined way;

Spring to Summer-glory growing,

Morn merging into Day.


Forward, Brother, then be going,

To the might of manhood move;

And thy going be ‘t in growing,

And thy growing be ‘t in love.

Apprentice Degree

Through midnight dark I feebly grope my way

Oppressed with fear;

I dread to go, and yet I dare not stay

With danger near;

Eternal Father! guide my feet aright,

And lead me, step by step, up to the Light.


I do not know the secret path I tread

Thro’ scenes unknown,

I humbly wander whither I am led—

Thy power I own;

Eternal Father! guide me through this night,

And lead me, step by step, up to the Light.


The World, its pride and passions, wealth and power,

All, all are gone;

Blind, poor, and weak I trust, in this dread hour,

On Thee alone;

Eternal Father! guide me in Thy Might,

And lead me, step by step, up to the Light.

Announcing the new Arts and Letters pool

I am announcing the new Arts and Letters pool over on the Hrmtc Underground BBS.

Announcing the Hermetic Library Arts and Letters pool


The Hermetic Library Arts and Letters pool is a participatory place for sharing poetry, prose, and other written works that are inspired by or manifests the Western Esoteric Tradition.

This pool is intended to offer a venue for art and culture that both informs and is informed by esotericism, which will bring the artist and author into the mix. This can be a community space for intentional work from theoretic, practical and cultural perspectives that explores and relates to written work and art about or inspired by esotericism and magick in the form of articles, essays, personal narratives, poetry, fiction, plays, biographies, and more.

Of course, there’s been a category for Arts and Letters on the blog for quite some time, but, until now, there was no formal way to participate in the pool, but by creating this new space on the BBS, it is possible to post submissions, and, like the other Hermetic Library visual, audio and video pools, submissions to this pool may occasionally be featured here on the Hermetic Library blog in the Arts and Letters category.

For this new pool, although it’s already covered in the Terms of Service for the BBS itself, I suppose I should be clear that only one’s own work, work that one has the rights to share, should be added to the new Arts and Letters pool, or, for that matter, any of the participatory pools.

There is no predetermined length, neither minimum nor maximum, for written submissions. However, effort should be made to ensure written work is ‘just so’ for the purpose of the piece, neither overbearingly long nor too cryptically short relative to the subject matter, unless I suppose that is the point. Works of considerable length may be serialized.

Submissions should endeavour to be suitably concise but complete thoughts that are lucid, coherent, consistent, relevant and aesthetic. Obviously creative work has more flexibility in this regard, but in all cases where uncertainty might arise a lucid and informative abstract, or artist statement, will help ensure proper reception of a submission.

There are, of course, a variety of ways you can help support and participate in the work of the library, but now there’s one more! Head on over to the BBS and join the discussions there, including this new Arts and Letters pool.

Try The Square

Is a Brother off the track?

Try the Square;

Try it well on every side.

Nothing draws a craftsman back

Like the Square when well applied.

Try the Square.


Is he crooked, is he frail?

Try the Square.

Try it early, try it late;

When all other efforts fail,

Try the Square to make him straight—

Try the Square.


Does he still persist in wrong?

Try the Square.

Loves he darkness more than light?

Try it thorough, try it long.

Try the Square to make him right—

Try the Square.


Fails the Square to bring him in?

Try the Square.

Be not sparing of the pains;

While there’s any work to do,

While a crook or knot remains—

Try the Square.

David Barker, 1916

I Sat In Lodge With You

There is a saying filled with cheer,

Which calls a man to fellowship.

It means as much to him to hear

As lies within the brother-grip.

Nay, more! It opens wide the way

To friendliness sincere and true;

There are no strangers when you say

To me: “I sat in lodge with you.”


When that is said, then I am known;

There s not questioning or doubt;

I need not walk my path alone

Nor from my fellows be shut out.

Those words hold all of brotherhood

And help me face the world anew—

There’s something deep and rich and good

In this: “I sat in lodge with you.”


Though in far lands one needs must roam,

By sea and shore and hill and plain,

Those words bring him a touch of home

And lighten tasks that seem in vain.

Men’s faces are no longer strange

But seem as those he always knew

When some one rings the joyous change

With his: “I sat in lodge with you.”


So you, my brother, now and then

Have often put me in your debt

By showing forth to other men

That you your friends do not forget.

When all the world seems gray and cold

And I am weary, worn and blue,

Then comes this golden thought I hold—

You said: “I sat in lodge with you.”


When to the last great lodge you fare

My prayer is that I may be

One of your friends who wait you there,

Intent your smiling face to see.

We, with the warder at the gate,

Will have a pleasant task to do;

We’ll call, though you come soon or late:

“Come in! We sat in lodge with you!”

Wilbur D Nesbit

I hight Don Quixote, I live on peyote

I hight Don Quixote, I live on peyote,

marijuana, morphine and cocaine,

I never know sadness but only a madness

that burns at the heart and the brain.

I see each charwoman, ecstatic, inhuman,

angelic, demonic, divine.

Each wagon a dragon, each beer mug a flagon

that brims with ambrosial wine.

John Whiteside “Jack” Parsons, from Oriflamme, Feb 21, 1943

Kurt Vonnegut suggests a writing ritual for soul growth

Back in 2006, Kurt Vonnegut wrote back, when asked about his work and advice, to a class of high school students suggesting a writing ritual for soul growth [via, also, also].

alxmog1 Kurt Vonnegut letter
Image from alxmog1 [via]

“What I had to say to you, moreover, would not take long, to wit: Practice any art, music, singing, dancing, acting, drawing, painting, sculpting, poetry, fiction, essays, reportage, no matter how well or badly, not to get money and fame, but to experience becoming, to find out what’s inside you, to make your soul grow.

Seriously! I mean starting right now, do art and do it for the rest of your lives.”

“Here’s an assignment for tonight […] Write a six line poem, about anything, but rhymed. No fair tennis without a net. Make it as good as you possibly can. But don’t tell anybody what you’re doing. Don’t show it or recite it to anybody, not even your girlfriend or parents or whatever […] Tear it up into teeny-weeny pieces, and discard them into widely separated trash recepticals. You will find that you have already been gloriously rewarded for your poem. You have experienced becoming, learned a lot more about what’s inside you, and you have made your soul grow.” — Kurt Vonnegut [via]

The Red Lips of the Octopus

The red lips of the octopus

Are more than myriad stars of night.

The great beast writhes in fiercer form than thirsty stallions amorous

I would they clung to me and stung. I would they quenched me with delight.

The red lips of the octopus.

They reek with poison of the sea

Scarlet and hot and languorous

My skin drinks in their slaver warm, my sweats his wrapt embrace excite

The heavy sea rolls languishly o’er the ensanguined kiss of us.

We strain and strive, we die for love. We linger in the lusty fight

We agonize; our club becomes more cruel and more murderous.

My passion splashes out at last. Ah! with what ecstasy I bite

The red lips of the octopus.

Aleister Crowley, circa 1898, from the Amsterdam Notebook [via]

[Update 2021mar7: Turns out this had previously been published, and appears at The Octopus in The Winged Beetle.]