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The Crossing excerpt from The Sacred Rite of Magical Love

Here’s an excerpt of chapter 6, “The Crossing,” from The Sacred Rite of Magical Love: A Ceremony of Word and Flesh by Maria de Naglowska, translated by Donald Traxler, which is offered at the Reading Room with permission from Inner Traditions.


Maria de Naglowska's The Sacred Rite of Magical Love from Inner Traditions


The Crossing

We set out, hand in hand. Misha had said:

“Come, Xenia, it’s time.”

And I followed him without saying a word. We knew the path well, he and I. Misha held the lantern in his right hand, its red light spread a weak glow around us, and in the thick night it was as if we were going through a tunnel.

At the same time, as we advanced, the space gained closed again behind us, like a black wall.

When we arrived at the end of the great walk on the grounds that surrounded my ancestral home, after which it would be a matter of dealing with unkept paths, Misha stopped and said to me:

“Rest a little, my friend. I’ll take advantage of it to tell you certain things.”

The manifest change in Misha’s whole attitude did not surprise me, since I knew the reason for it, but what seemed astonishing to me was my completely new feeling with regard to my companion.

This feeling was very different from the mystical love that I had felt for the Unknown: he effaced me more in my own eyes and was spread through me, as an overwhelming influence.

When I was seated upon the trunk of an overturned pine, well wrapped in my big, black cloak, elbows resting on my knees and forehead in palms, Misha, who had remained standing, said to me:

“Xenia, I know now that he who is waiting for us in the forest is neither a rival nor an adversary. He is a friend, and the teaching that He shall give us bears upon a sacred mystery. That is why it is appropriate for us to prepare in a worthy fashion for the solemn meeting.”

He stopped talking and gathered himself into a deep meditation.

He was truly superb, illuminated by the red glow against the black background of the night. His eyes seemed enormous and powerful, and his tall, vigorous Cossack’s stature reflected an indomitable will.

I looked at him, and I didn’t think about anything. I waited for everything from him now.

“Xenia,” he said at last, “have you anything to reproach me about?”

If the earth had opened and swallowed me up, if the Kasbek had bowed down in front of the sea, I would have been less shaken in my being: I, reproaching anything in this man!

In a single bound I was on my feet, with my arms around Misha’s neck, like a mad woman. I pressed against his body, hard as granite, I wrapped my legs around his; I ruined my clothes in rubbing against his daggers.

From time to time I threw my head back to see if he was smiling.

Misha allowed me to continue for a few moments. He took me into his arms then and hugged me tenderly.

I wish I could express the happiness I felt, feeling his strength and rigidity turn to tenderness for me.

I was aware, I felt the need to sacrifice myself. Oh! The voluptuousness of the sacrifice!

“You are right,” Misha whispered, lightly caressing my ear with his lips, “you are right: you can’t reproach me for it … Xenia is mine, because I have won her. Xenia belongs to no one else … the Other is not an enemy … we shall see Him soon … together … kiss me again, my little bluebird … give me the kiss that I need now … I’m not the same person that I was this morning … we shall see Him together, soon.”

Saying that, he lifted me like a child, without effort, as if I had no weight, and, when my head was at the level of his, our lips united in a marvelous kiss, which seemed to unite heaven and earth.

There was no hell in that kiss, for hell had already been crossed.

Hell’s kiss is humid, because it is the beginning of the great crossing of the Sea. Heaven’s kiss is airy and radiant, because it is the first step taken on the new shore.

But one does not cross over the Sea, if one does not reach the limit of the first land … and the man will not pass over the region of the waves, if the waves do not make way for him … The woman is the wave and the man is the land.

“Yes, I’m yours, Misha, yours alone …”

I was elated and without strength.

Misha plunged a caressing look into my eyes and said to me:

“It’s true.”

He placed another kiss on my forehead, between my eyebrows, a kiss charged with thoughts, and slowly, as if I were a fragile and precious object, he put me back on the trunk of the pine.

“Now, rest peacefully and don’t move, no matter what happens. What I have to do now is for me and because of me. Don’t be concerned, stay completely calm.”

Without effort, I obeyed. I found it sweet to obey him. I crossed my hands on my knees, and I waited.

Misha backed up a few steps. He extended his arms before him, presenting his palms to the sky, as the priest does in front of the altar, when he implores the divine powers, for Christ to descend into the bread and wine of the Mystery.

He immediately brought about a concentration of spirit and of formidable forces.

He resembled a red statue of transparent stone. The light lost itself around him in the immense darkness, but the force that was in him seemed still more immense. It was the center that dominated the night.



The Hermetic Library Reading Room is an imaginary and speculative future reification of the library in the physical world, a place to experience a cabinet of curiosities offering a confabulation of curation, context and community that engages, archives and encourages a living Western Esoteric Tradition. If you would like to contribute to the Hermetic Library Reading Room, consider supporting the library or contact the librarian.

Anton Szandor LaVey and the Church of Satan excerpt from Lords of the Left-Hand Path

Here’s an excerpt of chapter 9, “Anton Szandor LaVey and the Church of Satan,” from Lords of the Left-Hand Path: Forbidden Practices and Spiritual Heresies by Stephen E Flowers [also] which is offered at the Reading Room with permission from Inner Traditions.




Or The World According to the Abominable Dr. LaVey

Anton LaVey was not, nor did he intend to be, a systematic philosopher. He was more a weaver of images—a sorcerous philosopher—a performance artist working in the social and imagistic media of the latter twentieth century. As such, it requires some work and, I hope, some sympathetic understanding to illicit from his written works the essence of his worldview. In many ways LaVey poses some new questions for the would-be follower of the left-hand path. The role of society and of the interaction with other human beings (or the lack of same) become essential to his satanic philosophy. But equipped with the analytical questions I have put to all the earlier schools of the left-hand path, the encounter with LaVey’s Church of Satan yields a great harvest of new ideas about the nature and scope of the path of the left-hand. LaVey’s satanic cosmology will be seen to be materialistic, cyclical, dualistic, and limited. The problem of the position of the will of the satanic magician within this cosmos remains, however.

LaVey’s system of thought was based on a uniquely magical form of materialism. For him all things that exist do so in a material form. There is no such thing as “spirit,” “god,” or “heaven” as commonly believed in and taught by orthodox religions or held by popular superstition. This theoretical idea is the proverbial forest of LaVey’s system, which the trees of individual manifestations of this concept sometimes obscure. It is easier to see the materialism in his understanding of mankind or the workings of magic than in the impersonal abstraction of cosmology. LaVey always begins and ends with concrete things that can be sensed. This approach rarely led him off into abstract speculation.

For LaVey “God” (i.e., the ultimate power in the universe) is Nature and Satan is the embodiment of Nature. This is not to reduce LaVey’s philosophy to pure objectivistic positivism. There is indeed, and perhaps somewhat paradoxically, a definite metaphysics embedded in LaVey’s materialism. The world may be a material reality only, but its functions can be so mysterious that vast amounts of its true character and structure remain hidden from normal mankind’s view and understanding.

For the most part man brings this ignorance upon himself—it is simply more comfortable to be ignorant for most people.

LaVey’s metaphysical materialism is not entirely original. He derived much of it from a number of sources that seem to include the Epicureans (whom he sometimes invoked), de Sade (ultimately de la Metterie), Marx, and Freud (whom he admired). It is this long-standing tradition of philosophical materialism, which more than anything else LaVey identifies as the Satanic philosophy or tradition. Here he is very much in keeping with the attitudes of the Slavs, both ancient and modern, who in their dualistic folk religion identified God with the spiritual world and the Devil with the material one. 



The clearest statements made by LaVey concerning the abstract order of the cosmos are concerned with cycles or rhythms. In the Satanic Rituals he wrote two pages (219-20) under the heading “The Unknown Known.” Here he outlines a theory of the successive Ages of the world that cycle or oscillate between Ages of Ice in which “God” rules and man (= Satan) is suppressed and Ages of Fire in which man rules and “God is beneath.” These cycles are governed by the Law of Nine.

First there is a nine-year period characterized by action, then a subsequent nine-year period characterized by reaction to that original impetus. Taken together the eighteen-year span of time is called a “Working.” Nine Workings equal an Era (162 years), and nine Eras add up to an Age (1,458 years), and nine Ages equal an Epoch (13,122 years).

The last Age of Ice came to an end in 1966. This pattern of oscillation between extremes is the clearest abstract model for another leitmotif in LaVey’s thought: dualism. Dualism will be discussed at length in the next section, but another aspect of the cyclical pattern must not be overlooked: that of rhythm. Perhaps welling up from LaVey’s obvious native musical nature and talent is an inherent sense of rhythm. He often writes of the importance of music to magic and even concerning the primacy of rhythm over the actual meanings of words in magical incantations.

The role of rhythms in ordering the world is specifically addressed in a Cloven Hoof article in 1980 titled “Mega-rhythms.” Here LaVey claims to be able to chart future public likes and dislikes “based on one simple rule: the attraction of opposites.” If it’s in today, it’s destined by this mega-rhythmic law to be out tomorrow. The timing of these shifts is presumably somehow coordinated with the oscillation process within the Working eighteen-year period.

“Angles” form another abstract construct that gives shape to LaVey’s cosmology. These “angles”—geometrical models, which seem to have the power to create certain effects in the objective and subjective universes—are most precisely discussed in a Cloven Hoof article titled “The Law of the Trapezoid.” This Law states that figures or spaces made up of obtuse or acute angles (those less or more than 90 degrees) have an unsettling effect on the mind unless they are recognized as such—whereupon they can be empowering and energizing.



The Hermetic Library Reading Room is an imaginary and speculative future reification of the library in the physical world, a place to experience a cabinet of curiosities offering a confabulation of curation, context and community that engages, archives and encourages a living Western Esoteric Tradition. If you would like to contribute to the Hermetic Library Reading Room, consider supporting the library or contact the librarian.