The depths of human nature and self knowledge, the hidden mysteries of the soul of man are not, as real initiates well know, probed into with impunity except by the “properly prepared”. The man who does so has, as it were, a cable-tow around his neck; because when once stirred by a genuine desire for the higher knowledge that real initiation is intended to confer, he can never turn back on what he learns thereof without committing moral suicide; he can never be again the same man he was before he gained a glimpse of the hidden mysteries of life. And as the Angel stood with a flaming sword at the entrance of Eden to guard the way to the Tree of Life, so will the man whose initiation is not a conventional one find himself threatened at the door of the higher knowledge by opposing invisible forces if he rashly rushes forward in a state of moral unfitness into the deep secrets of the Centre. Better remain ignorant than embark upon this unknown sea unwisely and without being properly prepared and in possession of the proper passports.
W L Wilmshurst, The Meaning of Masonry, Chapter II Masonry as a Philosophy
The dude don’t see himself as a bad man. Way he sees it, he’s an angel for hire. He can gather in lost lambs from the four corners and kiss away their tears, or he can shake a flaming sword. Up to his employers. Saint Michael don’t question why when the Big Dog says git. Ole Mike, he just ties up his war-bag, thumps his golden road, eats his beans out of the tin, and when he sees his mark, he gets to it no fuss. That’s the dude in a nut.
Catherynne M Valente, Six-Gun Snow White [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library]
The Nameless Quest in The Gate of the Sanctuary from The Temple of the Holy Ghost (Collected Works, Vol I) by Aleister Crowley.
“I turned—the path? My horror was complete—
A flaming sword across the earthquake gap.
I cried aloud to God in my despair.
‘The quest of quests! I seek it, for I dare!
Moonward! on, moonward!'” [via]
William Blake and his Illustrations to The Divine Comedy in Ideas of Good and Evil by William Butler Yeats.
“this could best be done by purifying one’s mind, as with a flame, in study of the works of the great masters, who were great because they had been granted by divine favour a vision of the unfallen world from which others are kept apart by the flaming sword that turns every way” [via]