There was no secret cave of the wood’s womb
Where we might kiss all day without a start
Of fear that meant to stay and must depart,
Nor any corner where the sea’s perfume
Might shelter love in some wave-carven tomb.
But Maytime shone in us; with words of art
I drew her down reluctant to my heart,
When night was silence and my bed the gloom.
So without sin we took strange sacrament,
Whose wine was kisses, and whose bread the flower
Of fast and fervent cleaving breast to breast.
As lily bend to lily we were bent,
Not as mere man to woman: all the dower
Of martyred Virgins crowned our dangerous quest.
Aleister Crowley, The Sixteenth Day in Alice: an Adultery
Religion, like nations and individuals, passes through the regular gradation, first of infancy, when religious ideas and thoughts are crude in the extreme; the age of Puritanism, when innocent women and children are burned at the stake for witchcraft, when with gloomy faces and in unsightly dress the poor fanatics sacrificed every pleasure on the altar of duty; the time when Sunday was a day of horror to children from its gloom, a day when every innocent amusement was forbidden. After religion’s infancy comes youth. At that stage, the absurd dress and gloomy faces were not considered essential adjuncts to religion, but free discussion was not allowed upon religious subjects. Everything must be taken for granted, without any investigation on the part of the people. After youth comes manhood, the time when reason has full sway, when superstition and credulities form no part of religious teaching and thought. People are able to think, to reason for themselves. After the age of manhood, comes old age and that is the stage of agnosticism. Questions are being asked, and ideas propounded which must not be overlooked nor treated with contempt. All questions asked in a fair spirit, must be answered in a fair manner. It is not sufficient to say, “it is so”, but good and tangible reasons must be given to prove the truth of an assertion. We are now in the stage of “old age.” Agnosticism and Infidelity are wide spread. After old age comes decay and the decline of the absolutely orthodox. From time immemorial, every religion has passed through the same gradation, of infancy, youth, old age and decay finally comes philosophy.
Lydia Leavitt, Bohemian Society [Amazon, Amazon (Dodo Press), Bookshop (Dodo Press, Gutenberg, 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.
“THE king was silent. In the blazoned hall
Shadows, more mute than at a funeral
True mourners, waited, waited in the gloom;
Waited to hear what child was in the womb
Of his high thoughts. As dead men were we all;
As dead men wait the trumpet in the tomb.
The king was silent. Tense the high-strung air
Must save itself by trembling—if it dare.
Then a lone shudder ran across the space;
Each man ashamed to see his fellow’s face,
Each troubled and confused. He did not spare
Our fear—he spake not yet a little space.” [via]
The Lesbian Hell in The Gate of the Sanctuary from The Temple of the Holy Ghost (Collected Works, Vol I) by Aleister Crowley.
“Pale women fleet around, whose infinite
Long sorrow and desire have torn their wombs,
Whose empty fruitlessness assails the night
With hollow repercussion, like dim tombs
Wherein some vampire glooms.” [via]
All Night in White Stains by Aleister Crowley.
“Yet, did I raise my head, throughout the gloom
I might behold thine eyes as red as fire,
A tigress maddened with supreme desire.
White arms that clasp me, fervent breast that glides
An eager snake, about my breast and sides,
And white teeth keen to bite, red tongue that tires,
And lips ensanguine with unfed desires,
Hot breath and hands, disheveled hair and head,
Thy fevered mouth like snakes’ mouths crimson red,
A very beast of prey; and I like thee,
Fiery, unweary, as thou art of me.” [via]
A Jealous Lover in White Stains by Aleister Crowley.
“Pale specters of the stars, corpse-lights, bad-ghosts
Sicken the icy glamour of the moon
Upon the vacant earth; and where the sea
Marshals sepulchral billows, obscene hosts
Of harpies gibber weirdly. I should swoon
For the silence, rolled not some dread minstrelsy
In fearful anguish on the shuddering air,
Breathing out terror and lightning to the night
That widely echoes back Hell’s venomous spite,
And shrieks aloud the watchword of despair
To draw each pain racked nerve more tense and gray
For I am alone, unloved, in murk and gloom,
Unloved, unfriended, fittest for the tomb,
Who worshipped golden feet and found them clay.” [via]