I resist, I cannot accept this hollow nothing that I am. What am I? What is my I? I always presuppose my I. Now it stands before me-I before my I. I speak now to you, my I:
I We are alone and our being together threatens to become unbearably boring. We must do something, devise a pastime; for example, I could educate you. Let us begin with your main flaw, which strikes me first: you have no correct self-esteem. Have you no good qualities that you can be proud of? You believe that being capable is an art. But one can also learn such skills to some extent. Please, do so. You find it difficult-well, all beginnings are difficult.
Soon you will be able to do it better. Do you doubt this? That is of no use; you must be able to do it, or else I cannot live with you. Ever since the God has arisen and spreads himself in whichever fiery heavens, to do whatever he does, what exactly I do not know, we have depended upon one another.
Therefore you must think about improving, or else our life together ill become retched. So pull yourself together and value yourself!
Don’t you want to?
Pitiful creature! I will torment you a bit if you do not make an effort. What are you moaning about? Perhaps the whip will help? Now that gets under your skin, doesn’t it? Take that-and that. What does it taste of? Of blood, presumably? Of the Middle Ages in majorem Dei gloriam Or do you want love, or what goes by that name? One can also teach with love, ifblows do not bear fruit. So should I love you?
Press you tenderly to myself?
I truly believe that you are yawning.
How now, you want to speak? But I won’t let you, otherwise in the end you will claim that you are my soul. But my soul is with the fire worm, with the son of the frog who has flown to the heavens above, to the upper sources. Do I know what he is doing there? But you are not my soul, you are my bare, empty nothing-I, this disagreeable being, whom one cannot even deny the right to consider itself worthless.
One could despair over you: your sensitivity and desirousness exceed any reasonable measure. And I should live with you, of all people? I must, since the strange misfortune occurred that gave me a son and took him away. I regret that I must speak such truths to you. Yes, you are laughably sensitive, self-righteous, unruly, mistrustful, pessimistic, cowardly; dishonest with yourself venomous, vengeful; one can hardly speak about your childish pride, your craving for power, your desire for esteem, your laughable ambition, your thirst for fame without feeling sick. The play acting and pomposity become you badly and you abuse them to the best of your ability.
Do you believe that it is a pleasure rather than a horror to live together with you? No, three times no! But I promise you that I will tighten the vise around you and slowly pull off your skin. I will give you the chance to be flayed.
You, you of all people wanted to tell other people what to do? Come here, I will stitch a cloth of new skin onto you, so that you can feel its effect. You want to complain about others, and that one has done an injustice to you, not understood you, misinterpreted you, hurt your feelings, ignored you, not recognized you, falsely accused you, and what else? Do you see your vanity in this, your eternally ridiculous vanity?
You complain that the torment has not yet come to an end? Let me tell you: it has only just begun. You have no patience and no seriousness. Only when it concerns your pleasure do you praise your patience. I will double the torment so that you learn patience.
You find the pain unbearable, but there are other things that hurt even more, and you can inflict them on others with the greatest naivety and absolve yourself all unknowingly. But you will learn silence. For this I will pullout your tongue-with which you have ridiculed, blasphemed and-evenworse-joked. I will pin all your unjust and depraved words one by one to your body with needles so that you can feel how evil words stab.
Do you admit that you also derive pleasure from this torment? I will increase this pleasure until you vomit with joy so that you know what taking pleasure in self-torment means. You rise against me? I am screwing the vise tighter, that’s all. I will break your bones until there is no longer a trace of hardness there.
For I want to get along with you-I must-damn you-you are my I, which I must carry around with me to the grave. Do you think that I want to have such foolishness around me all my life? If you were not my I, I would have torn you to pieces long ago. But I am damned to haul you through a purgatory so that you too will become somewhat acceptable.
You calI on God for help? The dear old God has died,4 and it is good that way; otherwise he would have had pity on your repentant sinfulness and spared me the execution by granting mercy. You must know that neither a God of love nor a loving God has yet arisen, but instead a worm of fire crawled up, a magnificent frightful entity that lets fire rain on the earth, producing lamentations. So cry to the God, he will burn you with fire for the forgiveness of your sins.
Coil yourself and sweat blood. You have needed this cure for a long time. Yes-others always do wrong-and you? You are the innocent, the correct, you must defend your good right and you have a good, loving God on your side, who always forgives sins with pity. Others must reach insight, not you, since you have a monopoly on all insight from the start and are always convinced that you are right. And so cry really loudly to your dear God-he will hear you and let fire fall on you. Have you not noticed that your God has become a fiery worm with a flat skull who crawls red-hot on the earth?
You wanted to be superior! How laughable. You were, and are, inferior. Who are you, then? Scum that disgusts me. Are you perhaps somewhat powerless? I place you in a corner where you can remain lying until you come to your senses again. If you no longer feel anything, the procedure is of no use. After all, we must proceed skillfully. It really says a lot about you thatone needs such barbaric means for your amendment. Your progress since the early Middle Ages appears to be minuscule. Did you feel dejected today; inferior, debased? Shall I tell you why?
Your inordinate ambition is boundless. Your grounds are not focused on the good of the matter but on your vanity. You do not work for humanity but for your self-interest, You do not strive for the completion of the thing but for the ‘general recognition and safeguarding of your own advantage. I want to honor you with a prickly crown of iron; it has teeth inside that bore themselves into your flesh. And now we come to the vile swindle that you pursue with your cleverness. You speak skillfully and abuse your capability and discolor, tone down, strengthen, apportion light and shade, and loudly proclaim your honorableness and upright good faith. You exploit the good faith of others, you gloatingly catch them in your snares and speak of your benevolent superiority and the prize that you are for others. You play at modesty and do not mention your merit, in the certain hope that someone else will do it for you; you are disappointed and hurt if this doesn’t happen. You preach hypocritical composure. But when it really matters, are you calm? No, you lie. You consume yourself in rage and your tongue speaks cold daggers and you dream of revenge. You are gloating and resentful. You begrudge the other thesunshine, since you would like to assign it to those whom you favor because they favor you. You are envious of all well-being around you and you impertinently assert the opposite. Inside yourself you think unsparingly and coarsely only what always suits you, and with this you feel yourself above humanity and not in the least responsible. But you are responsible to humanity in everything that you think, feel, and do. Do not pretend there is a difference between thinking and doing. You rely only on your undeserved advantage, not to be compelled to say or do what you think and feel.
But you are shameless in everything where no one sees you. If another said that to you, you would be mortally offended, despite knowing that it is true. You want to reproach others for their failings? So that they better themselves? Yes, confess, have you bettered yourself? From where do you get the right to have opinions of others? What is your opinion about yourself? And what are the good grounds that support it? Your grounds are webs of lies covering a dirty corner. You judge others and charge them with what they should do. You do this because you have no order within yourself because you are unclean.
Your think with men, regardless of their human dignity; you dare think by means of them, and use them as figures on your stage, as if they were how you conceive them? Have you ever considered that you thus commit a shameful act of power, as bad as that for which you condemn others, namely that they love their fellow men, as they claim, but in reality exploit them to their own ends. Your sin flourishes in seclusion, but it is no less great, remorseless, and coarse.
What is concealed in you I will drag out into the light, shameless one! I will crush your superiority under my feet. Do not speak to me about your love. What you call love oozes with self-interest and desirousness. But you speak about it with great words, and the greater your words are, the more pathetic your so-called love is. Never speak to me of your love, but keep your mouth shut. It lies. I want you to speak about your shame, and that instead of speaking great words, you utter a discordant clamor before those whose respect you wanted to exact. You deserve mockery; not respect. I will burn out of you the contents of which you were proud, so that you will become empty like a poured-out vessel. You should be proud of nothing more than your emptiness and wretchedness. You should be a vessel of life, so kill your idols. Freedom does not belong to you, but form; not power, but suffering and conceiving.
You should make a virtue out of your self-contempt, which I will spread out before men like a carpet. They should walk over it with dirty feet and you should see to it that you are dirtier than all the feet that step on you. If I tame you, beast, I give others the opportunity to tame their beasts. The taming begins with you, my I, nowhere else. Not that you, stupid brother I, had been particularly wild. There are some who are wilder. But I must whip you until you endure the wildness of the others. Then I can live with you. If someone does you wrong, I will torment you to death, until you have forgiven the wrong suffered, yet not just by paying lip service, but also in your heavy heart with its heinous sensitivity. Your sensitivity is your particular form of violence.
Therefore listen, brother in my solitude, I have prepared every kind of torture for you, if it should ever occur to you again to be sensitive. You should feel inferior. You should be able to bear the fact that one calls your purity dirty and that one desires your dirtiness, that one praises your wastefulness as miserliness and your greed as a virtue.
Fill your beaker with the bitter drink of subjugation, since you are not your soul. Your soul is with the fiery God who flamed up to the roof of the heavens.Should you still be sensitive? I notice that you are forging secret plans for revenge, plotting deceitful tricks. But you are an idiot, you cannot take revenge on fate. Childish one, you probably even want to lash the sea. Build better bridges instead; that is a better way to squander your wit.
You want to be understood? That’s all we needed! Understand yourself and you will be sufficiently understood. You will have quite enough work in hand with that. Mothers’ little dears want to be understood. Understand yourself that is the best protection against sensitivity and satisfies your childish longing to be understood. I suppose you want to turn others into slaves of your desirousness again?· But you know that I must live with you and that I will no longer tolerate such abject plaintiveness.
After I had spoken these and many more angry words to my I, I noticed that I began to bear being alone with myself. But the touchiness still stirred in me frequently and I had to lash myself just as often. And I did this until even the pleasure in self-torment faded. Then I heard a voice one night; it came from afar and was the voice of my soul. She spoke: “How distant you are!”
I: “Is that you my soul, from which height and distance do you speak?”S: “I am above you. I am a world apart. I have become sunlike. I received the seeds of fire. Where are you? I can hardly find you in your mists.”I: “I am down on the murky earth, in the dark smoke that the fire left us, and my gaze does not reach you. But your voice sounds closer.”S: “I feel it. The heaviness of the earth penetrates me, damp cold enshrouds me, gloomy memories of former pain overcome me.”I: “Do not lower yourself into the smoke and the darkness of the earth. I would like that which I am still working on to remain sunlike. Otherwise I will lose the courage to live further down in the darkness of the earth. Let me just hear your voice. I will never want to see you in the flesh again. Say something! Take it from the depths, from which fear perhaps flows to me.”S: “I cannot, since your creative source flows from there.”I: “You see my uncertainty.”S: “The uncertain way is the good way: Upon it lie possibilities. Be unwavering and create.”
I heard the rushing of wings. I knew that the bird rose higher, above the clouds in the fiery brilliance of the outspread Godhead.
I: turned to my brother, the I; he stood sadly and looked at the ground and sighed, and would rather have been dead, since the burden of enormous suffering burdened him. But a voice spoke from me and said:
“It is hard-the sacrificed fall left and right-and you will be crucified for the sake of life.”
And I said to my I: “My brother, how do you like this speech?”
But he sighed deeply and moaned: “It is bitter, and I suffer much.”To which I answered: “I know, but it is not to be altered.”
But I did not know what that was, since I still did not know what the future held (this happened on the 2Ist May of the year I9I4). In the excess of suffering I looked up to the clouds and called out to my soul and asked her. And I heard her voice, happy and bright, and she answered:
“Much happiness has happened to me. I rise higher, my wings grow.”
I was seized with bitterness at these words and I cried: “You live from the blood of the human heart.”
I heard her laughing-or was she not laughing? “No drink is dearer to me than red blood.”
Powerless anger seized me and I called out: “If you were not my soul who followed the God to the eternal realm, I would call you the most terrible scourge of men. But who moves you?
I know that divinity is not humanity. The divine consumes the human. I know that this is the severity, this is the cruelty; he who has felt you with his hands can never remove the blood from his hands. I have become enslaved to you.”She answered: “Do not be angry, do not complain. Let the bloody victims fall at your side. It is not your severity, it is not your cruelty, but necessity: The way of life is sown with fallen ones.”
I: “Yes, I see, it is a battlefield. My brother, what is with you? Are you groaning?”
Then my I answered: “Why should I not groan and moan? I load myself with the dead and cannot haul their number.”
But I did not understand my I and therefore spoke to him:”You are a pagan, my friend! Have you not heard that it is said, let the dead bury their dead? Why do you want to be burdened with the, dead? You do not help them by hauling them.”
Then my I wailed: “But I pity the poor fallen ones, they cannot reach the light. Perhaps if I haul them?”
I: “What is this? Their souls have accomplished as much as they could. Then they encountered fate. It will also happen to us. Your compassion is sick.”But my soul called from afar: “Leave him compassion, compassion binds life and death.”
These words of my soul stung me. She spoke of compassion, she, who rose up following the God without compassion, and I asked her:”Why did you do that?”
For my human sensitivity could not grasp the hideousness of that hour. She answered:”It is not meant for me to be in your world. I besmirch myself on the excrement of your earth.”I: ”Am I not earth? Am I not excrement? Did I commit an error that forced you to follow the God into the upper realms?”S: “No, it was inner necessity. I belong to the Above.”I: “Has no one suffered an irreplaceable loss through your disappearance?”S: “On the contrary, you have enjoyed utmost benefit.”1: “If I heed my human feeling about this, doubt could come over me.”S: “What have you noticed? Why should what you see always be untrue? It is your particular wrong that you cannot stop making a fool of yourself Can you not remain on your way for once?”I: “You know that I doubt, because of my love for men.”S: “No, for the sake of your weakness, for the sake of your doubt and disbelief Stay on your way and do not run away from yourself There is a divine and a human intention. They cross each other in stupid and godforsaken people, to whom you also belong from time to time.”
Since what my soul spoke about referred to nothing that I could see, nor could I see what my I suffered from (since this happened two months before the outbreak of the war), I wanted to understand it all as personal experiences within me, and consequently I could neither understand nor believe it all, since my belief is weak. And I believe that it is better in our time ifbelief is weak. We have outgrown that childhood where mere belief was the most suitable means to bring men to what is good and reasonable. Therefore if we wanted to have a strong belief again today, we would thus return to that earlier childhood. But we have so much knowledge and such a thirst for knowledge in us that we need knowledge more than belief But the strength of belief would hinder us from attaining knowledge. Belief certainly may be something strong, but it is empty, and too little of the whole man can be involved, if our life with God is grounded only on belief Should we simply believe first and foremost? That seems too cheap to me. Men who have understanding should not just believe, but should wrestle for knowledge to the best of their ability. Belief is not everything, but neither is knowledge. Beliefdoes not give us the security and the wealth of knowing. Desiring knowledge sometimes takes away too much belief Both must strike a balance.
But it is also dangerous to believe too much, because today everyone has to find his own way and encounters in himself a beyond full of strange and mighty things. He could easily take everything literally with too much belief and would be nothing but a lunatic. The childishness of belief breaks down in the face of our present necessities. We need differentiating knowledgeto clear up the confusion which the discovery of the soul has brought in. Therefore it is perhaps much better to await better knowledge before one accepts things all too believingly.
From these considerations I spoke to my soul: “Is all that to be accepted? You know in what sense I ask this.”
It is not stupid and unbelieving to ask thus, but is doubting of a higher type.”To this she answered: “I understand you-but it is to be accepted.”To which I replied: “The solitude of this acceptance terrifies me. I dread the madness that befalls the solitary.”She answered: ”As you already know, I have long predicted solitude for you. You need not be afraid of madness. What I predict is valid.”
These words filled me with disquiet, since I felt that I could almost not accept what my soul predicted, because I did not understand it. I always wanted to understand it with regard to myself Therefore I said to my soul: “What misunderstood fear torments me?”
“That is your disbelief your doubt. You do not want to believe in the size of the sacrifice that is required. But it will go on to the bitter end. Greatness requires greatness. You still want to be too cheap. Did I not speak to you of abandonment, of leaving be? Do you want to have it better than other men?”
“No,” I replied, “No, that is not it. But I fear committing an injustice to men if I go my own way.”
“What do you want to avoid?” she said; “there is no avoidance. You must go your way, unconcerned about others, no matter whether they are good or bad. You have laid your hand on the divine, which those have not.”
I could not accept these words since I feared deception. Therefore I also did not want to accept this way that forced me into dialogue with my soul. I preferred to speak with men. But I felt compelled toward solitude and I feared at the same time the solitude of my thinking which departed from accustomed paths. As I pondered this, my soul spoke to me: “Did I not predict dark solitude for you?”
“I know,” I answered, “but I did not really think that it would happen. Must it be so?”
“You can only say yes. There is nothing to do other than for you to take care of your cause. If anything should happen, it can only happen on this way.””So it is hopeless,” I cried, “to resist solitude?””It is utterly hopeless. You should be forced into your work”
As my soul spoke thus, an old man with a white beard and a haggard face approached me. I asked him what he wanted with me. To which he replied:
“I am a nameless one, one of the many who lived and died in solitude. The spirit of the times and the acknowledged truth required this from us. Look at me-you must learn this. Things have been too good for you. ”
“But,” I replied, “is this another necessity in our so very different time?”
“It is as true today as it was yesterday. Never forget that you are a man and therefore you must bleed for the goal of humanity. Practice solitude assiduously without grumbling so that everything will in time become ready. You should become serious, and hence take your leave from science. There is too much childishness in it. Your way goes toward the depths. Science is too superficial, mere language, mere tools. But you must set to work”
I did not know what work was mine, since everything was dark and everything became heavy and doubtful and an endless sadness seized me and lasted for many days. Then, one night, I heard the voice of an old man. He spoke slowly, heavily, and his sentences appeared to be disconnected and terribly absurd, so that the fear of madness seized me again. For he spoke the following words:
“It is not yet the evening of days. The worst comes last.The hand that strikes first, strikes best.Nonsense streams from the deepest wells, amply like the Nile.Morning is more beautiful than night.Flowers smell until they fade.Ripeness comes as late as possible in spring, or else it missesits purpose.”
These sentences that the old man spoke to me on the night of the 25 May of the year 1914 appeared to me dreadfully meaningless. I felt my I squirm in pain. It moaned and wailed about the burden of the dead that rested on it. It seemed as if it had to carry a thousand dead.
This sadness did not leave until the 24th June 1914.21 In the night my soul spoke to me: “The greatest comes to the smallest.”
After this nothing further was said. And then the war broke out. This opened my eyes about what I had experienced before, and it also gave me the courage to say all of that which I have written in the earlier part of this book
From there on the voices of the depths remained silent for a whole year. Again in summer, when I was out on the water alone, I saw an osprey plunge down not far from me; he seized a large fish and rose up into the skies again clutching it. I heard the voice of my soul, and she spoke: “That is a sign that what is below is borne upward.”
Soon after this on an autumn night I heard the voice of an old man (and this time I knew that it was DIAHMON). He said: “I want to turn you around. I want to master you. I want to emboss you like a coin. I want to do business with you. One should buy and sell you. You should pass from hand to hand. Self-willing is not for you. You are the will of the whole. Gold is no master outof its own will and yet it rules the whole, despised and greedily demanded, an inexorable ruler: it lies and waits. He who sees it longs for it. It does not follow one around, but lies silently, with a brightly gleaming countenance, self-sufficient, a king that needs no proof of its power. Everyone seeks after it, few find it, but even the smallest piece is highly esteemed. It neither gives nor squanders itself Everyone takes it where he finds it, and anxiously ensures that he doesn’t lose the smallest part of it. Everyone denies that he depends on it, and yet he secretly stretches out his hand longingly toward it. Must gold prove its necessity? It is proven through the longing of men. Ask it: who takes me? He who takes it, has it. Gold does not stir. It sleeps and shines. Its brilliance confuses the senses. Without a word, it promises everything that men deem desirable. It ruins those to be ruined and helps those on the rise to ascend. A blazing hoard is piled up, it awaits the taker. What tribulations do men not take upon themselves for the sake of gold? It waits and does not shorten their tribulations-the greater the tribulations, the greater the trouble, the more esteemed it is. It grows from underground, from the molten lava. It slowly exudes, hidden in veins and rocks. Man exerts all cunning to dig it out, to raise it.”
But I called out dismayed: “What ambiguous speech, Oh DIAHMON!”
But DIAHMON continued: “Not only to teach, but also to disavow, or why then did I teach? If I do not teach, I do not have to disavow. But if I have taught, I must disavow thereafter. For if I teach, I must give others what they should have taken. What he acquires is good, but the gift that was notacquired is bad. To waste oneself means: to want to suppress many. Deceitfulness surrounds the giver because his own enterprise is deceitful. He is forced to revoke his gift and to deny his virtue.
The burden of silence is not greater than the burden of my self that I would like to load onto you. Therefore I speak and I teach. May the listener defend himself against my ruse, by means of which I burden him. The best truth is also such a skillful deception that I also entangle myself in it as long as I do not realize the worth of a successful ruse.”
And I was startled again and cried: “Oh DIAHMON, men have deceived themselves about you, therefore you deceive them. But he who fathoms you, fathoms himself”
But DIAHMON fell silent and retired into the shimmering cloud of uncertainty. He left me to my thoughts. And it occurred to me that high barriers would still need to be erected between men, less to protect them against mutual burdens than against mutual virtues. It seemed to me as if the so-called Christian morality of our time made for mutual enchantment. How can anyone bear the burden of the other, if it is still the highest that one can expect from a man, that he at least bears his own burden.
But sin probably resides in enchantment. If I accept self forgetting virtue, I make myself the selfish tyrant of the other, and I am thus also forced to surrender myself again in order to make another my master, which always leaves me with a bad impression and is not to the other’s advantage. Admittedly, this interplay underpins society, but the soul of the individual becomes damaged since man thus learns always to live from the other instead of from himself It appears to me that, if one is capable, one should not surrender oneself as that induces, indeed even forces, the other to do likewise. But what happens if everyone surrenders themselves? That would be folly Not that it would be a beautiful or a pleasant thing to live with one’s self but it serves the redemption of the self Incidentally, can one give oneself up? With this one becomes one’s own slave. That is the opposite of accepting oneself If one becomes one’s own slave-and this happens to everyone who surrenders himself-one is lived by the self One does not liveone’s self; it lives itself.
The self-forgetting virtue is an unnatural alienation from one’s own essence, which is thus deprived of development. It is a sin to deliberately alienate the other from his self by means of one’s own virtuousness, for example, through saddling oneself with his burden. This sin rebounds on us It is submission enough, amply enough, if we subjugate ourselves to our self The work of redemption is always first to be done on ourselves, if one dare utter such a great word. This work cannot be done without love for ourselves. Must it be done at all? Certainly not, if one can endure our given condition and does not feel in need of redemption. The tiresome feeling of needing redemption can finally become too much for one. Then one seeks to rid oneself of it and thus enters into the work of redemption.
It appears to me that we benefit in particular from removing every sense of beauty from the thought of redemption, and even need to do so, or else we will deceive ourselves again because we like the word and because a beautiful shimmer spreads out over the thing through the great word. But one can at least doubt whether the work of redemption is in itself a beautiful thing. The Romans did not find the hanged Jew exactly tasteful, and the gloomy excessive enthusiasm for catacombs around which cheap, barbaric symbols gathered probably lacked a pleasant shimmer in their eyes, given that their perverse curiosity for everything barbaric and subterranean had already been aroused. I think it would be most correct and most decent to say that one blunders into the work of redemption unintentionally; so to speak, if one wants to avoid what appears to be the unbearable evil of an insurmountable feeling of needing redemption.
This step into the work of redemption is neither beautiful nor pleasant nor does it divulge an inviting appearance. And the thing itself is so difficult and full of torment that one should count oneself as one of the sick and not as one of the over healthy who seek to impart their abundance to others.
Consequently we should also not use the other for our own supposed redemption. The other is no stepping stone for our feet. It is far better that we remain with ourselves. The need for redemption rather expresses itself through an increased need for love with which we think we can make the other happy. But meanwhile we are brimming with longing and desire to alter our own condition. And we love others to this end. If we had already achieved our purpose, the other would leave us cold. But it is true that we also need the other for our own redemption. Perhaps he will lend us his help voluntarily; since we are in a state of sickness and helplessness. Our love for him is, and should not be, selfless. That would be a lie. For its goal is our own redemption. Selfless love is true only as long as the demand of the self can be pushed to one side. But someday comes the turn of the self who would want to lend himself to such a self for love? Certainly only one who does not yet know what excess of bitterness, injustice, and poison the self of a man harbors who has forgotten his self and made a virtue of it.
In terms of the self selfless love is a veritable sin. We must presumably often go to ourselves to re-establish the connection with the self since it is torn apart all too often, not only by our vices but also by our virtues. For vices as well as virtues always want to live outside. But through constant outer life we forget the self and through this we also become secretly selfish in our best endeavors. What we neglect in ourselves blends itself secretly into our actions toward others.
Through uniting with the self we reach the God.
I must say this, not with reference to the opinions of the ancients or this or that authority; but because I have experienced it. It has happened thus in me. And it certainly happened in a way that I neither expected nor wished for. The experience of the God in this form was unexpected and unwanted. I wish I could say it was a deception and only too willingly would I disown this experience. But I cannot deny that it has seized me beyond all measure and steadily goes on working in me. So if it is a deception, then deception is my God. Moreover, the God is in the deception. And if this were already the greatest bitterness that could happen to me, I would have to confess to this experience and recognize the God in it. No insight or objection is so strong that it could surpass the strength of this experience. And even if the God had revealed himself in a meaningless abomination, I could only avow that I have experienced the God in it. I even know that it is not too difficult to cite a theory that would sufficiently explain my experience and join it to the already known. I could furnish this theory myself and be satisfied in intellectual terms, and yet this theory would be unable to remove even the smallest part of the knowledge that I have experienced the God. I recognize the God by the unshakeableness of the experience. I cannot help but recognize him by the experience. I do not want to believe it, I do not need to believe it, nor could I believe it. How can one believe such? My mind would need to be totally confused to believe such things. Given their nature, they are most improbable. Not only improbable but also impossible for our understanding. Only a sick brain could produce such deceptions. I am like those sick persons who have been overcome by delusion and sensory deception. But I must say that the God makes us sick. I experience the God in sickness. A living God afflicts our reason like a sickness. He fills the soul with intoxication. He :fills us with reeling chaos. How many will the God break?
The God appears to us in a certain state of the soul. Therefore we reach the God through the self. Not the self is God, although we reach the God through the self The God is behind the self above the self the self itself when he appears. But he appears as our sickness, from which we must heal ourselves. We must heal ourselves from the God, since he is also our heaviest wound.For in the first instance the God’s power resides entirely in the self since the self is completely in the God, because we were not with the self We must draw the self to our side. Therefore we must wrestle with the God for the self Since the God is an unfathomable powerful movement that sweeps away the self into the boundless, into dissolution. Hence when the God appears to us we are at first powerless, captivated, divided, sick, poisoned with the strongest poison, but drunk with the highest health.
Yet we cannot remain in this state, since all the powers of our body are consumed like fat in the flames. Hence we must strive tofree the self from the God, so that we can live. It is certainly possible and even quite easy for our reason to deny the God and to speak only of sickness. Thus we accept the sick part and can also heal it. But it will be a healing with loss. We lose a part of life. We go on living, but as ones lamed by the God.Where the fire blazed dead ashes lie.
I believe that we have the choice: I preferred the living wonders of the God. I daily weigh up my whole life and I continue to regard the fiery brilliance of the God as a higher and fuller life than the ashes of rationality. The ashes are suicide to me. I could perhaps put out the fire but I cannot deny to myself the experience of the God. Nor can I cut myself off from this experience. I also donot want to, since I want to live. My life wants itself whole. Therefore I must serve myself I must win it in this way. But I must win it so that my life will become whole. For it seems to me to be sinful to deform life where there is yet the possibility to live it fully. The service of the self is therefore divine service and the service of mankind. If I carry myself I relieve mankind of myselfand heal myself from the God.
I must free myself from the God, since the God I experienced is more than love; he is also hate, he is more than beauty, he is also the abomination, he is more than wisdom, he is also meaninglessness, he is more than power, he is also powerlessness, he is more than omnipresence, he is also my creature.In the following night, I heard the voice of DIAHMON again and he said:
“Draw nearer, enter into the grave of the God. The place of your work should be in the vault. The God should not live in you, but you should live in the God.”
These words disturbed me since I had thought before precisely to free myself from the God. But DIAHMON advised me to enter even deeper into the God.Since the God has ascended to the upper realms, DIAHMON also has become different. He first appeared to me as a magician who lived in a distant land, but then I felt his nearness and, since the God has ascended, I knew that DIAHMON had intoxicated me and given me a language that was foreign to me and of a different sensitivity. All of this faded when the God arose and only DIAHMON kept that language. But I felt that he went on other ways than I did. Probably the most part of what I have written in the earlier part of this book was given to me by DIAHMON Consequently I was as if intoxicated. But now I noticed that DIAHMON assumed a form distinct from me.
Several weeks later, three shades approached me. I noticed from their chilly breath that they were dead. The first figure was that of a woman. She drew near and made a soft whirring sound, the whirring of the wings of the sun beetle. Then I recognized her. When she was still alive, she recovered the mysteries of the Egyptians for me, the red sun disk and the song of the golden wings. She remained shadowy and I could hardly understand her words. She said:
“It was night when I died-you still live in the day-there are still days, years ahead of you -what will you begin-Let me have the word-oh, that you cannot hear! How difficult-give me the word!”
I answered dismayed: “I do not know the word that you seek.”
But she cried: “‘The symbol, the mediator, we need the symbol, we hunger for it, make light for us.”
“Wherefrom? How can I? I do not know the symbol thatyou demand.”
But she insisted: “You can do it, reach for it.”
And precisely at this moment the sign was placed in my hand and I looked at it filled with boundless astonishment. Then she spoke loudly and joyfully to me:”That is it, that is HAP, the symbol that we desired, that we needed. It is terribly simple, initially stupid, naturally godlike, the God’s other pole. This is precisely the pole we needed.”
“Why do you need HAP?”I replied.
“He is in the light, the other God is in the night.”
“Oh,” I answered, “what’s that, beloved? The God of the spirit is in the night? Is that the son? The son of the frogs? Woe betide us, if he is the God of our day!”
But the dead one spoke full of triumph:
“He is the flesh spirit, the blood spirit, he is the extract of all bodily juices, the spirit of the sperm and the entrails, of the genitals, of the head, of the feet, of the hands, of the joints, of the bones, of the eyes and ears, of the nerves and the brain; he is the spirit of the sputum and of excretion.””Are you of the devil?” I exclaimed full of horror, “where does my flashing godly light remain?”But she said: “Your body remains with you, my beloved, your living body. The enlightening thought comes from the body.””What thought are you talking about? I recognize no such thought,” I said.”It crawls around like a worm, like a serpent, soon there, soon here, a blind newt of Hell.””Then I must be buried alive. Oh horror! Oh rottenness! Must I attach myself completely; like a leech?””Yes, drink blood,” she said, “suck it up, get your fill from the carcass, there is juice inside, certainly disgusting, but nourishing. You should not understand, but suck!””Damned horror! No, three times no,” I cried in outrage.But she said: “It should not irritate you, we need this meal, the life juices of men, since we want to share in your life. Thus we can draw closer to you. We want to give you tidings of what you need to know.””That is horribly absurd. What are you talking about?”
But she looked at me as she had done on the day I had last seen her among the living, and on which she showed me, unawareof its meaning, something of the mystery of what the Egyptians had left behind. And she said to me:
“Do it for me, for us. Do you recall my legacy, the red sun disk, the golden wings and the wreath of life and duration? Immortality; of this there are things to know.””The way that leads to this knowledge is Hell.”
From this I sank into gloomy brooding since I suspected the heaviness and incomprehension and the immeasurable solitude of this way: And after a long struggle with all the weakness and cowardice in me, I decided to take upon myself this solitude of the holy error and the eternally valid truth.
And in the third night I called to my dead beloved and askedher:
“Teach me the knowledge of the worms and the crawling creatures, open to me the darkness of the spirits!”She whispered: “Give blood, so that I may drink and gain speech. Were you lying when you said that you would leave the power to the son?””No, I was not lying. But I said something that I did not understand.””You are fortunate,” she said, “if you can say what you do not understand. So listen: HAP is not the foundation but the summit of the church that still lies sunken. We need this church since we can live in it with you and take part in your life. You have excluded us to your own detriment.” ,”Tell me, is HAP for you the sign of the church in which you hope for community with the living? Speak, why do you hesitate?”She moaned and whispered with a weak voice: “Give blood, I need blood.””So take blood from my heart,” I spoke.”I thank you,” she said, “that is fullness of life. The air of the shadow world is thin since we hover on the ocean of the air like birds above the sea. Many went beyond limits, fluttering on indeterminate paths of outer space, bumping at hazard into alien worlds. But we, we who are still near and incomplete, would like to immerse ourselves in the sea of the air and return to earth, to the living. Do you not have an animal form into which I can enter?””What,” I exclaimed horrified, “you would like to be my dog?””If possible, yes,” she replied, “I would even like to be your dog.To me you are of unspeakable worth, all my hope that still clings to earth. I would still like to see completed what I left too soon. Give me blood, much blood!””So drink,” I said despairingly, “drink, so that what should be will be.”She whispered with a hesitant voice: “Brimo-I guess that’s that you call her-the old one-which is how it begins-the one who bore the son-the powerful HAP, who grew out of her shame and strove after the wife of Heaven, who arches over earth, for Brimo, above and below, envelops the son. She bears and raises him. Born from below, he fertilizes the Above, since the wife ishis mother, and the mother is his wife.”
teaching! Is this still not enough of the horrifying Mysterium?” I cried full of outrage and abhorrence.”If Heaven becomes pregnant and can no longer hold its fruit, it gives birth to a man who carries the burden of sin-that is the tree of life and of unending duration. Give me your blood! Listen!This riddle is terrible: when Brimo, the heavenly, was pregnant, she gave birth to the dragon, first the afterbirth and then the son, HAP, and the one who carried HAP. HAP is the rebellion of the Below, but the bird comes from the Above and places itself on the head of HAP. That is peace. You are a vessel. Speak, Heaven, pour out your rain. You are a shell. Empty shells do not spill, they catch. May it stream in from all the winds. Let me tell you that another evening is approaching. A day, two days, many days have come to an end. The light of day goes down and illumines the shadow, itself a shadow of the sun. Life becomes a shadow, and the shadow enlivens itself the shadow that is greater than you. Do you think that your shadow is your son? He is small at midday, and fills the sky at midnight.”
But I was exhausted and desperate and could hear no more,and so I said to the dead one:
So you introduce the terrible son who lived beneath me, under the trees on the water? Is he the spirit that the heavens pour out, or is he the soulless worm that the earth bore? Oh Heaven-Oh most sinister womb! Do you want to suck the life out of me for the sake of the shadow? Should humanity thus completely go to waste for divinity? Should I live with shadows, instead of with the living? Should all the longing for the living belong to you, the dead? Did you not have your time to live? Did you not use it? Should a living person give his life for your sake, you who did not live the eternal? Speak, you mute shadows, who stand at my door and demand my blood!”
The shadow of the dead one raised its voice and said: “You see-or do you still not see, what the living do with your life. They fritter it away: But with me you live yourself since I belong to you. I belong to your invisible following and community: Do you believe that the living see you? They see only your shadow, not you-you servant, you bearer, you vessel-“”How you hold forth! Am I at your mercy? Should I no longer see the light of day? Should I become a shadow with a living body? You are formless and beyond grasp, and you emanate the coldness of the grave, a breath of emptiness. To let myself be buried alive-what are you thinking of? Too soon, it seems to me, I must die first. Do you have the honey that pleases my heart and the fire that warms my hands? What are you, you mournful shadows? You specters of children! What do you want with my blood? Truly, you are even worse than men. Men give little, yet what do you give? Do you make the living? The warm beauty? Or joy perhaps? Or should all this go to your gloomy Hell? What do you offer in return? Mysteries? Will the living live from these? I regard your mysteries as tricks if the living cannot live from them.”
But she interrupted me and cried: “Impetuous one, stop, you take my breath away: We are shadows; become a shadow and youwill grasp what we give.”
“I do not want to die to descend into your darkness.”
“But,” she said, “you need not die. You must only let yourself be buried.”
“In the hope of resurrection? No joking now!”
But she spoke calmly: “You suspect what will happen. Triple walls before you and invisibility-to Hell with your longing and feeling! At least you do not love us, so we will cost you less dearly than the men who roll in your love and patience and have you make a fool of yourself”
“My dead one, I think you are speaking my language.”She replied to me scornfully: “Men love-and you! What an error! All this means is that you want to run away from yourself What do you do to men? You tempt and coax them into megalomania, to which you fall victim.””But it grieves me, pains me, howls at me; I feel a great longing,everything soft complains, and my heart yearns.”But she was unsparing. “Your heart belongs to us,” she said, “What do you want with men? Self-defense against men-so that you walk on your own two feet, not on human crutches. Men need the undemanding, but they are always wanting love to be able to run away from themselves. This ought to stop. Why do fools go out and preach the gospel to the negroes, and then ridicule it in their own country? Why do these hypocritical preachers speak of love, divine and human love, and use the same gospel to justify the right to wage war and commit murderous injustice? Above all, what do they teach others when they themselves stand up to their necks in the black mud of deception and self-deceit? Have they cleaned their own house, have they recognized and driven out their own devil? Because they do none of this, they preach love to be able to run away from themselves, and to do to others what they should do to themselves. But this greatly prized love, given to one’s own self burns like fire. These hypocrites and liars have noticed this as you have-and prefer to love others. Is that love? It is false hypocrisy. It always begins in yourself and in all things and above all with love. Do you believe that one who wounds himself unsparingly does the other a good deed with his love? No, of course you don’t believe it. You even know that he only teaches the other how one must wound oneself, so that he can compel others to express sympathy. Therefore you should be a shadow since this is what men need. How can they get away from the hypocrisy and foolishness of your love if you yourself cannot? For everything begins with yourself But your horse still cannot refrain from whinnying. Even worse, your virtue is a wagging dog,a growling dog, a licking dog, a barking dog-and you call that human love! But love is: to bear and endure oneself. It begins with this. It is truly about you; you are not yet tempered; other fires must yet come over you until you have accepted your solitude and learned to love.
What do you ask about love? What is love? To live, above all, that is more than love. Is war love? You are bound to see what human love is still good enough for-a means like other means. Therefore, above all, solitude, until every softness toward yourself has been burnt out of you. You should learn to freeze.””I see only graves before me,” I answered, “what cursed will is above me?””The will of the God, that is stronger than you, you slave, you vessel. You have fallen into the hands of the greater. He knows no pity. Your Christian shrouds have fallen, the veils that blinded your eyes. The God has become strong again. The yoke of men is lighter than the yoke of the God; therefore everyone seeks to yoke the other out of mercy. But he who does not fall into the hands of men falls into those of the God. May he be well and may woe betide him! There is no escape.””Is that freedom?” I cried.”The highest freedom. Only the God above you, through yourself Comfort yourself with this and that as well as you can. The God bolts doors that you cannot open. Let your feelings whimper like puppies. The ears on high are deaf””But,” I answered, “is there no outrage for the sake of the human?””Outrage? I laugh at your outrage. The God knows only power and creation. He commands and you act. Your anxieties are laughable. There is only one road, the military road of the Godhead.”
The dead one spoke these unsparing words to me. As I did not want to obey anyone, I had to obey this voice. And she spoke unsparing words about the power of the God. I had to accept these words. We have to greet a new light, a blood-red sun, a painful wonder. No one forces me to; only the foreign willin me commands and I cannot escape since I find no grounds to do so.
The sun, appearing to me, swam in a sea of blood and wailing; therefore I said to the dead one:
“Should it be the sacrifice of joy?”But the dead one replied: “The sacrifice of all joy, provided that you it yourself Joy should neither be made nor sought; it should come, if it must come. I demand your service. You should not serve your personal devil. That leads to superfluous pain. True joy is simple: it comes and exists from itself and is notto be sought here and there. At the risk of encountering black night, you must devote yourself to me and seek no joy. Joy can never ever be prepared, but exists of its own accord or exists not at all. All you must do is fulfill your task nothing else. Joy comes from fulfillment, but not from longing. I have the power. I command, you obey.””I fear that you will destroy me.”But she answered: “I am life that destroys only the unfit. Therefore take care that you are no unapt tool. You want to rule yourself? You steer your ship onto the sand. Build your bridge, stone upon stone, but don’t think of wanting to take the helm. You go astray if you want to escape my service. There is nosalvation without me. Why are you dreaming and hesitating?””You see,” I answered, “that I am blind and do not know where to begin.””It always begins with the neighbor. Where is the church? Where is the community?””This is pure madness,” I cried out indignantly, “why do you speak of a church? Am I a prophet? How can I claim such for myself? I am just a man who is not entitled to know any better than others.”But she replied: “I want the church, it is necessary for you and for others. Otherwise what are you going to do with those whom I force to your feet? The beautiful and natural will nestle into the terrible and dark and will show the way. The church is something natural. The holy ceremony must be dissolved and become spirit. The bridge should lead out beyond humanity; inviolable,far, of the air. There is a community of spirits founded on outer . signs with a solid meaning.””Listen,” I cried, “that doesn’t bear thinking about, it’s incomprehensible.”But she continued: “Community with the dead is what both you and the dead need. Do not commingle with any of the dead, but stand apart from them and give to each his due. The dead demand your expiatory prayers.”And when she spoke these words, she raised her voice and evoked the dead in my name:”You dead, I call you.”You shades of the departed, who have cast off the torment ofliving, come here!”My blood, the juice of my life, will be your meal and your drink.”Sustain yourself from me, so that life and speech will be yours.”Come, you dark and restless ones, I will refresh you with my blood, the blood of a living one so that you will gain speech and life, in me and through me.”The God forces me to address this prayer to you so that you come to life. Too long have we left you alone.”Let us build the bond of community so that the living and the dead image will become one and the past will live on in the present.”Our desire pulls us to the living world and we are lost in our desire.”Come drink the living blood, drink your fill so that we will be saved from the inextinguishable and unrelenting power of vivid longing for visible, graspable, and present being.”Drink from our blood the desire that begets evil, as quarrel, discord, ugliness, violent deed, and famishment.”Take, eat, this is my body, that lives for you. Take, eat, drink, this is my blood, whose desire flows for you.”Come, celebrate a Last Supper with me for your redemption and mine.”I need community with you so that I fall prey neither to the community of the living nor to my desire and yours, whose envy is insatiable and therefore begets evil.”Help me, so that I do not forget that my desire is a sacrificialfire for you.”You are my community. I live what I can live for the living. But the excess of my longing belongs to you, you shades. We need to live with you.”Be auspicious to us and open our closed spirit so that we become blessed with the redeeming light. May it happen thus!”When the dead one had ended this prayer, she turned to me again and said:”Great is the need of the dead. But the God needs no sacrificial prayer. He has neither goodwill nor ill will. He is kind and fearful, though not actually so, but only seems to you thus. But the dead hear your prayers since they are still of human nature and not free of goodwill and ill will. Do you not understand? The history of humanity is older and wiser than you. Was there a time whenthere were no dead? Vain deception! Only recently have men begun to forget the dead and to think that they have now begun the real life, sending them into a frenzy.”
When the dead one had uttered all these words, she disappeared. I sank into gloominess and dull confusion. When I looked up again, I saw my soul in the upper realms, hovering irradiated by the distant brilliance that streamed from the Godhead. And I called out:
“You know what has taken place. You see that it surpasses the power and understanding of a man. But I accept it for your sake and mine. To be crucified on the tree of life, Oh bitterness! Oh painful silence! If it weren’t you, my soul, who touched the fiery Heaven and the eternal fullness, how could I?”I cast myself before human animals-Oh most unmanly torment! I must let my virtues, my best ability be torn apart, because they are still thorns in the side of the human animal. Not death for the sake of the best, but befouling and rending of the most beautiful for the sake of life.”Alas, is there nowhere a salutary deception to protect me from having the Last Supper with my carcass? The dead want to live from me.”Why did you see me as the one to drink the cess of humanity that poured out of Christendom? Haven’t you had enough of beholding the fiery fullness, my soul? Do you still want to fly entire into the glaring white light of the Godhead? Into what shades of horror are you plunging me? Is the devil’s pool so deepthat its mud sullies even your glowing robe?”Where do you get the right to do me such a foul deed? Let the beaker of disgusting filth pass from me. But if this be not your will, then climb past fiery Heaven and lodge your charges and topple the throne of God, the dreadful, proclaim the right of men also before the Gods and take revenge on them for the infamous deed of humanity; since only Gods are able to spur on the human worm to acts of colossal atrocity. Let my fate suffice and let menmanage human destiny.”Oh my mother humanity; thrust the terrible worm of God, the strangler of men, from you. Do not venerate him for the sake of his terrible poison-a drop suffices-and what is a drop to him-who at the same time is all emptiness and all fullness?”As I proclaimed these words, I noticed that DIAHMON stood behind me and had given them to me. He came alongside me invisibly, and I felt the presence of the good and the beautiful. And he spoke to me with a soft deep voice:”Remove, Oh man, the divine, too, from your soul, as far as you can manage. What a devilish farce she carries on with you, as long as she still arrogates divine power over you! She’s an unruly child and a bloodthirsty daimon at the same time, a tormentor of humans without equal, precisely because she has divinity. Why? Where from? Because you venerate her. The dead too want the same thing. Why don’t they stay quiet? Because they have not crossed over to the other side. Why do they want sacrifice? So they can live. But why do they still want to live with men? Because they want to rule. They have not come to an end with their craving for power, since they died still lusting for power. A child, an old man, an evil woman, a spirit of the dead, and a devil are beings who need to be humored. Fear the soul, despise her, love her, just like the Gods. May they be far from us! But above all never lose them! Because when lost they are as malicious as the serpent, as bloodthirsty as the tiger that pounces on the unsuspecting from behind. A man who goes astray becomes an animal, a lost soul becomes a devil. Cling to the soul with love, fear, contempt, and hate, and don’t let her out of your sight. She is a hellish-divine treasure to be kept behind walls of iron and in the deepest vault. She always wants to get out and scatter glittering beauty. Beware, because you have already been betrayed! You’ll never find a more disloyal, more cunning and heinous woman than your soul. How should I praise the miracle of her beauty and perfection? Does she not stand in the brilliance of immortal youth? Is her love not intoxicating wine and her wisdom the primordial cleverness of serpents?”Shield men from her, and her from men. Listen to what she wails and sings in prison but don’t let her escape, as she will immediately turn whore. As her husband you are blessed through her, and therefore cursed. She belongs to the daimonic race of the Tom Thumbs and giants, and is only distantly related to humankind. If you seek to grasp her in human terms you will be beside yourself The excess of your rage, your doubt, and your love belong to her, but only the excess. If you give her this excess, humanity will be saved from the nightmare. For if you do not see your soul, you see her in fellow men and this will drive you mad, since this devilish mystery and hellish spook can hardly be seen through.”Look at man, the weak one in his wretchedness and torment, whom the Gods have singled out as their quarry-tear to pieces the bloody veil that the lost soul has woven around man, the cruel nets woven by the death-bringing, and take hold of the divine whore who still cannot recover from her fall from grace and craves filth and power in raving blindness. Lock her up like a lecherous bitch who would like to mingle her blood with every dirty cur. Capture her, may enough at last be enough. Let her for once taste your torment so that she will get to feel man and his hammer, which he has wrested from the Gods.”May man rule in the human world. May his laws be valid. But treat the souls, daimons, and Gods in their way; offering what is demanded. But burden no man, demand and expect nothing from him, with what your devil-souls and God-souls lead you to believe, but endure and remain silent and do piously what befits your kind. You should act not on the other but on yourself unless the other asks for your help or opinion. Do you understand what the other does? Never-how should you? Does the other understand what you do? Whence do you take the right to think about the other and act on him? You have neglected yourself your garden is full of weeds, and you want to teach your neighbor about order and provide evidence for his shortcomings.”Why should you keep silent about the others? Because there would be plenty to discuss concerning your own daimons. But if you act on and think about the other without him soliciting your opinion or advice, you do so because you cannot distinguish yourself from your soul. Therefore you fall victim to her presumption and help her into whoring. Or do you believe that you must lend your human power to the soul or the Gods, or even that it will be useful and pious work if you want to bring the Gods to bear on others? Blinded one, that is Christian presumptuousness. The Gods don’t need your help, you laughable idolater, who seem to yourself like a God and want to form, improve, rebuke, educate, and create men. Are you perfect yourself?-therefore remain silent, mind your business, and behold your inadequacy every day. You are most in need of your own help; you should keep your opinions and good advice ready for yourself and not run to others like a whore with understanding and the desire to help. You don’t need to play God. What are daimons, who don’t act out of themselves? So let them go to work, but not through you, or else you yourself will become a daimon to others; leave them to themselves and don’t pre-empt them with awkward love, concern, care,advice, and other presumptions. Otherwise you would be doing the work of the daimons; you yourself would become a daimon and therefore go into a frenzy. But the daimons are pleased at the raving of helpless men advising and striving to help others. So stay quiet, fulfill the cursed work of redemption on yourself for then the daimons must torment themselves and in the same way all your fellow men, who do not distinguish themselves from their souls and let themselves be mocked by daimons. Is it cruel to leave your blinded fellow human beings to their own devices? It would be cruel if you could open their eyes. But you could open their eyes only if they solicited your opinion and help. Yet if they do not, they do not need your help. If you force your help on them nonetheless, you become their daimon and increase their blindness, since you set a bad example. Draw the coat of patience and silence over your head, sit down, and leave the daimon to accomplish his work. If he brings something about, he will work wonders. Thus will you sit under fruit-bearing trees.”Know that the daimons would like to inflame you to embrace their work, which is not yours. And, you fool, you believe that it is you and that it is your work. Why? Because you can’t distinguish yourself from your soul. But you are distinct from her, and you should not pursue whoring with other souls as if you yourself were a soul, but instead you are a powerless man who needs all his force for his own completion. Why do you look to the other? What you see in him lies neglected in yourself You should be the guard before the prison of your soul. You are your soul’s eunuch, who protects her from Gods and men, or protects the Gods and men from her. Power is given to the weak man, a poison that paralyzes even the Gods, like a poison sting bestowed upon the little bee whose force is far inferior to yours. Your soul could seize this poison and thereby endanger even the Gods. So put the soul under wraps, distinguish yourself from her, since not only your fellow men but also the Gods must live.”When DIAHMON had finished, I turned to my soul, who had come nearer from above during DIAHMON’s speech, and spoke to her:
“Have you heard what DIAHMON has been saying? How does this tone strike you? Is his advice good?”But she said, “Do not mock, or else you strike yourself Do not forget to love me.””It is difficult for me to unite hate and love,” I replied.”I understand,” she said, “yet you know that it is the same. Hate and love mean the same to me. Like all women of my kind, form matters less to me than that everything belong to me or else to no one. I am also jealous of the hate you give others. I want everything, since I need everything for the great journey that I intend to begin after your disappearance. I must prepare in good time. Until then I must make timely provision and much is still lacking. “”And do you agree that I throw you into prison” I asked.”Of course,” she answered, “there I have peace and can collect myself Your human world makes me drunk-so much human blood-I could get intoxicated on it to the point of madness. Doors of iron, walls of stone, cold darkness and the rations of penance-that is the bliss of redemption. You do not suspect my torment when the bloody intoxication seizes me, hurls me again and again into living matter from a dark fearful creative urge that formerly brought me close to the lifeless and ignited the terrible lust for procreation in me. Remove me from conceiving matter, the rutting feminine of yawning emptiness. Force me into confinement where I can find resistance and my own law. Where I can think about the journey, the rising sun the dead one spoke of and the buzzing, melodious golden wings. Be thankful-don’t you want to thank me? You are blinded. You deserve my highest thanks.”Filled with delight at these words, I cried:”How divinely beautiful you are!” And at the same time fury seized me:”Oh bitterness! You have dragged me through sheer and utter Hell, you have tormented me nearly to death -and I long for your thanks. Yes, I am moved that you thank me. The hound’s nature lies in my blood. Therefore I am bitter-for my sake, since how does it move you! You are divine and devilishly great,wherever and howsoever you are. As yet I am only your eunuch doorkeeper, no less imprisoned than you. Speak, you concubine of Heaven, you divine monster! Have I not fished you from the swamp? How do you like the black hole? Speak without blood, sing from your own force, you have gorged yourself on men.”Then my soul writhed and like a downtrodden worm turned and cried out, “Pity, have compassion.””Compassion? Have you ever had compassion for me? You brute bestial tormentor! You’ve never gotten past compassionate moods. You lived on human food and drank my blood. Has it made you fat? Will you learn to revere the torment of the human animal? What would you souls and Gods want without man? Why do you long for him? Speak, whore!”She sobbed, “My speech stops. I’m horrified at your accusation.””Are you going to get serious? Are you going to have second thoughts? Are you going to learn modesty or perhaps even some other human virtue, you soulless soul-being? Yes, you have no soul, because you are the thing itself you fiend. Would you like a human soul? Should I perhaps become your earthly soul so that you will have a soul? You see, I’ve gone to your school. I’ve learned how one behaves as a soul, perfectly ambiguous, mysteriously untruthful and hypocritical.”While I spoke to my soul in this way, DIAHMON stood silently a little distance off But now he stepped forward, laid his hand on my shoulder, and spoke in my name:”You are blessed, virgin soul, praised be your name. You are the chosen one among women. You are the God-bearer. Praise be to you! Honor and fame be yours in eternity.”You live in the golden temple. The peoples come from afar and praise you.”We, your vassals, wait on your words.”We drink red wine, dispensing a sacrificial drink in recollection of the meal of blood that you celebrated with us.”We prepare a black chicken for a sacrificial meal in remembrance of the man who fed you.”We invite our friends to the sacrificial meal, carrying wreaths of ivy and roses in remembrance of the farewell you took from your saddened vassals and maids.”Let this day be a festival celebrating joy and life-the day upon which you, blessed one, commence the return journey from the land of men where you have learned how to be a soul.”You follow the son who ascended and passed over.”You carry us up as your soul and set yourself before the son of God, maintaining your immortal right as an ensouled being. “We are joyful, good things will follow you. We lend you strength. We are in the land of men and we are alive.”After DIAHMON had ended, my soul looked saddened and pleased, and hesitated and yet hurried to prepare herself to leave us and to ascend again, happy at the regained freedom. But I suspected something secret in her, something that she sought to hide from me. Therefore I did not let her make off but spoke to her:”What holds you back? What are you hiding? Probably a golden vessel, a jewel that you have stolen from men? Isn’t that a gem, a piece of gold, shining through your robe? What is the beautiful thing that you robbed when you drank the blood of men and ate their sacred flesh? Speak the truth, for I see the lie on your face.””I haven’t taken anything,” she answered annoyed.”You are lying, you want to cast suspicion on me, where you are lacking. Those times when you could rob men unpunished are over. Surrender everything that is his sacred inheritance and that you have rapaciously claimed. You have stolen from the vassal and the beggar. God is rich and powerful, you can steal from him. His kingdom knows no loss. Shameful liar, when will you finally stop plaguing and robbing your humanity?”
But she looked at me as innocently as a dove and said gently:
“I do not suspect you. I wish you well. I respect your right. I acknowledge your humanity. I do not take anything away from you. I do not withhold anything from you. You possess everything, I, nothing.””Yet,” I exclaimed, “you lie insufferably: You possess not only that marvelous thing that belongs to me, but you also have access tot he Gods and eternal fullness. Therefore surrender what you have stolen, liar.”
Now she was vexed and replied:”How can you? I no longer recognize you. You are crazy, even more: you are laughable, a childish ape, who extends his paw toward everything that glitters. But I will not allow what is mine to be taken from me.”
Then I cried enraged, “You’re lying, you’re lying; I saw the gold, I saw the sparkling light of the jewel; I know it belongs to me. You ought not take that away from me. Give it back!”Then she broke out in defiant tears and said, “I don’t want to part with it, it’s too precious to me. Do you want to rob me of the last ornament?””Embellish yourself with the gold of the Gods, but not with the meager treasures of earthbound human beings. May you taste heavenly poverty after you have preached earthly poverty and necessity to your humankind, like a true and proper cleric full of lies, who fills his belly and purse and preaches poverty.””You torment me awfully,” she wailed, “leave me just this one thing. You men still have enough. I cannot be without this very one, this incomparable one, for whose sake even the Gods envy men.””I will not be unjust,” I replied, “But give me what belongs to me and beg for what you need from it. What is it? Speak!””Alas, that I can neither keep it nor conceal it! It is love, warm human love, blood, warm red blood, the holy source of life, the unification of everything separated and longed for.””So,” I said, “it is love that you claim as a natural right and property, although you still ought to beg for it. You get drunk on the blood of man and let him starve. Love belongs to me. I want to love, not you through me. You’ll crawl and beg for it like dog. You’ll raise your hands and fawn like hungry hounds. I possess the key. I will be a more just administrator than you godless Gods. You will gather around the source of blood, the sweet miracle, and you will come bearing gifts so that you may receive what you need. I protect the holy source so that no God can seize it for himself The Gods know no measure and no mercy. They get drunk on the most precious of draughts. Ambrosia and nectar are the flesh and blood of men, truly a noble meal. They waste the drink in drunkenness, the goods of the poor, since they have neither God nor soul presiding over them as their judges. Presumptuousness and excessiveness, severity and callousness are your essence. Greed for the sake of greed, power for the sake of power, pleasure for the sake of pleasure, immoderation and this is how one recognizes you, you daimons.”Yes, you have yet to learn, you devils and Gods, you daimons and souls, to crawl in the dust for the sake of love so that from someone somewhere you snatch a drop of the living sweetness. Learn humility and pride from men for the sake of love.”You Gods, your first born son is man. He bore a terribly beautiful-ugly son of God who is renewal to you all. But this mystery, too, fulfills you: you bore a son of men who is my renewal, no less splendid-terrible, and his rule also will serve you.”
Then DIAHMON approached me, raised his hand, and spoke:
“Both God and man are disappointed victims of deception, blessedly blessed, powerlessly powerful. The eternally rich universe unfolds again in the earthly Heaven and the Heaven of the Gods, in the underworlds and in the worlds above. Separation once more comes to the agonizingly united and yoked. Endless multiplicity takes the place of what has been forced together, since only diversity is wealth, blood, and harvest.”
A night and a day passed, and when night came again and I looked around I saw that my soul hesitated and waited. So I addressed her:
“What, you’re still here? Didn’t you find the way or didn’t you find the words, which belong to me? How do you honor humankind, your earthly soul? Recall what I bore and suffered for you, how I wasted myself how I lay before you and writhed, how I gave my blood to you! I have an obligation to lay on you:learn to honor humankind, for I saw the land that is promised to man, the land where milk and honey flows. “I saw the land of the promised love.”I saw the splendor of the sun on that land.”I saw the green forests, the golden vineyards and the villages of man.”I saw the towering mountains with hanging fields of eternal snow.”I saw the fruitfulness and fortune of the earth.”None but I saw the fortune of man.”You, my soul, force mortal men to labor and suffer for your salvation. I demand that you do this for the earthly fortune of humankind. Pay heed! I speak in both my name and the name of mankind, since our power and glory are yours, thine is the kingdom and our promised land. So bring it about, employing your abundance! I will remain silent, yes, I will leave you be, itdepends on you; you can bring about what man is denied to create. I stand waiting. Torment yourself so that you come to find it. Where is your own salvation, if you fail in your duty to bring about that of man? Pay heed! You will be working for me, and I will remain silent.””Now then,” she said, “I want to set to work. But you must build the furnace. Throw the old, the broken, the worn out, the unused, and the ruined into the melting pot, so that it will be renewed for fresh use.”It is the custom of the ancients, the tradition of the ancestors, observed since days of old. It is to be adapted for new use. It is practice and incubation in a smelter, a taking-back into the interior, into the hot accumulation where rust and brokenness are taken away through the heat of the fire. It is a holy ceremony, help me so that my work may succeed.”Touch the earth, press your hand into matter, shape it with care. The power of matter is great. Did HAP not come from matter? Is matter not the filling of emptiness? By forming matter, I shape your salvation. If you do not doubt the power of HAP, how can you doubt the power of its mother, matter? Matter is stronger than HAP, since HAP is the son of the earth. The hardest matter is the best; you should form the most durable matter. This strengthens thought.”
I did as my soul advised, and formed in matter the thoughts that she gave me. She spoke often and at length to me about the wisdom that lies behind us. But one night she suddenly came to me with a sense of unease and anxiety and exclaimed:
“What am I seeing? What does the future harbor? Blazing fire? A fire hovers in the air-it draws near-a flame-many flames-a searing miracle-how many lights burn? My beloved, it is the mercy of the eternal fire-the breath of fire descends on you!”
But I cried out in horror, “I fear something terrible and dreadful, I am deeply afraid, since the things that you announced beforehand were awful-must everything be broken, burned, and destroyed?”
“Patience,” she said and stared into the distance, “fire surroundsyou-an immeasurable sea of embers.””Don’t torture me-what dreadful mysteries do you possess? Speak, I implore you. Or are you lying again, damned tormenting spirit, deceiving fiend? What are your treacherous specters supposed to mean?”But she answered calmly, “I also want your fear.””What for? To torment me?”But she continued, “To bring it before the ruler of this world. He demands the sacrifice of your fear. He appreciates your sacrifice. He has mercy upon you.””Mercy upon me? What is that supposed to mean? I want to hide myself from him. My face shrinks from the ruler of this world, for it is branded, it bears a mark, it beheld the forbidden. Therefore I avoid the ruler of this world.””But you should come before him,” she said, “he has heard about your fear.””You instilled this fear in me. Why did you give me away?””You have been summoned to serve him.”But I moaned and exclaimed: “Thrice damned fate! Why can’t you leave me in seclusion? Why has he chosen me for sacrifice? Thousands would gladly throw themselves before him! Why must it be me? I cannot, I don’t want to.”But the soul said, “You possess the word that should not be allowed to remain concealed.””What is my word?” I answered, “it is the stammering of a minor; it is my poverty and my incapacity, my inability to do otherwise. And you want to drag this before the ruler of this world?”But she looked straight into the distance and said, “I see the surface of the earth and smoke sweeps over it-a sea of fire rolls close in from the north, it is setting the towns and villages on fire, plunging over the mountains, breaking through the valleys, burning the forests-people are going mad -you go before thefire in a burning robe with singed hair, a crazy look in your eyes, aparched tongue, a hoarse and foul-sounding voice-you forge ahead, you announce what approaches, you scale the mountains, you go into every valley and stammer words of fright and proclaim the fire’s agony. You bear the mark of the fire and men are horrified at you. They do not see the fire, they do not believe your words, but they see your mark and unknowingly suspect you to be the messenger of the burning agony. What fire? they ask, what fire? Youstutter, you stammer, what do you know about a fire? I looked at the embers, I saw the blazing flames. May God save us.””My sou!,” I cried in despair, “speak, explain, what should I proclaim? The fire? Which fire?””Look up, see the flames that blaze over your head-look up, the skies redden.”With these words my soul vanished. But I remained anxious and confused for many days. And my soul remained silent and was not to be seen. But one night a dark crowd knocked at my door, and I trembled with fear. Then my soul appeared and said in haste, “They are here andwill tear open your door.””So that the wicked herd can break into my garden? Should I be plundered and thrown out onto the street? You make me into an ape and a child’s plaything. When, Oh my God, shall I be saved from this Hell of fools? But I want to hack to pieces your cursed webs, go to Hell, you fools. What do you want with me?”But she interrupted me and said, “What are you talking about? Let the dark ones speak.”I retorted, “How can I trust you? You work for yourself not for me. What good are you, if you can’t even protect me from the devil’s confusion?””Be quiet,” she replied, “or else you’ll disturb the work.”And as she spoke these words, behold, DIAHMON came up to me, dressed in the white robe of a priest, and lay his hand on my shoulder. Then I said to the dark ones, “So speak, you dead.” And immediately they cried in manyvoices,?
“We have come back from Jerusalem, where we did not find what we sought. We implore you to let us in. You have what we desire. Not your blood, but your light. That is it.”Then DIAHMON lifted his voice and taught them, saying (andthis is the first sermon to the dead)
Bl: “Now hear: I begin with nothingness. Nothingness is the same as the fullness. In infinity full is as good as empty. Nothingness is empty and full. You might just as well say anything else aboutnothingness, for instance, that it is white, or black, or that it does not exist, or that it exists. That which is endless and eternal has no qualities, since it has all qualities.”We call this nothingness or fullness the Pleroma. Therein both thinking and being cease, since the eternal and endless possess no qualities. No one is in it, for he would then be distinct from the Pleroma, and would possess qualities that would distinguish him as something distinct from the Pleroma.”In the Pleroma there is nothing and everything. It is fruitless to think about the Pleroma, for this would mean self-dissolution.”Creation is not in the Pleroma, but in itself The Pleroma is the beginning and end of creation. It pervades creation, just as the sunlight pervades the air. Although the Pleroma is altogether pervasive, creation has no share in it, just as a wholly transparent body becomes neither light nor dark through the lightpervading it.”We are, however, the Pleroma itself for we are a part of the eternal and the endless. But we have no share therein, as we are infinitely removed from the Pleroma; not spatially or temporally; but essentially, since we are distinguished from the Pleroma in our essence as creation, which is confined within time and space.”Yet because we are parts of the Pleroma, the Pleroma is also in us. Even in the smallest point the Pleroma is endless, eternal, and whole, since small and great are qualities that are contained in it. It is nothingness that is whole and continuous throughout. Only figuratively; therefore, do I speak of creation as part of the Pleroma. Because, actually; the Pleroma is nowhere divided,since it is nothingness. We are also the whole Pleroma, because, figuratively; the Pleroma is the smallest point in us, merely assumed, not existing, and the boundless firmament about us. But why then do we speak of the Pleroma at all, if it is everything and nothing!”I speak about it in order to begin somewhere, and also to free you from the delusion that somewhere without or within there is something fixed or in some way established from the outset. Every so-called fixed and certain thing is only relative. That alone is fixed and certain that is subject to change.”Creation, however, is subject to change; therefore it alone is fixed and determined because it has qualities: indeed, it is quality itself.”Thus we ask: how did the creation come into being! Creatures came into being, but not creation: since creation is the very quality of the Pleroma, as much as noncreation, eternal death. Creation is ever-present, and so is death. The Pleroma has everything, differentiation and nondifferentiation.”Differentiation is creation. It is differentiated. Differentiation is its essence, and therefore it differentiates. Therefore man differentiates, since his essence is differentiation. Therefore he also differentiates the qualities of the Pleroma that do not exist. He differentiates them on account of his own essence. Therefore he must speak of those qualities of the Pleroma that do not exist.”You say: ‘what use is there in speaking about it at all! Did you yourself not say that it is not worth thinking about the Pleroma!”I mentioned that to free you from the delusion that we areable to think about the Pleroma. When we distinguish the qualities of the Pleroma, we are speaking from the ground of our own differentiated state and about our own differentiation, but have effectively said nothing about the Pleroma. Yet we need to speak about our own differentiation, so that we may sufficientlydifferentiate ourselves. Our very nature is differentiation. If we are not true to this nature we do not differentiate ourselvesenough. We must therefore make distinctions between qualities.”You ask: ‘what harm is there in not differentiating oneself!’ If we do not differentiate, we move beyond our essence, beyond creation, and we fall into nondifferentiation, which is the other quality of the Pleroma. We fall into the Pleroma itself and cease to be created beings. We lapse into dissolution in nothingness. This is the death of the creature. Therefore we die to the sameextent that we do not differentiate. Hence the creature’s essence strives toward differentiation and struggles against primeval, perilous sameness. This is called the principium individuationis. This principle is the essence of the creature. From this you can see why nondifferentiation and nondistinction pose a great danger to the creature.”We must, therefore, distinguish the qualities of the Pleroma.These qualities are pairs of opposites, such as
“the effective and the ineffective,the fullness and the emptiness,the living and the dead,the different and the same,light and darkness,hot and cold,force and matter,time and space,good and evil,the beautiful and the ugly;the one and the many; etc.
“The pairs of opposites are the qualities of the Pleroma that do not exist, because they cancel themselves out. As we are the pleroma itself, we also have all these qualities in us. Since our nature is grounded in differentiation, we have these qualities in the name and under the sign of differentiation, which means:
“First: these qualities are differentiated and separate in us; therefore they do not cancel each other out, but are effective. Thus we are the victims of the pairs of opposites. The Pleroma is rent within us.”Second: these qualities belong to the Pleroma, and we must possess and live them only in the name and under the sign of differentiation. We must differentiate ourselves from these qualities. They cancel each other out in the Pleroma, but not in us. Distinction from them saves us.”When we strive for the good or the beautiful, we forget our essence, which is differentiation, and we fall subject to the spell of the qualities of the Pleroma, which are the pairs of opposites. We endeavor to attain the good and the beautiful, yet at the same time we also seize the evil and the ugly; since in the Pleroma these are one with the good and the beautiful. But if we remain true to our essence, which is differentiation, we differentiate ourselves from the good and the beautiful, and hence from the evil and ugly. And thus we do not fall under the spell of the Pleroma, namely into nothingness and dissolution.”You object: you said that difference and sameness are also qualities of the Pleroma. What is it like if we strive for distinctiveness? Are we, in so doing, not true to our own nature? And must we nonetheless fall into sameness when we strive for distinctiveness?”You must not forget that the Pleroma has no qualities. We create these through thinking. If, therefore, you strive for distinctiveness or sameness, or any qualities whatsoever, you pursue thoughts that flow to you out of the Pleroma: thoughts, namely; concerning the non-existing qualities of the Pleroma. Inasmuch as you run after these thoughts, you fall again into thePleroma, and attain distinctiveness and sameness at the same time. Not your thinking, but your essence, is differentiation. Therefore you must not strive for what you conceive as distinctiveness, but for your own essence. At bottom, therefore, there is only one striving, namely the striving for one’s own essence. If you had this striving, you would not need to know anything about the Pleroma and its qualities, and yet you would attain the right goal by virtue of your own essence. Since, however, thought alienates us from our essence, I must teach you that knowledge with which you can bridle your thoughts.”
The dead faded away grumbling and moaning and their cries died away in the distance. But I turned to DIAHMON and said, “My father, you utter strange teachings. Did not the ancients teach similar things? And was it not a reprehensible heresy; removed equally from love and the truth? And why do you layout such a teaching to this horde; which the night wind swirled up from the dark blood fields of the West?””My son,” DIAHMON replied, “these dead ended their lives too early. These were seekers and therefore still hover over their graves.Their lives were incomplete, since they knew no way beyond the one to which belief had abandoned them. But since no one teaches them, I must do so. That is what love demands, since they wanted to hear, even if they grumble. But why do I impart this teaching of the ancients? I teach in this way because their Christian faith once discarded and persecuted precisely this teaching. But they repudiated Christian belief and hence were rejected by that faith. They do not know this and therefore I must teach them, so that their life may be fulfilled and they can enter into death.””But do you, Oh wise DIAHMON, believe what you teach?””My son,” DIAHMON replied, “why do you raise this question? How could I teach what I believe? Who would give me the right to such belief? It is what I know how to say; not because I believe it, but because I know it. If I knew better, I would teach better. But it would be easy for me to believe more. Yet should I teach a belief to those who have discarded belief? And, I ask you, is it good to believe something even more, if one does not know better?””But,” I retorted, “are you certain that things really are as you say?”To this DIAHMON answered, “I do not know whether it is the best that one can know. But I know nothing better and therefore I am certain these things are as I say. If they were otherwise I would say something else, since I would know them to be otherwise. But these things are as I know them, since my knowledge is precisely these things themselves.””My father, is that your guarantee that you are not mistaken?””There are no mistakes in these things,” DIAHMON replied, “there are only different levels of knowledge. These things are as you know them. Only in your world are things always other than you know them, and therefore there are only mistakes in your world.”After these words DIAHMON bent down and touched the earth with his hands and disappeared.
That night DIAHMON stood beside me and the dead drew near and lined the walls and cried out, “We want to know about God. Where is God? Is God dead?”But DIAHMON rose and said (and this is the second sermon to the dead):”God is not dead. He is as alive as ever. God is creation, for he is something definite, and therefore differentiated from the Pleroma. God is a quality of the Pleroma, and everything I have said about creation also applies to him.”But he is distinct from creation in that he is much more indefinite and indeterminable. He is less differentiated than creation, since the ground of his essence is effective fullness. Only insofar as he is definite and differentiated is he creation, and as such he is the manifestation of the effective fullness ofthe Pleroma.”Everything that we do not differentiate falls into the Pleroma and is cancelled out by its opposite. If, therefore, we do not differentiate God, effective fullness is canceled out for us.”Moreover, God is the Pleroma itself, just as each smallest point in the created and uncreated is the Pleroma itself”Effective emptiness is the essence of the devil. God and devil are the first manifestations of nothingness, which we call the Pleroma. It makes no difference whether the Pleroma exists or not, since it cancels itself out completely. Not so creation. Insofar as God and the devil are created beings, they do not cancel each other out, but stand one against the other as effective opposites. We need no proof of their existence. It is enough that we have to keep speaking about them. Even if both were not, creation would forever distinguish them anew out of the Pleroma on account of their distinct essences.”Everything that differentiation takes out of the Pleroma is a pair of opposites, therefore the devil always belongs to God.”This inseparability is most intimate and, as you know from experience, as indissoluble in your life as the Pleroma itself since both stand very close to the Pleroma in which all opposites are canceled out and united.”Fullness and emptiness, generation and destruction, are what distinguish God and the devil. Effectiveness is common to both. Effectiveness joins them. Effectiveness, therefore, stands above both, and is a God above God, since it unites fullness and emptiness through its effectuality.”This is a God you knew nothing about, because mankind forgot him. We call him by his name ABRAXAS. He is even more indefinite than God and the devil.”To distinguish him from God, we call God HELlOS or sun. Abraxas is effect. Nothing stands opposed to him but the ineffective; hence his effective nature unfolds itself freely. The ineffective neither exists nor resists. Abraxas stands above the sun and above the devil. He is improbable probability, that which takes unreal effect. If the Pleroma had an essence, Abraxas would be its manifestation.”He is the effectual itself not any particular effect, but effect in general. He takes unreal effect, because he has no definite effect. He is also creation, since he is distinct from the Pleroma. The sun has a definite effect, and so does the devil. Therefore they appear to us more effective than the indefinite Abraxas. He is force, duration, change.”
The dead now raised a great tumult, for they were Christians. But when DIAHMON had ended his speech, one after another the dead also stepped back into the darkness once more and the noise of their outrage gradually died away in the distance. When all the clamor had passed, I turned to DIAHMON and exclaimed:”Pity us, wisest one! You take from men the Gods to whom they could pray. You take alms from the beggar, bread from the hungry; fire from the freezing.”DIAHMON answered and said, “My son, these dead have had to reject the belief of the Christians and therefore they can pray to no God. So should I teach them a God in whom they can believe and to whom they can pray? That is precisely what they have rejected. Why did they reject it? They had to reject it because they could not do otherwise. And why did they have no otherchoice? Because the world, without these men knowing it, entered into that month of the great year where one should believe only what one knows. That is difficult enough, but it is also a remedy for the long sickness that arose from the fact that one believed what one did not know. I teach them the God whom both I and they know of without being aware of him, a God in whom one does not believe and to whom one does not pray; but of whom one knows. I teach this God to the dead since they desired entry and teaching. But I do not teach him to living men since they did not desire my teaching. Why; indeed, should I teach them? Therefore, I take away from them no kindly hearer of prayers, their father in Heaven. What concern is my foolishness to the living? The dead need salvation, since they are a great waiting flock hovering over their graves, and long for the knowledge that belief and the rejection of belief have breathed their last. But whoever has fallen ill and is near death wants knowledge, and he sacrifices pardon.””It appears,” I replied, “as if you teach a terrible and dreadful God beyond measure, to whom good and evil and human suffering and joy are nothing.””My son,” said DIAHMON, “Did you not see that these dead had a God of love and rejected him? Should I teach them a loving God? They had to reject him after already having long since rejected the evil God whom they call the devil. Therefore they must know a God to whom everything created is nothing, because he himself is the creator and everything created and the destruction of everything created. Have they not rejected a God who is a father, a lover, good and beautiful? One whom they thought to have particular qualities and a particular being? Therefore I must teach a God to whom nothing can be attributed, who has all qualities and therefore none, because only I and they can know such a God.””But how, Oh my father, can men unite in such a God? Does the knowledge of such a God not amount to destroying human bonds and every society based on the good and the beautiful?”DIAHMON answered: “These dead rejected the God of love, of the good and the beautiful; they had to reject him and so they rejected unity and community in love, in the good and the beautiful. And thus they killed one another and dissolved the community of men. Should I teach them the God who unitedthem in love and whom they rejected? Therefore I teach them the God who dissolves unity; who blasts everything human, who powerfully creates and mightily destroys. Those whom love does not unite, fear compels.”And as DIAHMON spoke these words, he bent down swiftly to the ground, touched it with his hand, and disappeared.
The following night, the dead approached like fog from a swamp and exclaimed, “Tell us more about the highest God.”
And DIAHMON stepped forward and began to speak (and this is the third sermon to the dead)
is the God who is difficult to grasp. His power is greatest, because man does not see it. From the sun he draws the summum bonum; from the devil theinfinum malum; but from Abraxas LIFE, altogether indefinite, the mother of good and evil.
“Life seems to be smaller and weaker than the summum bonum; therefore it is also hard to conceive that Abraxas’s power transcends even the sun’s, which is the radiant source of all vital force. Abraxas is the sun, and at the same time the eternally sucking gorge of emptiness, of the diminisher and dismemberer, of the devil. The power of Abraxas is twofold; but you do not see it, because in your eyes the warring opposites of this power are canceled out.
“What the Sun God speaks is life, what the devil speaks is death.
“But Abraxas speaks that hallowed and accursed word that is at once life and death. ABRAXAS produces truth and lying, good and evil, light and darkness, in the same word and in the same act. Therefore Abraxas is terrible.
“He is as splendid as the lion in the instant he strikes down his victim. He is as beautiful as a spring day.”He is the great and the small Pan alike.”He is Priapos.”He is the monster of the underworld, a thousand-armed polyp, a coiled knot of winged serpents, frenzy.”He is the hermaphrodite of the earliest beginning.”He is the lord of toads and frogs, which live in the water and go up on the land, whose chorus ascends at noon and at midnight.”He is the fullness that seeks union with emptiness.”He is holy begetting,”He is love and its murder,”He is the saint and his betrayer,”He is the brightest light of day and the darkest night of madness.”To look upon him, is blindness.”To recognize him is sickness.”To worship him is death.”To fear him is wisdom.”Not to resist him is redemption.”God dwells behind the sun, the devil behind the night. What God brings forth out of the light, the devil sucks into the night. But Abraxas is the world, its becoming and its passing. Upon every gift that comes from the sun god the devil lays his curse.”Everything that you request from the Sun God produces a deed from the devil. Everything that you create with the Sun God gives effective power to the devil.”That is terrible Abraxas.”He is the mightiest created being and in him creation is afraid of itself”He is the manifest opposition of creation to the Pleroma and its nothingness.”He is the son’s horror of the mother. He is the mother’s love for the son. He is the delight of the earth and the cruelty of the heavens. At his sight man’s face congeals.Before him there is no question and no reply.He is the life of creation.He is the effect of differentiation.He is the love of man.He is the speech of man.He is the appearance and the shadow of man.He is deceptive reality.”
Now the dead howled and raged, for they were incomplete. But when their noisy cries had faded away; I said to DIAHMON:”How, Oh my father, should I understand this God?”DIAHMON answered and said:”My son, why do you want to understand him? This God is to be known but not understood. If you understand him, then you can say that he is this or that and this and not that. Thus you hold him in the hollow of your hand and therefore your hand must throw him away. The God whom I know is this and that and just as much this other and that other. Therefore no one can understand this God, but it is possible to know him, and therefore I speak and teach him.””But,” I retorted, “does this God not bring despairing confusion into the minds of men?”
To this DIAHMON said, “These dead rejected the order of unity and community since they rejected the belief in the father in Heaven who ruled with just measure. They had to reject him. Therefore I teach them the chaos that is without measure and utterly boundless, to which justice and injustice, leniency and severity; patience and anger, love and hate, are nothing. For how can I teach anything other than the God whom I know and whom they know, without being conscious of him.
I replied, “Why; Oh solemn one, do you call the eternally incomprehensible, the cruel contradictoriness of nature, God?”DIAHMON said, “How should I name it otherwise? If the overpowering essence of events in the universe and in the hearts of men were law, I would call it law. Yet it is also no law, but chance, irregularity; sin, error, stupidity; carelessness, folly; illegality. Therefore I cannot call it law. You know that this must be so, and at the same time you know that it did not have to be so and that at some other time it will not be so. It is overpowering and occurs as if from eternal law, and at another time a slanting wind blows a speck of dust into the works and this void is a superior strength, harder than a mountain of iron. Therefore you know that the eternal law is also no law. So I cannot call it law. But how else should it be named? I know that human language has forever named the maternal womb of the incomprehensible God. Truly, this God is and is not, since from being and non-being everything emerged that was, is, and will be.”
But when DIAHMON had spoken the last word, he touched the earth with his hand and dissolved.
The following night, the dead came running sooner, filling the place with their mutterings, and said:
“Speak to us about Gods and devils, accursed one.”
And DIAHMON appeared and began to speak( (and this is the fourth sermon to the dead)
:”The Sun God is the highest good, the devil the opposite. Thus you have two Gods. But there are many high and good things and many great evils. Among these are two devil Gods; one is the Burning One, the other the Growing One.The burning one is EROS, in the form of a flame. It shines by consuming. “The growing one is the TREE OF LIFE. It greens by heaping up growing living matter.105″Eros flames up and dies. But the tree of life grows with slow and constant increase through measureless periods of time.”Good and evil unite in the flame.”Good and evil unite in the growth of the tree. In their divinity life and love stand opposed.”The number of Gods and devils is as innumerable as the host of stars.”Each star is a God, and each space that a star fills is a devil. But the empty fullness of the whole is the Pleroma.”Abraxas is the effect of the whole, and only the ineffective opposes him.”Four is the number of the principal Gods, as four is the number of the world’s measurements.”One is the beginning, the Sun God.”Two is Eros, for he binds two together and spreads himself out in brightness.”Three is the Tree of Life, for it fills space with bodies.”Four is the devil, for he opens all that is closed. He dissolves everything formed and physical; he is the destroyer in whom everything becomes nothing.”Happy am I who can recognize the multiplicity and diversity of the Gods. But woe unto you, who replace this incompatible multiplicity with a single God. In so doing you produce the torment of incomprehension, and mutilate the creation whose nature and aim is differentiation. How can you be true to your own nature when you try to turn the many into one? What you do unto the Gods is done likewise unto you. You all become equal and thus your nature is maimed.
“Equality prevails not for the sake of God, but only for the sake of man. For the Gods are many, while men are few. The Gods are mighty and endure their manifoldness. Like the stars they abide in solitude, separated by vast distances. Therefore they dwell together and need communion, so that they may bear their separateness. For redemption’s sake I teach you the reprehensible, for whose sake I rejected.
“The multiplicity of the Gods corresponds to the multiplicity of men.”Numberless Gods await the human state. Numberless Gods have been men. Man shares in the nature of the Gods. He comes from the Gods and goes unto the God.”Thus, just as it is no use to reflect upon the Pleroma, it is not worthwhile to worship the multiplicity of the Gods. Least of all does it serve to worship the first God, the effective fullness, and the summum bonum. By our prayer we can add nothing to it, and take nothing from it; because effective emptiness gulps down every thing. The bright Gods form the heavenly world. It is manifold and extends and increases infinitely: The Sun God is the supreme lord of the world.”The dark Gods form the earthly world. It is simple and diminishes and declines infinitely: The devil is its nethermost lord, the moon spirit, satellite of the earth, smaller, colder, and more dead than the earth.”There is no difference between the might of the heavenly and earthly Gods. The heavenly Gods magnify; the earthly Gods diminish. Both directions are immeasurable.”
Here the dead interrupted DIAHMON’s speech with angry laughter and mocking shouts, and as they withdrew, their discord, mockery, and laughter faded into the distance. I turned to DIAHMON and said to him:
“Oh DIAHMON, I believe you are mistaken. It seems ‘that you teach a raw superstition which the Fathers had successfully and gloriously overcome, that polytheism which a mind produces only when it cannot free its gaze from the force of compulsive desire chained to sensory things.”
“My son,” DIAHMON replied, “these dead have rejected the single and highest God. So how can I teach them about the one, only, and not multifarious God? They must of course believe me. But they have rejected their belief So I teach them the God that I know, the multifarious and extended, who is both the thing and its appearance, and they also know him even if they are not conscious of him.
“These dead have given names to all beings, the beings in the air, on the earth and in the water. They have weighed and counted things. They have counted so and so many horses, cows, sheep, trees, segments of land, and springs; they said, this is good for this purpose, and that is good for that one. What did they do with the admirable tree? What happened to the sacred frog? Did they see his golden eye? Where is the atonement for the 7,777 cattle whose blood they spilled, whose flesh they consumed?Did they do penance for the sacred ore that they dug up from the belly of the earth? No, they named, weighed, numbered, and apportioned all things. They did whatever pleased them. And what did they do! You saw the powerful-but this is precisely how they gave power to things unknowingly. Yet the time has come when things speak. The piece of flesh says: how many men? The piece of ore says, how many men? The ship says, how many men? The coal says, how many men? The house says: how many men? And things rise and number and weigh and apportion and devour millions of men.
“Your hand grasped the earth and tore off the halo and weighed and numbered the Dones of things. Is not the one and only, simpleminded God pulled down and thrown onto a heap, the massed seeming of separate things dead and living? Yes, this God taught you to weigh and number bones. But the month of this God is drawing to a close. A new month stands at the door. Therefore everything had to be as it is, and hence everything must become different.
“This is no polytheism that I have made up! But many Gods who powerfully raise their voices and tear humanity to bloody pieces. So and so many men, weighed, numbered, apportioned, hacked, and devoured. Therefore I speak of many Gods as I speak of many things, since I know them. Why do I call them Gods? For the sake of their superiority. Do you know about this superior strength? Now is the time when you can learn.
“These dead laugh at my foolishness. But would they have raised a murderous hand against their brothers if they had atoned for the ox with the velvet eyes? If they had done penance for the shiny ore? If they had worshiped the holy trees? If they had made peace with the soul of the golden-eyed frog? What say things dead and living? Who is greater, man or the Gods? Truly, this sun has become a moon and no new sun has arisen from the contractions of the last hour of the night.”
And when he had finished these words, DIAHMON bent down to the earth, kissed it, and said, “Mother, may your son be strong.”Then he stood, looked up at the heavens, and said, “How dark is your place of the new light.” Then he disappeared.
When the following night came, the dead approached noisily, pushing and shoving; they were scoffing and exclaimed, “Teach us, fool, about the church and holy communion.”
But DIAHMQN stepped before them, and began to speak: (and this is the fifth sermon to the dead):
“The world of the Gods is made manifest in spirituality and in sexuality. The celestial ones appear in spirituality, the earthly in sexuality.”Spirituality conceives and embraces. It is womanlike and therefore we call it MATER COELESTIS, the celestial mother. Sexuality engenders and creates. It is manlike, and therefore we call it PHALLOS, the earthly father. The sexuality of man is more earthly, that of woman is more spiritual. The spirituality of man is more heavenly, it moves toward the greater.
“The spirituality of woman is more earthly, it moves toward the smaller.”Mendacious and devilish is the spirituality of man, and it moves toward the smaller.”Mendacious and devilish is the spirituality of woman, and it moves toward the greater.”Each shall go to its own place.”Man and woman become devils to each other if they do not separate their spiritual ways, for the essence of creation is differentiation.”The sexuality of man goes toward the earthly, the sexuality of woman goes toward the spiritual. Man and woman become devils to each other if they do not distinguish their sexuality.”Man shall know the smaller, woman the greater.”Man shall differentiate himself both from spirituality and sexuality. He shall call spirituality mother, and set her between Heaven and earth. He shall call sexuality Phallos, and set him between himself and earth. For the mother and the Phallos are superhuman daimons that reveal the world of the Gods. They affect us more than the Gods since they are closely akin to our essence. If you do not differentiate yourselves from sexuality and from spirituality, and do not regard them as an essence both above and beyond you, you are delivered over to them as qualities of the Pleroma. Spirituality and sexuality are not your qualities, not things you possess and encompass. Rather, they possess and encompass you, since they are powerful daimons, manifestations of the Gods, and hence reach beyond you, existing in themselves. No man has a spirituality unto himself or a sexuality unto himself Instead, he stands under the law of spirituality and of sexuality. Therefore no one escapes these daimons. You shall look upon them as daimons, and as a common task and danger, a common burden that life has laid upon you. Thus life, too, is for you a common task and danger, as are the Gods, and first and foremost terrible Abraxas.
“Man is weak, and community is therefore indispensable. If your community is not under the sign of the mother, it is under the sign of the Phallos. Absence of community is suffering and sickness. Community in everything is dismemberment and dissolution. “Differentiation leads to singleness. Singleness is opposed to community. But because of man’s weakness with regard to the Gods and daimons and their invincible law, community is necessary, not for man’s sake, but because of the Gods. The Gods drive you to community. Insofar as the Gods impose community upon you, it is necessary; more is bad.
“In the community every man shall submit to others, so that the community be maintained, for you need it.”In singleness every man shall place himself above the other, so that every man may come to himself and avoid slavery.”Abstention shall hold good in community, extravagance in singleness.Community is depth, singleness is height.Right measure in community purifies and preserves.Right measure in singleness purifies and increases.Community gives us warmth, singleness gives us light.”
When DIAHMON had finished, the dead remained silent and did not move, but looked at DIAHMON with expectation. But when DIAHMON saw that the dead remained silent and waited, hecontinued (and this is the sixth sermon to the dead)
“The daimon of sexuality approaches our soul as a serpent. She is half human soul and is called thought-desire.”The daimon of spirituality descends into our soul as the white bird. He is half human soul and is called desire-thought. The serpent is an earthly soul, half daimonic, a spirit, and akin to the spirits of the dead. Thus too, like these she swarms around in the things of earth, making us fear them or else having them arouse our craving. The serpent has a female nature, forever seeking the company of those dead who are spellbound by the earth, and who did not find a way across to singleness. The serpent is a whore. She courts the devil and evil spirits; she is a mischievous tyrant and tormentor, forever inveigling the most evil company: The white bird is a half-celestial soul of man. He abides with the mother, descending from time to time. The bird is manlike, and is effective thought. He is chaste and solitary, a messenger of the mother. He flies high above the earth. He commands singleness. He brings knowledge from the distant ones, who have departed before and attained perfection. He bears our word up to the mother. She intercedes, she warns, but she is powerless against the Gods. She is a vessel of the sun. The serpent descends and cunningly lames the phallic daimon, or else goads him on. She bears up the too-crafty thoughts of the earthly, those thoughts that creep through every hole and cleave to all things with craving. Although the serpent does not want to, she must be of use to us. She flees our grasp, thus showing us the way, which our human wits could not find.”
When DIAHMON had finished, the dead looked on with contempt and said, “Cease this talk of Gods and daimons and souls. We have known this for a long time.”
But DIAHMON smiled and replied, “You poor souls, poor in flesh and rich in spirit, the meat was fat and the spirit thin. But how do you reach the eternal light? You mock my stupidity, which you too possess: you mock yourselves. Knowledge frees one from danger. But mockery is the other side of your belief Is black less than white? You rejected faith and retained mockery: Are you thus saved from faith? No, you bound yourselves to mockery and hence again to faith. And therefore you are miserable.”
But the dead were outraged and cried, “We are not miserable, we are clever; our thinking and feeling is as pure as clear water. We praise our reason. We mock superstition. Do you believe thatyour old folly reaches us? A childish delusion has overcome you, old one, what good is it to us?”
DIAHMON replied: “What can do you any good? I free you from what still holds you to the shadow of life. Take this wisdom with you, add this folly to your cleverness, this unreason to your reason, and you will find yourselves. If you were men, you would then begin your life and your life’s way between reason and unreason and live onward to the eternal light, whose shadow you lived in advance. But since you are dead, this knowledge frees you from life and strips you of your greed for men and it also frees yourself from the shrouds that the light and the shadow lay on you, compassion with men will overcome you and from the stream you will reach solid ground, you will step forth from the eternal whirl onto the unmoving stone of rest, the circle that breaks flowing duration, and the flame will die down.
“I have fanned a’ glowing fire, I have given the murderer a knife, I have torn open healed-over wounds, I have quickened all movement, I have given the madman more intoxicating drink, I have made the cold colder, the heat hotter, falseness even falser, goodness even better, weakness even weaker.”This knowledge is the axe of the sacrificer.”
But the dead cried, “Your wisdom is foolishness and a curse. You want to turn the wheel back? It will tear you apart, blinded one!”
DIAHMON replied, “So this is what happened. The earth became green and fruitful again from the blood of the sacrifice, flowers sprouted, the waves crash into the sand, a silver cloud lies at the foot of the mountain, a bird of the soul came to men, the hoe sounds in the fields and the axe in the forests, a wind rushes through the trees and the sun shimmers in the dew of the risen morning, the planets behold the birth, out of the earth climbed the many-armed, the stones speak and the grass whispers. Man found himself and the Gods wander through Heaven, the fullness gives birth to the golden drop, the golden seed, plumed and hovering.”
The dead now fell silent and stared at DIAHMON and slowly crept away: But DIAHMQN bent down to the ground and said: “It is accomplished, but not fulfilled. Fruit of the earth, sprout, rise up-and Heaven, pour out the water of life.”
Then DIAHMON disappeared.
I was probably very confused when DIAHMON approached me the following night, since I called to him saying, “What did you do, Oh DIAHMON? What fires have you kindled? What have you broken asunder? Does the wheel of creations stand still?”
But he answered and said, “Everything is running its usual course. Nothing has happened, and yet a sweet and indescribable mystery has taken place: I stepped out of the whirling circle.”
“What’s that?” I exclaimed, “Your words move my lips, your voice sounds from my ears, my eyes see you from within me. Truly, you are a magician! You stepped out of the whirling circle? What confusion! Are you I, am I you? Did I not feel as if the wheel of creation was standing still? And yet you say that you have stepped out of the whirling circle? I am truly bound to the wheel-I feelthe rushing swaying of it-and yet the wheel of creation also stands still for me. What did you do, father, teach me!”
Then DIAHMON said, “I stepped onto what is solid and took it with me and saved it from the wave surge, from the cycle of births, and from the revolving wheel of endless happening. It has been stilled. The dead have received the folly of the teaching, they have been blinded by truth and see by mistake. They have recognized, felt, and regretted it; they will come again and will humbly inquire.Since what they rejected will be most valuable to them.”
I wanted to question DIAHMON, since the riddle distressed me. But he had already touched the earth and disappeared. And the darkness of the night was silent and did not answer me. And my soul stood silently, shaking her head, and did not know what to say about the mystery that DIAHMON had indicated and not given away.
Another day passed and the seventh night fell. And the dead came again, this time with pitiful gestures and said, “We forgot to mention one thing, that we would like you to teach us about men.”
And DIAHMON stepped before me, and began to speak (and this is the seventh sermon to the dead):
“Man is a gateway, through which you pass from the outer world of Gods, daimons, and souls into the inner world, out of the greater. into the smaller world. Small and inane is man, already he is behind you, and once again you find yourselves in endless space, in the smaller or inner infinity.”At immeasurable distance a lonely star stands in the zenith.”This is the one God of this one man, this is his world, his Pleroma, his divinity.”In this world, man is Abraxas, the creator and destroyer of his own world.”This star is the God and the goal of man. This is his lone guiding God, in him man goes to his rest,toward him goes the long journey of the soul after death, in him everything that man withdraws from the greater world shines resplendently.”To this one God man shall pray. Prayer increases the light of the star, it throws a bridge across death,it prepares life for the smaller world, and assuages the hopeless desires of the greater.”When the greater world turns cold, the star shines.”Nothing stands between man and his one God, so long as man can turn away his eyes from the flaming spectacle of Abraxas.”Man here, God there.”Weakness and nothingness here, eternally creative power there.”Here nothing but darkness and clammy cold there total sun.”
But when DIAHMON had finished, the dead remained silent. Heaviness fell from them, and they ascended like smoke above the shepherd’s fire, who watches over his flock by night.
But I turned to DIAHMON and said, “Illustrious one, you teach that man is a gateway? A gateway through which the procession of the Gods passes? Through which the stream of life flows? Throughwhich the entire future streams into the endlessness of the past?”
DIAHMON answered, saying, “These dead believed in the transformation and development of man. They were convinced of human nothingness and transitoriness. Nothing was clearer to them than this, and yet they knew that man even creates its Gods, and so they knew that the Gods were of no use. Therefore they had to learn what they did not know, that man is a gateway through which crowds the train of the Gods and the coming and passing of all times. He does not do it, does not create it, does not suffer it, since he is the being, the sole being, since he is the moment of the world, the eternal moment. Whoever recognizes this stops being flame; he becomes smoke and ashes. He lasts and his transitoriness is over. He has become someone who is. You dreamed of the flame, as if it were life. But life is duration,the flame dies away. I carried that over, I saved it from the fire. That is the son of the fire flower. You saw that in me, I myself am of the eternal fire of light. But I am the one who saved it for you, the black and golden seed and its blue starlight. You eternal being-what is length and brevity? What is the moment and eternal duration? You, being, are eternal in each moment. What is time? Time is the fire that flares up, consumes, and dies down. I saved being from time, redeeming it from the fires of time and the darkness of time, from Gods and devils.”
But I said to him, “Illustrious one, when will you give me the dark and golden treasure and its blue starlight?”
DIAHMON replied, “When you have surrendered everything that wants to burn to the holy flame.”
And as DIAHMON spoke these words, a dark form with golden eyes approached me from the shadows of the night. I was startled and cried, ”Are you an enemy? Who are you? Where do you come from? I have never seen you before! Speak, what do you want?”
The dark one answered, saying, “I come from afar. I come from the east and follow the shining fire that precedes me, DIAHMON. I am not your enemy, I am a stranger to you. My skin is dark andmy eyes shine golden.””What do you bring?” I asked fearfully.
“I bring abstinence-abstinence from human joy and suffering. Compassion leads to alienation. Pity, but no compassion-pity for the world and a will held in check toward the other. Pity remains misunderstood, therefore it works. Far from longing, know no fear. Far from love, love the whole.”
I looked at him fearfully and said, “Why are you as dark as the earth of the fields and as black as iron? I’m afraid of you; such pain, what have you done to me?”
“You may call me death-death that rose with the sun. I come with quiet pain and long peace. I lay the cover of protection on you. In the midst of life begins death. I lay cover upon cover upon you so that your warmth will never cease.”
“You bring grief and despair,” I answered, “I wanted to be among men.”
But he said, “You will go to men as one veiled. Your light shines at night. Your solar nature departs from you and your stellar nature begins.”
“You are cruel,” I sighed.
“The simple is cruel, it does not unite with the manifold.”
With these words the mysterious dark one vanished. But DIAHMON regarded me with a serious and questioning look.
“Did you take a proper look at him, my son?” he said, “you will be hearing from him. But come now, so that I can fulfill what the dark one prophesied for you.”
As he spoke these words, he touched my eyes and opened my gaze and showed me the immeasurable mystery. And I looked for a long time until I could grasp it: but what did I see? I saw the night, I saw the dark earth, and above this the sky stood gleaming in the brilliance of countless stars. And I saw that the sky had the form of a woman and sevenfold was her mantle of stars and it completely covered her.
And when I had beheld it, DIAHMON said:
“Mother, you who stand in the higher circle, nameless one, who shrouds me and him and protects me and him from the Gods: he wants to become your child.”May you accept his birth.”May you renew him. I separate myself from him. The cold is growing and its star blazes brighter.”He needs the bond of childhood.”You gave birth to the godly serpent, you released it from the pangs of birth; take this man to the abode of the sun, he needs the mother.”
A voice came from afar and was like a falling star: “I cannot take him as a child. He must cleanse himself first.”
DIAHMON said: “What is his impurity?”
But the voice said, “It is the commingling: he contains human suffering and joy. He shall remain secluded until abstinence is complete and he is freed from the commingling with men. Then shall he be taken as a child.”
In this moment my vision ended. And DIAHMON went away and I was alone. And I remained apart as I had been told. But in the fourth night I saw a strange form, a man wearing a long coat and a turban; his eyes shone cleverly and kindly like a wise doctor’s.
He approached me and said, “I speak to you of joy.” But I answered, “You want to speak to me of joy? I bleed from the thousandfold wounds of men.”He replied, “I bring healing. Women taught me this art. They know how to heal sick children. Do your wounds burn you? Healing is at hand. Give ear to good counsel and do not be incensed.”I retorted, “What do you want? To tempt me? Mock me?””What are you thinking?” he interrupted, “I bring you the bliss of paradise, the healing fire, the love of women.””Are you thinking,” I asked, “of the descent into the frog swamp?The dissolution in the many, the scattering, the dismembering?”But as I spoke, the old man turned into and I saw that he was the magician who was tempting me. ButDIAHMON continued:”You have not yet experienced the dismembering. You should be blown apart and shredded and scattered to the winds. Men are preparing for the Last Supper with you.””What then will remain of me?” I cried.”Nothing but your shadow. You will be a river that pours forth over the lands. It seeks every valley and streams toward the depths.”I asked, full of grief “But where will my uniqueness remain?””You will steal it from yourself” DIAHMON replied”You will hold the invisible realm in trembling hands; it lowers its roots into the gray darknesses and mysteries of the and sends up branches covered in leaves into the golden air.”Animals live in its branches.”Men camp in its shade.”Their murmuring arises from below.”A thousand-mile-Iong disappointment is the juice of the tree.”It will stay green for a long time.”Silence abides in its treetop.”Silence in its deep roots.”
I gathered from DIAHMON’s words that I must remain true to love to cancel out the commingling that arises through unlived love. I understood that the commingling is a bondage that takes the place of voluntary devotion. Scattering or dismembering arises, as DIAHMON had taught me, from voluntary devotion. It cancels out the commingling. Through voluntary devotion I removed binding ties. Therefore I had to remain true to love, and, devoted to it voluntarily, I suffer the dismembering and thus attain bonding with the great mother, that is, the stellar nature, liberation from bondage to men and things. If I am bound to men and things, I can neither go on with my life to its destination nor can I arrive at my very own and deepest nature. Nor can death begin in me as a new life, since I can only fear death. I must therefore remain true to love since how else can I arrive at the scattering and dissolution of bondage? How else could I experience death other than through remaining true to love and willingly accepting the pain and all the suffering? As long as I do not voluntarily devote myself to the dismembering, a part of myself secretly remains with men and things and binds me to them; and thus I must, whether I want to or not, be a part of them, mixed in with them and bound to them. Only fidelity to love and voluntary devotion to love enable this binding and mixing to be dissolved and lead back to me that part of my self that secretly lay with men and things. Only thus does the light of the star grow, only thus do I arrive at my stellar nature, at my truest and innermost self that simply and singly is. It is difficult to remain true to love since love stands above all sins. He who wants to remain true to love must also overcome sin. Nothing occurs more readily than failing to recognize that one is committing a sin. Overcoming sin for the sake of remaining true to love is difficult, so difficult that my feet hesitated to advance.
When night fell, DIAHMON approached me in an earth-colored robe, holding a silver fish: “Look, my son,” he said, “I was fishing and caught this fish; I bring it to you, so that you may be comforted.”
And as I looked at him astonished and questioningly, I saw that a shade stood in darkness at the door, bearing a robe of grandeur. His face was pale and blood had flowed into the furrows of his brow. But DIAHMON knelt down, touched the earth, and said to the shade “My master and my brother, praised be your name. You did the greatest thing for us: out of animals you made men, you gave your life for men to enable their healing. Your spirit was with us through an endlessly long time. And men still look to you and still ask you to take pity on them and beg for the mercy of God and the forgiveness of their sins through you. You do not tire of giving to men. I praise your divine patience. Are not men ungrateful? Does their craving know no limits? Do they still make demands on you? They have received so much yet still theyare beggars.
“Behold, my master and my brother, they do not love me, but they long for you with greed, for they also crave their neighbor’s possessions. They do not love their neighbor, but they want what is his. If they were faithful to their love, they would not be greedy. But whoever gives, attracts desire. Should they not learn love? Fidelity to love? Freely willed devotion? But they demand and desire and beg from you and have learned no lesson from your awe-inspiring life. They have imitated it, but they have not lived their own lives as you have lived yours. Your awe-inspiring life shows how everyone would have to take their own life into their own hands, faithful to their own essence and their own love. Have you not forgiven the adulteress? Did you not sit with whores and tax-collectors? Did you not break the command of the Sabbath? You lived your own life, but men fail to do so; instead they pray to you and make demands on you and forever remind you that your work is incomplete. Yet your work would be completed if men managed to live their own lives without imitation. Men are still childish and forget gratitude, since they cannot say, Thanks be to you, our lord, for the salvation you have brought us. We have taken it unto ourselves, given it a place in our hearts, and we have learned to carry on your work in ourselves on our own. Through your help we have grown mature in continuing the work of redemption in us. Thanks to you, we have embraced your work, we grasped your redemptive teaching, we completed in ourselves what you had begun for us with bloody struggle. We are not ungrateful children who desire our parents’ possessions. Thanks to you, our master, we will make the most of your talent and will not bury it in the earth and forever stretch out our hands helplessly and urge you to complete your work in us. We want to take troubles and your work upon ourselves so that your work may be completed and so that you may lay your weary tired hands in your lap, like the worker after a long day’s hard burden. Blessed is the dead one, who rests from the completion of his work.
“I wanted people to address you in this way. But they have no love for you, my master and brother. They begrudge you the price of peace. They leave your work incomplete, eternally needing your pity and your care.”But, my master and my brother, I believe you have completed your work, since the one who has given his life, his entire truth, all his love, his entire soul, has completed his work. What one individual can do for men, you have done and accomplished and fulfilled. The time has come when each must do his ownwork of redemption. Mankind has grown older and a new month has begun. ”
When DIAHMON had finished, I looked up and saw that the place where the shade had stood was empty. I turned to DIAHMON and said, “My father, you spoke of men. I am a man. Forgive me!”
But DIAHMON dissolved into the darkness and I decided to do what was required of me. I accepted all the joy and every torment of my nature and remained true to my love, to suffer what comes to everyone in their own way. And I stood alone and was afraid.
On a night when everything was silent, I heard a murmur like that of many voices and a bit more clearly I heard the voice of DIAHMON, and it was as if he were giving a speech. And as I listened more closely, I heard his words:
”Afterward, when I had impregnated the dead body of the underworld, and when it had given birth to the serpent of the God, I went to men and saw the fullness of their affliction and their madness. I saw that they were slaying each other and that they sought the grounds for their actions. They did this becausethey did not have anything different or better to do. But because they were accustomed to doing nothing for which they could not account, they devised reasons that compelled them to go on killing. Stop, you are out of your minds, said the sage. Stop, for Heaven’s sake, and take stock of what damage you have done, said the canny one. But the fool laughed, since honors had been conferred upon him overnight. Why do men not see their stupidity? Stupidity is a daughter of the God. Therefore men cannot stop murdering, since thus they serve the serpent of the God without knowing it. It is worth giving one’s life for the sake of serving the serpent of the God. Hence be reconciled! But it would be far better to live despite the God. But the serpent of the God wants human blood. This feeds it and makes it shine. Not wanting to murder and die amounts to deceiving the God. Whoever lives has become one who deceives the God. Whoever lives invents his life for himself But the serpent wants to be deceived, out of hope for blood. The greater the number of men who stole their lives from the Gods, the greater the harvest feeding the serpent from the blood-sown field. The God grows strong through human murder. The serpent grows hot and fiery through the drenching flood. Its fat burns in the blazing flame. The flame becomes the light of men, the first ray of a renewed sun, He, the first appearing light.”
I could not grasp what else DIAHMON said. I spent a long time pondering his words, which evidently he had spoken to the dead, and I was horrified by the atrocities that attend the rebirth of a God.
And soon afterward I saw Elijah and Salome in a dream. Elijah appeared concerned and alarmed. Therefore, when in the following night that light was extinguished and every living sound fell still, I called Elijah and Salome so that they would answer my questions. Elijah came forward and said:
“I have become weak, I am poor, an excess of my power has gone to you, my son. You took too much from me. You went too far away from me. I heard strange and incomprehensible things and the peace of my depths became disturbed.”I asked, “But what did you hear? What voice did you hear?”Elijah answered, “I heard a voice full of confusion, an alarmed voice full of warning and the incomprehensible.””What did it say;” I asked, “did you hear the words?””Indistinctly; it was confused and confusing. The voice spoke first of a knife cutting something or perhaps harvesting, perhaps the grapes that go to the wine press. Perhaps the one wearing the red robe treads the wine press from which the blood flows. Thereupon the voice spoke of gold that lies below, and that kills whoever touches it. Then it mentioned fire that-burns terribly and that should flare up in our time. And then there was a malicious word,that I would rather not utter.””A malicious word? What was it?” I asked.He answered, ”A word about the death of God. There is only one God and God cannot die.”
Then I replied, “I am astonished, Elijah. Do you not know what happened? Do you not know that the world has put on a new garb? That the one God has gone away; and that in turn many Gods and many daimons have come to man? Truly; I am surprised; I am extremely surprised! How could you not have known? Know you nothing of the new that has come to pass? Yet you know the future! You have foresight! Or maybe you should not know what is? Do you ultimately deny what is?”
Salome interrupted me: “What is, gives no pleasure. Pleasure comes only from the new. Your soul would also like a new husband-ha ha!-she loves change. You are not pleasurable enough for her. In that respect she is unteachable and therefore you believe she is mad. We love only what is coming, not what is. Only the new gives us pleasure. Elijah does not think about what is, only about what is to come. Therefore he knows it.”I answered, “What does he know? He should say.”Elijah said, “I have already uttered the words: the image that I saw was crimson, fiery colored, a gleaming gold. The voice that I heard was like distant thunder, like the wind roaring in the forest, like an earthquake. It was not the voice of my God, but it was a thunderous pagan roar, a call my ancestors knew but which I have never heard. It sounded prehistoric, as if from a forest on a distant coast; it rang with all the voices of the wilderness. It was full of horror yet harmonic.”To this I replied, “My good old man, you heard correctly; as I thought you had. How wonderful! Shall I tell you about it? After all, I told you that the world has acquired a new face. A new cove rwas thrown over it. How odd that you don’t know! “Old Gods have become new. The one God is dead-yes, truly; he died. He disintegrated into the many; and thus the world became rich overnight. And something also happened to the individual soul-who would care to describe it! But therefore men too became rich overnight. How is it possible that you didn’t know this?”The one God became two, a multiple one, whose body consists of many Gods, and a single one, whose body is a man and yet he is brighter and stronger than the sun.”What shall I tell you about the soul? Haven’t you noticed that she has become multiple? She has become the closest, nearest, near, far, further, furthest and yet she is one, as before. First she divided herself into a serpent and a bird, then into a father and mother, and then into Elijah and Salome-How are you, my good fellow? Does it disturb you? Yes, you must be realizing that you are already very far removed from me, so that I can hardly rely on you as being part of my soul; since if you belonged to my soul, you would have to know what is happening. Therefore I must separate you and Salome from my soul and place you among the daimons. You are connected to what is primordially old and always exists, therefore you also know nothing of the being of men but simply of the past and future.”Nevertheless it is good that you came to my call. Take part in that which is. For what is ought to be such that you can take part in it.”But Elijah sullenly replied, “I do not like this multiplicity. It is not easy to think it.”And Salome said, “The simple alone is pleasurable. One need not think about it. “I replied, “Elijah, you need not contemplate it at all. It is not to be thought; it is to be viewed. It is a painting.”And to Salome I said, “Salome, it is not true that only the simple is pleasurable; over time it is even boring. In truth the multiple captivates you.”But Salome turned to Elijah and said, “Father, it seems to me that men have outstripped us. He is right: the many is more pleasurable. The one is too simple and always the same.”Elijah seemed saddened and said, “What about the one in this case? Does the one still exist if it stands next to the many?”I answered, “That is your old and ingrained mistake, that the one excludes the many. But there are many individual things. The multiplicity of individual things is the one multiple God from whose body many Gods arise, but the uniqueness of the one thing is the other God, whose body is a man but whose spirit is as large as the world.”But Elijah shook his head and said, “That is new, my son. Is the new good? What was, is good; and what was, will be. Is that not the truth? Has there ever been anything new? And was what you call new, ever good? Everything remains the same if you give it a new name. There is nothing new, there can be nothing new; how could I then look ahead? I look at the past and therein I see the future, as in a mirror. And I see that nothing new happens, everything is but mere recurrence of what has been since time immemorial.What is your being? An appearance, a darting light; tomorrow it is no longer true. It is gone; it is as if it never was. Come, Salome, let us go. One is mistaken in the world of men.”But Salome looked back and whispered to me while leaving, “Being and multiplicity appeal to me, even if it is not new and not eternally true.”Thus they disappeared into the dark night and I returned to the burden signified by my existence. And I sought to do everything correctly that seemed to me to be a task and to take every way that seemed to me to be necessary for myself But my dreams became difficult and laden with anxiety, and I did not know why. One night my soul suddenly came to me, as if worried, and said:
“Listen to me: I am in a great torment, the son of the dark womb besieges me. Therefore your dreams are also difficult, since you feel the torment of the depths, the pain of your soul, and thesuffering of the Gods.”I answered, “Can I help? Or is it superfluous that a man elevates himself to being a mediator of the Gods? Is it presumption or should a man become a redeemer of the Gods, after men are saved through the divine mediator?””You speak the truth,” my soul replied, “the Gods need a human mediator and rescuer. With this man paves the way to crossing over and to divinity. I gave you a frightening dream so that your face would turn to the Gods. I let their torment reach you so that you would remember the suffering Gods. You do too much for men since they are the masters of your world. You can in effect help men only through the Gods, not directly. Alleviate the burning torment of the Gods.”I asked her, “So tell me, where do I begin? I feel their torment and mine at the same time, and yet it is not mine, both real and unreal.””That is it; and this is where separation should occur,” my soul replied.”But how? My wits fail me. You must know how.””Your wits fail quikly,” she retorted, “but the Gods need precisely your human wits.””And I the wits of the Gods,” I added; “and thus we run aground.””No, you are too impatient; only patient comparison provides a solution, not one side taking a quick decision. It requires work”I asked, “What do the Gods suffer from?””Well,” my soul replied, “you have left them with torment, and since then they have suffered.””Rightly so,” I cried, “they have tormented men enough. Now they should get a taste of it.”She answered, “But what if the torment also reaches you? What have you gained then? You cannot leave all suffering to the Gods or else they will draw you into their torment. After all, they possess the power to do so. To be sure, I must confess that men too possess a wondrous power over the Gods through their wits.”I answered, “I recognize that the torment of the Gods reached me; therefore I also recognize that I must yield to the Gods. What is their desire?””They want obedience,” she replied.”So be it,” I answered, “but I fear their desire, therefore I say: I want to do what I can. On no account will I take back onto myself all the torment that I had to leave to the Gods. Not even Christ took torment away from his followers, but rather he heaped it on. I reserve conditions for myself The Gods should recognizethis and direct their desire accordingly. There is no longer any unconditional obedience, since man has stopped being a slave to the Gods. He has dignity before the Gods. He is a limb that even the Gods cannot do without. Giving way before the Gods is no more. So let their wish be heard. Comparison shall accomplish the rest so that each will have his appropriate part.”My soul answered, “The Gods want you to do for their sake what you know you do not want to do.””I thought so,” I exclaimed, “of course that is what the Gods want. But do the Gods also do what I want? I want the fruits of my labor. What do the Gods do for me? They want their goals to be fulfilled, but what about mine?”This infuriated my soul and she said, “You are unbelievably defiant and rebellious. Consider the fact that the Gods are strong.””I know,” I replied, “but no longer is there any unconditional obedience. When will they use their strength for me? They also want me to place mine in their service. What is their payment in kind? That they are tormented? Man suffered agony and the Gods were still not satisfied, but remained insatiable in their devising of new torments. They allowed man to become so blinded that he believed that there were no Gods, and that there was only one God who was a loving father, so that today someone who struggles with the Gods is even thought to be crazy. They have thus prepared this shame too for those who recognize them, out of boundless greed for power, since leading the blind is not easy. They will corrupt even their slaves.””You do not want to obey the Gods?” my soul cried, astonished.I answered, “I believe that has already gone on more than enough. Hence the Gods are insatiable, because they have received too many sacrifices: the altars of blinded humanity are streaming with blood. But dearth makes contentment, not abundance. May they learn dearth from men. Who does something for me? That is the question that I must pose. In no case will I do what the Gods would have to do. Ask the Gods what they think of my suggestion.”Then my soul divided herself As a bird she swooped up to the higher Gods and as a serpent she crawled down to the lower Gods. Soon afterward, she returned and said, troubled, “The Gods are outraged that you do not want to be obedient.””That bothers me very little,” I replied, “I have done everything to placate the Gods. May they do their share now. Tell them. I can wait. I will let no one tell me what to do. The Gods may devise a service in return. You can go. I will call you tomorrow so that you can tell me what the Gods have decided.”
As my soul departed, I saw that she was shocked and worried, since she belonged to the race of the Gods and daimons and forever sought to convert me to their kind, as my humanity would like to convince me that I belong to the clan and must serve it. When I was asleep, my soul came again and in a dream cunningly painted me as a horned devil to terrify me and make me afraid of myself In the following night, however, I called my soul and said to her, “Your trick was recognized. It is to no avail. You do not frighten me. Now speak and convey your message!”
She answered, “The Gods give in. You have broken the compulsion of the law. Therefore I painted you as a devil, since he is the only one among the Gods who bows to no compulsion. He is the rebel against the eternal law; to which, thanks to his deed, there are also exceptions. Thus one does not necessarily haveto. The devil is helpful in this respect. But it should not happen without seeking counsel from the Gods. This detour is necessary, or else you will fall prey to their law despite the devil.”
Here the soul drew near to my ear and whispered, “The Gods are even happy to turn a blind eye from time to time, since basically they know very well that it would be bad for life ifthere were no exception to eternal law. Hence their tolerance of the devil.”She then raised her voice and cried loudly, “The Gods have mercy upon you and have accepted your sacrifice!”And so the devil helped me to cleanse myself from commingling in bondage, and the pain of one-sidedness pierced my heart and the wound of being torn apart scorched me.
It was noon on a hot summer’s day and I was taking a stroll in my garden; when I reached the shade of the high trees, I met DIAHMON strolling in the fragrant grass. But when I sought to approach him, a blue shadeIs3 came from the other side, and when DIAHMON saw him, he said, “I find you in the garden, beloved. The sins of the world have conferred beauty upon your countenance.”The suffering of the world has straightened your shape.”You are truly a king.”Your crimson is blood.”Your ermine is snow from the coldness of the poles.”Your crown is the heavenly body of the sun, which you bear on your head.
“Welcome to the garden, my master, my beloved, my brother!”The shade replied, “Oh Simon Magus or whatever your name may be, are you in my garden or am I in yours?”DIAHMON said, “You are, Oh master, in my garden. Helena, or whatever you choose to call her, and I are your servants. You can find accommodation with us. Simon and Helena have become DIAHMON and BACCHUS and so we are the hosts of the Gods. We granted hospitality to your terrible worm. And since you come forward, we take you in. It is our garden that surrounds you.”
The’ shade answered, “Is this garden not mine? Is not the world of the heavens and of the spirits my own?”
DIAHMON said, “You are, Oh master, here in the world of men. Men have changed. They are no longer the slaves· and no longer the swindlers of the Gods and no longer mourn in your name, but they grant hospitality to the Gods. The terrible wormIS6 came before you, whom you recognize as your brotherinsofar as you are of divine nature, and as your father insofar as you are of human nature. IS7 You dismissed him when he gave you clever counsel in the desert. You took the counsel, but dismissedthe worm: he finds a place with us. But where he is, you will be also. When I was Simon, I sought to escape him with the ploy of magic and thus I escaped you. Now that I gave the worm a place in my garden, you come to me.”
The shade answered, “Do I fall for the power of your trick? Have you secretly caught me? Were not deception and lies always your manner?”
But DIAHMON answered, “Recognize, Oh master and beloved, that your nature is also of the serpent. Were you not raised on the tree like the serpent? Have you laid aside your body, like the serpent its skin? Have you not practiced the healing arts, like the serpent? Did you not go to Hell before your ascent? And did you not see your brother there, who was shut away in the abyss?”
Then the shade said, “You speak the truth. You are not lying. Even so, do you know what I bring you?””This I know not,” DIAHMON answered, “I know only one thing, that whoever hosts the worm also needs his brother. What do you bring me, my beautiful guest? Lamentation and abomination were the gift of the worm. What will you give us?”
The shade answered, “I bring you the beauty of suffering. That is needed by whoever hosts the worm.” ~Carl Jung, Red Book, Pages 333-359