After a long search I found the small house In the country fronted by a large bed of tulips. This is where [Philemon]’ the magician, lives with his wife, [Baucis]. DIAHMON [Philemon] is one of those magicians who has not yet managed to banish old age, but who lives it with dignity, and his wife can only do the same. Their interests seem to have become narrow, even childish. They water their bed of tulips and tell each other about the flowers that have newly appeared. And their days fade into a pale wavering chiaracuso, lit up by the past, only slightly frightened of the darkness of what is to come. Why is DIAHMON a magician? Does he conjure up immortality for himself, a life beyond? He was probably only a magician by profession, and he now appears to be a pensioned magician who has retired from service. His desirousness and creative drive have expired and he now enjoys his well-earned rest out of sheer incapacity, like every old man who can do nothing else than plant tulips and water his little garden. The magical rod lies in a cupboard together with the sixth and seventh books of Moses and the wisdom of [Hermes Trismegitsus]. DIAHMON is old and has become somewhat feeble-minded. He still murmurs a few magical spells for the wellbeing of bewitched cattle in return for some petty cash or a gift for the kitchen. But it is uncertain if these spells are still correct and whether he understands their meaning. It is also clear that it hardly matters what he murmurs, as the cattle might also get well on their own. There goes old DIAHMON in the garden, bent, with a watering can in his shaking hand. Baucis stands at
the kitchen window and looks at him calmly and impassively. She has already seen this image a thousand times-somewhat more infirm every time, feebler, seeing it a little less well every time
since her eyesight gradually has become weaker. I stand at the garden gate. They have not noticed the stranger.
“DIAHMON, old magician, how are you?” I call out to him. He does not hear me, seeming to be stone-deaf I follow him and take his arm. He turns and greets me awkwardly and trembling. He has a white beard and thin white hair and a wrinkled face and there appears to be something about this face. His eyes are gray and old and something in them is strange, one would like to say alive.
“I am well, stranger,” he says, “but what are you doing here?”
I: “People tell me that you understand the black art. I am interested in that. Will you tell me about it?”
: “What should I tell you about? There is nothing to tell.”
I: “Don’t be ill-natured, old man, I want to learn.”
: “You are certainly more learned than I. What could I teach you?”
I: “Do not be mean. I certainly don’t intend to become your competitor. I’m just curious to know what you are up to and what magic you are performing.”
: “What do you want? In the past I have helped people here and there who have been sick and disadvantaged.”
I: “What exactly did you do?”
: “Well, I did it quite simply with sympathy.”
I: ” Old man, that word sounds comical and ambiguous.”
: “How so?”
I: “It could mean that you helped people either by expressing compassion or by superstitious, sympathetic means.”
: “Well, surely it would have been both.”
I: “And that’s all there was to your magic?”
: “There was more.”
I: “What was it, tell me.”
: “That is none of your business. You are impertinent and meddlesome.”
I: “Please, don’t take my curiosity badly. Recently I heard something about magic that awakened my interest in this bygone practice. And then I came to you because I heard that you understand the black art. If magic were still taught today at university, I would have studied it there. But the last college of magic was closed long ago. Today no professor knows anything anymore about magic. So do not be sensitive and miserly, but tell me a bit about your art. Surely, you don’t want to take your secrets with you to the grave, do you?”
: “Well, all you will do is laugh anyway. So why should I tell you anything? It would be better if everything were buried with me. It can always be rediscovered later. It will never be lost to
humanity, since magic is reborn with each and every one of us.”
1: “What do you mean? Do you believe that magic is really inborn in man?”
: “If I could, I would say; yes, of course, it is. But you will find this laughable.”
I: “No, this time I will not laugh, because I have often wondered about the fact that all peoples in all times and in all places have the same magical customs. As you can see, I have already thought
along similar lines.”
: “What do you make of magic?”
1: “To put it plainly; nothing, or very little. It appears to me that magic is one of the vain tools of men inferior to nature. I can detect no other tangible meaning in magic.”
: Your professors probably also know just as much.”
1: “Yes, but what do you know about it?”
: “I’d prefer not to say.”
I: “Don’t be so secretive, old man, otherwise I must assume that you know no more than I do.”
: “Take it as you please.”
I: “Your answer suggests that you most definitely understand more about it than others.”
: “Comical fellow, how stubborn you are! But what I like about you is that your reason does not deter you.”
I: “That’s actually the case. Whenever I want to learn and understand something, I leave my so-called reason at home and give whatever it is that I am trying to understand the benefit of
the doubt. I have learned this gradually; because nowadays the world of science is full of scary examples of the opposite.”
: “In which case you could do very well for yourself”
I: “I hope so. Now, let us not stray from magic.”
: “Why are you so determined about learning more about magic, if you claim that you have left your reason at home? Or would you not consider consistency part of reason?”
I: “I do-I see, or rather, it seems as if you are quite an adept sophist, who skillfully leads me around the house and back to the door.”
: “It seems that way to you because you judge everything from the standpoint of your intellect. If you forsake reason for a while, you will also give up consistency.”
1: “That’s a difficult test. But if I want to be adept at some point, I suppose I ought to submit to your request. Alright, I’m listening.”
: “What do you want to hear?”
1: “You’re not going to draw me out. I’m simply waiting for whatever you are going to say.”
: “And what if I say nothing?”
1: “Well, then I’ll withdraw somewhat embarrassed and think that DIAHMON is at the very least a shrewd fox, who definitely would have something to teach me.”
: “With this, my boy; you have learned something about magic.”
1: “I’ll have to chew on this. I must admit that this is somewhat surprising. I had imagined magic as being somewhat different.”
: “Well, this shows you how little you understand about magic and how incorrect your notion of it is.”
1: “If this should be the case, or that’s how it is, then I must confess that I approached the problem completely incorrectly. I gather from what you are saying that these matters do not follow
: “Nor does magic.”
1: “But you have not deterred me at all; on the contrary;
I’m burning to hear even more. What I know up to now is essentially negative.”
: “With this you have recognized a second main point.
Above all, you must know that magic is the negative of what one can know.”
I: “That, too, my dear DIAHMON, is a piece of knowledge that is hard to digest and causes me no small pain. The negative of what one can know? I suppose you mean that it cannot be known,
don’t you? This exhausts my understanding.”
: “That is the third point that you must note as essential: namely; that there is nothing for you to understand.”
1: “Well, I must confess that that is new and strange. So nothing at all about magic can be understood?”
: “Exactly. Magic happens to be precisely everything that eludes comprehension.”
I: “But then how the devil is one to teach and learn magic?”
: “Magic is neither to be taught nor learned. It’s foolish that you want to learn magic.”
1: “But then magic is nothing but deception.”
: “Watch out-you have started reasoning again.”
I: “It’s difficult to exist without reason.”
: ”And that is exactly how difficult magic is.”
I: “Well, in that case it’s hard work. I conclude that it is an inescapable condition for the adept that he completely unlearns his reason.”
: “I’m afraid that is what it amounts to.”
1: “Ye Gods, this is serious.”
: “Not as serious as you think. Reason declines with old age, since it is an essential counterpart of the drives, which are much more intense in youth than in old age. Have you ever seen young magicians?”
I: “No, the magician is proverbially old.”
: “You see, I’m right.”
1: “But then the prospects of the adept are bad. He must wait until old age to experience the mysteries of magic.”
: “If he gives up his reason before then, he can already experience something useful sooner.”
1: “That seems to me to be a dangerous experiment. One cannot give up reason without further ado.”
: “Nor can one / simply become a magician.”
I: “You lay damnable snares.”
: “What do you want? Such is magic.”
I: “Old devil, you make me envious of unreasoning old age.”
: “Well, well, a youth who wants to be an old man! And why? He wants to learn magic and yet dares not to for the sake of his youth.”
1: “You spread a terrible net, old trapper.”
: “Perhaps you should still wait a few years with magic until your hair has gone gray and your reason has slackened somewhat.”
1: “I don’t want to listen to your scorn. Stupidly enough, I got caught up in your yarn. I can’t make sense of you.”
: “But stupidity would perhaps be progress on the way to magic.”
1: “Incidentally; what on earth do you intend to achieve with your magic?”
: “I am alive, as you see.”
1: “Other old men are, too.”
: “Yes, but have you seen how?”
I: “Well, admittedly it was not a pleasant sight. Incidentally, time has left its mark on you, too.”
<P: “I know.”
I: “So, what gives you the advantage?”
<P: ”It doesn’t exactly meet the eye.”
I: “What kind of advantage doesn’t meet the eye?”
<P: “I call that magic.”
I: “You’re moving in a vicious circle. May the devil get the better of you.”
<P: “Well, that’s another advantage of magic: not eve!! the devil gets the better of me. You’re beginning to understand magic, so I must assume that you have a good aptitude for it.”
I: “Thank you, DIAHMON, that is enough; I feel dizzy: Goodbye!”
I leave the small garden and walk down the street. People are standing around in groups and glancing at me furtively. I hear them whispering behind my back: “Look, there he goes, old DIAHMON student. He spoke a long time with the old man. He has learned something. He knows the mysteries. If only I could what he is able to do now.” “Be quiet, you damned fools,” I want to callout to them, but I cannot, since I do not know whether I have actually learned anything. And because I remain silent, they are even more convinced that I have received the black art from DIAHMON.”
 It is an error to believe that there are magical practices that one can learn. One cannot understand magic. One can only understand what accords with reason. Magic accords with unreason, which one cannot understand. The world accords not only with reason but also with unreason. But just as one employs reason to make sense of the world, in that what is reasonable about it approaches reason, a lack of understanding also accords with unreason. This meeting is magical and eludes comprehension. Magical understanding is what one calls noncomprehension. Everything that works magically is incomprehensible, and the incomprehensible often works magically. One calls incomprehensible workings
magical. The magical always surrounds me, always involves me. lt opens spaces that have no doors and leads out into the open where there is no exit. The magical is good and evil and neither good nor evil. Magic is dangerous since what accords with unreason confuses, allures and provokes; and I am always its first victim. Where reason abides, one needs no magic. Hence our time no longer needs magic. Only those without reason needed it to replace their lack of reason. But it is thoroughly unreasonable to bring together what suits reason with magic since they have nothing to do with one another. Both become spoiled through being brought together. Therefore all those lacking reason quite rightly fall into superfluity and disregard. A rational man of this time will therefore never use magic.
But it is another thing for whoever has opened the chaos in himself We need magic to be able to receive or invoke the messenger and the communication of the incomprehensible. We recognized that the world comprises reason and unreason; and we also understood that our way needs not only reason but also unreason. This distinction is arbitrary and depends upon the level of comprehension. But one can be certain that the greater part of the world eludes our understanding. We must value the incomprehensible and unreasonable equally, although they are not necessarily equal in themselves; a part of the incomprehensible, however, is only presently incomprehensible and might already concur with reason tomorrow. But as long as one does not understand it, it remains unreasonable. Insofar as the incomprehensible accords with reason, one may try to think it with success; but insofar as it is unreasonable, one needs magical practices to open it up.
The practice of magic consists in malting what is not understood understandable in an incomprehensible manner. The magical way is not arbitrary, since that would be understandable, but it arises from incomprehensible grounds. Besides, to speak of grounds is incorrect, since grounds concur with reason. Nor can one speak of the groundless, since hardly anything further can be said about this. The magical way arises by itself If one opens up chaos, magic also arises. One can teach the way that leads to chaos, but one cannot teach magic. One can only remain silent about this, which seems to be the best apprenticeship. This view is confusing, but this is what magic is like. Where reason establishes order and clarity, magic causes disarray and a lack of clarity. One indeed needs reason for the magical translation of the not-understood into the understandable, since only by means of reason can the understandable be created. No one can say how to use reason, but it does arise if one tries to express only what an opening of chaos means.
Magic is a way of living. If one has done one’s best to steer the chariot, and one then notices that a greater other is actually steering it, then magical operation takes place. One cannot say what the effect of magic will be, since no one can know it in advance because the magical is the lawless, which occurs without rules and by chance, so to speak But the condition is that one totally accepts it and does not reject it, in order to transfer everything to the growth of the tree. Stupidity too is part of this, which everyone has a great deal of, and also tastelessness, which is possibly the greatest nuisance. Thus a certain solitude and isolation are inescapable conditions of life for the well-being of oneself and of the other, otherwise one cannot sufficiently be oneself A certain slowness of life, which is like a standstill, will be unavoidable. The uncertainty of such a life will most probably be its greatest burden, but still I must unite the two conflicting powers of my soul and keep them together in a true marriage until the end of my life, since the magician is called DIAHMON and his wife BACCHUS.
I hold together what Christ has kept apart in himself and through his example in others, since the more the one half of my being strives toward the good, the more the other half journeys to Hell. When the month of the Twins had ended, the men said to their shadows: “You are I,” since they had previously had their spirit around them as a second person. Thus the two became one, and through this collision the formidable broke out, precisely that spring of consciousness that one calls culture and which
lasted until the time of Christ. But the fish indicated the moment when what was united split, according to the eternal law of contrasts, into an underworld and upper world. If the power of growth begins to cease, then the united falls into its opposites. Christ sent what is beneath to Hell, since it strives toward the
good. That had to be. But the separated cannot remain separated forever. It will be united again and the month of the fish will soon be over. We suspect and understand that growth needs both, and hence we keep good and evil close together. Because we know that too far into the good means the same as too far into evil, we keep them both together.
But we thus lose direction and things no longer flow from the mountain to the valley, but grow quietly from the valley to the mountain. That which we can no longer prevent or hide is our fruit. The flowing stream becomes a lake and an ocean that has no outlet, unless its water rises to the sky as steam and falls from the clouds as rain. While the sea is a death, it is also the place of rising. Such is DIAHMON, who tends his garden. Our hands have been tied, and each must sit quietly in his place. He rises invisibly and falls as rain on distant lands. The water on the ground is no cloud, which should rain. Only pregnant women can give birth, not those who have yet to conceive.
But what mystery are you intimating to me with your name, Oh DIAHMON? Truly you are the lover who once took in the Gods as they wandered the earth when everyone else refused them lodging. You are the one who unsuspectingly gave hospitality to the Gods; they thanked you by transforming your house into a golden temple, while the flood swallowed everyone else. You remained alive when chaos erupted. You it was who served in the sanctuary when the peoples called out in vain to the Gods. Truly, it is the lover who survives. Why did we not see that? And just when did the Gods manifest? Precisely when BACHUS wished to serve the esteemed guests her only goose, that blessed stupidity: the animal fled to the Gods who then revealed themselves to their poor hosts, who had given their last. Thus I saw that the lover
survives, and that he is the one who unwittingly grants hospitality to the Gods.
Truly, Oh DIAHMON, I did not see that your hut is a temple, and that you, DIAHMON, and BACHUS, serve in the sanctuary This magical power allows itself to be neither taught nor learned. Either one has it or does not have it. Now I know your final mystery: you are a lover. You have succeeded in uniting what has been sundered, that is, binding together the Above and Below. Have we not known this for a long time? Yes, we knew it, no, we did not know it. It has always been this way, and yet it has never been thus. Why did I have to wander such long roads before I came to DIAHMON, if he was going to teach me what has been common knowledge for ages? Alas, we have known everything since time immemorial and yet we will never know it until it is has been accomplished. Who exhausts the mystery of love?
Under which mask) oh DIAHMON, are you hiding? You did not strike me as a lover. But my eyes were opened, and I saw that you are a lover of your soul, who anxiously and jealously guards its treasure. There are those who love men, and those who love the souls of men, and those who love their own soul. Such a one is DIAHMON, the host of the Gods. You lie in the sun) oh DIAHMON, like a serpent that coils around itself. Your wisdom is the wisdom of serpents, cold, with a grain of poison, yet healing in small doses. Your magic paralyzes and therefore makes strong people, who tear themselves away from themselves. But do they love you, are they thankful, lover of your own soul? Or do they curse you for your magical serpent poison? They keep their distance, shaking their heads and whispering together.
Are you still a man, DIAHMON, or / is one not a man until one is a lover of one’s own soul? You are hospitable, DIAHMON, you took the dirty wanderers unsuspectingly into your hut. Your house then became a golden temple, and did I really leave your table unsatisfied? What did you give me? Did you invite me for a meal? You shimmered multicolored and inextricable; nowhere did you give yourself to me as prey. You escaped my grasp. I found you nowhere. Are you still a man? Your kind is far more serpent-like.
I sought to grab hold of you and tear it out of you, since the Christians have learned to devour their God. And how long will it take for what happens to the God also to happen to man? I look
into the vast land and hear nothing but wailing and see nothing but men consuming each other.
Oh DIAHMON, you are no Christian. You did not let yourself be engorged and did not engorge me. Because of this you have neither lecture halls nor columned halls teeming with students
who stand around and speak of the master and soak up his words like the elixir of life. You are no Christian and no pagan, but a hospitable inhospitable one, a host of the Gods, a survivor, an
eternal one, the father of all eternal wisdom. But did I really leave you unsatisfied? No, I left you because I was really satisfied. Yet what did I eat? Your words gave me nothing. Your words left me to myself and my doubt. And so I ate myself. And because of this, Oh DIAHMON, you are no Christian, since you nourish yourself from yourself and force men to do the same. This displeases them most, since nothing disgusts the human animal more than itself. Because of this they would rather eat all crawling, hopping, swimming and flying creatures, yes, even their own species, before they nibble at themselves. But this nourishment is effective and one is soon satiated from it. Because of this, Oh DIAHMON, we rise satiated from your table.
Your way, Oh DIAHMON, is instructive. You leave me in a salutary darkness, where there is nothing for me to either see or look for. You are no light that shines in the darkness, no savior who establishes an eternal truth and thus extinguishes the / nocturnal light of human understanding. You leave room for the stupidity and jokes of others. You do not want, Oh blessed one, anything from the other, but instead you tend the flowers in your own garden. He who needs you asks you, and, Oh clever DIAHMON, I suppose that you also ask those from whom you need something and that you pay for what you receive. Christ has made men desirous, for ever since they expect gifts from their saviors without any service in return. Giving is as childish as power. He who gives presumes himself powerful. The virtue of giving is the sky-blue mantle of the tyrant. You are wise, Oh DIAHMON, you do not give. You want your garden to bloom, and for everything to grow from itself.
I praise, Oh DIAHMON, your lack of acting like a savior; you are no shepherd who runs after stray sheep, since you believe in the dignity of man, who is not necessarily a sheep. But if he happens to be a sheep, you would leave him the rights and dignity of sheep, since why should sheep be made into men? There are still more than enough men.
You know, Oh DIAHMON, the wisdom of things to come; therefore you are old, oh so very ancient, and just as you tower above me in years, so you tower above the present in futurity, and the length of your past is immeasurable. You are legendary and unreachable. You were and will be, returning periodically: Your wisdom is invisible, your truth is unknowable, entirely untrue in any given age, and yet true in all eternity; but you pour out living water, from which the flowers of your garden bloom, a starry water, a dew of the night.
What do you need, Oh DIAHMON? You need men for the sake of small things, since everything greater and the greatest thing is in you. Christ spoiled men, since he taught them that they can be saved only by one, namely Him, the Soil of God, and ever since men have been demanding the greater things from others, especially their salvation; and if a sheep gets lost / somewhere, it accuses the shepherd. Oh IAHMQN, you are a man, and you prove that men are not sheep, since you look after the greatest in yourself, and hence fructifying water flows into your garden
from inexhaustible jugs.
Are you lonely oh DIAHMON, I see no entourage and no companions around you; BACCHUS is only your other half. You live with flowers, trees, and birds, but not with men. Should you not live with men? Are you still a man? Do you want nothing from men? Do you not see how they stand together and concoct rumors and childish fairy tales about you? Do you not want to go to them and say that you are a man and a mortal as they are, and that you want to love them? Oh DIAHMON, you laugh? I understand you. Just now I ran into your garden and wanted to tear out of you what I had to understand from within myself. Oh DIAHMON, I understand: immediately I made you into a savior who lets himself be consumed and bound with gifts. That’s what men are like, you think; they are all still Christians. But they want even more: they want you as you are, otherwise you would not be DIAHMON to them and they would be inconsolable, if they could find no bearer for their legends. Hence they would also laugh, if you approached them and said you were as mortal as they are and want to love them. If you did that, you would not be DIAHMON. They want you, DIAHMON, but not another mortal who suffers from the same ills as they do.
I understand you, Oh DIAHMON, you are a true / lover, since you love your soul for the sake of men, because they need a king who lives from himself and owes no one gratitude for his life. They want to have you thus. You fulfill the wish of the people and you vanish. You are a vessel of fables. You would besmirch yourself if you went to men as a man, since they would all laugh and call you a liar and a swindler, since DIAHMON is not a man. I saw, Oh DIAHMON, that crease in your face: you were young once and wanted to be a man among men. But the Christian animals did not love your pagan humanity, since they felt in you what they needed. They always sought the branded one, and when they caught him somewhere in freedom, they locked him in a golden cage and took from him the force of his masculinity, so that he was paralyzed and sat in silence. Then they praise him and devise fables about him. I know, they call this veneration. And if they do not find the true one, they at least have a Pope, whose occupation it is to represent the divine comedy. But the true one always disowns himself since he knows nothing higher than to be a man.
Are you laughing, Oh DIAHMON? I understand you: it irked you to be a man like others. And because you truly loved being human, you voluntarily locked it away so that you could be for men
at least what they wanted to have from you. Therefore I see you, Oh DIAHMON, not with men, but wholly with flowers, the trees and the birds and all waters flowing and still that do not besmirch
your humanity: For you are not DIAHMON to the flowers, trees, and birds, but a man. Yet what solitude, what inhumanity!
[HI 152] Why are you laughing DIAHMON? I cannot fathom you. But do I not see the blue air of your garden. What happy shades surround your Does the sun hatch blue midday specters around your Are you laughing, Oh DIAHMON? Alas, I understand you: humanity has completely faded for you, but its shadow has arisen for you. How much greater and happier the shadow of humanity is than it is itself! The blue midday shadows of the dead! Alas, there is your humanity, Oh DIAHMON, you are a teacher and friend of the dead. They stand sighing in the shade of your house, they live under the branches of your trees. They drink the dew of your tears, they warm themselves at the goodness of your heart, they hunger after the words of your wisdom, which sounds full to them, full of the sounds of life. I saw you, Oh DIAHMON, at the noonday hour when the sun stood highest; you stood speaking with a blue shade, blood stuck to its forehead and solemn torment darkened it. I can guess, Oh DIAHMON, who your midday guest was. How blind I was, fool that I am! That is you, Oh DIAHMON! But who am I! I go my way, shaking my head, and people’s looks follow me and I remain silent. Oh despairing silence!
Oh master of the garden! I see your dark tree from afar in the shimmering
sun. My street leads to the valleys where men live. I am a wandering beggar.
And I remain silent.
Killing off would-be prophets is a gain for the people. If they want murder, then may they kill their false prophets. If the mouth of the Gods remains silent, then each can listen to his own speech. He who loves the people remains into the truth even on the way of their sins. Only after the darkest night will it be day: So cover the lights and remain silent so that the night will become dark and noiseless. The sun rises without our help. Only he who knows the darkest error knows what light is.
oh master of the garden, your magical grove shone to me from afar.
I venerate your deceptive mantle, you father of all will,o’,the,wisps.
I continue on my way; accompanied by a finely polished piece of steel, hardened in ten fires, stowed safely in my robe. Secretly; I wear chain mail under my coat. Overnight I became fond of serpents, and I solved their riddle. I sit down next to them on the hot stones lying by the wayside. I know how to catch them cunningly and cruelly; those cold devils that prick the heel of the unsuspecting. I became their friend and played a softly toned flute. But I decorate my cave with their dazzling skins. As I walked on my way; I came to a red rock on which a great iridescent serpent lay: Since I had now learned magic from DIAHMON, I took out my flute again and played a sweet magical song to make her believe that she was my soul. When she was sufficiently enchanted, I spoke to her:
“My sister, my soul, what do you say?” But she spoke, flattered and therefore tolerantly: “I let grass grow over everything that you do.”
I: “That sounds comforting and seems not to say much.”
S: “Would you like me to say much? I can also be banal, as you know, and let myself be satisfied that way:”
I: “That seems hard to me. I believe that you stand in a close connection with everything beyond, with what is greatest and most uncommon. Therefore I thought that banality would be foreign to you.”
S: “Banality is my element.”
I: “That would be less astonishing if I said it about myself”
S: “The more uncommon you are, the more common I can be. A true respite for me. I think you can sense that I don’t need to torment myself today:”
I: “I. can feel it, and I’m worried that your tree will ultimately bear me no more fruit.”
S: “Worried already? Don’t be stupid, and let me rest.”
I: “I notice that you like being banal. But I do not take you to heart, my dear friend, since I now know you much better than before.”
S: “You’re getting ,to be familiar. I’m afraid that you are beginning to lose respect.”
I: “Are you upset? I believe that would be uncalled for. I’m sufficiently well-informed about the proximity of pathos and banality:”
S: “So, have you noticed that the becoming of the soul follows a serpentine path? Have you seen how soon day becomes night, and night day? How water and dry land change places? And that everything spasmodic is merely destructive?”
I: “I believe that I saw all this. I want to lie in the sun on this warm stone for a while. Perhaps the sun will incubate me.”
But the serpent crept up to me quietly and wound herself smoothly around my feet. Evening fell and night came. I spoke to the serpent and said: “I don’t know what to say: All pots are on the boil.”
S: ”A meal is being prepared.”
I: ”A Last Supper, I suppose?”
S: ”A union with all humanity:”
I: ”A horrifying, sweet thought: to be both guest and dish at this meal.”
S: “That was also Christ’s highest pleasure.”
I: “How holy; how sinful, how everything hot and cold flows into one another! Madness and reason want to be married, the lamb and the wolf graze peacefully side by side. It is all yes and no. The opposites embrace each other, see eye to eye, and intermingle. They recognize their oneness in agonizing pleasure. My heart is filled with wild battle. The waves of dark and bright rivers rush together, one crashing over the other. I have never experienced this before.”
S: “That is new, my dear one, at least for you.”
I: “I suppose you are mocking me. But tears and laughter are one. I no longer feel like either and I am rigid with tension. Loving reaches up to Heaven and resisting reaches just as high. They are entwined and will not let go of each other, since the excessive tension seems to indicate the ultimate and highest possibility of feeling.”
S: “You express yourself emotionally and philosophically. You know that one can say all this much more simply. For example, one can say that you fallen in love all the way from’ the worm up to Tristan and Isolde.
I: “Yes, I know, but nonetheless-“
S: “Religion is still tormenting you, it seems? How many shields do you still need? Much better to say it straight out.”
I:” You’re not tripping me up.”
S: “Well, what is it with morality? Have morality and immorality also become one today?”
I: “You’re mocking me, my sister and chthonic devil. But I must say that those two that rose up to Heaven entwined are also good and evil. I’m not joking but I groan, because joy and pain sound shrill together.”
S: “Where then is your understanding? You’ve gone utterly stupid. After all, you could resolve everything by thinking.”
1: “My understanding? My thinking? I no longer have any understanding. It has grown impervious to me.”
S: “You deny everything that you believed. You’ve completely forgotten who you are. You even deny Faust, who walked calmly past all the specters.”
I: “I’m no longer up to this. My spirit, too, is a specter.”
S: ”Ah, I see, you follow my teaching.”
I: “Unfortunately; that’s the case, and it has benefited me with painful joy.”
S: “You turn your pain into pleasure. You are twisted, blinded; just suffer, you fool.”
I: “This misfortune ought to make me happy.”
The serpent now became angry and tried to bite my heart, but my secret armor broke her poisonous fang. She drew back astonished and said hissing: “You actually behave as if you were unfathomable.”
I: “That’s because I have studied the art of stepping from the left foot onto the right and vice versa, which others have done unthinkingly from time immemorial.”
The serpent raised herself again, as if accidentally holding her tail in front of her mouth, so that I should not see the broken fang. Proudly and calmly she said293: “So you have finally noticed
this?” But I spoke to her smilingly: “The sinuous line of life could not escape me in the long run.”
 Where is truth and faith? Where is warm trust? You find all this between men but not between men and serpents, even if they are serpent souls. But wherever there is love, the serpent-like abides also. Christ himself compared himself to a serpent, and his hellish brother, the Antichrist, is the old dragon himself What is beyond the human that appears in love has the nature of the serpent and the bird, and the serpent often enchants the bird, and more rarely the bird bears off the serpent. Man stands in-between. What seems like a bird to you is a serpent to the other, and what seems like a serpent to you is a bird to the other. Therefore you will meet the other only in human form. If you want to become, then a battle between bird and serpent breaks out. And if you only want to be, you will be a man to yourself and to others. He who is becoming belongs in the desert or in a prison, for he is beyond the human. If men want to become, they behave like animals. No one saves us from the evil of becoming, unless we choose to go through Hell. Why did I behave as if that serpent were my soul? Only; it seems, because my soul was a serpent. This knowledge gave my soul a new face, and I decided henceforth to enchant her myself and subject her to my power. Serpents are wise, and I wanted my serpent soul to communicate her wisdom to me. Never before had life been so doubtful, a night of aimless tension, being one in being directed against one another. Nothing moved, neither God nor the devil. So I approached the serpent that lay in the sun, as if she were unthinking. Her eyes were not visible, since they blinked in the shimmering sunshine, and I spoke to her:
“How will it be, now that God and the devil have become one? Are they in agreement to bring life to a standstill? Does the conflict of opposites belong to the inescapable conditions of life? And does he who recognizes and lives the unity of opposites stand still? He has completely taken the side of actual life, and he no longer acts as if he belonged to one party and had to battle against the other, but he is both and has brought their discord to an end. Through taking this burden from life, has he also taken the force from it?”
The serpent turned and spoke ill-humoredly:
“Truly; you pester me. Opposites were certainly an element of life for me. You probably will have noticed this. Your innovations deprive me of this source of power. I can neither lure you with pathos nor annoy you with banality. I am somewhat baffled.”
I: “If you are baffled, should I give counsel? I would rather you dive down to the deeper grounds to which you have entry and ask Hades or the heavenly ones, perhaps someone there can
S: “You have become imperious.”
I: “Necessity is even more imperious than I. I must live and be able to move.”
S: “You have the whole wide earth. What do you want to ask the beyond for?”
1: “It isn’t curiosity that drives me, but necessity. I will not yield.”
S: “I obey; but reluctantly. This style is new and unaccustomed to me.”
I: “I’m sorry; but there is pressing need. Tell the depths that prospects are not looking too good for us, because we have cut off an important organ from life. As you know, I’m not the guilty
one, since you have led me carefully along this way.”
S: “You might have rejected the apple.”
I: “Enough of these jokes. You know that story better than I do. I am serious. We need some air. Be on your way and fetch the fire. It has already been dark around me for too long. Are you
sluggish or cowardly?”
S: “I’m off to work. Take from me what I bring up.”
Slowly; the throne of the God ascends into empty space, followed by the holy trinity; all of Heaven, and finally Satan himself He resists and clings to his beyond. He will not let it go. The upperworld is too chilly for him.
S: “Have you got tight hold of him?”
I: “Welcome, hot thing of darkness! My soul probably pulled you up roughly?”
S:”Why this noise? I protest against this violent extraction.”
I: “Calm down. I didn’t expect you. You come last of all. You seem to be the hardest part.”
S: “What do you want from me? I don’t need you, impertinent fellow.”
I: “It’s a good thing we have you. You’re the liveliest thing in the whole dogma.”
S: “What concern is your prattle to me! Make it quick. I’m freezing.”
I: “Listen, something has just happened to us: we have united the opposites. Among other things, we have bonded you with God.”
S: “For God’s sake, why this hopeless fuss? Why such nonsense?”
I: “Please, that wasn’t so stupid. This unification is an important principle. We have put a stop to never-ending quarreling, to finally free our hands for real life.”
S: “This smells of monism. I have already made note of some
of these men. Special chambers have.”
I: “You’re mistaken. Matters are not as rational with us as they seem to be.
We have no single correct truth either. Rather, a most remarkable and strange fact has occurred: after the opposites had been united, quite unexpectedly and incomprehensibly nothing further happened. Everything remained in place, peacefully and yet completely motionless, and life turned into a standstill.”
S: “Yes, you fools, you certainly have made a pretty mess of things.”
I: “Well, your mockery is unnecessary. Our intentions were serious.”
S: “Your seriousness leads us to suffer. The ordering of the beyond is shaken to its foundations.”
I: “So you realize that matters are serious. I want an answer to my question, what should happen under these circumstances? We no longer know what to do.”
S: “Well, it is hard to know what to do, and difficult to give advice even if one would like to give it. You are blinded fools, a brashly impertinent people. Why didn’t you stay out of trouble? How do you mean to understand the ordering of the world?”
I: “Your ranting suggests that you are quite thoroughly aggrieved. Look, the holy trinity is taking things coolly. It seems not to dislike the innovation.” .
S: ”Ah, the trinity is so irrational that one can never trust its’ reactions. I strongly advise you not to talce those symbols seriously. “
1: “I thank you for this well-meant advice. But you seem to be interested. One would expect you to pass unbiased judgment on account of your proverbial intelligence.”
S: “Me, unbiased! You can judge for yourself If you consider this absoluteness in its completely lifeless equanimity; you can easily discover that the state and standstill produced by your
presumptuousness closely resembles the absolute. But if I counsel you, I place myself completely on your side, since you too find this standstill unbearable.”
I: “What? You take my side? That is strange.”
S: “That’s not so strange. The absolute was always adverse to the living. I am still the real master of life.”
I: “That is suspicious. Your reaction is far too personal.”
S: “My reaction is far from personal. I am utterly restless, quickly hurrying life. I am never contented, never unperturbed. I pull everything down and hastily rebuild. I am ambition, greed
for fame, lust for action; I am the fizz of new thoughts and action. The absolute is boring and vegetative.”
I: ”Alright, I believe you. So-just what do you advise?”
S: “The best advice I can give you is: revoke your completely harmful innovation as soon as possible.”
I: “What would be gained by that? We’d have to start from scratch again and would infallibly reach the same conclusion a second time. What one has grasped once, one cannot intentionally
not know again and undo. Your counsel is no counsel.”
S: “But could you exist without divisiveness and disunity? You have to get worked up about something, represent a party, overcome opposites, if you want to live.”
I: “That does not help. We also see each other in the opposite. We have grown tired of this game.”
S: ”And so with life.”
I: “It seems to me that it depends on what you call life. Your notion of life has to do with climbing up and tearing down, with assertion and doubt, with impatient dragging around, with hasty desire. You lack the absolute and its forbearing patience.”
S: My life bubbles and foams and stirs up turbulent waves, it consists of seizing and throwing away, ardent wishing and restlessness. That is life, isn’t it”
I: “But the absolute also lives.”
S: “That is no life. It is a standstill or as good as a standstill, or rather: it lives interminably slowly and wastes thousands of years, just like the miserable condition that you have created.”
I: “You enlighten me. You are personal life, but the apparent standstill is the forbearing life of eternity, the life of divinity! This time you have counseled me well. I will let you go. Farewell.”
Satan crawls deftly like a mole back into his hole again. The symbol of the trinity and its entourage rise up in peace and equanimity to Heaven. I thank you, serpent, for hauling up the right one for me. Everyone understands his words, since they are personal. We can live again, a long life. We can waste thousands of years.
Where to begin, oh Gods in suffering or in joy, or in the mixed feeling lying betweenr The beginning is always the smallest, it begins in nothing. If I begin there, I see the little drop of “something” that falls into the sea of nothingness. It is forever about beginning again down where the nothingness widens itself to unrestricted freedom. Nothing has happened yet, the world has yet to begin, the sun is not yet born, the watery firmament has not been separated, we have not yet climbed onto the shoulders of our fathers, since our fathers have not yet become. They have only just died ,and rest in the womb of our bloodthirsty Europe.
We stand in the vastness, wed to the serpent, and consider which stone could be the foundation stone of the building, which we do not yet know. The most ancient It is suitable as
a symbol. We want something graspable. We are weary of the webs that the day weaves and the night unpicks. The devil is probably supposed to create it, that paltry partisan with sham
understanding and greedy hands He emerged from the lump of manure in which the Gods had secured their eggs. I would like to kick the garbage away from me, if the golden seed were not in the vile heart of the misshapen form. Arise then, son of darkness and stench! How firmly you cling to the rubble and waste of the eternal cesspit! I do not fear you, though I hate you, you brother of everything reprehensible in me. Today, you shall be forged with heavy hammers so that the gold of the Gods will spray out of your body. Your time is over, your years are numbered, and today your day of judgment has gone to smithereens. May your casings burst asunder, with our hands we wish to take hold of your seed, the golden one, and free it from slithery mud. May you freeze, devil, since we will cold-forge you. Steel is harder than ice. You shall fit into our form, you thief of the divine marvel, you mother ape, you who stuff your body with the egg of the Gods and thereby make yourself weighty. Hence we curse you, though not because of you, but for the sake of the golden seed.
What serviceable forms rise from your body, you thieving abyss! These appear as elemental spirits, dressed in wrinkled garb, Cabiri, with delightful misshapen forms, young and yet old, dwarfish, shriveled, unspectacular bearers of secret arts, possessors of ridiculous wisdom, first formations of the unformed gold, worms that crawl from the liberated egg of the Gods, incipient ones, unborn, still invisible. What should your appearance be to us? What new arts do you bear up from the inaccessible treasure chamber, the sun yoke from the egg of the Gods You still have roots in the soil like plants and you are animal faces of the human body; you are foolishly sweet, uncanny, primordial, and earthly. We cannot grasp your essence, you gnomes, you object souls. You have your origin in the lowest. Do you want to become giants, you Tom Thumbs Do you belong to the followers of the son of the earth Are you the earthly feet of the Godhead? What do you want Speak!”
The Cabiri: “We come to greet you as the master of the lower nature.”
I: ”Are you speaking to me? Am I your master?”
The Cabiri: “You were not, but you are now.”
I: “So you declare. And so be it. Yet what should I do with your following?”
The Cabiri: “We carry what is not to be carried from below to above. We are the juices that rise secretly, not by force, but sucked out of inertia and affixed to what is growing. We know the unknown ways and the inexplicable laws of living matter. We carry up what slumbers in the earthly; what is dead and yet enters into the living. We do this slowly and easily; what you do in vain in your human way. We complete what is impossible for you.”
I: “What should I leave to you? Which troubles can I transfer to you? What should I not do, and what do you do better?”
The Cabiri: “You forget the lethargy of matter. You want to pull up with your own force what can only rise slowly; ingesting itself affixed to itself from within. Spare yourself the trouble, or you will disturb our work.”
I: “Should I trust you, you untrustworthy ones, you slaves and slave souls? Get to work. Let it be so.”
“It seems to me that I gave you a long time. Neither did I descend to you nor did I disturb your work. I lived in thelight of day and did the work of the day. What did you do?”
The Cabiri: “We hauled things up, we built. We placed stone upon stone. Now you stand on solid ground.”
I: “I feel the ground more solid. I stretch upward.”
The Cabiri: “We forged a flashing / sword for you, with which you can cut the knot that entangles you.”
I: “I take the sword firmly in my hand. I lift it for the blow.”
The Cabiri: “We also place before you the devilish, skillfully twined knot that locks and seals you. Strike, only sharpness will cut through it.”
I: “Let me see it, the great knot, all wound round! Truly a masterpiece of inscrutable nature, a wily natural tangle of roots grown through one another! Only Mother Nature, the blind weaver, could work such a tangle! A great snarled ball and a thousand small knots, all artfully tied, intertwined, truly; a human brain! Am I seeing straight? What did you do? You set my brain before me! Did you give me a sword so
The Cabiri: “The womb of nature wove the brain, the womb of the earth gave the iron. So the Mother gave that its flashing sharpness slices through my brain? What were you thinking of?” you both: entanglement and severing.”
I: “Mysterious! Do you really want to make me the executioner of my own brain?”
The Cabiri: “It befits you as the master of the lower nature. Man is entangled in his brain and the sword is also given to him to cut through the entanglement.”
I: “What is the entanglement you speak of?”
The Cabiri: “The entanglement is your madness, the sword is the overcoming of madness.”
I: “You offsprings of the devil, who told you that I am mad? You earth spirits, you roots of clay and excrement, are you not yourselves the root fibers of my brain? You polyp-snared rubbish,
channels for juice knotted together, parasites upon parasites, all sucked up and deceived, secretly climbing up over one another by night, you deserve the flashing sharpness of my sword. You want to persuade me to cut through you? Are you contemplating self-destruction? How come nature gives birth to creatures that she herself wants to destroy?”
The Cabiri: “Do not hesitate. We need destruction since we ourselves are the entanglement. He who wishes to conquer new land / brings down the bridges behind him. Let us not exist
anymore. We are the thousand canals in which everything also flows back again into its origin.”
I: “Should I sever my own roots? Kill my own people, whose king I am? Should I make my own tree wither? You really are the sons of the devil.”
The Cabiri: “Strike, we are servants who want to die for their master.”
I: “What will happen if I strike?”
The Cabiri: “Then you will no longer be your brain, but will exist beyond your madness. Do you not see, your madness is your brain, the terrible entanglement and intertwining in the connection of the roots, in the nets of canals, the confusion of fibers. Being engrossed in the brain makes you wild. Strike! He finds the way and cries up over his brain. You are a Tom Thumb in the brain, beyond the brain you gain the form of a giant. We are surely sons of the devil, but did you not forge us out of the hot and dark? So we have something of its nature and of yours. The devil says that everything that exists is also worthy, since it perishes. As sons of the devil we want destruction, but as your creatures we want our own destruction. We want to rise up in you through death. We are roots that suck up from all sides. Now you have everything that you need, therefore chop us up, tear us out.”
I: “Will I m’iss you as servants? As a master I need slaves.”
The Cabiri: “The master serves himself”
I: “You ambiguous sons of the devil, these words are your undoing. May my sword strike you, this blow shall be valid forever.”
The Cabiri “Woe, woe! What we feared, what we desired, has come to pass.”
I set foot on new land. Nothing brought up should flow back. No one shall tear down what I
have built. My tower is of iron and has no seams. The devil is forged into the foundations. The Cabiri built it and the master builders were sacrificed with the sword on the battlements of the
tower. Just as a tower surmounts the summit of a mountain on which it stands, so I stand above my brain, from which I grew. I have become hard and cannot be undone again. No more do I
flow back. I am the master of my own self I admire my mastery. I am strong and beautiful and rich. The vast lands and the blue sky have laid themselves before me and bowed to my mastery. I wait upon no one and no one waits upon me. I serve myself andI myself serve. Therefore I have what I need.
My tower grew for several thousand years, imperishable. It does not sink back. But it can be built over and will be built over. Few grasp my tower, since it stands on a high mountain. But many will see it and not grasp it. Therefore my tower will remain unused. No one scales its smooth walls. No one lands on its pointed roof. Only he who finds the entrance hidden in the mountain and rises up through the labyrinths of the innards can reach the tower, and the happiness of he who surveys things from there and he who lives from himself This has been attained and created. It has not arisen from a patchwork of human thoughts, but has been forged from the glowing heat of the innards; the Cabiri themselves carried the matter to the mountain and consecrated the building with their own blood as the sole keepers of the mystery of its genesis. I built it out of the lower and upper beyond and not from the surface of the world. Therefore it is new and strange and towers over the plains inhabited by humans. This is the solid and the beginnings.
I have united with the serpent of the beyond. I have accepted everything beyond into myself From this I have built my beginning. When this work was completed, I was pleased, and I felt curious to know what might still lie in my beyond. So I approached my serpent and asked her / amiably whether she would not like to creep over to bring me news of what was happening in the beyond. But the serpent was weary and said that she had no liking for this.
I: “I don’t want to force anything, but perhaps, who knows? We will still find out something useful.”For a while the serpent hesitated, then she disappeared into the depths. Soon I heard her voice: “I believe that I have reached Hell. There is a hanged man here.” A plain, ugly man with a contorted face stands before me. He has protruding ears and a hunchback. He said: “I am a poisoner who was condemned to the rope.”
I: “What did you do?”
He: “I poisoned my parents and my wife.”
I: “Why did you do that?”
He: “To honor God.”
I: “What? To honor God? What do you mean by that?”
He: “First of all, everything that happens is for the honor of God, and secondly; I had my own ideas.”
I: “What went through your mind?”
He: “I loved them and wanted to transport them more quickly from a wretched life into eternal blessedness. I gave them a strong, too strong a nightcap.”
I: ”And did this not lead you to find out what your own interest
in this was?”
He: “I was now alone and very unhappy. I wanted to live for the sake of my two children, for whom I foresaw a better future. I was in better health than my wife, so I wanted to live.”
I: “Did your wife agree to the murders?”
He: “No, she certainly would have consented, but she knew nothing of my intentions. Unfortunately; the murder was discovered and I was condemned to death.”
I: “Have you found your relatives again in the beyond?”
He: “That’s a strange and unlikely story. I suspect that I’m in Hell. Sometimes it seems as if my wife were here too, and sometimes I’m not sure, just as little as I’m sure of my own self”
I: “What is it like? Tell me.”
He: “From time to time, she seems to speak to me and I reply. But we haven’t spoken about either the murder or our children until now. We only speak together here and there, and only
about trivial things, small matters from our earlier daily life, but completely impersonal, as if we no longer had anything to do with each other. But the true nature of things eludes me. I see
even less of my parents; I believe that I have yet to meet my mother. My father was here once and said something about his tobacco pipe, which he had lost somewhere.”
I: “But how do you pass your time?”
He: “I believe that there is no time with us, so there is none to spend. Nothing at all happens.”
I: “Isn’t that / extremely boring?”
He: “Boring? I’ve never thought about it like that. Boring? Perhaps, but there’s nothing interesting. In actual fact, it’s pretty much all the same.”
I: “Doesn’t the devil ever torment you?”
He: “The devil? I’ve seen nothing of him.”
I: “You come from the beyond and yet you have nothing to report? I find that hard to believe.”
He: “When I still had a body; I often thought that surely it would be interesting to speak to one of the dead. But now the prospect means nothing much to me. As I said, everything here is impersonal and purely matter of fact. As far as I know, that’s what they say.”
I: “That is bleak. I assume that you are in the deepest Hell.”
He: “I don’t care. I guess I can go now, can’t I? Farewell.”
Suddenly he vanished. But I turned to the serpent and said: “What should this boring guest from the beyond mean?”
S: “I met him over there, stumbling around restlessly like so many others. I chose him as the next best. He strikes me as a good example.”
I: “But is the beyond so colorless?”
S: “It seems so; there is nothing but motion, when I make my way over there. Everything merely surges back and forth in a shadowy way. There is nothing personal whatsoever.”
I: “What is it, then, with this damned personal quality? Satan recently made / a strong impression on me, as if he were the quintessence of the personal.”
S: “Of course he would, since he is the eternal adversary; and because you can never reconcile personal life with absolute life.”
I: “Can’t one unite these opposites?”
S: “They are not opposites, but simply differences. Just as little as you make the day the opposite of the year or the bushel the opposite of the cubit.”
I: “That’s enlightening, but somewhat boring.”
S: “As always, when one speaks of the beyond. It goes on withering away; particularly since we have balanced the opposites and married. I believe the dead will soon become extinct.”
 The devil is the sum of the darkness of human nature. He who lives in the light strives toward being the image of God; he who lives in the dark strives toward being the image of the devil. Because I wanted to live in the light, the sun went out for me when I touched the depths. It was dark and serpent-like. I united myself with it and did not overpower it. I took my part of the humiliation and subjugation upon myself, in that I took on the nature of the serpent.
If I had / not become like the serpent, the devil, the quintessence of everything serpent-like, would have held this bit of power over me. This would have given the devil a grip and he would have forced me to make a pact with him just as he also cunningly deceived Faust. But I forestalled him by uniting myself with the serpent, just as a man unites with a woman. So I took away from the devil the possibility of influence, which only ever passes through one’s own serpent-hood, which one commonly assigns to the devil instead of oneself Mephistopheles is Satan, taken with my serpent-hood. Satan himself is the quintessence of evil, naked and therefore without seduction, not even clever, but pure negation without convincing force. Thus I resisted his destructive influence and grasped him and fettered him firmly. His descendants served me and I sacrificed them with the sword.
Thus I built a firm structure. Through this I myself gained stability and duration and could withstand the fluctuations of the personal. Therefore the immortal in me is saved. Through drawing the darkness from my beyond over into the day, I emptied my beyond. Therefore the demands of the dead disappeared, as they were satisfied. I am no longer threatened by the dead, since I accepted their demands though accepting the serpent. But through this I have also taken over something of the dead into my day. Yet it was necessary, since death is the most enduring of all things, that which can never be canceled out. Death gives me durability and solidity. So long as I wanted to satisfy only my own demands, I was personal and therefore living in the sense of the world. But when I recognized the demands of the dead in me and satisfied them, I gave up my earlier personal striving and the world had to take me for a dead man. For a great cold comes over whoever in the excess of his personal striving has recognized the demands of the dead and seeks to satisfy them.
While he feels as if a mysterious poison has paralyzed the living quality of his personal relations, the voices of the dead remain silent in his beyond; the threat, the fear, and the restlessness cease. For everything that previously lurked hungrily in him no longer lives with him in his day. His life is beautiful and rich, since he is himself But whoever always wants only the fortune of others is ugly, since he cripples himself A murderer is one who wants to force others to blessedness, since he kills his own growth. A fool is one who exterminates his love for the sake of love. Such a one is personal to the other. His beyond is gray and impersonal. He forces himself upon others; therefore he is cursed into forcing himself upon himself in a cold nothingness. He who has recognized the demands of the dead has banished his ugliness to the beyond. He no longer greedily forces himself upon others, but lives alone in beauty and speaks with the dead. But there comes the day when the demands of the dead also are satisfied. If one then still perseveres in solitude, beauty fades into the beyond and the wasteland comes over onto this side. A black stage comes after the white, and Heaven and Hell are forever there.
Now that I had found the beauty in me and with myself I spoke to my serpent.
: “I look back as onto a work that has been accomplished.”
Serpent: “Nothing is accomplished yet.”
I: “What do you mean? Not accomplished?”
Se: “This is only the beginning.”
I: “I think you are lying.”
Se: “Whom are you quarreling with? Do you know better?”
I: “I know 1 nothing, but I’d already gotten used to the idea that we had reached a goal, at least a temporary one. If even the dead are about to become extinct, what else is going to happen?”
Se: “But then the living must first begin to live.”
I: “This remark could certainly be deeply meaningful, but it seems to be nothing but a joke.”
Se: “You are getting impertinent. I’m not joking. Life has yet to begin.”
I: “What do you mean by life?”
Se: “I say, life has yet to begin. Didn’t you feel empty today? Do you call that life?”
I: “What you say is true, but I try to put as good a face as I can on everything and to settle for things.”
Se: “That might be quite comfortable. But you really ought to make much higher demands.”
I: “That I dread. I will certainly not assume that I could satisfy my own demands, but neither do I think that you are capable of satisfying them. However, it might be that once again I’m not trusting you enough. I suppose that might be so because I’ve drawn closer to you in human terms and find you so urbane.”
Se: “That proves nothing. Just don’t assume that somehow you could ever grasp me and embody me.”
I: “So, what should it be? I’m ready.”
Se: “You are entitled to’ a reward for what has been accomplished so far.”
I: ”A sweet thought, that payment could be made for this.”
Se: “I give you payment in images. Behold:”
Elijah and Salome! The cycle is completed and the gates of the mysteries have opened again. Elijah leads Salome, the seeing one, by the hand. She blushes and lowers her eyes while lovingly batting her eyelids.
E: “Here, I give you Salome. May she be yours.”
I: “For God’s sake, what should I do with Salome? I am already married and we are not among the Turks.”
E: “You helpless man, how ponderous you are. Is this not a beautiful gift? Is her healing not your doing? Won’t you accept her love as the well-deserved payment for your trouble?”
I: “It seems to me a rather strange gift, more burden than joy. I am happy that Salome is thankful to me and loves me. I love her too-somewhat. Incidentally, the care I afforded her, was, literally,
pressed out of me, rather than something I gave freely and intentionally. If my partly unintentional 1 ordeal has had such a good outcome, I’m already completely satisfied.”
Salome to Elijah: “Leave him, he is a strange man. Heaven knows what his motives are, but he seems to be serious. I’m not ugly and surely I’m generally desirable.”
Salome to me: “Why do you refuse me? I want to be your maid and serve you. I will sing and dance before you, fend off people for you, comfort you when you are sad, laugh with you when you are happy. I will carry all your thoughts in my heart. I will kiss the words that you speak to me. I will pick roses for you each day and all my thoughts will wait upon you and surround you.”
I: “I thank you for your love. It is beautiful to hear you speak of love. It is music and old, far-off homesickness. Look, my tears are falling because of your good words. I want to kneel before
you and kiss your hands a hundred times, because they want to give me love. You speak so beautifully of love. One can never hear enough of love being spoken.”
Sal: “Why only speak? I want to be yours, utterly and completely yours.”
I: “You are like the serpent that coiled around me and pressed out my blood.
“Your sweet words wind around me and I stand lil(e someone crucified.”
Sal: “Why still crucified?”
I: “Don’t you see that unrelenting necessity has flung me onto the cross? It is impossibility that lames me.”
Sal: “Don’t you want to break through necessity? Is what you
call a necessity really one?”
I: “Listen, I doubt that it is your destiny to belong to me. I do not want to intervene in your utterly singular life, since I can never help you to lead it to an end. And what do you gain if one day I
must lay you aside like a worn garment?”
Sal: “Your words are terrible. But I love you so much that I could also lay myself aside when your time has come.”
I: “I know that it would be the greatest torment for me to let you go away. But if you can do this for me, I can also do it for you. I would go on without lament, since I have not forgotten the
dream where I saw my body lying on sharp needles and a bronze wheel rolling over my breast, crushing it. I must think of this dream whenever I think of love. If it must be, I am ready.”
Sal: “I don’t want such a sacrifice. I want to bring you joy. Can I not be joy to you?”
I: “I don’t know, perhaps, / perhaps not.”
Sal: “So then at least try.”
I: “The attempt is the same as the act. Such attempts are costly.”
Sal: “Won’t you bear the cost for my sake?”
I: “I’m rather too weak, too exhausted after what I have suffered because of you, still to be able to undertake further tasks for you. I would be overwhelmed.”
Sal: “If you ,don’t want to accept me, then surely I cannot accept you?”
I: “It’s not a matter of acceptance; if it’s about anything in particular, it’s about giving.”
Sal: “But I do give myself to you. Just accept me.”
I: “As if that would settle the matter! But being entangled with love! Simply thinking about it is dreadful.”
Sal: “So you really demand that I be and not be at the same time. That is impossible. What’s wrong with you?”
I: “I lack the strength to hoist another fate onto my shoulders. I have enough to carry.”
Sal: “But what if I help you bear this load?”
I: “How can you? You’d have to carry me, an untamed burden. Shouldn’t I have to carry it myself?”
E: “You-speak the truth. May each one his load. He who wants to burden others with his baggage is their slave. It is not too difficult for anyone to lug themselves.”
Sal: “But father, couldn’t I help him bear part of his burden?”
E: “Then he’d be your slave.”
Sal: “Or my master and ruler.”
I: “That I shall. not be. You should be a free being. I can bear neither slaves nor masters. I long for men.”
Sal: “Am I not a human being?”
I: “Be your own master and your own slave, do not belong to me but to yourself Do not bear my burden, but your own. Thus you leave me my human freedom, a thing that’s worth more to
me than the right of ownership over another person.”
Sal: “Are you sending me away?”
I: “I’m not sending you away. You must not be far from me. But give to me out of your fullness, not your longing. I cannot satisfy your poverty just as you cannot still my longing. If your
harvest is rich, send me some fruit from your garden. If you suffer from abundance, I will drink from the brimming horn of your joy. I know that that will be a balm for me. I can satisfy myself
only at the table of the satisfied, not at the empty bowls of those who yearn. I will not steal my payment. You possess nothing, so how can you give? Insofar as you give, you demand. Elijah, old man, listen: you have a strange gratitude. Do not give away your daughter, but set her on her own feet. She would like to dance, to sing or play the lute before people, and she would like their
flashing coins thrown before her feet. Salome, I thank you for your love. If you really love me, dance before the crowd, please people so that they praise your beauty and your art. And if you
have a rich harvest, throw me one of your roses through the window, and if the fount of your joy dance and sing to me once more. I long for the joy of men, for their fullness and freedom and not their neediness.”
Sal: “What a hard and incomprehensible man you are.”
E: “You have changed since I last saw you. You speak another language, one that sounds foreign to me.”
I: “My dear old man, I’d like to believe that you find me changed. But you too seem to have changed. Where is your serpent?”
E: “She has gone astray. I believe she was stolen. Since then things have been somewhat gloomy with us. Therefore I would have been happy if you had at least accepted my daughter.”
I: “I know where your serpent is. I have her. We fetched her from the underworld. She / gave me hardness, wisdom, and magical power. We need her in the upper world, since otherwise
the underworld would have had the advantage, to our detriment.”
E: You, accursed robber, may God punish you.”
I: “Your curse is powerless. Whoever possesses the serpent cannot be touched by curses. No, be sensible, old man: whoever possesses wisdom is not greedy for power. Only the man who
has power declines to use it. Do not cry, Salome, fortune is only what you yourself create and not what comes to you. Be gone, my unhappy friends, the night grows late. Elijah, expunge the false
gleam of power from your wisdom, and you, Salome, for the sake of our love, do not forget to dance.”
When everything was completed in me, I unexpectedly returned to the mysteries, to that first sight of the otherworldly powers of the spirit and desire. Just as I had achieved pleasure
in myself and power over myself, Salome had lost pleasure in herself but learned love for the other, and Elijah had lost the power of his wisdom but he had learned to recognize the spirit
of the other. Salome thus lost the power of temptation and has become love. As I have won pleasure in myself I also want love for myself but that really would be too much and would bind me like an iron ring that would stifle me. I accepted Salome as pleasure, and reject her as love. But she wants to be with me. How, then, should I also have love for myself? Love, I believe belongs to others. But my love wants to be with me. I dread it. May the power of my thinking push it from me, into the world, into things, into men. For something should join men together, something should be a bridge. It is the most difficult temptation, if even my love wants me! Mysteries, open your curtains again! I want to wage this battle to its end. Come here, serpent of the dark abyss.
 I hear Salome still crying. What does she want, or what do I still want? It’s a damnable payment you have given to me, a payment that one cannot touch without sacrifice. One that requires even greater sacrifice once one has touched it.
Serpent: “Do you mean to live without sacrifice? Life must cost you something, mustn’t it?”
I: “I have, I believe, already paid. I have rejected Salome. Is that not sacrifice enough?”
Se: “Too little for you. As has been said, you are allowed to make demands of yourself”
I: “You mean well with your damned logic: demanding in sacrifice? That isn’t what I understood. My error has obviously been to my own benefit. Tell me, isn’t it enough if I force my feeling into the background?”
Se: “You’re not forcing your feeling into the background at all; rather it suits you much better not to agonize further over Salome.”
I: “If you’re speaking the truth, it’s quite bad. Is that why Salome is still crying?”
Se: “Yes, it is.”
I: “But what is to be done?”
Se: “Oh, you want to act? One can also think.”
I: “But what is there to think? I confess that I know nothing to think here. Perhaps you have advice. I have the feeling that I must soar over my own head. I can’t do that. What do you think?”
Se: “I think nothing and have no advice either.”
I: “So ask the beyond, go to Heaven or Hell, perhaps there is advice there.”
Se: “I am being pulled upward.”
Then the serpent turned into a small white bird which soared into the clouds where she disappeared. My gaze followed her for a long time.
Bird: “Do you hear me? I’m far off now. Heaven is so far away. Hell is much nearer the earth. I found something for you, a discarded crown. It lay on a street in the immeasurable space of Heaven, a golden crown.”
And now it already lies in my hand, a golden royal crown, with lettering incised within; what does it say? “Love never ends.” A gift from Heaven. But what does it mean?
B: “Here I am, are you satisfied?”
I: “Partially-at any rate I thank you for this meaningful gift. But it is mysterious, and your gift makes me well-nigh suspicious.”
B: “But the gift comes from Heaven, you know.”
I: “It’s certainly very beautiful, but you know very well what we have grasped of Heaven and Hell.”
B: “Don’t exaggerate. After all, there is a difference between Heaven and Hell. I certainly believe, to judge from what I have seen, that just as little happens in Heaven as in Hell, though probably in another way. Even what does not occur cannot occur in a particular way.”
I: “You speak in riddles that could make one ill if one took them to heart. Tell me, what do you make of the crown?”
B: “What do I make of it? Nothing. It truly speaks for itself”
I: “You mean, through the inscription it bears?”
B: “Precisely; I presume that makes sense to you?”
I: “To some extent, I suppose. But that keeps the question awfully in suspense.”
B: “Which is how it is meant to be.”
Now the bird suddenly turned into the serpent again.
I: “You’re unnerving.”
Serpent: “Only for him who isn’t in agreement with me.”
I: “That I am certainly not. But how could one? To hang in the air in such a way is gruesome.”
Se: “Is this sacrifice too difficult for you? You must also be able to hang if you want to solve problems. Look at Salome!”
I, to Salome: “I see, Salome, that you are still weeping. You are not yet done for. I hover and curse my hovering. I am hanging for your sake and for mine. First I was crucified, now I’m simply
hanging-which is less noble, but no less agonizing. Forgive me, for wanting to do you in; I thought of saving you as I did when I healed your blindness through my self-sacrifice. Perhaps I must be decapitated a third time for your sake, like your earlier friend John, who brought us the Christ of agony. Are you insatiable? Do you still see no way to become reasonable?”
Sal: “My beloved, what can I do for you? I have utterly forsaken you.”
I: “So why are you still crying? You know I can’t bear seeing you in tears.”
Sal: “I thought that you were invulnerable since you possessed the black serpent rod.”
I: “The effect of the rod seems doubtful to me. But in one respect it does help me: at least I do not suffocate, although I have been strung up. The magic rod apparently helps me bear the
hanging, surely a gruesome good deed and aid. Don’t you at least want to cut the cord?”
Sal: “How can I? You are hanging too high.335 High on the summit of the tree of life where I cannot reach. Can’t you help yourself you knower of serpent wisdom?”
I: “Must I go on hanging for long?”
Sal: “Until you have devised help for yourself”
I: “So at least tell me what you think of the crown that the bird of my soul fetched for me from Heaven.”
Sal: “What are you saying? The crown? You have the crown? Lucky one, what are you complaining about?”
I: ”A hanged king would like to change places with every blessed beggar on the country road who has not been hanged.”
Sal (ecstatic): “The crown! You have the crown!”
I: “Salome, take pity on me. What is it with the crown?”
Sal (ecstatic): “The crown-you are to be crowned! What blessedness for me and you!”
I: ”Alas, what do you want with the crown? I can’t understand it and I’m suffering unspeakable torment.”
Sal (cruelly): “Hang until you understand.”
I remain silent and hang high above the ground on the swaying branch of the divine tree, for whose sake the original ancestors could not avoid sin. My hands are bound and I am completely helpless. So I hang for three days and three nights. From where should help come? There sits my bird, the serpent, which has put on her white feather dress.
Bird: “We’ll fetch help from the clouds trailing above your head, when nothing else is of help to us.”
I: “You want to fetch help from the clouds? How is that possible?”
B: “I will go and try:”
The bird swings off like a rising lark, becomes smaller and smaller, and finally disappears in the thick gray veil of clouds covering the sky. My gaze follows her longingly and I make out nothing more than the endless gray cloudy sky above me, impenetrably gray; harmoniously gray and unreadable. But the writing on the crown-that is legible. “Love never ends”-does that mean eternal hanging? I was not wrong to be suspicious when my bird brought the crown, the crown of eternal life, the crown of martyrdom-ominous things that are dangerously ambiguous. I am weary; weary not only of hanging but of struggling after the immeasurable. The mysterious crown lies far below my feet on the ground, winking gold. I do not hover, no, I hang, or rather worse, I am hanged between sky and earth-and do not tire of the state of hanging for I could indulge in it forever, but love never ends. Is it really true, shall love end? If this was a blessed message to them, what is it for me?
“That depends entirely on the notion,” an old raven suddenly said, perched on a branch not far from me, awaiting the funeral meal, and immersed in philosophizing.
I: “Why does it depend entirely on the notion?”
Raven: “On your notion of love and the other.”
I: “I know, unlucky old bird, you mean heavenly and earthly love. Heavenly love would be utterly beautiful, but we are men,and, precisely because we are men, I’ve set my mind on being a
complete and full-fledged man.”
R: “You’re an ideologue.”
I: “Dumb raven, be gone!”
There, very close to my face, a branch moves, a black serpent has coiled itself around it and looks at me with the blinding pearly shimmer of its eyes. Is it not my serpent?
I: “Sister, and black rod of magic, where do you come from? I thought that I saw you fly to Heaven as a bird and now you are here? Do you bring help?”
Serpent: “I am only my own half; I’m not one, but two; I’m the one and the other. I a,m here only as the serpent-like, the magical. But magic is useless here. I wound myself idly around this branch
to await further developments. You can use me in life, but not in hanging. In the worst case, I’m ready to lead you to Hades. I know the way there.”
A black form condenses before me out of the air, Satan, with a scornful laugh. He calls to me: “See what comes from the reconciliation of opposites! Recant, and in a flash you’ll be down
on the greening earth.”
I: “I won’t recant, I’m not stupid. If such is the outcome of all this, let it be the end.”
Se: “Where is your inconsistency? Please remember this important rule of the art of life.”
I: “The fact that I’m hanging here is inconsistency enough. I’ve lived inconsistently ad nauseam. What more do you want?”
Se: “Perhaps inconsistency in the right place?”
I: “Stop it! How should I know what the right and the wrong places are?”
Satan: “Whoever gets on in a sovereign way with the opposites knows left from right.”
I: “Be quiet, you’re an interested party. If only my white bird came back with help; I fear I’m growing weak.”
Se: “Don’t be stupid, weakness too is a way; magic makes good the error.”
Satan: “What, you’ve not yet once had the courage of weakness? You want to become a complete man-are men strong?”
I: “White bird of mine, I suppose you can’t find your way back? Did you get up and leave because you couldn’t live with me? Ah, Salome! There she comes. Come to me, Salome! Another night has passed. I didn’t hear you cry; but I hung and still hang.”
Sal: “I haven’t cried anymore, for good fortune and misfortune are balanced in me.”
I: “My white bird has left and has not yet returned. I know nothing and understand nothing. Does this have to do with the crown? Speak!”
Sal: “What should I say? Ask yourself”
I: “I cannot. My brain is like lead, I can only whimper for help. I have no way of knowing whether everything is falling or standing still. My hope is with my white bird. Oh no, could it be that the
bird means the same thing as hanging?”
Satan: “Reconciliation of the opposites! Equal rights for all! Follies!”
I: “I hear a bird chirping! Is that you? Have you come back?”
Bird: “If you love the earth, you are hanged; if you love the sky; you hover.”
I: “What is earth? What is sky?”
B: “Everything under you is the earth, everything above you is the sky. You fly if you strive for what is above you; you are hanged if you strive for what is below you.”
I: “What is above me? What is beneath me?”
B: You is what is before and over you; beneath you is what comes back under you.”
I: The crown? Solve the riddle of the crown for me!”
B: “The crown and serpent are opposites, and are one. Did you not see the serpent that crowned the head of the crucified?”
I: “What, I don’t understand you.”
B: “What words did the crown bring you? “Love never ends”-that is the mystery of the crown and the serpent.”
I: “But Salome? What should happen to Salome?”
B: “You see, Salome is what you are. Fly, and she will grow wings.” The clouds part, the sky is full of the crimson sunset of the completed third day.The sun sinks into the sea, and I glide with
it from the top of the tree toward the earth. Softly and peacefully night falls.
 Fear has befallen me. Whom did you carry to the mountain, you Cabiri? And whom have I sacrificed in you? You have piled me up yourselves, turning me into a tower on inaccessible crags, turning me into my church, my monastery, my place of execution, my prison. I am locked up and condemned within myself I am my own priest and congregation, judge and judged, God and human sacrifice. What a work you have accomplished, Cabiri! You have given birth to a cruel law from the chaos that cannot be revoked. It is understood and accepted. The completion of the secret operation approaches. What I saw I described in words to the best of my ability. Words are poor, and beauty does not attend them. But is truth beautiful and beauty true?
One can speak in beautiful words about love, but about life? And life stands above love. But love is the inescapable mother of life. Life should never be forced into love, but love into life. May love be subject to torment, but not life. As long as love goes pregnant with life, it should be respected; but if it has given birth to life from itself it has turned into an empty sheath and expires into transience. I speak against the mother who bore me, I separate myself from the bearing womb. I speak no more for the sake of love, but for the sake of life. The word has become heavy for me, and it barely wrestles itself free of the soul. Bronze doors have shut. fires have burned out and sunk into ashes. Wells have been drained and where there were seas there is dry land. My tower stands in the desert. Happy is he who can be a hermit in his own desert. He survives. Not the power of the flesh, but of love, should be broken for the sake of life, since life stands above love. A man needs his mother until his life has developed. Then he separates from her. And so life needs love until it has developed, then it will cut loose from it. The separation of the child from the mother is difficult, but the separation of life from love is harder. Love seeks to have and to hold, but life wants more.
The beginning of all things is love, but the being of things is life. This distinction is terrible. Why; Oh spirit of the darkest depths, do you force me to say that whoever loves does not live and whoever lives does not love? I always get it backward! Should everything be turned into its opposite? Will there be a sea where DIAHMON’s temple stands? Will his shady island sink into the deepest ground? Into the whirlpool of the withdrawing flood that earlier swallowed all peoples and lands? Will the bottom of the sea be where Ararat arises?
What repulsive words do you mutter, you mute son of the earth? You want to sever my soul’s embrace? You, my son, do you thrust yourself between? Who are you? And who gives you the power?
Everything that I strove for, everything I wrested from myself do you want to reverse it again and destroy it? You are the son of the devil, to whom everything holy is inimical. You grow overpowering. You frighten me. Let me be happy in the embrace of my soul and do not disturb the peace of the temple.
Off with you, you pierce me with paralyzing force. For I do not want your way. Should I languidly fall at your feet? You devil and son of the devil, speak! Your silence is unbearable, and of awful
stupidity. I won my soul, and to what did she give birth for me? You, monster, a son, ha!-a frightful miscreant, a stammerer, a newt’s brain, a primordial lizard! You want to be king of the earth? You want to banish proud free men, bewitch beautiful women, break up castles, rip open the belly of old cathedrals? Dumb thing, a lazy bug-eyed frog that wears pond weed on his skull’s pate! And you want to call yourself my son? You’re no son of mine, but the spawn of the devil. The father of the devil entered into the womb of my soul and in you has become flesh.
I recognize you, DIAHMON, you most cunning of all fraudsters! You have deceived me. You impregnated my maidenly soul with the terrible worm. DIAHMON, damned charlatan, you aped the mysteries for me, you lay the mantle of the stars on me, you played a Christ-fool’s comedy with me, you hanged me, carefully and ludicrously; in the tree just like Odin, you let me devise runes to enchant Salome-and meanwhile you procreated my soul with the worm, spew of the dust. Deception upon deception! Terrible devil trickery!
You gave me the force of magic, you crowned me, you clad me with the shimmer of power, that let me play a would-be Joseph father to your son. You lodged a puny basilisk in the nest of the dove.
My soul, you adulterous whore, you became pregnant with this bastard! I am dishonored; I, laughable father of the Antichrist! How I mistrusted you! And how poor was my mistrust, that it could not gauge the magnitude of this infamous act! What do you break apart? You broke love and life in twain. From this ghastly sundering, the frog and the son of the frog come forth. Ridiculous-disgusting sight! Irresistible advent!
They will sit on the banks of the sweet water and listen to the nocturnal song of the frogs, since their God has been born as a son of frogs. Where is Salome? Where is the unresolvable question of love?
No more questions, my gaze turned to the coming things, and Salome is where I am. The woman follows your strongest, not you. Thus she bears you your children, in both a good and a bad way.
As I stood so alone on the earth, which was covered by rain clouds and falling night, my serpent344 crept up to me and told me a story:
“Once upon a time there was a king and he had no children. But he would have liked to have a son. So he went to a wise woman who lived as a witch in the forest and confessed all his sins, as if she were a priest appointed by God. To this she said: ‘Dear King, you have done what you should not have done. But since it has come to pass, it has come to pass, and we will have to see how you can do it better in the future. Take a pound of otter lard, bury it in the earth, and let nine months pass. Then dig up that place again and see what you find.’ So the king went to his house, ashamed and saddened, because he had humiliated himself before the witch in the forest. Yet he listened to her advice, dug a hole in the garden at night, and placed a pot of otter lard in it, which he had obtained with some difficulty. Then he let nine months go by. This time had passed he went again by night to the place where the pot lay buried and dug it up. To his great astonishment, he found a sleeping infant in the pot, though the lard had disappeared. He took out the infant and jubilantly brought it to his wife. She took it immediately to her breast and behold-her milk flowed freely. And so the child thrived and became great and strong. He grew into a man who was greater and stronger than all others. When the king’s son was twenty years old, he came before his father and said: ‘I know that you have produced me through
sorcery and that I was not born as one of men. You have made me from the repentance of your sins and this has made me strong. I am born from no woman, which makes me clever. I am strong and clever and therefore I demand the crown of the realm from you. The old king was startled at his son’s knowledge, but even more by his impetuous longing for regal power. He remained silent and thought: ‘What has produced you? Otter lard. Who bore you? The womb of the earth. I drew you from a pot, a witch humiliated me.’ And he decided to let his son be killed secretly.
“But because his sop was stronger than others, he feared him and therefore he wanted to take refuge in a trick He went again to the sorceress in the forest and asked her for advice. She said: ‘Dear King, you confess no sin to me this time, because you want to commit a sin. I advise you to bury another pot with otter’s lard and leave it to lie in the earth for nine months. Then dig it out again and see what has happened.’ The king did what the sorceress advised him. And thenceforth his son became weaker and weaker, and when the king returned to the place where the pot lay after nine months, he could dig his son’s grave at the same time. He lay the dead one in the fosse beside the empty pot.
“But the king was saddened, and when he could no longer master his melancholy, he returned yet again to the sorceress one night and asked her for advice. She spoke to him: ‘Dear King, you wanted a son, but the son wanted to be king himself and also had the power and cleverness for it, and then you wanted your son no more. Because of this you lost your son. Why are you complaining? You have everything, dear King, that you wanted.’ But the king said: ‘You are right. I wanted it so. Bu’t I did not want this melancholy. Do you have. any remedies against remorse?’ The sorceress spoke: ‘Dear King, go to your son’s grave, fill the pot again with otter’s lard, and after nine months see what you find in the pot.’ The King did this, as he had been commanded, and henceforth he became happy and did not know why.
“When the nine months had passed, he dug out the pot again; the body had disappeared, but in the pot there lay a sleeping infant, and he realized that the infant was his dead son. He took the infant to himself and henceforth he grew as much in a week as other infants grow in a year. And when twenty weeks had passed, the son came before the father again and claimed his realm. But the father had learned from experience and already knew for a long time how everything would turn out. After the son had voiced his demand, the old king got up from his throne and embraced his son with tears of joy and crowned him king. And so the son, who had thus become king, was grateful to his father and held him in high esteem, as long as his father was granted life.”
But I spoke to my serpent: “In truth, my serpent, I didn’t know that you are also a teller of fairy tales. So tell me, how should I interpret your fairy tale?”
Se: “Imagine that you are the old king and have a son.”
I: “Who is the son?”
Se: “Well, I thought that you had just spoken of a son who doesn’t make you very happy.”
I: “What? You don’t mean-that I should crown him?”
Se: “Yes, who else?”
I: “That’s uncanny. But what about the sorceress?”
Se: “The sorceress is a motherly woman whose son you should be, since you are a child renewing himself in you.”
I: “Oh no, will it be impossible for me to be a man?”
Se: “Sufficient manhood, and beyond that fullness of childhood. Which is why you need the mother.”
I: “I’m ashamed to be a child.”
Se: Thus you kill your son. A creator needs the mother, since you are not a woman.”
I: “This is a terrible truth. I thought and hoped that I could be a man in every way.”
Se: “You cannot do this for the sake of the son. To create means: mother and child.”
I: “The thought that I must remain a child is unbearable.”
Se: “For the sake of your son you must be a child and leave him the crown.”
I: “The thought that I must remain a child is humiliating and shattering.”
Se: “A salutary antidote against power! Don’t resist being a child, otherwise you resist your son, whom you want above all.”
I: “It’s true, I want the son and survival. But the price for this is high.”
Se: “The son stands higher. You are smaller and weaker than the son. That is a bitter truth, but it can’t be avoided. Don’t be defiant, children must be well-behaved.”
I: “Damned scorn!”
Se: “Man of mockery! I’ll have patience with you. My wells should flow for you and pour forth the drink of salvation, if all lands parch with thirst and everyone comes to you begging for the water of life. So subject yourself to the son.”
I: “Where am I going to take hold of the immeasurable? My knowledge and ability are poor, my power is not enough.”
At which the serpent curled up, gathered herself into knots and said: “Do not ask after the morrow, sufficient unto you is the day. You need not worry about the means. Let everything grow,
let everything sprout; the son grows out of himself”
 The myth commences, the one that need only be lived, not sung, the one that sings itself I subject myself to the son, the one engendered by sorcery, the unnaturally born, the son of the frogs, who stands at the waterside and speaks with his fathers and listens to their nocturnal singing. Truly he is full of mysteries and superior in strength to all men. No man has produced him, and no woman has given birth to him. The absurd has entered the age-old mother, and the son has grown in the deepest ground. He sprang up and was put to death. He rose again, was produced anew in the way of sorcery; and grew more swiftly than before. I gave him the crown that unites the separated. And so he unites the separated for me. I gave him the power and thus he commands, since he is superior in strength and cleverness to all others.
I did not give way to him willingly, but out of insight. No man binds Above and Below together. But he who did not grow like a man, and yet has the form of a man, is capable of binding them. My power is paralyzed, but I survive in my son. I set aside my concern that he may master the people. I am solitary; the people rejoice at him. I was powerful, now I am powerless. I was strong, now I am weak. Since then he has taken all the strength into himself. Everything has turned itself upside down for me. I loved the beauty of the beautiful, the spirit of those rich in spirit, the strength of the strong; I laughed at the stupidity of the stupid, I despised the weakness of the weak, the meanness of the mean, and hated the badness of the bad. But now I must love the beauty of the ugly, the spirit of the foolish, and the strength of the weak. I must admire the stupidity of the clever, must respect the weakness of the strong and the meanness of the generous, and honor the goodness of the bad. Where does that leave mockery;
contempt, and hatred?
They went over to the son as a token of power. His mockery is bloody, and how contemptuously his eyes flash! His hatred is a singing fire! Enviable one, you son of the Gods, how can one fail to obey you? He broke me in two, he cut me up. He yokes the separated. Without him I would fall apart, but my life went on with him. My love remained with me. Thus I entered solitude with a black look on my face, full of resentment and outrage at my son’s dominion. How could my son arrogate my power? I went into my gardens and sat down in a lonely spot on rocks by the water, and brooded darkly: I called the serpent, my nocturnal companion, who lay with me on the rocks through many twilights, imparting her serpent wisdom. But then my son emerged from the water, great and powerful, the crown on his head, with a swirling lion’s mane, shimmering serpent skin covering his body; he said to me:
“I come to you and demand your life.”
I: “What do you mean? Have you even become a God?”
He: “I rise again, I had become flesh, now I return to eternal glitter and shimmer, to the eternal embers of the sun, and leave you your earthliness. You will remain with men. You have been in immortal company long enough. Your work belongs to the earth.”
I: “What a speech! Weren’t you wallowing in the earth and the underearth?”
He: “I had become man and beast, and now ascend again to my own country:”
I: “Where is your country?”
He: “In the light, in the egg, in the sun, in what is innermost and compressed, in the eternal longing embers. So rises the sun in your heart and streams out into the cold world.”
I: “How you transfigure yourself!”
He: “I want to vanish from your sight. You ought to live in darkest solitude, men-not Gods-should illumine your darkness.”
I: “How hard and solemn you are! I’d like to bathe your feet with my tears, dry them with my hair-I’m raving, am I a woman?”
He: “Also a woman, also a mother, pregnant. Giving birth awaits you.”
I: “Oh holy spirit, grant me a spark of your eternal light!”
He: “You are with child.”
I: “I feel the torment and the fear and the desolation of pregnant woman. Do you go from me, my God?”
He: “You have the child.”
I: “My soul, do you still exist? You serpent, you frog, you magically produced boy whom my hands buried; you ridiculed, despised, hated who appeared to me in a foolish form? Woe betide those who have seen their soul and felt it with hands. I am powerless in your hand, my God!”
He: “The pregnant woman belongs to fate. Release me, I rise to the eternal realm.” -“
I: “Will I never hear your voice again? Oh damned deception! What am I asking? You’ll talk to me again tomorrow, you’ll chat over and over in the mirror.”
He: “Do not rail. I will be present and not present. You will hear and not hear me. I will be and not be.”
I: “You utter gruesome riddles.”
He: “Such is my language and to you I leave the understanding. No one besides you has your God. He is always with you, yet you see him in others, and thus he is never with you. You strive to draw to yourself those who seem to possess your God. You will come to see that they do not possess him, and that you alone have him. Thus you are alone among men-in the crowd and yet alone. Solitude in multitude-ponder this.”
I: “I suppose I ought to remain silent after what you have said, but I cannot; my heart bleeds when I see you go from me.”
He: “Let me go. I shall return to you in renewed form. Do you see the sun, how it sinks red into the mountains? This day’s work is accomplished, and a new sun returns. Why are you mourning the sun of today?”
I: “Must night fall?”
He: “Is it not mother of the day?”
I: “Because of this night I want to despair.”
He: “Why lament? It is fate. Let me go, my wings grow and the longing toward eternal light swells up powerfully in me. You can no longer stop me. Stop your tears and let me ascend with cries of joy: You are a man of the fields, think of your crops. I become light, like the bird that rises up into the skies of morning. Do not stop me, do not complain; already I hover, the cry of life escapes from me, I can no longer hold back my supreme pleasure. I must go up-it has happened, the last cord tears away, my wings bear me up. I dive up’ into the sea of light. You who are down there, you distant, twilight being-you fade from me.”
I: “Where have you gone? Something has happened. I am lamed. Has the God not left my sight?”
Where is the God? What has happened? How empty, utterly empty! Should I proclaim to men how you vanished? Should I preach the gospel of godforsaken solitude? Should we all go into the desert and strew ashes on our heads, since the God has left us? I believe and accept that the God is something different from me. He swung high with jubilant joy I remain in the night of pain. No longer with the God, but alone with myself Now shut, you bronze doors I opened to the flood of devastation and murder brooding over the peoples, opened so as to midwife the God. Shut, may mountains bury you and seas flow over YOU. I came to myself a giddy and pitiful figure. My I! I didn’t want this fellow as my companion. I found myself with him. I’d prefer a bad woman or a wayward hound, but one’s own I –this horrifies me.
An opus is needed, that one can squander decades on, and do it out of necessity I must catch up with a piece of the Middle Ages-within myself We have only finished the Middle Ages of-others. I must begin early, in that period when the hermits died out. Asceticism, inquisition, torture are close at hand and impose themselves. The barbarian requires barbaric means of education. My I, you are a barbarian. I want to live with you, therefore I will carry you through an utterly medieval Hell, until you are capable of making living with you bearable. You should be the vessel and womb of life, therefore I shall purify you.
The touchstone is being alone with oneself. This is the way. ~Carl Jung, Red Book, Pages 312-330.