Black Books

  1. IV 17.

Jung: What do you see?

S. I stand at the gate of splendor and watch for who comes. Above to the left is a small black bird. Below to the right is a white serpent. There is a skeleton in the middle, the skeleton of an animal, probably of an elephant. Where is its flesh? The ants have eaten it. Did you feel this in your body? Probably not. It happened a long time ago. Have you ever seen the white serpent? Yes, you saw it in the fight of the serpents in the Mysterium. But the black bird? It’s new. is it called? What do you say, black bird? listen, it speaks: “I am one who comes from afar, no raven, no bird of ill omen, but a bird of the night, a black earth bird from the East, from empty mountains, where sand
lies and snow and cold gales blow over the bare earth. A land of hunger, high above, a habitat of magic and the uncanny.”

I.: But what do you bring, what do you want here?

S. Hush, let me speak with him. He doesn’t understand your tongue.
To the bird: Have you seen the “green one”? Did you see the “black stone”? Did you hear the “laughter of fire”? Have you spoken to “Atmaviktu”

Bird. No to all of this. I sat on the gray rocks, I nestled in the drifting sand at this place protected from the wind, I saw the wild donkeys and far off once a man. I don’t know what you are talking about.

S. Then you are not the right one I’ve been waiting for. Lift yourself away, empty phantom. (to the serpent:) Where do you come from?

Serpent: I come from below, from the great cave, in which I lived for many thousands of years. I became white and blind from sheer darkness. My young have got feet, and I gnawed my tail, not from hunger but in self-contemplation. I lived from fire and drank liquid earth. Therefore I have become as solid as white marble and as cold as ice.

S. This is the right one, the king of the serpents, the father of everything serpent-like, sprouted from the earth. Tell me, serpent, did you see the “green one?”

Serp: Yes, I saw it, nailed to the rocks, like a garment with no one in it. I saw it because I was blind. One who sees cannot see it.

S. Did you see the “black stone”?

Serp. I know it well, I lay on it, probably close to 100 years. 10,000 years have passed since the last sacrificial fire was burned out. Yet it is still warm. S. Did you hear the “laughter of fire”?

Serp. It boomed out day after day from the mouth of the source of fire. The deeper laughter is still not yet exhausted.

S. Did you speak to “Atmaviktu”?

[Serp.] He was my companion for** many thousands of years. First he was an old man, then he died and became a bear. That too died and became a fish otter. This also died, and became a black newt. This also died, then Atmaviktu became entered into me and immediately raised me to the threshold of splendor. I myself am the Atmaviktu, the ancient. Formerly he erred and became a man, while he is actually an earth serpent.

S. Who was the black bird?

Serp. That was the spirit and the error of Atmaviktu. He is still erring and hasn’t flown into my throat yet. When he comes near me, I swallow him, so that I become full and my stony heaviness and immobility dwindle. I lack Atmaviktu’s soul. If I possess it, I will enter into the gate of splendor. I will lay myself over the gorge. I am the bridge, the living arch that leads over to the land of men and from the land of men into the golden castle.

I. My soul, what does this dialogue mean? Be quiet, it still hasn’t finished.
To the serpent. Tell me, who is Atmaviktu, whom I see before me here as a serpent?

Serp. Atmaviktu is a kobold, a conjuror of serpents, and is himself a serpent. Do I know who I am?

S. You should know, you blind worm.

Serp. My name is my essence. I have been called Atmaviktu since my birth, if it has ever taken  place. Perhaps I always was and always will be. How should I know who I am?

S. Don’t hide. look, here I’ve caught your bird. I’ll give it to you if you promise to tell me who you are.

Serp. Hand it over, the erring spirit that always escaped. (He snapped at the bird and shut its beak with a sound like two stones coming together)

Serp. Finally-that was the right nourishment. My eyes open, my blood streams. I stretch out straight, my stony flesh is set free . I have come to life.

S. Don’t forget your promise!

Serp. Atmaviktu? I am the kernel of the self The self is no man. That was Atmaviktu’s error. That was my banishment and my darkness for many thousands of years.

S. So that is Atmaviktu! But what is the green robe?

Serp. That’s Atmaviktu’s cloak, which he took off as a man when he died and became an animal.

S. Yet what is the robe?

Serp. His humanity.

S. Ah-Yet tell me, wise one, what is the black stone on which you lie?

Serp. That is death.?

S. Death? What does that mean?

Serp. The death of Atmaviktu, when he was a man. It has been 10,000 years since then, and the :fire of Atmaviktu has been extinct on the stone, because Atmaviktu became a man, and one no longer burnt :fires of praise to death. Do you see that the threshold of splendor is a black stone? The splendor above it is the newly kindled :fire of praise.

S. Death! Yet tell me, what is the laughter of :fire?

Serp. The primordial :fire laughs, because Atmaviktu was a man became, a bear, an otter, and :finally even became a newt and forgot his s self in all these forms.

S. Did the primordial :fire mock him?

Serp. It mocked his garments.

S. Tell me, why did Atmaviktu become a man?

Serp. It was unavoidable. He became sick from longing for man. His head hurt, because he could not think what he did. Therefore he became a man for the sake of healing. He remained in this state, and that was his error, since no one can become their own mantle. He realized this and died, in that he went into the forest and became a bear. Through this men became more human and began to build castles and left the forests to the bears. As they spread and increased their power, they cleared out the woods. Then Atmaviktu died for the third time and drew himself back as an otter into the water. Once more men spread themselves and built ships and headed to new shores. Then Atmaviktu died for the fourth time and became a black newt and drew himself back into the waters under the earth. But men conquered the whole earth and flooded everything with their might. However in the darkness Atmaviktu found his own self again, namely, myself, the white, self-illuminating serpent, which feeds on fire and has also swallowed the last error of Atmaviktu.

S. But now! What will you do after you have swallowed our own last error.

Serp. Look!

S. The serpent writhed upward and opened the gate of splendor. Oh, this splendor-it is too bright-where is the serpent?  Who steps forth from the splendor, who stands on the threshold of the splendor in green garments It is the lover-it is Philemon, a flame above death, ], a new fire of praise. Philemon is not a man, he is truly the self. ~The Black Books, Vol. VI, Page 288-292