The Rite of Mars

The Officers of the Temple

Brother Sol in Aries. White Robe, White and gold nemmes, Sceptre.

(Mars) Brother Mars. Red Robe, Sword.

Sister Scorpio. Green Robe, Violin, Sword.

Brother Aries. Violet Robe, Spear.

(Vulcan) Brother Capricornus. Black Robe, Tom-tom, Sword.

A guard of Probationers, armed.

Mars is throned in the South,
Scorpio on his right, Aries on his left.
In the East is also a veil, behind which is Sol in Aries.
In the North is Capricornus, crouching, kept from the altar by the guard.

The Rite of Mars

Charcoal in censer alight. No incense.
Brother Sol is concealed behind the veil in the East, enthroned upon the Altar.
Mars, Aries, and Scorpio enthroned.

Bro. Capricornus

Bro. Aries

Mars reads the Twelvefold Affirmation from 963.
Sor. Scorpio plays a short martial air. [Beethoven: Marsch]
Capricornus draws aside veil, and admits Probationers and Guests.

The voice of Mars is heard reciting the 91st Psalm of David.

Bro. Aries
Let the sacred perfume be kindled upon the Altar of Mars.

(Does so)

Sor. Scorpio
Hail unto the Master of the Battle!

Bro. Aries
Hail unto the Leader of the Armies of Jupiter!

Bro. Capricornus
Hail unto the Warrior of Eternity!

Bro. Mars
Hail, brethren!

Capricornus returns.

[1]. Let the Temple be purified and consecrated.

Capricornus does so.

[1]. Are the Brethren prepared?

Bro. Aries
They are prepared, Master! They are drawn up in military array around the sacred altar.

Bro. Mars
[1]. Brother Capricornus, I command you to perform the Ritual of the Pentagram.

Bro. Capricornus

(does so)

Bro. Mars
[1]. Brother Aries, I command you to perform the Invocation of the Holy Fire.

Bro. Aries
(goes to altar)
I swear by Djinn and by Shin and by the space between that I will not stir from this place until the fire of God hath flamed upon the water that is upon the altar.
(His face over lamp) Dost thou hear, Brother Ash?
By Aub, the witchery of the secret flame;
By Aud, the subtlety of the inmost fluid;
By Aur, the effulgence of the radiant light;
I call thee, Ash! I adore thee, Ash!

(Over lamp) Ash! Ash! Ash!
I caress thee! I kiss thee! I suck thee up into my mouth and nostrils!
Ohooatan! (three times)

The water flames.

Behold! the fire of God upon the altar as I have sworn by Djinn and by Shin and by the space between!

(returns to his throne).

Bro. Mars
[1]. Hail, sister of the Scorpion!

Sor. Scorpio
Hail, Lord of the Eagle and the Serpent!

Bro. Mars
Amen. I appoint you to lead the army.

Sor. Scorpio
Let us carry the holy symbols with sacred song and dance round the altar of Mars.

The song [Waddell: Litany] is sung as all march round five times deosil before Mars in procession headed by Scorpio, Aries, Capricornus.

Strike, strike the louder chord!
Draw, draw the Flaming Sword!
Crowned child and conquering Lord!
Horus, avenger!

All resume stations.

Sor. Scorpio
Brother Aries, let us invoke the Master of the Battle.

Bro. Aries
advances and kneels to Mars
Mighty and Terrible One, we beseech thee to lead us in the Battle. Here, by thy Symbols, thy Spear, the Sword, and the Drum, we pray thee to strengthen our arms and to defend our hearts. For we are thy chosen warriors, O thou Master of the Battle!


We now invoke thee, O Ama-Inanna, whom our Brethren worshipped in the days of ancient Babylon, great Goddess of Love and War, who made love and war to Gilgamesh, the ruler of thine own city Erech. We invoke thee, our Mother, that thou entreat for us with the Master of Battles.

Sor. Scorpio
To what end do we ask the aid of the Lord Mars?

Bro. Aries
Unto Jupiter we have given the thunderbolt and the lightning-flash; for we seek to enthrone him in the stead of Saturn his father. But Saturn yet reigns; we need the Sword of Mars.

Sor. Scorpio
My heart and hand are with you, children.

She plays. [Beethoven: Romance in G]

starts up and recites:

  1. ... The Dukes of Edom were amazed: Trembling took hold on the mighty of Moab!
  2. Lord, when thou wentest out of Seir; when thou marchedst out of the Field of Edom; the earth trembled, and the heaven dropped: the clouds also dropped water.
  3. Curse ye Meroz, saith the angel of the Lord, curse ye bitterly the inhabitants thereof; because they came not to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the Mighty!
  4. The river Kishon swept them away: that ancient river, the river Kishon!
  5. Oh, my soul, thou hast trodden down strength!
  1. He bowed the Heavens also and and came down: and darkness was under his feet: at the Brightness that was before him thick clouds passed: hail stones and flashes of fire!
  2. The Lord thundred through the Heavens, and the Highest gave forth his voice; hailstones and flashes of fire!
  3. He sent forth his arrows and scattered them: He hurled forth his lightnings and destroyed them!
  4. The Channels of the Waters were seen: and the Foundations of the World were discovered.
  5. At thy Rebuke, oh Lord! At the Blast of the Breath of thy Nostrils!
  1. Oh Lord! I have heard thy Speech, and was afraid!
  2. The Voice of the Lord is upon the Waters.
    The God of Glory thundereth!
    The Lord is upon many Waters.
  3. The Voice of the Lord is strong and powerful!
    The Voice of the Lord is full of Majesty!
  4. The Voice of the Lord breaketh the Cedars! Yea! the Lord breaketh the Cedars of Lebanon!
  5. The Voice of the Lord divideth the flames of fire!
    Yea! the Lord shaketh the wilderness of Kadesh!
  1. Eloah came out of Temani of Edom: And the Holy One from Mount Paran:
  2. He had Karnaim in his hand; and there was the Hiding of his Power.
  3. Before him went the Pestilence; and Flaming Fire went forth at his feet.
  4. He stood, and measured the Earth: He beheld, and drove asunder the Nations.
  5. And the Everlasting Mountains were scattered; the Perpetual Hills did bow!
  1. Was the Lord displeased against the Rivers?
    Was thine anger kindled against the Rivers?
    Was thy wrath kindled against the Sea?
    That thou didst ride upon thy Horses and thy Chariots of Salvation?
  2. The Mountains saw thee and they trembled. The deluge of Water rolled by: the Deep uttered his voice; and lifted up his hands on high.
  3. The Sun and the Moon stood still in their habitations. At the light of thine arrows they went, at the shaking of thy glittering spear!
  4. Thou didst march through the Land in thine indignation: thou didst thresh the Heathen in thine anger.
  5. Thou didst march through the sea with thine Horses: through the Depth of the Mighty Waters!

Capricornus starts up wildly and dances the dance of Mars.

Capricornus falls on floor near his place.

Sor. Scorpio
Brother Aries, let us crown the Master of Battles.

They advance to altar.
Sor. Scorpio takes crown and crowns Mars,
all Probationers joining in chant as before.

Bro. Mars
May Victory crown your arms!

Let us join battle! We conquer! We conquer!

rushes forward and threatens them, reciting:
My head is split. The crashing axe
Of the agony of things shears through
The stupid skull: out spurt the brains.
The universe revolves, then cracks,
Then roars in dissolution due;
And I am counting up the gains
And losses of a life afire
With dust of thought and dulled desire.

Scorpio, as if alarmed at the interruption, flees to throne of Mars and there with Mars defies the rabble.
Bro. Aries rallies Probationers.

So, all is over. I admit
Futility the lord of will.
Life was an episode for me.
As for the meanest monad, knit
To man by mightier bonds than skill
Of subtle-souled psychology
May sever. Aim in chaos? None.
The soul rolls senseless as the sun.

All are driven back up to altar.

Bro. Capricornus
There is no God.

Leaps up and goes to altar with uplifted sword.
[1]. Silence!

A pause.

There is no God—but God!

Aries and Probationers dance a war dance.
Capricornus slinks from temple.

This is the day which down the void abysm
At the Earth-born’s spell yawns for Heaven’s despotism,
 And Conquest is dragged captive through the deep;
Love, from its awful throne of patient power
In the wise heart, from the last giddy hour
 Of dead endurance, from the slippery steep,
And narrow verge of crag-like agony, springs
And folds over the world its healing wings.

Gentleness, Virtue, Wisdom, and Endurance—
These are the seals of that most firm assurance
 Which bars the pit over Destructions’s strength;
And if, with infirm hand, Eternity,
Mother of many acts and hours, should free
 The serpent that would clasp her with his length,
These are the spells by which to reassume
An empire o’er the disentangled doom.

To suffer woes which Hope thinks infinite;
To forgive wrongs darker than death or night;
 To defy Power, which seems omnipotent;
To love, and bear; to hope till Hope creates
From its own wreck the thing it contemplates;
 Neither to change, nor falter, nor repent;
This, like thy glory, Titan, is to be
Good, great and joyous, beautiful and free;
This is alone Life, Joy, Empire, and Victory!

Scorpio plays in accordance [Vieuxtemps: Polonaise]

Bro. Aries
Hail to Thee that sailest heavenwards!
Hail to Thee in whose eye is a Flame of Fire!
Hail, Lord of the Destroying Army!

Hail, brethren.

Bro. Aries
Hail unto Thee, that hast fought at the side of our Lord in the great Battle! Hail unto Thee, our Lady of Tumult! Terrible and beautiful was thou in the midst of the battle, upon thy chariot! Hail unto Thee, as unto thy Lord!

Sor. Scorpio
Hail, brethren!

Bro. Aries
Let us rejoice in our victory!

He leads Probationers in the triumphal dance which becomes slow and voluptuous.

A pause.

Bro. Aries
to seal his triumph

Bro. Capricornus

Bro. Aries extinguishes all lights.
Scorpio plays love poem. [Franz Ries: Romance]

Who is this maiden robed for a bride,
 White shoulders and bright brows adorable,
The flaming locks that clothe her, and abide,
 As God were bathing in the fire of Hell?
  They change, they grow, they shake
  As sunlight on the lake:
They hiss, they glisten on her bosom bare.
  O maiden, maiden queen!
  The lightning flows between
Thy mounting breasts, too magically fair.
  Draw me, O draw me to a dreaming death!
  Send out thine opiate breath,
And lull me to the everlasting sleep,
  That, closing from the kisses of disdain
  To ecstasy of pain,
I may sob out my life into their dangerous deep.

Who cometh from the mountain as a tower
 Stalwart and set against the fiery foes!
Who, breathing as a jasmine-laden bower?
 Who, crowned and lissome as a living rose?
  Sharp thorns in thee are set;
  In me, in me beget
The dolorous despair of this desire.
  Thy body sways and swings
  Above the tide of things,
Laps me as ocean, wraps me round as fire!

  Ye elemental sorceries of song,
  Surge, strenuous and strong,
Seeking dead dreams, the secret of the shrine;
  So that she drain my life and being up
  As from a golden cup,
To mingle in her blood, death’s kiss incarnadine.

Who cometh from the ocean as a flower?
 Who blossometh above the barren sea,
Thy lotus set beneath thee for a bower,
 Thine eyes awakened, lightened, fallen on me?
  O Goddess, queen, and wife!
  O lady of my life!
Who set thy stature as a wood to wave?
  Whose love begat thy limbs?
  Whose wave-washed body swims
That nurtured thee, and found herself a grave?
  But thou, O thou, hast risen from the deep!
  All mortals mourn and weep
To see thee, seeing that all love must die
  Besides thy beauty, see thee and despair!
  Deadly as thou art fair,
I cry for all mankind—they are slain, even as I!

Sor. Scorpio takes crown off.

A pause. Bro. Capricornus dances the dance of Vulcan to anvil-music in gradually increasing red light, at end rushes to throne and finds Mars and Scorpio, their weapons laid aside, in each other's arms.

Bro. Capricornus
Ah, wanton!

Sor. Scorpio takes violin and charms the offended deity, who retires pacified. [Wieniawski: Romance from 2nd Concerto]

Brethren in arms, this is not defeat, but victory! For though I be dethroned, not to Me, not to our lady was the glory. For always is the true God hidden—behold!

One turns on the white light, and there stands Sol in Aries upon the throne of the East.

goes to him and recites:
Unity uttermost showed,
 I adore the might of thy breath,
Supreme and terrible God
 Who makest the Gods and death
 To tremble before thee:—
 I, I adore thee!

He kneels.

O Hawk of gold with power enwalled,
Whose face is like an emerald;
Whose crown is indigo as night;
 Smaragdine snakes about thy brow
Twine, and the disk of flaming light
 Is on thee, seated in the prow
Of the Sun’s bark, enthroned above
With lapis-lazuli for love
 And ruby for enormous force
Chosen to seat thee, thee girt round
With leopard’s pell, and golden sound
 Of planets choral in their course!

He rises.

O thou self-formulated sire!
Self-master of thy dam’s desire!
Thine eyes blaze forth with fiery light;
 Thine heart a secret sun of flame!
I adore the insuperable might:
 I bow before the unspoken Name.

He bows, then turns toward altar.

For I am Yesterday, and I
 To-day, and I to-morrow, born
Now and again, on high, on high
 Travelling on Dian’s naked horn!
I am the Soul that doth create
 The Gods, and all the Kin of Breath.
I come from the sequestered state;
 My birth is from the House of Death.

He advances to altar.

Hail! ye twin hawks high pinnacled
 That watch upon the universe!
Ye that the beir of God beheld!
 That bore it onwards, ministers
Of peace within the house of Wrath,
Servants of him that cometh forth
At dawn with many-coloured lights,
 Mounting from underneath the North,
The shrine of the celestial Heights!

At altar.

He is in me, and I in Him!
 Mine is the crystal radiance
That filleth aether to the brim
 Wherein all stars and suns may dance.
I am the beautiful and glad,
 Rejoicing in the golden day.
I am the spirit silken-clad
 That fareth on the fiery way.
I have escaped from him, whose eyes
Are closed at eventide, and wise
To drag thee to the House of Wrong:—
I am armed! I am armed! I am strong! I am strong!
I make my way: opposing horns
 Of secret foemen push their lust
In vain: my song their fury scorns;
 They sink, they grovel in the dust.

He turns to Sol.

Hail, self-created Lord of Night!
Inscrutable and infinite!
 Let Orpheus journey forth to see
 The Disk in peace and victory!
Let him adore the splendid sight,
 The radiance of the Heaven of Nu;
Soar like a bird, laved by the light,
 To pierce the far eternal blue!

He turns to Aries and Scorpio.

Hail! Hermes! thou the wands of ill
 Hast touched with strength, and they are shivered!
The way is open unto will!
 The pregnant Goddess is delivered!

He kneels to Sol.

Happy, yea, happy! happy is he
 That hath looked forth upon the Bier
 That goeth to the House of Rest!
His heart is lit with melody;
 Peace in his house is master of fear;
 His holy Name is in the West
When the sun sinks, and royal rays
Of moonrise flash across the day’s.

He rises and faces altar.

I have risen! I have risen! as a mighty hawk of gold!
From the golden egg I gather, and my wings the world enfold.
I alight in mighty splendour from the throned boats of light;
Companies of Spirits follow me; adore the Lords of Night.
Yea, with gladness did they paean, bowing low before my car,
In my ears their homage echoed from the sunrise to the star.
I have risen! I am gathered as a lovely hawk of gold,
I the first-born of the Mother in her ecstasy of old.
Lo! I come to face the dweller in the sacred snake of Khem;
Come to face the Babe and Lion, come to measure force with them!
Ah! these locks flow down, a river, as the earth's before the Sun,
As the earth's before the sunset, and the God and I are One.
I who entered in a Fool, gain the God by clean endeavour;
I am shaped as men and women, fair for ever and for ever.

He turns and falls clasping Sol's feet.
All prostrate themselves in adoration.
Sor. Scorpio plays her solar chant. [Bohm: Papillon]

Sol in Aries
The world’s great age begins anew,
 The golden years return,
The earth doth like a snake renew
 Her winter weeds outworn;
Heaven smiles, and faiths and empires gleam,
Like wrecks of a dissolving dream.
A brighter Hellas rears its mountains
 From waves serener far;
A new Peneus rolls his fountains
 Against the morning star.
Where fairer Tempes bloom, there sleep
Young Cyclads on a sunnier deep.
A loftier Argo cleaves the main,
 Fraught with a later prize;
Another Orpheus sings again,
 And loves, and weeps, and dies.
A new Ulysses leaves once more
Calypso for his native shore.
Oh, write no more the tale of Troy,
 If earth Death’s scroll must be!
Nor mix with Laian rage the joy
 Which dawns upon the free;
Although a subtler Sphinx renew
Riddles of death Thebes never knew.
Another Athens shall arise,
 And to remoter time
Bequeath, like sunset to the skies,
 The splendour of its prime;
And leave, if nought so bright may live,
All earth can take or Heaven can give.
Saturn and Love their long repose
 Shall burst, more bright and good
Than all who fell, than One who rose,
 Than many unsubdued.
Not gold, not blood, their altar dowers,
But votive tears and symbol flowers.
Oh, cease! must hate and death return?
 Cease! must men kill and die?
Cease! drain not to its dregs the urn
 Of bitter prophecy.
The world is weary of the past.
Oh, might it die or rest at last!

Bro. Aries
[1-4444]. The battle is indeed fought.

Sol in Aries
[333-333]. The victory is indeed won.

Bro. Aries
Brethren, the Sun is arisen. Let us depart in joy.

Sor. Scorpio
Let us depart in love.

Let us depart in peace.

The officers leave the Temple,
Mars and Scorpio escorting Sol in Aries,
Aries and Capricornus following at the head of the Guard of Probationers.