Here is a modern grimoire and record of a vision quest utilizing Aleister Crowley's instructions for astral exploration as given in "Notes on the Astral Plane," published in Magick in Theory and Practice.
Daniel Gunther provides a detailed account and interpretation of a series of visions exploring the Pylons of the Duat, or "Starry Abode." To the ancient Egyptians, the Duat was the place where the sun god Ra made his 12-hour nocturnal journey through the underworld.
The Visions of the Pylons describes a perilous journey where the gate of each hour is protected by a fearful guardian or "watcher." In modern Jungian psychology terms, the Duat is a representation of the unconscious of mankind, inhabited by gods and daemons, the living symbols called primordial images or archetypes.
The author's study of the ancient texts led him to suspect that these Pylons were also hidden gateways to the higher planes of the Tree of Life, possibly including secret entrances to the thirty Aethyrs as described by Elizabethan magician John Dee.
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About the Author
J. Daniel Gunther is a life-long student of esotericism, mythology, and religion. A longtime member of A;. A;., the teaching Order established by Aleister Crowley, he is considered one of the foremost authorities in the ?eld, and serves on the editorial board of The Equinox, and acts as a consultant and advisor for numerous occult publications.
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I am taken to traverse what seems to be a great distance and enter into the domain of the First Pylon. And the Voice of the Angel of the Pylon says:
"This word 'Pylon' is a mockery in this place, for she who is the daughter has no part of the Golden Rod for she is barren as yet. She is the virgin daughter of Hades who is not mentioned by name. For in her countenance is found all manner of beauties and all manner of distortions."
I see myself girt about with chains and chains and chains. Although I struggle to free myself I cannot. There is darkness and loneliness and the breath of Dragons in this place. And I understand only in part, seeing the remainder as if not at all.
And the Angel says:
"This is well, for thou dost see what is and what is girt about with tribulations and what is poured into the Lesser Cup. There is poison and pollution for the fools, yet there is ambrosia and wine for the wise. She who is the Crone to the many is a Bride to the few."
I see her of whom he speaks and she is crowned with a garland of flowers and upon her gown are two scarlet arrows that point unto her feet. At the hem of her garment there are serpents with dragon heads and open mouths like Leviathan who is in the sea.
The Angel spoke again and said:
"She is the sea. Those who perceive it not have crusted over the crystal waters with the spittle from their vulgar mouths and with their feces and with their blasphemies. She will be redeemed from their curses by the Beast of the Four who will devour their desecrations in the lust of his anger, and they shall be no more."
I am allowed to see this creature of whom he speaks, but he seems tame and without malice.
And the Angel said:
"It is well, for thou art written in the Book of Salvations and doth not tempt the Beast with provocations or veils or wine that is but the urine of the Cocatrice. For he is all of these and none of these and those who believe this not are bound by the infirmity that he carries like a plague."
Now I have seen this plague, like a horde of swarming things — locusts and grasshoppers and vile insects with claws that rend and tear and from whose mouth run foul excretions. I have seen them upon the bloated bellies of the carrion stinking in the fields and lying dead with their treasures.
"Lo!," saith the Angel, "There cometh an Oracle!"
I see a most beautiful woman who wears a white gown and who carries herself like a queen. Her head is entirely bare, her hands are empty and her feet are not shod.
There is writing upon the front of her gown and it reads:
[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]
And this is the transliteration thereof:
ACHHAShNV shiivl SHEETrIFEE
Now I thought to Record the meaning of this, as it had been made known to me, but I found that I could not."
She begins to speak:
"Those who stumble at this Pylon stumble because they strive to write their names in blood upon it. But it turn-eth into a stinking black slime that devours them with all manner of foul deaths. Here they must bind themselves with Oaths and Promises and discard the faith of the slaves. For he who treads upon this ground must cast off his shoes and turn not back for any. Here, darkness is desirable and to be lust after. Here, Set deflowers the daughter of the God and fills her with his seed. Here is but the reflection of Knowledge in the waters of the Lesser Sea."
I see her wrap her arms about herself and see them become great white wings. Her countenance alters until she becomes a dragon-faced demon that frightens me and makes me seek safety. She has sexual organs like a man — a great red phallus of stone upon which I see carved a word: [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII].
I do not comprehend the meaning of this. She laughs an awful laugh, a mocking laugh, squeezes her breasts, and pus runs out instead of milk. She has cloven hooves like a goat or satyr. She begins to rave and shriek until I am lost in this madness!
The Angel reappears and says:
"Speak the Word."
I say the Word, though I fear the result: "Thelema."
Then all becomes quiet. The Dragon-Beast-Queen is no more. She has returned unto her former self and she smiles a strange smile at me. I feel like a great fool and am ashamed that I did not know the answer to this great riddle.
But the Angel spoke and said:
"Ye knew it and spake it."
Yet, I pressed close to the Angel and inquired of him, "Will I not be able to pass this Pylon lest I give its name?"
The Angel answered me:
"It is so, but thou hast written that name as an Image like unto thyself."
I see the Pylon that is a great white obelisk upon which is patterned the image of the Aten with Rays terminating in hands.
I speak unto the Angel: "This is an ancient stone, yet it is not weather-beaten or scarred or defiled."
The Angel answered:
"It is so, for as it was said in the presence of Neferu-Ha-Neter, the priestess of the Shrine of Hut-Hooru, thou would come to pass to be Heru in the Age of Light. Thus, the writing faded not. For that which was carved in the City of the Sun is carved in the core of thine heart and cannot be lost or abandoned. Thus it was that the Word Thelema was uttered, for this is what hath brought thee thus far.
Leave this place now. Return unto thine abode and remain for a space until the Gateway of the Second Pylon is opened during the time of the Moon."
And I return, though sadly, for I feel a great longing. But I know that this is the longing of the memory and not of the Will. Thus, it is lost in the path that I have taken.
August 22, 1975 E.V. 12:00 P.M. –1:00 P.M.CHAPTER 2
Now i am taken to tread the path leading to the Second Pylon. The Pylon looms ahead, built of great stone like the sanctuary of the Druids.
By shape, it is the letter Cheth , and upon it in the center is graven the symbol of the lunar crescent beneath an emblem of the sun.
To the left of this symbol there is engraved the word
I pressed unto the Angel of the Pylon and said, "Bring unto me the guardian of this place so that its mystery should be divulged."
And the Angel said,
"It is so."
Suddenly, I am aware of an incredible motion, as if the entire Aire was spinning at a great rate of speed. The Pylon before me begins to crumble and fall, breaking into great pieces of stone and debris.
The earth is riven open and I see corpses rise up from the hollow earth. They wear white gowns or robes and they stare into the heavens. Then, silver stars and stones begin to rain upon them, showering them with its burden, but they remain motionless.
The entire Aire is still spinning. Above, in the sky, I now see an enormous sun, luminous and blazing with a great light. Then it explodes, but without sound! And now it appears to be an illusion and that it is really a moon, cratered and barren and void of life. The Aire ceases its motion.
The risen corpses are now passed away. They are but grinning skulls within empty robes. In their hands they each hold an object which I cannot see well enough to perceive its purpose.
The Angel said:
I do so. Now, they appear to be large pearls, larger than I have ever seen.
The Angel speaks and says:
"They are eggs and not stone; not jewels but shell; not valued by the merchant or seaman, but by the carrion birds of the field. There are their offspring in this cradle, awaiting the coming warmth to renew their life. But it shall come not, for here is Sterility. Thus, these eggs are the eggs of the desert. If they hatch, they hatch out Dragons who live but to die and who vomit water and pass blood."
Now I hear a throng of shrieking birds and the sky is turned black by their wings.
The Angel says:
"It is the return of the Harpies and the beast birds of Hecate their mother. They have come to devour the dead that hold the eggs."
I turn and flee down a long, endless road, fearing that these birds will find me as prey. At last, I come to a crossroads where three roads meet. There is a large entity standing by the roadside. He begins to speak:
"Begone, my child. For thou dost seek my mother, the goddess of the stars and not her sister of the thorny brow."
I know of whom he speaks, so I answer him, the words being placed within my mind from some point beyond. "I have conquered this bitch of damnation who driveth men mad who do not speak to her with averted face. I have feasted upon her worm-eaten flesh to appease her savage lust. I have won at the games that make babbling fools of the lofty. I am not beguiled by her toothless grin. This path have I trod centuries before now. I have but returned this way for a space, for my journey lies beyond the Veil as thou sayest, beyond the Mountain, beyond the Rose and beyond the Sorrow thronged about her Throne who is the Queen of the NOX. I await Sekhmet and her sister Bast, for them will I love and devour with my lust. They are not barren and shall yield me a child. Then shall the Foundation be firm."
The Watcher speaks:
"This is more than Foundation, what is the center spoke of the Rose."
And I challenged him saying, "Thou liest! For Hadit is the center therein as it is written in our holiest book! This is but the outer edge of the Abyss, the lady who is the giver of form and the taker of stability."
Again, he speaks to me and says:
"Come closer to me."
He takes out from his robe a large shew-stone, and he says:
"I will grant unto thee the innermost vision of the sphere and the edges of the Aire that it doth touch in the name of our Lord Shaddai El-Chai."
As I peer into the stone he utters the word:
The stone stirs. This is the Vision thereof:
I see a grinning dæmon of immense size with his fingers locked together somewhat like a mudra. Yet, he is playing a child's game and seeks to show me his strategies. And he sings:
"Here is the church and here is the steeple! Open the doors and here are the people!"
He begins to laugh.
I continue to stare into the stone even though I have heard this riddle before, having played this game as a child and finding no truth therein.
The dæmon of the stone no longer smiles, and he stares into his empty hands, crushing them together. He speaks:
"Thus it is written that the children are prophets to the wise. Who hath the wit to hear the marvel from the mouths of babes? Fool! They who have laughed at my honor shall be buried in the ant-heap and devoured by the insects of the earth! That which was stable shall fall! My Voice which is Silence doth move and shatter the established mountains. Thus at the entrance of the Aire didst thou see the Pylon fall. Take this stone and rebuild it in my name and in my glory."
I beseeched him saying, "What is thy name? Give this unto me so that I may write it upon the gateway of the stars and upon the cornerstone of the temple."
The dæmon says:
"Thou knowest! For my mother is EIGHTY and I am her blazing Child of the Tower. Herein am I imprisoned in this stone mansion, not against my Will, but with full Motion of my Will. For this Tower is but the image of my Will and therein will I remain until the Word is uttered and I am shot forth, an arrow from the Sun into the mouth of the dead father. Thus dost thou learn of the edges of the Æthyrs and Aires and how they infringe one upon the other. For my name is WARLORD and DRAGON, LORD OF THE RED PLANET and CHILD OF THE MOON, the MASTER OF THE EARTH from whence thou didst come first. For my name is likewise 19 which is also the name of my mother whom I have manifest from my image. I am indeed the Lord of the stone into which thou gazest, and I am the prophet of thy task. There are ways in which my mother and I are alike. We are both MOTION, she to the Aire, and I to the point, I who am also JUSTICE. For she is the moon, cold and barren, but I am the blood therein. The best blood cometh therefrom monthly when her motion ceaseth. Then do I leap out and devour the worshippers! Then is the sorcery deified and thus is she redeemed from her witchcrafts. Then is her number squared and I leap forth erect and glad! Therefore also is a mystery of the lunar cave of my father CHAOS and the child that cometh not. Child of Sorrow and Sorrow and Sorrow and breeder of monsters! For 81 is he also, but devoid of my mother's womb. Thus dost thou learn to see the facets of the stone: the flat which is round and the square which is divided, the waters which are blood and the tears which are moons, the dead which are also risen in my name. For I am that blazing one hidden in the mask of sterility.
Go! Quit this place, for the ceremony is ended! The Temple is rebuilded and the earth is closed again. The writing on the stone is running blood in the names of my fathers who have waited 'neath the altar of the Lord for their redemption! Go forth and worship in my name as it is written upon the gate."
I am driven from the Aire and the Vision has grown dark.
It is finished.
August 31, 1975 E.V. 3:15 P.M. — 4:15 P.M.CHAPTER 3
As I enter the pylon, I am assailed by a barrage of symbols whirling in a vortex that echoes out from the center of the Pylon. There is an image of and then the letter which is the reflection of 8. Now I see a huge figure like a harlequin, yet I know him to be a Magus. He confounds the spheres with his laughter which is the Veil of the Eternal Spinner. Across the Aire there is a huge spider web and within each facet there are words and numbers, all individual and apart, yet penetrating the whole of the Vision. Now I hear a voice:
"There are nine entrances to this Pylon, each guarded by the Serpents of the Staff entwined about the Pillars of the Universe. Yet thou shalt not entertain conversation with the Master of the Stone for he goeth solitary to seed the worlds. He is locked within his cape and cowl, which is called Yod, the tenfold Fire and Flame whereby our Mother is revealed. Dust off thy feet and walk silent through the gates, for thereby dwell the gods, and thou art verily a god of a god of a god."
I walk between two upright pillars of gleaming white and now the Aire is opened unto me. I ask aloud for the name of the Pylon and I hear the words:
Now an Angel appears and says:
"Thou who hast asked for the Word of the Pylon, knowest thou not that thou art verily the word itself which is but the seed of the ibis? Thou who dost seek the silvery min-now in the waters of the deep, yet doth not know the fish is dead? [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] is swallowed whole by the birds of prey and impaled on the spikes. Hath not the head of the Bull been taken to appease the thirst of the Lady of the Sea? Thou hast come from the House of the Lesser Mother in search of the Caduceus."
I am driven into a darkness that is the darkness of the soul. I seek to drive it away by uttering "Yod," so that the formless fire may deliver me and so that by virtue of the great flame Qadosh the blackness may be dispersed. But I am confronted by an Angel dressed in a flaming orange gown. And upon the hem of his garments I see characters and runes in a velvet blue color. He speaks:
"Thou who hast entertained the Lord of the 15 passions and 15 vices and the 80 motions which are but the circumambulations of the Temple of Menthu, heed the call of this Aire which is also diverse in 15 ways. Thou who hast seen the Lord traverse the sky and hast questioned the Hammer of Thor which he bore instead of a staff. Seek thou the mystery of The Lovers. Would it vary if it were the Jawbone of an Ass? Verily not, for the blood is spilled, not to glut the ravaging goddess but to build the Palace of the Rose."(Continues…)
Excerpted from "The Visions of the Pylons"
Copyright © 2018 J. Daniel Gunther.
Excerpted by permission of Ibis Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Preface Frater ΦΑΝΗΣ 7
Pylon 1 Zemyeta 31
Pylon 2 Sepedcta-wawau 41
Pylon 3 Nebeta-za-tzefu 57
Pylon 4 Eiry-ta 69
Pylon 5 Nebeta-ahau 83
Pylon 5 (Second Skry): Nebeta-ahau 97
Pylon 6 Hemut-neb-es 107
Pylon 6 (Second Skry): Hemut-neb-es 115
Pylon 7 Pezedey-ta 127
Appendix 1 The Names of the Pylons, their Attributions and their Guardians 141
Appendix 2 The Sigils of the Serpent Ones who are the Guardians of the Pylons 145
Appendix 3 The Images to be Engraved upon the Waxen Seals 155
Appendix 4 How to Skry the Pylons 169
Appendix 5 Of the Eucharist, being the Saffron Cakes, Milk and Honey 177
Appendix 6 The Signs of Banishing and Invoking for the Pylons 181
Color Insert (follows page 144)
The Reflections of the Sephiroth and Paths in the Pylons
Angelic Sigil of Fire
The Pantacle of Zoowasar