‘Allegory Of the 4 Elements’. Italian School, 17th century.
A. To Hephaistos
1. The spirits of the elements bear thee company, Lord Iacchos, whose wheels encompass thy planet, who hold the four corners thereof.
2. Hephaistos the Fire-King, whose symbol is the red lion, Lord of the serpent, the flame, and of the secret parts of the earth;
3. Whose veins are full of fire, whose breath is destruction and burning, whose finger maketh the hills to smoke.
4. Ah ! Beware how thou invoke him ; as a lion he devoureth; he rendeth and swalloweth as a furious beast of prey.
5. He purifieth and layeth waste; the land is as the Garden of Eden before him, and behind him a desolate wilderness.
6. He commandeth the most inmost zone of things; his hammer is the lightning, and his anvil the load-stone.
7. He maketh all bodies therewith, he fuseth and deviseth; whether in the small or in the great, whether in the outer or in the inner, before Demeter is Hephaistos.
8. He endoweth all metals with power, and fashioneth all manner of precious amulets.
9. The gold of the womb of earth is his, the mercury and the iron of the mine, the sulfur, the onyx, and the crystals.
10. All his galleries are luminous with mirrors of the fire, wherein are manifold and wondrous images: The glory of princes, the wealth of nations, yea, the splendor of all the kingdoms of the world.
11. He blindeth and deludeth the eyes of men; he encompasseth the foolish with illusions, and smiteth the feeble with madness.
12.Even Lucifer, Lord of the Crystal, which hath power to bind the children of earth, for therein are imprisoned the spirits of the fire.
13. Serve not the fire nor the crystal, and be not undone by their sorcery.
14. For the spirits of lust and illusion obey the crystal, and they who love the light of it shall fall under the domination of Lucifer.
15. Be thou master of the fire and command it; let not the cloven tongue of the serpent beguile thee; neither barter thy liberty for the fruit of enchantment.
16. For the fire shall be quenched by the water, and the water shall be resolved into spirit.
17. But if the fire consume thy soul, it shall be scattered abroad as ashes, and return to the dust of the earth.
18. For it is fire that tries every man’s work, and purifies the substance of all souls.
19. By fire is the initiate baptized, by fire the oblation if salted; and the flame shall devour the dross of the crucible.
20. That which endureth unto the end, the same shall be saved.
21. Therefore be praised, Hephaistos, thou, and thy wheel; be praised, O searching and purgatorial Fire!
B. Hymn to Demeter
1. And thou, Demeter, fair Earth-Mother, whose bosom the patient ox treadeth, whose hands are full of plenty and blessing.
2. Angel of the crucible, guardian of the dead, who makest and unmakest, who combinest and dissolvest, who bringest forth life out of death, and transformest all bodies.
3. They are sown as seed in thy furrows; they are buried therein, as the droppings of the ripened ear; from thy womb they came forth, and to thee they return, O Mother of birth and of sleep!
4. Who makest the volatile to be fixed, and the the real to be apparent, whether in the great or the small, whether in the outer or the inner.
5. Who yokest the cattle of the field to thy plough, for thy dominion is of the field, O Daughter of Time; thou bindest not the sons of the air and the sea.
6. But to the gross thou art gross, and to the subtle thou art subtle.
7. Be praised, Demeter, cunning and multiform alchemist; be praised, thou and thy wheel, O Fruitful Spirit of Earth!
C. Hymn to Poseidon.
1. And Poseidon, Lord of the Deep, Master of the substance of all creatures, who weareth the face of an angel, for he is the Father of Souls.
2. His brow is dark with storms, his voice is as the thunder of cataracts in the mountains; he is subtle, and swift, and strong; he is mightier than all the children of earth.
3. All things are of the sea-salt, for without salt matter is not, whether of the outer or of the inner, whether of the small or of the great.
4. Behold the manifold waves of the sea, which rise and sink, which break and are lost, and follow each other continually; even as these are the transmutation of the souls.
5. For the soul is one substance, as is the water of the deep, whose waves thou canst not number, neither tell their shapes, for the form of them passeth away; even as these are the incarnations of the souls.
6. And the secret of Thetis is the mystery of the Metamorphosis.
7. Out of the sea the horse ariseth, strength and intelligence are begotten of the deep.
8. She is the mother of Avatars, and her cup is the chalice of bitterness: Whoso drinketh thereof shall taste of power and knowledge, and of tears of salt.
9. Be thou praised, O Poseidon, thou and thy wheel; be praised, O chrism of the soul, mighty and variable Spirit of the Sea!
D. Hymn to Pallas Athena.
1. And thou, Athena, blue-eyed virgin, Mistress of the Air, eagle-headed, who givest to all bodies the breath of life.
2. Immaculate mother of the word of prophecy, symbol of the holy essence, goddess of the aegis and of the spear.
3. Spirit of the whirlwind, secret breather of wisdom, fortifier of the soul, inspirer of armies.
4. Shining maid, by whose spear we vanquish, for interior wisdom trusteth all things through; by whose shield we are covered, for interior purity preserveth from all contagion.
5. By thine aid, O Athena, strong and undefiled, by thine aid the hero overcometh in the battle.
6. By thine aid, O armed and winged wisdom, thy servant shall smite the lust of the world.
7. Upon whose beauty whoso looketh, is changed into stone; who feedeth upon the souls of men.
8. Be praised, O Athena, thou and thy wheel; be praised in the great and in the small, in the outer and in the inner, invisible and immaculate Spirit of life!’
‘…The Gods of the elements, Athena (air), Poseidon (water),Hephaistos (fire), and Demeter (earth), are among the greatest, and are close to the throne, having universal sway, inasmuch as their empire is universal.’
(Above quote is from Anna Kingsford’s:
‘Concerning the Greek Mysteries’)
From Anna Kingsford‘s
George Redway, London-1889.
From page 250 to 254
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