From Liber Sæculi, the 7th Æthyr.
It is kindled into fire that was the blue breast of ocean; because this is the bar of heaven, and the feet of the Most High are set thereon.
Now I behold more fully: Each tongue of flame, each leaf of flame, each flower of flame, is one of the great love-stories of the world, with all its retinue of mise-en-scène. And now there is a most marvelous rose formed from the flame, and a perpetual rain of lilies and passion-flowers and violets. And there is gathered out of it all, yet identical with it, the form of a woman like the woman in the Apocalypse, but her beauty and her radiance are such that one cannot look thereon, save with sidelong glances. I enter immediately into trance. It seems that it is she of whom it is written, "The fool hath said in his heart 'there is no God.'" ... This fool is the fool of the Path of Aleph, and sayeth, which is Chokmah, in his heart, which is Tiphereth, that she existeth, in order first that the Wisdom may be joined with the Understanding; and he affirmeth her in Tiphereth that she may be fertile.
It is impossible to describe how this vision changeth from glory unto glory, for at each glance the vision is changed. And this is because she transmitteth the Word to the Understanding, and therefore hath she many forms, and each goddess of love is but a letter of the alphabet of love.
But I look upwards, seeing that she is called the footstool of the Holy One, even as Binah is called His throne. And the whole Aethyr is full of the most wonderful bands of light, -- a thousand different curves and whorls, even as it was before, when I spake mysteries of the Holy Qabalah, and so could not describe it.
Oh, I see vast plains beneath her feet, enormous deserts studded with great rocks; and I see little lonely souls, running helplessly about, minute black creatures like men. And they keep up a very curious howling, that I can compare to nothing that I have ever heard; yet it is strangely human.
And the voice says: These are they that grasped love and clung thereto, praying ever at the knees of the great goddess. These are they that have shut themselves up in fortresses of Love.
And now She cometh forth again, riding upon a dolphin. Now again I see those wandering souls, that have sought restricted love, and have not understood that "the word of sin is restriction."
It is very curious; they seem to be looking for one another or for something, all the time, constantly hurrying about. But they knock up against one another and yet will not see one another, or cannot see one another, because they are so shut up in their cloaks.
And a voice sounds: It is most terrible for the one that hath shut himself up and made himself fast against the universe. For they that sit encamped upon the sea in the city of the Pyramids are indeed shut up. But they have given their blood, even to the last drop, to fill the cup of BABALON.
These that thou seest are indeed the Black Brothers, for it is written: "He shall laugh at their calamity and mock them when their fear cometh." And therefore hath he exalted them unto the plane of love.
And yet again it is written: He desireth not the death of a sinner, but rather that he should turn from his wickedness. Now, if one of these were to cast off his cloak he should behold the brilliance of the lady of the Aethyr; but they will not.
And yet again there is another cause wherefore He hath permitted them to enter thus far within the frontiers of Eden, so that His thought should never swerve from compassion. But do thou behold the brilliance of Love, that casteth forth seven stars upon thine head from her right hand, and crowneth thee with a crown of seven roses. Behold! She is seated upon the throne of turquoise and lapis lazuli, and she is like a flawless emerald, and upon the pillars that support the canopy of her throne are sculptured the Ram, and the Sparrow, and the Cat, and a strange fish. Behold! How she shineth! Behold! How her glances have kindled all these fires that have blown about the heavens! Yet remember that in every one there goeth forth for a witness the justice of the Most High. Is not Libra the House of Venus? And there goeth forth a sickle that shall reap every flower. Is not Saturn exalted in Libra? Daleth, Lamed, Tau.
And therefore was he a fool who uttered her name in his heart, for the root of evil is the root of breath, and the speech in the silence was a lie.
Thus is it seen from below by them that understand not. But from above he rejoiceth, for the joy of dissolution is ten thousand, and the pang of birth but a little.