A TWO-EDGED SWORD
by Fra. Belarion, O.T.O. (Jack
The Seventh Ray 1976 - C.R.
Runyon - Editor
Editor's note: Jack Parsons died in a laboratory
accident in 1952.
Since I first wrote this essay in 1946,
some of the more ominous predictions have been fulfilled. Public
employees have been subjected to the indignity of "loyalty" oaths
and the ignominy of loyalty purges. Members of the United States
Senate, moving under the cloak of immunity and the excuse of
emergency, have made a joke of justice and a mockery of privacy.
Constitutional immunity and legal procedure have been consistently
violated and that which once would have been an outrage in America
is today refused even a review by the Supreme Court.
The golden voice of social security, of socialized "this" and
socialized "that", with its attendant confiscatory taxation and
intrusion on individual liberty, is everywhere raised and everywhere
heeded. England has crept under the aegis of a regime synonymous
with total regimentation. Austria, Hungary, Yugoslavia and
Czechoslovakia have fallen victims to communism while the United
States makes deals with the corrupt dictatorships of Argentina and
As I write, the United States Senate is pursuing a burlesque
investigation into the sphere of private sexual morals, which will
accomplish nothing except to bring pain and sorrow to many innocent
The inertia and acquiescence which allows the suspension of our
liberties would once have been unthinkable. The present ignorance
and indifference is appalling. The little that is worthwhile in our
civilization and culture is made possible by the few who are capable
of creative thinking and independent action, grudgingly assisted by
the rest. When the majority of men surrender their freedom,
barbarism is near but when the creative minority surrender it, the
Dark Age has arrived. Even the word liberalism has now become a
front for a new social form of Christian morality. Science, that was
going to save the world back in H.G. Wells' time, is regimented,
strait-jacketed and scared; its universal language is diminished to
one word, security.
In this 1950 view some of my more hopeful utterances may appear
almost naive. However, I was never so naive as to believe that
freedom in any full sense of the word is possible for more than a
few. But I have believed and do still hold that these few, by
self-sacrifice, wisdom, courage and continuous effort, can achieve
and maintain a free world. The labor is heroic but it can be done by
example and by education. Such was the faith that built America, a
faith that America has surrendered. I call upon America to renew
this faith before she perishes.
We are one nation but we are also one world. The soul of the slums
looks out of the eyes of Wall Street and the fate of a Chinese
coolie determines the destiny of America. We cannot suppress our
brother's liberty without suppressing our own and we cannot murder
our brothers without murdering ourselves. We stand together as men
for human freedom and human dignity or we will fall together, as
animals, back into the jungle.
In this very late hour it is with solutions that we must be
primarily concerned. We seem to be living in a nation that simply
does not know what we are told we have and that we tell each other
we have. Indeed, it is far more than that. It is to the definition
of freedom, to its understanding, in order that it may be attained
and defended, that this essay is devoted. I need not add that
freedom is dangerous -- but it is hardly possible that we are all
For numberless centuries society accepted the proposition that
certain men were created to be slaves. Their natural function was to
serve priests, kings and nobles, men of substance and property who
were appointed slave-masters by almighty God. This system was
reinforced by the established doctrine that all men and women were
owned 'in mind' by the church and 'in body' by the state. This
convenient situation was supported by the authority of social
morality, religion and even philosophy.
Against this doctrine, some two hundred years ago, rose the most
astonishing heresy the world has yet seen; the principle of
liberalism. In essence this principle stated that all men are
created equal and endowed with inalienable rights which belong to
every man as his birthright.
This idea appealed to certain
intractable spirits -- heretics, atheists and revolutionaries -- and
has since made some headway in spite of the opposition of the
majority of organized society. As a slogan, however, it has become
so popular that it is rendered unwilling lip-service by all the
major states and yet it is still so distasteful to persons in
authority that it is nowhere embodied as a fundamental law and is
continually violated in letter and in spirit by every trick of
bigotry and reaction. Further, absolutist and totalitarian groups of
the most vicious nature use liberalism as a cloak under which they
move to re-establish tyrannies and to extinguish the liberty of all
who oppose them.
Thus religious groups seek to abrogate freedom of art, speech and
the press; reactionaries move to suppress labor, communists to
establish dictatorships -- and all in the name of 'freedom'. Because
of the peculiar definitions of freedom used by some of these
camouflaged tyrants, it seems necessary to redefine Freedom in the
terms understood by Voltaire, Paine, Washington, Jefferson and
Freedom is a two-edged sword of which one edge is liberty and the
other, responsibility. Both edges are exceedingly sharp and the
weapon is not suited to casual, cowardly or treacherous hands.
Since all tyrannies are based on dogma and since all dogmas are
based on lies, it behooves us to look beyond them for truth and
freedom will both be far away. And yet the Truth is that we know
...Objectively, we know nothing at
all. Any system of intellectual thought, whether it be science,
logic, religion or philosophy, is based on certain fundamental
ideas or axioms which are assumed but which cannot be proven.
This is the grave of all positivism. We assume but we do not
know that there is a real and objective world outside our own
mind. Ultimately we do not know what we are or what the world
is. Further, if there is a real world apart from ourselves we
cannot know what it really is; all we know is what we perceive
it to be. All that we perceive is conveyed by our senses and
interpreted by our brain. However fine, exact or delicate our
scientific instruments may be, their data is still filtered
through our senses and interpreted by our brain. However useful,
spectacular or necessary our ideas and experiments may be, they
still have little to do with absolute truth. Such a thing can
only exist for the individual according to his whim or his inner
perception of his own truth-in-being.
The witches and devils of the middle
ages were real by our own standards; reputable and responsible
persons believed in them. They were seen, their effects observed and
they accounted for a large body of otherwise inexplicable
phenomenon. Their existence was accepted without question by the
majority of men, great and humble. From this majority there was not
and still is not any appeal. Yet we do not believe in these things
today. We believe in other things similarly explaining the same
phenomenon. Tomorrow we will believe in still other things We
believe but we do not know.
All of our deductions, for example the theory of gravitation, are
based on observed statistics, on tendencies observed to occur in a
certain way. Even if our observations are correct, we still do not
know why these things happen. Our theories are only assumptions,
however reasonable they may seem.
There is a type of truth that is based on experience: we know that
we feel hot or hungry or in love. These feelings cannot be conveyed
to anyone who has not experienced them. We can describe them in
terms of similar feelings experienced by someone else, analyzing
their cause-and-effect according to mutually acceptable theories but
that someone else will never really know what your feeling is like.
The above may be negative considerations but within their limits we
can deduce positive principles:
Whatever the universe is, we are
either all or part of it by virtue of our consciousness but we
do not know which.
No philosophy, scientific theory,
religion or system of thought can be absolute and infallible.
They are relative only. One man's opinion is just as good as
There is no absolute justification
for emphasizing one individual theory or way of life over
Every man has the right to his own
opinion and his own way of life. There is no system of human
thought which can successfully refute this thesis.
So much for positivism but other
problems still remain. There is necessity, expediency and
convenience. If these are illusions they are very popular and it is
usual to consider them. We might say that politics is concerned with
necessity and expediency whereas science is concerned with
convenience. This is not intended to discredit science and reason in
their proper spheres. Reason is one of our greatest gifts, the power
that differentiates us from the animals, and science is our greatest
tool, our best hope for building a genuine civilization. (It is
curious that this modern truism appears, in this system of
reasoning, as a concession.)
In spite of its inestimable value, science is a tool and has nothing
to do with ultimate truth. Herein is the danger of science. As a
tool it is so valuable, so useful and so irresistible that we
incline to regard it as the arbiter of the absolute, giving final
and irrefutable pronouncement on all things. This is exactly the
position that the pedant, the dogmatist and the dialectical
materialist would have us take. Then, posing as a "scientist" or
propounding "Scientific" doctrines, he can persuade us to accept his
values and obey his orders. Today's science must forever be free to
overthrow its yesterdays, otherwise it will degenerate into ancestor
It is necessary that we defend freedom unless we all wish to be
slaves. It is expedient that we achieve brotherhood unless we desire
destruction and it is convenient that we grant others the right to
their own opinions and life-styles in order to maintain our own.
The intelligent individual will not base his conduct on an arbitrary
or absolute concept of right and wrong. It may be argued that all
motives and all actions are selfish since they are intended to
satisfy some requirement of the ego. Perhaps this is true of
self-sacrifice, abnegation and the highest altruism. We engage in
them in order to satisfy ourselves by attaining some object however
intangible it may be.
The ego can be very broad. A man may include the whole world as a
part of his ego and thus set out to redeem or save it for no other
reason than the pleasure of personal accomplishment. Such a man, far
from being unselfish, is extremely egotistical. The artist devoted
to the production of pure beauty is so dedicated because of his need
and his nature; at least such egotism is not petty. Motives of
family-love and patriotism are rooted in bigotry. This does not
necessarily detract from such actions and motives. Everything in
nature is beautiful and it is no less beautiful because it is
understood. However, the unenlightened man will assign arbitrary
values to all things in order to protect and justify his own
position. His morals are based on things he wishes were true or
which someone else wishes were true. His philosophy pays no
attention to relative facts or realities and yet in his life he must
deal with them. He is consequently involved in a constant round of
pretenses and evasions.
The enlightened liberal needs no such justification. He will realize
and accept his inherent selfishness and the inherent selfishness of
all men. He will understand living as a technique, the technique of
getting what he wants on the terms he wants.
Such is the case with freedom. If we abrogate another's freedom to
gain our own ends, our own freedom is thereby jeopardized. That is
the cost. If we wish to assure our own freedom, we must assure all
mens' freedom. That is the technique.
If a liberal were to develop two personalities and one of these
personalities were to establish a benevolent dictatorship while the
other continued his liberal activities it would only be a matter of
time before he killed himself. The restriction of others freedom is
ultimately self-enslavement and suicide. The dictator is the most
abject of all slaves.
These simple considerations are the logical basis of the philosophy
of liberalism. From such considerations and from many more the
fundamental principles of liberalism arose as a code of rights,
basic in nature and clear beyond misconception. This code must be
the Law beyond the law, an ultimate expression of the dignity and
inviolability of the individual. It must be above compromise by
courts and lawyers, beyond the whim of the populace and the
treachery of demagogues.
It must be the epitome of man's
aspertion toward liberty and self-determination, a canon so sacred
that its violation by a state, a group or an individual is treason
and sacrilege. The Bill of Rights in the American Constitution was a
step in the right direction and its study will indicate further
development. In a world so threatened by positivism and paternalism
this doctrine is limited in both scope and application. It permits
such violations of liberty as the late National Prohibition Act, the
Draft Law, the closed shop, the Mann Act, censorship laws,
anti-firearms laws and racial discrimination.
It has been said, with justification, that the Constitution means
what the Supreme Court says it means. A document so fundamental as a
Bill of Rights cannot be jeopardized by arbitrary interpretations.
It should need no interpretations. It must apply equally to the
national state, the federated states, counties, municipalities,
official agencies and the private citizen within their province. It
must apply in such a way that the individual or minority needs no
recourse to elaborate, lengthy and costly proceedings in order to
protect these rights. It is the duty of the state to provide this
recourse to all alike.
Freedom cannot be subject to arbitrary interpretation and
misinterpretation. It must plainly include freedom from persecution
on moral, political, economic, racial, social or religious grounds.
No man, no group and no nation has the right to any man's individual
freedom. No matter how pure the motive, how great the emergency, how
high the principle, such action is tyranny and is never justified.
The question is, are we able to face the consequences of democracy?
It is not sufficient that freedom be assured by purely negative
means. Freedom is meaningless where its expression is controlled by
powerful groups such as the press, the radio, the motion picture
industry, churches, politicians and capitalists. Freedom must be
It can only be insured by the allegiance to the principle that man
has certain inalienable rights; among which are the rights:
To live his private life,
insofar as it concerns only himself, as he sees fit.
To eat and drink, to dress, live
and travel as, where and he will.
To express himself; to speak,
write, print, experiment and otherwise create as he desires.
To work as he chooses, when he
chooses and where he chooses at a reasonable and
To purchase his food, shelter,
deical and social needs and all other services and
commodities necessary to his existence and self expression
at a reasonable and commensurate price.
To have a decent environment and
upbringing during his childhood until he reaches a
To love as he desires, where,
how and with whom he chooses, in accordance only with the
desires of himself and of his partner.
To the positive opportunity to
enjoy these rights as he sees fit, without obstruction on
the one hand or compulsion on the other.
Finally, in order to protect his
person, his property and his rights, he should have the
right to kill an aggressor if necessary. This is the purpose
of the right to keep and bear arms.
These rights must be counterbalanced by
certain responsibilities. The liberal accepting them must guarantee
these rights to all others at all times, regardless of his personal
feelings or interests. He must work to establish and protect them,
live in a manner commensurate with them and be prepared to defend
them with his life. He must refuse allegiance to any state or
organization which denies these rights and he should aid and
encourage all who, without qualification or equivocation, endorse
them. He must refuse to compromise these principles on any issue or
for any reason.
Nothing short of such a commitment will
assure the survival of liberty, or democracy of society itself.
Liberalism is not only a code for individuals and their state, it is
the only possible basis for a future international civilization.
However, these principles will be only rhetoric unless they are
revered and protected by those to whom they apply. They must be
interpreted and applied with understanding and sympathy, with humor
and tolerance. Pretentiousness, sentimentality or hysterics are not
needed in their application or their defense. Insufferable
demagogues of "high principle" are sufficiently numerous as it is.
It must also be understood that we cannot force man's rights upon
him. Man has a right to be a slave if he so desires. If he does not
assert and defend his rights he deserves slavery. The person who is
tyrannized by his family, his peers, by public opinion or slave
morality, providing he is free to leave their influence or to
challenge it, is worthy of his condition. His protestations are
those of the hypocrite.
Freedom, like charity, begins at home. No man is worthy to fight in
the cause of freedom unless he has conquered his internal drives. He
must learn to control and discipline the disastrous passions that
would lead him to folly and ruin. He must conquer inordinate vanity
and anger, self deception, fear and inhibition. These are the crude
ores of his being.
He must smelt these ores in the fire of life; forge his own sword,
temper it and sharpen it against the hard abrasive of experience.
Only then is he fit to bear arms in the larger battle. There is no
substitute for courage and the victory is to the high hearted. He
will have nothing to do with asceticism or the excesses of weakness.
Self expression will be his watchword, a self expression tempered
keen and strong. First he must know how to rule himself. Only then
can he cope with the economic pressures which are employed by
institutions and corporations or the political pressures employed by
He may then find himself in a difficult predicament. If he calls
himself a liberal, he discovers that he is supposedly committed to a
policy of accommodation with the Russian Government. If he opposes a
pro-Soviet policy he is welcome to the camp of the Catholic Church
and the Manufacturer's Association. If he eschews both camps, he is
condemned for lack of principle. If he should support the rights of
the workingman or minority and racial groups, he is a Red. If at the
same time he believes in Constitutional Government and individual
rights, he is also a Fascist.
Many liberals are familiar with this situation but few seem to have
deduced the conclusion. The difficulty lies in the confusion of the
rights of the individual in relation to the responsibilities of the
state. It is a sad comment on our mentality that the social reformer
subscribes to total regimentation while the alleged individualist
propagandizes for total irresponsibility. The rights of the
individual can be clearly defined. His responsibilities vis-a-vis
the responsibilities of the state can be clearly defined. The
individual's rights end where the next man's begin. It is the
function of the state to ensure equal rights to all. But, in the
absence of a social devotion to the true principles of liberalism,
positivists have usurped its name and even its phrases in order to
propagandize for their various totalitarianisms. This process has
been aided by that faction of pseudo-liberalism which believes that
all opinion contrary to its own must be suppressed.
As I write, allegedly liberal groups are agitating for the denial of
public forums to those they call fascist. Americanism societies are
striving for the suppression of communist or "red" literature and
speech. Religious groups, backed by a publicity conscious press, are
constantly campaigning for the prohibition of art and literature
which, as if by divine prerogative, they term "indecent", immoral or
It would seem that all these organizations are devoted to one common
purpose, the suppression of freedom. Their sincerity is no excuse.
History is a bloody testament that sincerity can achieve atrocities
which cynicism could hardly conceive of. Each of these groups is
engaged in a frantic struggle to sell out, betray or destroy the
freedom which was their birthright and which alone assured their
Freedom is a two-edged sword. He who believes that the absolute
rightness of his belief is an authority to suppress the rights and
opinions of his fellows cannot be a liberal. Liberalism cannot exist
where it violates its own principles. It cannot exist where the
emergency monger or the utopia salesman can obtain a suspension of
rights, whether temporary or permanent. Liberty cannot be suppressed
in order to defend liberalism.
If we are to achieve a democracy, the rights of individuals and the
responsibilities of states must be openly defined and ardently
defended. It is inconceivable that men who fought and died in a war
against totalitarianism did not know what they fought for. It seems
a fantastic joke that the institutions they believed in and defended
have turned, like a nightmare, into home-grown tyrannies. A
generation went down in blood and agony to make the world "safe" but
the evil that makes the world "unsafe" still goes undefeated,
plotting new sacrifices of misery and blood. The guilt lies not
entirely with the warmongers, plutocrats and demagogues. If a people
permit exploitation and regimentation in any name, they deserve
their slavery. A tyrant does not make his tyranny. It is made
possible by his people and not otherwise.
Much of our modern thought is characterized by pretenses and
evasions, by appeals to ultimate authorities which are non- liberal,
superstitious and reactionary. Often we are not aware of these
thought processes. We accept ideas, authorities, catch- phrases and
conditions without troubling to think or investigate and yet these
things may conceal terrible traps. We accept them as right because
they have a surface-level agreement with the things in which we
believe. We welcome the man who is for liberalism, against
communism, without troubling to inquire what else he is for or
against. In our blindness we leave ourselves open to exploitation,
regimentation and war.
Tumultuous developments in science and society demand a new clarity
of thought, a reexamination and a restatement of principles. It is
not sufficient that a principle is sacred because it is time-worn.
It must be examined, tried and tested in the crucible of our present
In our law, in our social and international relations, we are guilty
of a myriad of barbarisms and superstitions. These injustices
continue and proliferate because we have become used to them. We
have lost our freedom through tolerance and inertia.
The principle we have developed herein is simple: the liberty of the
individual is the foundation of civilization. No true civilization
is possible without this liberty and no state, national or
international, is stable in its absence. The proper relation between
individual liberty on the one hand and social responsibility on the
other is the balance which will assure a stable society. The only
other road to social equilibrium demands the total annihilation of
individuality. There is not further evasion of nature's immemorial
ultimatum: change or perish but the choice of change is ours.
Of all the strange and terrible powers among which we move
unknowingly, sex is the most potent. Conceived in the orgasm of
birth, we burst forth in agony and ecstasy from the Center of
Creation. Time and again we return to that fountain, lose ourselves
in the fires of being, unite for a moment with the eternal force and
return renewed and refreshed as from a miraculous sacrament. Then,
at the last, our life closes in the orgasm of death.
Sex, typified as love, is at the heart of every mystery, at the
center of every secret. It is this splendid and subtle serpent that
wines about the cross and coils in the bloom of the mystic rose.
The sexual perversion of Christianity becomes obvious when it is
realized that "The Holy Ghost" (The Sophia) is feminine. The very Tetragrammaton, Yod He Vau He, means: Father-Mother-Son- Daughter
and asserts the splendor of the biological order. How could life
proceed from a strictly masculine creation? What miracle could
possibly be superior to the miracle of copulation, conception and
gestation? In the corrupt and demonic
Jehovah, the priesthood
blasphemed nature in order to perpetuate a tyrannical and
superstitious patriarchy. Woman was insulted and affronted with the
calumny of immaculate conception -- then, by this mystery mongering,
a premium was placed on moral and spiritual sterility. This
sublimation of the sex-urge has been the basis of the power of the
church and is the source of much of the psychosis rampant in the
It has been asserted that the church has been a champion of progress
and freedom; nothing could be more fallacious. Organized
Christianity has been inevitably allied with tyranny,
persecution. No organized dogma can contribute to progress except by
occasional accident. The church's main contribution has been to
unintentionally foment revolt against its bigotry. It could hardly
be otherwise with an organization founded on a double fallacy: the
sin of sex and the infallibility of man. No religion can hope to
benefit humanity while it preaches love and reviles the root of
love. Anyone hoping to understand and cope with human relations must
understand both the importance and over-emphasis of sex in society.
Sexual concepts and symbolism underlie all the world's religions. As
I mentioned above, sublimated sex has been the source of power for
the Christian church. Sex and sex neurosis are fundamental factors
in the attitude of modern men. These three facts give sex a place of
prime importance in our liberal examination of society.
Our sex attitudes are largely characterized by pretense. The
majority of people under fifty today have, at one time or another,
engaged in what is termed illicit intercourse -- and yet we pretend,
publicly, that we have not done so. Some of us go so far as to state
that we don't do it, never would do it and disapprove of the
criminal types who do. Policemen arrest and judges convict persons
discovered in a pursuit which they themselves indulge in. The
enjoyment of a natural urge is defined as a crime. Young persons
thus enjoying the urge in the wonder of the beginning are burdened
with a sense of guilt and shame. They are classed with common
criminals -- why?
The shameful answer is that back in the Middle Ages, under
conditions of squalor, ignorance, superstition and oppression, the
sex taboo became a prime instrument of power in the arsenal of a
band of brigands known as the Christian church. This is the reason
that young people in love are classified as criminals. Venereal
disease thrives and abortionists prosper as an inevitable result.
The superstition which fostered this shameful condition is no longer
absolutely dominant but the institution that promoted the belief
that the human body was obscene, that love was indecent and that
woman was forever made foul by original sin remains to mold our
thoughts and shape our laws. It is most significant that the
spiritual and physical inheritors of that church, both catholic and
protestant, vigorously and effectively oppose birth control,
venereal disease education, divorce law reform; i.e., anything which
would limit the power of their weapon.
If the Christians enforced these taboos only among their believers
they would be within their rights. Man has the right to any personal
stupidity however monstrous it may seem but this is not their
principal concern. They seek to impose this nonsense on everybody,
by every method of legislative, moral and economic intimidation at
their command. The success of their efforts can be judged by the
reflection of such attitudes in the press, the radio, the motion
picture industry and our legal statutes. True to fascist form, the
censor utilizes his moral victory to impose political and social
censorship in all fields. Bigots and demagogues invoke the divine
right of religion and of morality in order to gain extraordinary
power. Freedom of religion and of he press should not afford a
justification for giant propaganda campaigns to suppress freedom! We
must not only have freedom of religion, we must have freedom from
The concept that sex in art, literature and life is subject to
criminal law is based entirely on this superstitious sexual taboo.
The censorial power of the church, the state and established press
is founded solely on this one assumption: that the taboo of a
particular religion should have universal legal sanction. This
sanction, once established, is then subtly extended to imply that
all the other dogmas of that religion are now the "unwritten law" of
the land. Such a religion, always respectable and conservative,
forms alliances with fascist and capitalist cliques, thus gaining a
privileged position from which to persecute liberalism in all its
forms. Superstition, taboo, reaction and fascism augment one another
most effectively. The fact that one type of totalitarianism
persecutes another -- or appears to do so -- is hardly a palliative.
Modern man must recognize the source and nature of his sexual taboos
and discredit them in the light of truth. Only thus can he achieve
sanity in sex and a healthy outlook on life in general.
In our society early marriages are often prevented by economic
considerations, therefore pre-marital sexual relations are natural
and often desirable. Contraceptive techniques, available to any
intelligent young person from a druggist or doctor, can minimize the
problem of venereal disease and unwanted pregnancies. The
development of sexual technique, the determination of the
qualifications of one's partner and the gratification of the
youthful urge to experiment all assure a far more lasting and stable
marriage than one begun in ignorance and prudery. In marriage itself
the social contract is biding. Property acquired by the joint
efforts of husband and wife belong to both jointly. Where any two
persons have pledged their love together, no outsider has the right
to interfere. Either party is justified in resisting such
interference by force if necessary. But neither party, whether the
relation be in or out of wedlock, has any right or jurisdiction over
the love, affection or the sexual favors of another for longer than
that person desires.
Where children are concerned a separation presents a serious
problem. Broken homes are hard on children but a loveless and bitter
home is worse. No state can assure a child the affection of his
parents but it can guarantee his physical welfare and security, thus
insuring him against many of the frustrations of childhood and
adolescence which develop into unstable and maladjusted adult
behavior. The laws against mutually agreeable sex expression must be
repealed, together with the laws prohibiting nudism, birth control
and censorship. We must emphatically deny that love is criminal and
that the body is indecent. We must affirm the beauty, the dignity,
and joyousness and even the humor of sex.
Indeed there are obscene things in the light and in the darkness;
things that deserve destruction: -- The exploitation of women for
poor wages, the shameful degradation of minorities by the little
lice who call themselves members of a 'superior race' and the
deliberate machinations towards war. Nowhere among these genuine
obscenities is there a place for the love shared by men and women.
There are sins but love is not one of them and yet, of all the
things that have been called sins, love has been the most punished
and the most persecuted. Of all the beauties we know, the springtime
of love is closest to paradise. And as all things pass, so love
passes -- too soon.
This most exquisite and tender of human
emotions, this little moment of eternity, should be free and
unrestrained. It should not be bought and sold, chained and
restricted until lovers, caught in the maelstrom of economics and
laws, are hounded like criminals. What end is served and who profits
by such cruelty? Only priests and lawyers. Let us adhere to a strict
morality where the rights and happiness of our fellow man is
concerned. Let us call our true sins by their right names and
expiate them accordingly -- but let our lovers go free.
If we are to achieve civilization and sanity, we must institute an
educational program in love-making, birth control and disease
prevention. Above all we must root out the barbaric and vicious
concepts of shamefulness and indecency in sex, exposing the motives
and methods of their proponents.
Happy are the parents who, as a result of sexual experimenting, are
well mated, taking joy in each other's passion, seeing beauty in
their nakedness and not fearing to expose their bodies or the bodies
of their children. They would never shame their children for their
natural sexual curiosity.
Jesus told the "fallen woman", "Go and sin no more" but I, who am a
man, say to you who have given your body for the need of man's body,
who have given your love freely for his spirit's sake:
"Be blessed in the name of man. And
if any god deny you for this, I will deny that god."
The ancients, being simple and without
original sin, saw God in the act of love and therein they saw a
great mystery, a sacrament revealing the bounty and the beauty of
the force that made men and the stars. Thus they worshipped. Poor
ignorant old Pagans! How we have progressed. What was most sacred to
them, we see as a dirty joke. From this sordid joke we have played
on ourselves only Woman Herself can redeem us. She has been the
ignominious butt of the joke, the target of malice and arrogance and
the scapegoat for masculine inferiority and guilt. She alone can
redeem us from our crucifixion and castration.
Only woman, of and by herself, can
strike through the foolish frustration of the advertisers' ideal.
She must elevate her strong, free and splendid image to take her
place in the sun as an individual, a companion and mate fit for, and
demanding no less than, true men.
Let there be an end to inhibition and an end to pretense. Let us
discover what we are and be what we are, honestly and unashamedly.
The rabbit has speed to recompense his fear, the panther strength to
assuage his hunger. There is room for both even though the rabbit
would probably prefer a world of rabbits (dull and overpopulated).
All traits are useful wrath, fear, lust and even laziness -- if they
are balanced by strength and intelligence. If we lie about things we
call our weaknesses and sins, if we say that his is "evil" and that
is "wrong", denying that such faults could be part of us, they will
grow crooked in the dark. But when we have them out in the open;
admitting them, facing them and accepting them, then we will be
ashamed to leave any vestige of them secret to turn crippled and
twisted. Fear can sharpen our wits against adversity. Anger and
strength can be welded into a sword against tyrants both within and
without. Lust can be trained to be the strong and subtle servant of
love and art.
It is not necessary to deny anything. It is only necessary to know
ourselves. Then we will naturally seek that which is needful to our
being. Our significance does not lie in the extent to which we
resemble others or in the extent to which we differ from them. It
lies within our ability to be ourselves. This may well be the entire
object of life; to discover ourselves, our meaning. This does not
come in a sudden burst of illumination; it is a constant process
which continues so long as we are truly alive. The process cannot
continue unobstructed unless we are free to undergo all experience
and willing to participate in all existence. Then the significant
questions are not "is it right" or "is it good" but rather "how does
it feel" and "what does it mean". Ultimately these are the only
questions that can approach truth but they cannot be asked in the
absence of freedom.
There was a time when these questions were whispered in the shadow
of the stake. That Christian instrument of conversion is not
sanctioned at present but the will and the malice remain and will
continue until the power of the superstition-mongering tyrants is
finally broken. Meanwhile religious dogmatism continues to support
the sexual jealousies of neurotic parents for their children and
neurotic marriage partners for their mates. It is not because of
economic desperation and greed that crime and war wash over the
world in ever-mounting waves. It is only necessary to look back on
the Middle Ages when St. Vitus' Dance, epidemic flagellation and the
Witchcraft Persecutions, all spawned out of Christian guilt and
shame, swept the Western World. It was the tone set by these fearful
events, reinforcing the divine right of reactionary monarchs, that
produced the liberal revolutions of the 18th century. But the root,
the sexual taboo, was unfortunately not destroyed. It remained to
revitalize the power of religion over the new bourgeoisie.
The frenetic hatred of Jews and Negroes (symbols of illicit sexual
freedom) and the lust toward the blood-and-fire baths of warfare are
the very aberrations of sexual frustration. They are the nightmares
of souls in a hell of guilty desire, laboring like madmen over their
instruments of destruction in order to destroy the world which has
denied them satisfaction. It is only in the unobstructed exercise of
sexual function, by a generation trained from youth in contraception
and the technique of love, that it will be possible to achieve
mature social relations.
In this childish folly of sexual possession each man and each woman
hates and fears every other man and woman as the potential despoiler
or some joke by the ever-present specters of jealousy and suspicion.
It is possible that the application of two old axioms; "that you
love one another" and "that you do unto others as you would have
others do unto you" might go a long way in helping us solve our
sexual problems. The application of these maxims in sexual relations
is easy and pleasant. If firmly established the principles might
spread to other areas of human intercourse.
The sexual revolution will not produce any instantaneous paradise
nor will it be accomplished without tears. The way to racial
maturity is long and painful but it is at least possible to attain
the maturity and richness that comes with full and satisfactory
sexual expression in private life. It may be that other
considerations become more important in one's later years but I
would hesitate to say at what age to set the mark. It does not seem
possible to grow old gracefully unless one has known something of a
There is no evidence to show that man was created and accoutered to
serve as God's vice-regent upon the earth. There is no reason to
believe that he is naturally good and kind, brave and wise -- or
that he ever was. On the contrary, there is much to show that he was
a beast who took a strange turning in the jungle and blundered
rather aimlessly into a mental world in which he was certainly not
There is much evidence that man is by nature cruel, cowardly,
lustful, avaricious and treacherous. He holds dominion over these
terrible internal enemies and defends against the other predators
(his fellow men) by virtue of his ferocity, his cunning and his
indomitable will. This is his beauty and his significance: that out
of the blind primordial forces of sex and the survival urge, he has
forged reason and science and spun the splendorous web of art and
love. If there is no other reason and no other significance, man
himself has on occasion created reason and significance, standing as
the maker of his gods in a garden made fruitful by his own creative
We think in terms of ourselves relative to the external universe. It
cannot be shown, however, that this external universe is other than
an extension of our own perception. But if we differentiate the
internal from the external, we are still part of and not separate
from the entire process of nature. We are made from the nova by way
of the sun and built from the air, the rock and the sea, animated by
the primordial fire of life. There are filaments in our
consciousness that reach back to the first ancestor and extend to
all other men and all other life with which we share a common
creation and a common destiny.
Here is the totality that the Greeks called "Pan"; all-devourer,
all-begetter -- life and death, good and evil, pain and pleasure,
unity, duality and multiplicity; all things and beyond all things.
The Soul of Night and the Stars.
If in our folly and fear we will ascribe moral qualities to the
lightning that strikes, to the star that shines, to the tiger that
kills, then we will not hesitate to assign them also to the woman
who gives and the man who takes. Thus we will define god and found a
religion. And thus we degrade the living universe into a bewhiskered
and irascible character endowed with immortal omnipotence and a
hatred for our enemies, or with those nature lovers who catch cold
communing with "The All" in the park at night, we sink into the
platitudinous sitz baths of various 'religious science' systems on
our way to the catalepsy of middle age.
All nature partakes of the eternal sacraments of life and death, of
ebb and flow, of creation and destruction and regeneration. These
are the harmonies of eternity that change forever and never change.
The cry of the baby is echoed in the tumult of the nova. Men suns
and seasons pass and return again. The spate of semen is one with
the jet of stars men call The Milky Way.
The mind that comprehends these immortal processes in love and in
worship is an immortal mind that soars beyond time and death. We are
of one age with Aeschylus and Sophocles and Shakespeare, of one
blood with Moses, Lao Tse and Newton. The body changes and decays
while time cuckolds all shapes of desire and all transient things.
But the shapes of desire, although transient, are the very vehicles
of man's adventure. He cannot attain by denying these steeds but by
strengthening them -- by training and bridling them with love and
creative will until their wings are revealed. Sex and hunger are the
raw stuff of art. Out of his passion, fury and despair the artist
transmutes the shapes of terror and wonder into an eternal beauty.
All ways are the right way when will and love are the guides. The
grace and bounty of life are free to all, saint and sinner alike,
who desire them. The voice of the wind, the poignancy of music, the
shout of thunder all cry out to man, daring him to know himself.
Sunlight, sea and stars and the splendour of a naked woman are the
signs and witnesses of a covenant that is forever. We know these
things; we know them with the only certainty that is ever given us.
This is the beautiful-pitiable knowledge of childhood and first
youth -- that the world denies and necessity circumvents. This is
the knowledge of the poets, artists and singes who are beloved and
outcast by men and of the mystics whom the world calls mad.
And man, self-castrated and self-frustrated, flees down the
corridors of nightmare, pursued by monstrous machines, overwhelmed
by satanic powers, haunted by vague guilts and terrors -- all
created out of his own imagination. He escapes into absurdity,
drowns his spirit in pretense, worships brass gods of power and tin
gods of success. Then, shamed by his pretenses and frustrated by his
self-denial, he projects his horror on imagined enemies, seeks
release in scapegoats and false issues, thereby propitiating those
bestial gods who have arisen from the shattered edolons of his
spirit with sacrifices of blood.
Nothing is of its nature, evil -- and nothing is of its nature,
good. Evil is only excess; good is simply balance. All things are
subject to abuse and likewise susceptible to beneficial use. Balance
does not consist in denial or excess in indulgence. Balance can only
be obtained by exceeding. The elemental forces in man's nature are
so tremendous that they can only be balanced by an ultimate
self-expression. To place limitations and restrictions on this
nature is to build a wall of plaster around a sun. If we clip an
eagles' wings or feed carrots to a lion we will not uplift or
improve either species.
The fundamental purpose of religion is to attain an identity with a
power which we believe to be greater than ourselves, whose
omnipotence and immortality we can share. Having achieved some sense
of this identity, we then feel that we can cope with problems and
attain ends with more confidence. The reliance on religion as well
as the reliance on property can indicate a lack of self-reliance.
We ourselves create this 'God of Power'. It is from our own
individual 'self' that his power is drawn and this self is greater
than any god which it creates. Therefore to know ourselves is the
highest form of wisdom and to believe in ourselves is the highest
form of faith. Science which seeks to know and art which seeks to
interpret are two forms of love which constitute the only availing
way of worship. That these two greatest expressions of the human
spirit should be subservient to religion, politics, nationalism and
war is the ultimate blasphemy.
We are now in the midst of a tremendous battle of forces contending
for domination over the mind and spirit of man. It is not,
unfortunately, a battle between good and evil, between freedom and
tyranny but rather a struggle of dogma against dogma and authority
vs. authority. The contenders are fascism and communism. Each is a
doctrine alien and hostile to the ideal of freedom. Each says that
we must choose between one or the other and each is, in reality,
identical. Each demands the absolute enslavement of the individual,
the abnegation of the intellect and the subjugation of the will.
The authoritarian is right, absolutely
right, so right that every extreme of falsehood, suppression and
tyranny is justified in the accomplishment of his 'divine' ends.
Behind his benevolent paternalism lurks the star chamber and the
concentration camp; behind his morality looms the stake and
inquisition of the "Old Time Religion" so many profess to long for.
All these systems are old; older than human history. Freedom and
democracy are the only new things under the sun and they offend
alike the slaves and the slave masters.
"Come unto me," goes the old
harlot's song. "Come unto me you weary and heavily laden.
Surrender your intolerable burden of freedom and I will fill
your mouths with miracles and your bellies will be full of food.
Come with me and I will confound your enemies and show you
paradise. Look, you do not even have to change a name, only keep
the letter and deny the spirit, for the letter giveth life."
She is harvesting the nations now, that
old whore, for an appointment in the place called Armageddon. There
will be a hunting of free men in the name of freedom and there will
be prisons and pogroms in the name of democracy, murder and slavery
in the name of brotherhood, and all for the sake of dominion over
the minds and bodies of men.
There is a choice: the choice of freedom which has no other name and
no other cause. Man, freed of his demons, without the need of a
dogma or the use of a creed, can, of and by himself, avail, triumph
and achieve significance. This is the faith of a liberal; belief in
himself and belief in man. There is no other way to the full status
of manhood. It is the long way, the hard way; through trial, error,
failure and heartbreak -- but it is the way guided by science and
inspired by art; leading at long last to the stars. This is our
choice: we may believe in ourselves, believe in our fellow men and
in freedom and in brotherhood. We may start to achieve here and now
that paradise which has so long been relegated to the hereafter. Or,
with the dogmatists, the positivists, the authoritarians we can
return again to the ape-hood from which we have so late arisen.
If we wish identity with a greater power, let us seek union with
ourselves -- our total self, raised to its highest potential of
wisdom, knowledge and experience. If we wish to unite with the
universe, let us court the whole of nature, all experience, all
truth and the splendour of the awesome cosmos itself. For 'out
there' lies the great campaign that comes first and last; the
ultimate adventure of the individual into himself. He must go down
like Moses into his unknown self, out into the new dimension, out
with Orpheus and the barque of Arthur, with Tammuz and Adonis, with
Mithra and Jesus, into the labyrinths of the Dark Land. There he
will meet The Mother and hear Her final question: "What is man?".
Thereafter, close by the heart of the
cryptic Mother, he may find the Graal; ultimate consciousness, total
remembrance, instinct made certain, reason made real. For it is he,
wonderful monster, embryo god who has swum in the fish, shed the
skin of the crocodile, peered from the eyes of serpents, swung with
the apes and shaken the earth with tramp of the tyrannosaur's hoof.
It is he who has cried out on all crosses, ruled on all thrones,
grubbed in all gutters. It is he whose face is reflected and
distorted in all heavens and hells -- he, the Child of the Stars,
the son of the ocean; this creature of dust, this wonder and terror
The Woman Girt With
It is to you woman, beautiful redeemer of the race, whom I address
this chapter. That which stirs in you now is not madness, not sin,
not folly -- but Life! This new life is the joy and the fire that
will beget a new race; create a new heaven and new earth. When you
were a child, did not the wind and the sun speak to you? Did you not
hear the mountain's voice; the voice of the river and of the storm?
Have you not heard the whisper of the stars and the ineffable voice
in silence? Have you not gone naked in the forest with the wind on
your body and felt the caress of Pan? Your heart has swollen with
Spring, blossomed with Summer and saddened with Winter. These things
are the covenant and in them is the truth that is forever.
You have sought companions as high-hearted as yourself and found
them not save in the elusive memories of dream and song. For you
found a blight over the world; a blight of silence and sorrow. Your
companions walked in guilt and shame, in fear, in hate, in sin and
in the sorrow of sin. There was only nervous laughter and furtive
pleasure; unsatisfying and shameful -- But be no longer sad, my
beloved. Be joyous and unafraid for within you is the song that
shall shatter the silence, the flame that will burn away the dross.
It is you who are the redeemer from sing and sorrow, from guilt and
shame. WOMAN; oh splendour incarnate! How long have you served in
chains, a slave to the lust and guilt of pigs? How long have you
writhed under the degradation of your Holy Name, "Whore", or
suffered silently under the degradation called, "virtue"? How well
you have known the stake, the rack, the whip, the chains of
imprisonment and even entombment in the service of your master.
And was the bond fear, was it weakness, was it cowardice and
inferiority? Oh shame of man, it was none of these; it was love. A
man was once crucified in a redemption that failed, yet if ten times
ten million men were crucified, this infamy could not be redeemed.
Husband, father, priest, jailer, judge, executioner, exploiter,
seducer, destroyer -- so has your lover mastered and defiled you.
Yet pity him for he sought love... But finally there is an end and
then the beginning and all the future will be with you. For you are
the mother of a new race, the redeemer and lover of the new men; the
men who shall be free.
I shall speak to you of men. Men desire three things of a woman: a
mother greater than themselves, a wife less than themselves and a
lover equal with themselves. Against the mother they are in revolt,
the wife they hold in contempt and the lover ever eludes them.
Consider the husband; how he throws his clothes about, eschews dirty
dishes and housework and asserts himself in a loud voice. Consider
the homosexual; how he hates woman and flees himself, fearing that
he will slay her. Consider the great lover; how he grasps for love
and his hands close on nothingness. These are bewildered, frightened
children playing games against the dark. And those who wear brass
and swords, who strut and slay, are they not the most frightened of
all? Therefore pity them and forgive them.
In the ancient world there were men for a season, before cities
arose and they turned to gilded popinjays, gracefully accepting
futility. Then came Christianity, an anodyne for slaves,
for barbarians whose deeds gave them indigestion -- and ultimately,
a whip for slave masters.
Faust was the prototype of the Middle Ages, but not the Faustus of
whom Kit Marlowe tells. It was a darker Faust; Gilles de Rais, who
betrays the Maid in his lust for power, then, after his fall and the
failure of his prayers, he descends to horror in his cellars. This
theme lasted an age until man, appalled by his nightmares, turned
finally to a dream of liberty.
It is the voice of Voltaire, jaded, cynical, weary of folly, that
sounds the opening bar of a tremendous, mocking prelude. Tom Paine,
one real man, broken and at last betrayed by all the wooden
champions, Cagliostro, plotting the revenge of the Templars with a
woman and a necklace, Will Blake, speaking uncomprehended with the
tongue of angels, Shelley and his beautiful gesture; Swinburne, who
almost recreated Helas before he too was broken -- Byron, Pushkin,
Gautier; all instruments in a prelude to a symphony that was never
played. And Science -- how it was to save us! That "Brave New World"
of Huxley, Darwin and H.G. Wells with only the voice of Spengler in
Science remaking the world; an
international language, a universal brotherhood beyond nationality,
prejudice or creed... A beautiful vision fallen like a house of
cards. You creators of the "New Age" who dare not speak, think or
move without permission from the military, you unfettered titans who
will hang for speaking across one border -- where is your 'New
World'? Champions, where is freedom? What treasure have we lost? We
must turn to women for that answer.
The key lies back ten thousand years ago in the Age of Isis that is
mistakenly called "The Matriarchy". It was not a Matriarchy as we
conceive it; a rule of club-women, of frustrated chickens, in fact
it was not a rule at all; it was an equality.
The Woman was and is the Priestess. In Her reposes the Mystery. She
is the Mother, brooding yet tender, the lover, at once passionate
and aloof, the wife, revered and cherished. She is the witch woman.
She stands co-equal with her mate who is the chieftain, the hunter,
the thinker and the doer. The woman is the Priestess, guardian of
the mystery, syble of the unconscious and prophetess of dreams.
Together they balanced each other until the catastrophe of the
Patriarchal Age, arch-typified by the monosexual monster,
Then, under the rule of Priests, woman
became an inferior animal while man became isolated in his imagined
superiority and found himself at the mercy of his own merciless
intelligence. It was total war between the emotions that must and
the intellect that will not. Every patriarchal religion is a
self-contradictory monstrosity. They are dogmatic creeds that shift
like straws in the wind of the intellect. Upon this shifting
structure man has failed. He knows the futility of such artificial
systems but he fights for them with all the sick fury his
frustration can generate. In the process he has lost his mother, his
wife has failed him and his lover eludes him. The Mystery has gone
out of the Temple, banished by a senile and self-sufficient council
Woman, Woman -- where are you? Come back to us again. Forgive even
if you cannot forget and serve once more in our Temples. Take us by
the hand. Kiss us on the lips and tell us we are not alone.
Witch-Woman, out of the ashes of the stake, rise again! It was in
the Dianic Cult that the old way continued. Those splendid and
terrible women; Messilina, Toffana, La Voisin and
raised revenge to a high art. Others sought the forbidden mystery in
secret rites and purchased a brief reunion at an awful price. This
was the ope in the Maid of Orleans, the dream of hopeless millions
that the woman who was to redeem them had come at last. Her failure
and her fate teach us that innocence is no protection. Be cunning,
oh woman, be wise, be subtle, be merciless. I have asked you to
understand and forgive -- but forget not overmuch. Trust nothing but
Now I have spoken of those great poisoners but there is a worse
revenge. Know that all revenge is revenge on self and the most
terrible is that taken by the frigid woman. Count her in the tens of
millions. The curse lies in the failure of her mate to be a man and
her failure to be true to herself but the cause is the dark guilt
with which parents poison their children. There is also suppressed
incestuous love and the fear of unwanted children -- yet those who
have known of these things should have no shame there-from. Strength
is not born, it is gained by understanding and overcoming. Go free;
sing the old, wild song:
EVOE IO, EVOE IACCHUS IO PAN, PAN! EVOE
Go to the mountains and the forest; go naked in the Summer that you
may regain the old joy. Love gladly and freely under the stars. But
you say your body is not beautiful? Here is a secret: the body is
molded by the mind. If you have embraced fear, repression, hate --
then you may find your body repulsive. But go free, love joyously
and without restraint. Run naked then watch the cheeks flush, the
breasts well and the supple contours develop from the flowing
rhythms of life. Disease and deformity are bred in fear and hate,
therefore be fearless lovers and ever beautiful.
The woman is the Priestess of the Irrational World! Irrational - but
how enormously important, and how dangerous because it is unadmitted
or denied, we do not want to be drunken, murderous, frustrated,
poverty-stricken and miserable without cause. These conditions are
not reasonable or 'scientific' and yet they do exist. We say we do
not want war but war seems a psychological necessity. Wars will
continue until that need is otherwise fulfilled. We do not love or
hate a person because it is "reasonable". We are moved willy-nilly,
despite our reason and our will, by forces from the unconscious,
irrational world. These forces speak to us in dreams, in symbols and
in our own incomprehensible actions. These passions can only be
redeemed by intuitive understanding in the feminine province. Only
after such understanding can will and intelligence be truly
effective for otherwise they are blind and powerless against the
tides of emotion.
Woman, put away unworthy weapons. Put away malice and poison,
frigidity and childishness. Draw the two-edged sword of freedom and
call for a man to meet you in fair combat; a man fit to be your
husband and a father to your eagle brood. Call upon him, test him by
the sword and he will be worthy of you. Together you will be
archetypes of the new race.
Somewhere in the world today there is a woman for whom the Sword is
forged. Somewhere there is one who has heard the trumpets of the New
Age and who will respond. She will respond, this new woman, to the
high clamor of those sar-trumpets; she will come as a perilous flame
and a devious song, a voice in the judgment halls, a banner before
armies. She will come girt with the Sword of Freedom. Before her,
kings and priests will tremble, cities and empires will fall, and
she will be called BABALON, The Scarlet Woman.
She will be lustful
and proud, subtle and deadly forthright and invincible as a naked
blade. Women will respond to her war cry, throwing off their chains,
men will respond to her challenge, forsaking foolish ways. She will
shine as the ruddy Evening Star in the lurid sunset of Gotterdamerung. She will shine again as a Morning Star when the
night has passed and a new dawn breaks over the garden of Pan.
To you, oh unknown woman, is The Sword of Freedom pledged.