THE DEVIL, THE OSTRICH, AND THE ORPHAN CHILD
Death rides the Camel of Initiation.36
Thou humped and stiff-necked one that groanest in Thine Asana, death will relieve thee!
Bite not, Zelator dear, but bide! Ten days didst thou go with water in thy belly? Thou shalt go twenty more with a firebrand at thy rump!
Ay! all thine aspiration is to death: death is the crown of all thine aspiration. Triple is the cord of silver moonlight; it shall hang thee, O Holy One, O Hanged Man, O Camel-Termination-of-the-third-person-plural for thy multiplicity, thou Ghost of a Non-Ego!
Could but Thy mother behold the, O thou UNT!37
The Infinite Snake Ananta that surroundeth the Universe is but the Coffin-Worm!
The Hebrew letter Gimel adds up to 73; it means a camel.
The title of the chapter is borrowed from the well-known lines of Rudyard Kipling:
"But the commissariat camel, when all is said and done,
Paragraph 1 may imply a dogma of death as the highest form of initiation. Initiation is not a simple phenomenon. Any given initiation must take place on several planes, and is not always conferred on all of these simultaneously. Intellectual and moral perception of truth often, one might almost say usually, precedes spiritual and physical perceptions. One would be foolish to claim initiation unless it were complete on every plane.
Paragraph 2 will easily be understood by those who have practiced Asana. There is perhaps a sardonic reference to rigor mortis, and certainly one conceives the half-humorous attitude of the expert towards the beginner.
Paragraph 3 is a comment in the same tone of rough good nature. The word Zelator is used because the Zelator of the A⁂A⁂ has to pass an examination in Asana before he becomes eligible for the grade of Practicus. The ten days allude merely to the tradition about the camel, that he can go ten days without water.
Paragraph 4 identifies the reward of initiation with death; it is a cessation of all that we call life, in a way in which what we call death is not. 3, silver and the moon, are all correspondences of Gimel, the letter of the Aspiration, since Gimel is the Path that leads from the microcosm in Tiphareth to the Macrocosm in Kether.
The epithets are far too complex to explain in detail, but Mem, the Hanged Man, has a close affinity for Gimel, as will be seen by a study of Liber 418.
Unt is not only the Hindustani for Camel, but the usual termination of the third person plural of the present tense of Latin words of the Third and Fourth Conjugations.
The reason for thus addressing the reader is that he has now transcended the first and second persons. Cf. Liber LXV, Chapter III, vv. 21 - 24, and FitzGerald's Omar Khayyam:
"Some talk there was of Thee and Me
The third person plural must be used, because he has now perceived himself to be a bundle of impressions. For this is the point on the Path of Gimel when he is actually crossing the Abyss; the student must consult the account of this given in "The Temple of Solomon the King".
The Ego is but "the ghost of a non-Ego", the imaginary focus at which the non-Ego becomes sensible.
Paragraph 5 expresses the wish of the Guru that his Chela may attain safely to Binah, the Mother.
Paragraph 6 whispers the ultimate and dread secret of initiation into his ear, identifying the vastness of the Most Holy with the obscene worm that gnaws the bowels of the damned.
(36) Death is said by the Arabs to ride a Camel. The Path of Gimel (which means a Camel) leads from Tiphareth to Kether, and its Tarot trump is "The High Priestess".
(37) UNT, Hindustani for Camel. I.e. would that BABALON might look on thee with favour.
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