THE FALL AND THE RETURN: The Hermetic and Mythological Poems of Nocturnea
On a recent trip to Washington DC for a Masonic event, I had the good fortune of befriending a truly inspiring and illuminated couple. The husband is a member of a Regular F. & A. M. Blue Lodge and the wife is a member of the UGLE-recognized Honorable Fraternity of Ancient Masons (a.k.a. Freemasonry For Women). We attended a pair of lectures on two consecutive evenings and filled out the rest of the time eating and drinking with friends, all the while discussing deeply esoteric topics. It was truly one of the highlights of my year, largely due to their generous hospitality, loving fraternal spirits and their extensive knowledge of occult subjects.
While visiting with my new friends, I was exposed to the woman’s poetry (due to her deep humility, she chooses to remain anonymous, preferring to make her work public under the pseudonym, Nocturnea – a choice due, I think, to the couple’s love of Chopin’s nocturnes, particularly the C# Minor, if memory serves) and was immediately attracted by their mythological, alchemical and Hermetic allusions. There is a certain almost Sufic mysticism inherent in her work that, I think, can be attributed to the author’s Muslim faith which mixed well with the Aristotelean world view prevalent at the time of its formation. Reading the poems, one is immediately struck by their delicately tragic nature, as well as their frequent appeals to the senses. One gets the feeling of being on a fulcrum between two worlds – one of the spirit and one of the body.
It is my honor and pleasure to introduce you to the Hermetic and mythological poems of Nocturnea.
Jaime Paul Lamb
Reflect unto me the colors of the heavens,
Strike me with all your shades of Blue,
For how deep my secrets are,
From captivity to where I’m born anew.
Life forms and dies, forms and dies,
Can’t you see I reflect the heavens in me?
From my darkest depths, black with no light,
yet where light flourishes unto to Thee.
Can you not hear the horizon near?
Snatching at my lengthy hair,
As though welcoming in my honest fears,
Honoring at my calm despair?
Don’t reach out to me with your sad, sad moans,
I’m but a helpless demon ready to be stoned,
Leave me here to chant and cry,
As a secret screaming,
Left to die.
Ego and Faith
The beauty of the cherry blossom is in its softness,
Delicate, light, a sign of spring,
Fragile it is to the strong wind,
Make not your faith a Cherry Blossom,
But Let your ego mirror its being.
The beauty of the evergreen is in its strength,
Awake, strong, a sign of immortality,
Resilient it is to the changing of seasons.
Make not your ego an evergreen,
But let faith mirror its being.
It is the union of Man and Woman
A surrender to the peak of passion
It is the marriage of Sun and Moon
A surrender to Light
It is the warmth of Fire and Water
A surrender to oneness
It is the victory over time,
A Surrender to Presence.
Be present and enter the garden,
Another world, another surrender,
Enter as the King, the Queen,
As the poor in need,
As the provider,
As the incapable,
As the healer,
As the Father, the Mother,
Enter as a Child,
You have been reborn,
You are Present.
And Presence is present with you.
Step not from surrender.
For It is your breath now.
Lest you lose the garden,
And absence once again blossoms
It’s odorless petals
The heart demands: Unveil me!
With the breath of Mercury take me,
My body reaches the Temple door.
The heart of the Temple responds in like,
O Sun at midday, Ra, the Widow’s Son,
Instruct me that I may begin this
Great Work of Art.
O how many masks you wear, terrible one!
With every face of beast,
Slithering, crawling, roaring, calling,
What now? What treat?
Your offering ever so sweet!
A slave you make of me,
Chained I follow into the abyss,
Oh Father, devour me not,
I long escape this awful hiss,
I pray I stay, this cradle, what bliss!
Now Beautiful anemone, I ask of thee:
Blossom thy lovely petals,
O Love itself has wept for thou,
I ask for some new wings of feathers,
To fly me to where I can be found.
Away and away! The hot sun burns,
I have fallen once again,
Drowning cold with what I’ve earned.
Shut up and Listen!
Can you not feel me dwelling in your mist?
Quiet am I but not Silent.
Shut up and Listen!
Make me thy Mistress,
In between my hand the secret of secrets.
One foot in water,
One on land,
Look at me!
Not with those blind eyes of yours,
Behind me the sun has risen,
And still asleep you are in this wretched cold.
I await your word that I may open the gate,
As the wind beneath your feet,
As the morning star,
As a lover,
Beneath those flaming wings of fire.
Take me as thy Mistress,
Birthed I am from thy own soul.
Praise be unto Thee
Lord of The Worlds.
How art thou Majestic!
How can I address Thee?
When no words beyond Thy own can express.
With what soul must I pray,
For it belongeth not to me.
Veiled I am from Thy Knowledge,
Maybe so a respite for me.
And for reason that I cannot speak,
I am but I and all that I am is for Thee
And as Thou art the Only One,
What is it that makes me, Me?
With what tongue do I speak, I know not,
And though it is Only Thy Will that must be done,
Of needfulness I pray to Thee.
Keep me steadfast in nothingness becoming,
Raging with a light out of this dream,
O Glorious Owner of all that is and is not,
The taste of death upon my lips make sweet.
The Fall and the Return
In the cradle of youth, I am kept,
My home adorned with endless beauty.
Trees hanging from the skies in all ways,
Their branches and leaves, below they sleep.
Colors swirl around the folk,
In endless United dance,
And the Sun always shines above,
Firm and steady in its stance.
As I play around, youth pushes me by,
To a door that catches my wondering eye.
It has never been.
Hidden beneath a grand old oak tree,
I think to ignore but can’t find it in me,
To flee from what facing me I see.
I approach carefully, curious, and bold,
Open was the heavy vaulted steel made door,
I push through and to my great surprise,
A descending stairwell stares back as I pry.
Through the darkness, steps are all that I see,
I hear a voice, a hiss, a whisper in my ear.
“The light awaits”, it says, feeding on my joyous fear.
Must I venture? I do not know.
My curiosity begins to grow.
On the first step down, I tower over
The hiss turns to song and I follow.
What a beautiful melody hugging me close,
Yearning to take me on its wings,
As it sings, I am there.
Different Indeed this world seems to me;
Trees hang upside down with their roots in the ground beneath.
I smile as myself I try to calm,
Figure this World has its own kind of charm.
So, I enjoy what much it has to offer,
Of fruit and song and dance and show,
Of feeling and laughter, and Oh,
The drink! The drink!
I appear to so willingly need,
Is everywhere to be found.
The dancing is dizzying, the music too loud,
the food was too good,
and the drink, oh the drink!
Makes lovelier the echo of song and sound.
After a while, my head feels to spin,
And in the distance, I could make out what looks like a grin.
I look around with a sudden fret,
Could not stand the dancing of song and food in my head,
It is all now too much and for no apparent reason,
The blue sky turns red,
And smiles back with sinister treason.
I rush to where I could climb back home,
But the stairs have vanished,
Not knowing where they’ve gone,
I lay in anguish near a lake I find,
Away from the clamor of Ill fitted glamour,
From song and dance and food and wine,
Praying that there I no longer remain,
Near that lake that relieves some of this heart felt pain.
Moments, days, months, years,
I could not understand the passing of seasons,
How long I dwelt there I do not know,
There is something called time and it passes quite slow.
I witness in silence a face in the lake,
Staring right into my eyes,
Who and what is that glancing with care,
It has glistening eyes, and dark black hair,
Every day I would look down to get away from the noise,
The dancing, the food, the song,
Until one day I stare for a little bit too long.
And far under, deep below,
I am visited by a pitch-dark crow.
Instinct pokes at my shoulder behind,
So, I turn and find the grinning crow perched on a tree,
Then I realize: that kid in the water is me!
Me, a figure, matter, a physical entity,
I couldn’t remember when I had turned into such,
As if in a dream at home part not of this reality
Of illusionary duality,
Whence had I come? What is this I see?
I feel trapped, I feel not real, not true, not free.
The crow crows and comes to my side.
Looks in the pond to make me notice my eyes.
It sees, it knows, I need escape,
From the chains holding me down I need to break.
I call for it to fly me away,
But rests still perched on that tree,
It’s glare in the water, it wants me to see,
That there is where I need to be.
So, I dive in, headfirst, I plunge without hesitation.
Thinking I would swim,
Yet the body I wear moves not.
Sedated I sink, stripped from all sensation
In my head I squirm, pleading for motion,
Shaking to shatter the depth abound.
But no movement, no stir,
Not a single gasp I could make,
And down I keep sinking,
Into the grips of a giant snake.
Slithering around my feet,
It begins to squeeze,
And gulp me whole,
With unimaginable ease.
The darkness is grave,
My heart begins to tremble,
Cold and anxious,
My thoughts I try to assemble,
But no thought or hope remains,
Just the void of forgotten night,
Reason has left me alone and insane,
With the breath of reality far out of sight.
It seems as though my end has come,
So, I give in to the humming of silence,
Then with a sudden birth of intrigue,
I hear approaching a beat of a drum.
Louder it nears,
Amazed, I could see,
As my eyes remain closed.
Shadows dance forth,
While in the distance a light appears.
“The light awaits” it hisses at me.
My heart now rested, mind at ease.
I reach out with a hand though body remains still,
And walk towards the growing light,
Leaving behind the form trapping me inside.
Suddenly a familiar stairwell is revealed,
And with delight I run to what I find,
I ascend gradually first then with a sudden blast,
I am carried off to where I need to be at last.
I rise counting the steps in sections,
Then with a fire igniting my very presence,
I return to my original essence,
I enter the heavy steel made vaulted door,
Glad no feeling of walls or floor,
I look back not and stride beneath the leaves,
Of the trees now to my relief back off their feet.
I, the Father
Mother is me
Am the child reborn
I Am I,
In True form free.
The poet Nocturnea lives in the Washington D.C. area and is a member of the UGLE-recognized Honorable Fraternity of Ancient Masons. You can find Nocturnea’s other work under her pen name Nightingale on Vocal.
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