The Poetry of Ernest Page

March 7th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

As it did in 2002, in 1957 the Aurum Solis underwent a schism. In the ’50s this split was due to the popularity of Masonic-style rituals such as those typified by the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. Those in favor of adopting a more Masonic approach to ritual left the Aurum Solis to form the Hermetic Order of the Sacred Word, or Ordo Sacri Verbi (OSV). In 1959 a remarkable man by the name of Ernest Page became the Warden of the OSV.

Ernest Page

Ernest Page, ca. 1960

Ernest Page would also become a mentor to a young Leon Barcynski (Osborne Phillips) before his death in 1966, but ever since he was a young man he had a passion for poetry. One of his poems is published in The Magical Philosophy, while another has been presented by the Astrum Sophia in issue 4 of the Ogdoadic Journal. Within the archives of the Astrum Sophia are contained some of his additional works, including the simply titled XIV Poems and a rare, delicately hand-bound booklet of poetry from Page’s involvement with a group of British poets known as The Saturdays (donated to the OAS by the last surviving member of the group). A favorite pastime of The Saturdays was to compose poems on a theme within the short span of 15 minutes. Here is one of those poems:

The Bridge by Ernest Page

Seeker of faery gold, what has set fire to your eyes?
– A bridge of colours seven, and I ride to Paradise.
Seeker, the bridge is faery, and bears neither steed nor men
– I ride seven years and a day, for I will cross it, and can.
Seeker, your vision is true, and your high-held heart is wise,
But you must walk under the bridge if you would find Paradise.

22nd May 1946

Ernest was also the subject of a poem himself, composed by his contemporary, A.C. Jacobs. His Collected Poems & Selected Translations (Menard Press: 1996) provides the context for this poem: “This description fits the astrologer Ernest Page who frequented the Soho coffee houses in the 1950s, and charged three shillings and sixpence for a consultation.”

The Astrologer by Arthur Jacobs

His flat and battered notebook
Is like grey parchment with symbols
Scrawled in its dust out of Babylon.

He will set, for three and sixpence,
Round your magic hour of birth
The stars that in their movements

Tell him the secrets your appearance
Chose for itself. He is no crank,
But a true survival from an ancient

Art that promises trends, not detailed
Incident. Consult him at your peril:
For whether or not his assured vision

Excites the protest of your intellect,
Past and future turn before his gaze,
Mortality lies naked beneath his fingertips.

Theophanic Poesy

March 8th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

The following lines from the Kitab al-Tajalliyat (or Book of Theophanies) by the great Sufi master Ibn ‘Arabi are translated by Henry Corbin in his monumental Creative Imagination in the Sufism of Ibn ‘Arabi (1970). As with so much of the mystical poetry arising from this milieu, the below text communicates in delicate and rapturous words something of the experience of the “Holy Guardian Angel,” as the concept has come to be known in Western Esotericism. Thanks are due to the Muhyiddin Ibn ‘Arabi Society for transcribing this text and making it available on their excellent website.

Listen, O dearly beloved!
I am the reality of the world, the centre of the circumference,
I am the parts and the whole.
I am the will established between Heaven and Earth,
I have created perception in you only in order to be the
object of my perception.
If then you perceive me, you perceive yourself.
But you cannot perceive me through yourself,
It is through my eyes that you see me and see yourself,
Through your eyes you cannot see me.
Dearly beloved!
I have called you so often and you have not heard me
I have shown myself to you so often and you have not
seen me.
I have made myself fragrance so often, and you have
not smelled me.
Savorous food, and you have not tasted me.
Why can you not reach me through the object you touch
Or breathe me through sweet perfumes?
Why do you not see me? Why do you not hear me?
Why? Why? Why?

For you my delights surpass all other delights.
And the pleasure I procure you surpasses all other
For you I am preferable to all other good things,
I am Beauty. I am Grace.
Love me, love me alone.
Love yourself in me, in me alone.
Attach yourself to me,
No one is more inward than I.
Others love you for their own sakes,
I love you for yourself.
And you, you flee from me.
Dearly beloved!
You cannot treat me fairly
For if you approach me,
It is because I have approached you.
I am nearer to you than yourself,
Than your soul, than your breath.
Who among creatures
Would treat you as I do?
I am jealous of you over you.
I want you to belong to no other,
Not even to yourself.
Be mine, be for me as you are in me.
Though you are not even aware of it.
Dearly beloved!
Let us go toward Union.
And if we find the road
That leads to separation,
We will destroy separation.
Let us go hand in hand.
Let us enter the presence of Truth.
Let it be our judge
And imprint its seal upon our union
For ever.