The Rite of Mercury by Sor. H.P., 1997
The Officers of the Temple
Mercury. Grey Robe, lyre & laurel wreath, goat horns & panpipe.
Fr. Virgo. A Viking.
Fr. and Sor. Gemini. Black Robe and White Robe.
Mercury is throned behind the Twins, whose backs are to the audience, such that he cannot be seen. Virgo is to the north.
The Rite of Mercury
Amber light. Sound: a mixture of Stravinsky's Rite of Spring
with Finnish chanting from the Kalevala,
selections from Peter Gabriel's Passion and something from
Dead Can Dance (Aeon or Serpent's Egg),
with voice-over of the Gemini section of 963, starting quietly,
increasing in volume until almost excruciatingly loud, or at least as loud as we can get without the neighbors calling the cops, suddenly cut off.
'Εν αρχη ην ο λογος, και ο λογος ην προς τον θεον, και θεος ην ο λογος. ουτος ην εν αρχη προς τον θεον. παντα δι αυτου εγενετο, και χωρις αυτου εγενετο ουδε εν.
There was Eru, the One, who in Arda is called Ilúvatar; and he made first the Ainur, the Holy Ones, that were the offspring of his thought, and they were with him before aught else was made. And he spoke to them, propounding to them themes of music; and they sang before him, and he was glad. But for a long while they sang only each alone, or but few together, while the rest hearkened; for each comprehended only that part of the mind of Ilúvatar from which he came, and in the understanding of their brethren they grew but slowly. Yet ever as they listened they came to deeper understanding, and increased in unison and harmony.
And it came to pass that Ilúvatar called together all the Ainur and declared to them a mighty theme, unfolding to them things greater and more wonderful than he had yet revealed; and the glory of its beginning and the splendour of its end amazed the Ainur, so that they bowed down before Ilúvatar and were silent.
Then Ilúvatar said to them: "Of the theme that I have declared to you, I will now that ye make in harmony together a Great Music. And since I have kindled you with the Flame Imperishable, ye shall show forth your powers in adorning this theme, each with his own thoughts and devices, if he will. But I will sit and hearken, and be glad that through you great beauty has been wakened into song."
Then the voices of the Ainur, like unto harps and lutes, and pipes and trumpets, and viols and organs, and like unto countless choirs singing with words, began to fashion the theme of Ilúvatar to a great music; and the sound arose of endless interchanging melodies woven in harmony that passed beyond hearing into the depths and into the heights, and the places of the dwelling of Ilúvatar were filled to overflowing, and the music and the echo of the music went out into the Void, and it was not void.
1:1 Bereshit bara Elohim et hashamayim ve'et ha'arets.
1:1 בראשית ברא אלהים את השמים ואת הארץ
1:2 Veha'arets hayetah tohu vavohu vechoshech al-peney tehom veruach Elohim merachefet al-peney hamayim.
2:1 והארץ היתה תהו ובהו וחשך על־פני תהום ורוח אלהים מרחפת על־פני המים
1:3 Vayomer Elohim yehi-or vayehi-or.
3:1 וימר אלהים יהי אור ויהי־אור
1:4 Vayar Elohim et-ha'or ki-tov vayavdel Elohim beyn ha'or uveyn hachoshech.
4:1 וירא אלהים את־האור כי־טוו ויבדל אלהים בין האור ובין החשך׃
For I am divided for love's sake;
Fr. & Sor. Gemini
(unison, turning outward)
for the chance of union.
Sister, what is the hour?
Brother, there is no time.
What is the place?
There is no place.
I don't like this vagueness! I need order, and structure, and measures, and categories!
Fr. & Sor. Gemini
The time is out of joint; O cursed spite, That ever I was born to set it right!
Out of the empty space, barren of time or place, all that the spheres embrace grew from one letter. Who that word incarnate? Whose the will to create? I, the self-generate, am all-begetter.
Chaos and symmetry, creation's will to be, that need was born as me; there was no other. I am the catalyst of all things that exist; born out of fiery mist, father and mother.
I made that primal sound, and the silence profound with which the void was bound I smashed asunder. Outward the shockwave surged; in its wake, worlds emerged, commingled, and diverged, waxing in wonder.
I gave each life its breath; I take it back at death; whatever quickeneth, I live within it. Sulfur and Salt I wed, shaped fire for a head. Aeons since, I was bred; gone in a minute.
Song is mine to inspire; I gave the gods the lyre; to mankind, I brought fire: that of self-knowing. I map the mystery; I am all inquiry; mine the reed's treasury, kindled with blowing.
Darkness I am, and light, blindness and second sight, manifest, recondite, retreat, progression. That need which made me be urges continually; I wander ceaselessly, seeking expression.
A shifty god, this one; I can't put a finger on him.
Are you a good god, or a bad god? The munchkins must know!
. Not Good alone, Brethren! But all complete in the perfect Equilibrium.
Behold, I am yesterday, to-day, and the brother of The Morrow! I am born again and again. Mine is the unseen force from which the Gods are sprung; that giveth life unto the dwellers in the watch-towers of the universe. I am the charioteer of the East, Lord of the Past and the Future. I see by mine own inward light; Lord of Resurrection, who cometh forth from the dusk, and whose birth is from the House of Death.
During the next speeches, Mercury starts out by saying each speech in unison with Fr. or Sor. Gemini; his voice becomes fainter; eventually, he drops out entirely.
I am the Sun, all-searching, bearing light, Source of existence, pure and fiery bright; Bearer of fruit, almighty lord of years, Agile and warm, whom ev'ry pow'r reveres.
But I am also Death, whose realms profound Are fix'd beneath the firm and solid ground, In th'Elysian plains remote from sight, And wrapt forever in the depths of night.
Mercury hands Sor. Gemini the lyre, speaking very quietly along with her.
I am Apollo the civilizer, bearing splendid light, Unweary'd fire, with flaming torrents bright; Whose locks are gold, whose oracles are sure, Who omens good reveal'st, and precepts pure;
Mercury hands Fr. Gemini the panpipe, speaking very quietly along with him.
I am Pan-Dionysos, whom rural haunts delight, I come leaping, agile, wand'ring by starry light; Goat-footed, horned, bacchanalian Pan, Fanatic pow'r from whom the worlds began, And blessed Dionysos, various-nam'd, Bull-fac'd, begot from thunder, Bacchus fam'd.
Mercury silently crowns Sor. Gemini with the laurel wreath.
'Tis mine all nature's music to inspire, With various-sounding, harmonising lyre; All nature's tribes to me their def'rence owe, And changing seasons from my music flow.
Mercury silently crowns Fr. Gemini with the goat horns.
Wild-eyed god, of universal might, Whom love, and blood, and sacred rage delight; In heav'n rejoicing, mad, loud-sounding god, Furious inspirer, bearer of the rod.
What do these fools of Greeks know, anyway?
All-Father, Ale-Giver, ever-raging god, Wolf-god, War-Father, the Wild Hunt's master, Raven-god, Rune-winner, Rider of Yggdrasil, Pourer of poetry, priest of the Aesir, Spell-singer, Sword-father, Chooser of the Slain, Bearer of bard-mead, who gives the Berserk's fit, All these are Odin, eldest in Asgard, The Spear-god, the Song-giver, one single god; madness and mastery, in marvellous balance.
Aye, on Yggdrasil I offered my body, spear-marked in sacrifice unto myself, the wand of my will become the weapon that wounds me; the speech I bestowed I now must suffer to win. Man, you have remade me, a mask in your image, and pick at my pieces with your prejudice. I sang the seidh-runes with the Samsey women; you reviled it as vice and transvestism. You term me trickster, not to be trusted, when your wyrd goes not as you will; Man, you have made me a man like yourself:
Where now is your God?
My God is in the shrine, where he belongs! See?
He flings aside the curtain to reveal a large mirror.
Ye sought to bind me, but quicksilver-mobile I split in particles, reforming changed.
Commerce and formulæ, war-cries and poetry, wreak new reality; mind begets matter. Words flow and kingdoms fall, language erects a wall. Quicksilver renders all mad as a hatter.
Worship a named god, bind up its power, such a god must dissolve into the one, even as you must break apart, reform, passing from all things, becoming none. Where then will you be? Cast out and drifting in the abyss where no thing must be, aimlessly wandering, seeking expression, where perhaps you may encounter me...
Mercury puts his stick over his shoulder and a big floppy hat on his head and steps off the stage out of sight.
Music: "Mercury" from Holst's The Planets.
Closes up the shrine somewhat furtively, kneels in front of it, makes obeisance as though there's something there.
Hail unto the Lord Mercury!
Fr. & Sor. Gemini
The will of the Gods be accomplished!