The Country of the Dead
Aeneas, the most excellent Trojan man, olympically and solemnly ascended the august mountain of Apollo on whose majestic summit the mysterious cavern of the Pythoness was found.
Close to the temple, there was the sacred forest of the third aspect of the Divine Mother Kundalini, an ineffable jungle of Hecate, Proserpine, Coatlicue.
It was a hermetically sealed sanctuary with one hundred doors, a glorious entrance on which Daedalus, the skillful sculptor, engraved marvelous embossments with his extra-ordinary mastery.
It is said that Icarus (with his I.A.O. chiselled by his father on the sacred rock of that mysterious entrance) wanted to soar towards heaven, to convert himself into a Son of the Sun, but the wax that held his wings to his body melted and he fell into the horrifying precipice.
Icarus is the marvelous symbol of the vain intention of those who do not know how to work with the luminous and spermatic Fiat of the first instant. It is the disgrace and downfall of those Alchemists who spill the raw matter of the Great Work.
Was Daedalus not perhaps the famous sculptor, the father of Icarus, and also the same one who taught Theseus how to escape from the intricate labyrinth of Crete...?
It was a horrifying corridor, and in the center of this labyrinth was always found the famous Minotaur, a half-man, half-beast (complicated intellect bottled up within the “myself”).
Only by eliminating the interior beast can we make ourselves truly free. We will reach the realization of the Innermost Self only by the dissolution of the animal ego.
“This is no time for you to be looking at sights like these (said the Priestess), since soon, Apollo, similar to a hurricane-wind, will arrive.”
So, this illustrious Trojan man sacrificed a hundred black rams from a herd in honor to Proserpine, who is the third manifested aspect of the eternal Mother Space, queen of hell and death.
Thus, when the Sibyl spoke... oh God!... a frightening earthquake shook the base of the earth, and while transfigured, the virgin priestess cried:
“It is the God Apollo! The God Apollo is here!... Why are you hesitating, Trojan Aeneas? Why are you so slow to offer your vows and prayers? Until you have prayed, the great mouths of my house are dumb and will not open.”
The legend of the centuries states that when this famous man heard these venerated words, he poured out ardent prayers from the depths of his heart to Apollo.
Then, the priestess spoke with her voice transfigured by ecstasy, and warned this most illustrious warrior to lay hold his foot upon the shores of Italy, and to establish himself in the kingdom of Lavinium.
She told him that a second Achilles, equal in strength to the first one, would declare war upon him, and that the Latin rivers would be foaming with torrents of blood as the Simois and the Xanthus were in Troy. However, he must not give way to these adversities. Instead, he must face them all, since his road to safety, strange as it may seem, would start from a Greek city.
With these words from her sanctuary, the Sibyl of Cumae sang in the mountain her fearful riddling prophecies, her voice boomed in the temple, and the earth howled as she wrapped the truth in darkness... (Demonius est Deus Inversus).
So, the hero Aeneas began to beseech the Sibyl; he wept, and asked to be allowed to go into the country of the dead; he wanted to descend into the abode of Pluto, and said:
“Since they say the gate of the king of the underworld is here and here too is the black swamp which the tide of Acheron floods, I pray to be allowed to go and look upon the face of my dear father. Show me the way and open the sacred door for me. On these shoulders I carried him away through the flames of the smoking Troy...
“Besides, it was my father himself who begged and commanded me to come to you as a supplicant and approach your doors... was not Orpheus allowed to summon the shade of his wife with the sound of the strings of his Thracian lyre? Do I need to speak of Theseus? Or of great Hercules? I too am descended from highest Jupiter [Aeneas was an initiate].”
Certainly, to descend into the Averno in order to work in the Ninth Sphere and to dissolve the ego is easy, but it is dreadfully difficult to retrace our steps and to escape to the upper air. “That is the task! That is the difficult labor!”
Proserpine, the queen of hell and death, is certainly very capricious, and she always ordains that an offering must be brought to her from those who visit her. This offering is the golden bough, the golden branch of the Tree of Knowledge, with seed aplenty.
Joyful is the one who finds this magic tree (which, by the way, is not too far from us, since it is the very spinal medulla). The doors of Pluto will be open to this one.
Whosoever wants to ascend must previously descend; this is the law. Initiation is death and birth at the same time.
However, you who read these lines:
Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead. - Matthew 8:22
Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. - Mark 8:34
To deny the self signifies to dissolve the “I,” to die from moment to moment, to reduce the “myself” to dust, from instant to instant.
To take the heavy cross of the Master upon our shoulders is something very significant. The vertical pole of this sacred symbol is masculine, and the horizontal pole is feminine. The clue of the Second Birth is found in the sexual crossing of these two poles.
To follow the Lord from second to second signifies sacrifice for humanity, to be ready to give even our last drop of blood for our fellow men, to immolate ourselves upon the sacred altar of supreme love for the sake of all of our brethren of the world.
Now, Gods and mortals listen to me: the Sibyl and Aeneas penetrated into the womb of the earth through the dreadful cave.
I place the Genie of the earth as a witness, in order to solemnly affirm that before entering into the Averno, one has to pass through the Orcus (limbo). The Orcus is in itself a vestibule where many abide, such as: white-faced Diseases, horrifying, perverse Hunger who is a corrupter of men, squalid Poverty, perverted Pleasures, murderous War, the Furies, raving Discord with blood-soaked ribbons binding her viperous hair, Pain, and the idle dreams of the consciousness.
Here is where Aeneas found the stubborn dreams of people. Here is where he saw all manner of monstrous beasts like Briareus, the giant with his hundred arms, the Hydra of Lerna, who Hercules killed with mastery when cutting off all of its multiple heads, the Chimaera of people, which is a monster with the face of a goat, the Gorgons and Harpies (witches), etc.
The Orcus is the very throat of hell where the mysterious route that conducts the lost souls to the Tartarous (Infernal Worlds) commences.
Aeneas and the Sibyl, while seated on the boat of Charon, navigated upon the waters of Acheron and arrived at the other shore.
Aeneas also found Cerberus, the demon of gluttony, and Minos, the inexorable judge, and he saw the gloomy river, which serpentines nine times about the Ninth Sphere, and the terrible water-pools of the river Styx.
Within the Averno, the pitiful Aeneas found Dido, the Queen who loved him, and he was able to embrace his deceased father.