Yeats, Divination and Baal

Posted: June 1, 2012 in Uncategorized

Were Isaiah  commenting on Yeats’ life he would say “those who pursue their own imaginations…who sit among the graves and spend their nights keeping secret vigil…who spread a table for Fortune and fill bowls of mixed wine for Destiny…are too sacred” (Isaiah 65). Being too sacred means attributing metaphysical origins to acts, foretelling an imputed result were that action to occur, that is, divination. Yeats does not expressly call this the religion of Baal. Baal Gad, Baal of fortune resides below Mount Hermon, not Ben Bulben (where Yeats is ‘buried’ [except his body is not there]):  ” Ba’al (Bel, Belos) was the ancestral and national deity of the Semites, the founder of Babel (Babylon), according to secular history, identified with Zeus, Jupiter, Ammon, Asshur, Assur, Kronos, and Bel-Marduk. Morris Jastrow, Max Müller, and W. H. Roscher all three agree: Baal is the Babylonian sun deity. The Ba’als of the nations were sun deities, and Ba’al worship means sun worship.”

Wishing good luck to someone then is a recommendation of Baal.

That there may be acts not sacred enough is a possibility, but too sacred means a subversion of the will and responsibility for the choices which are believed to lie outside the human. All of the energies of Yeats sacred secret society that he belonged to for thirty years taught these mechanics of foretelling, so the odor of the sacred overhangs him not only in his notion of opposite states, which resembles Blake, without contraries is no progression, but Yeats vests the poles with equality. Nobody wants to blame this gnostic stupidity on Yeats, but he bought it anyway. If you think the poles are equal or even if there are poles beyond the earth sense then consider YHVH. Sources however no one would want to admit sharing with Yeats in this include G.R.S. Mead, Paul Foster Case, Israel Regardie, S.L. Mathers and  intrigues for and against Crowley. Their private gibberings give understanding of the delusions and illusions they suffered, but there is no formula  here for human existence or art, which Yeats sought.

Curses and rituals rebound upon the doer and speaker and blessings do too. Yeats’ wife George sought to influence him in child bearing, giving blown up prophecies of  children, starting with the fatuity of  the birth of Ann, their first child, a boy, but not a boy, “the son…”the Arabic astronomer,” the “avatar,” “savior for Ireland” (Brenda Maddox, Yeats’s Ghosts, 127). He and George were to “reincarnate” (Maddox, 123) a seer, but Yeats never spent time with his son Michael ( born second) (who became a barrister), until he was 17. This is pathos. If you spend time with them they want to be independent, if you don’t they pine in loneliness! Not that it  differs much from the unspoken illusions of every parent, except Yeats’ high self opinion is documented in his letters, vision writings and tales. This fodder is told by scholars on every occasion, as if Yeats were an agent run by controllers who manipulated him to their own ends. George was his controller and he the compliant occult subject. She would have had their first child be a boy to fulfill Yeats’ name and her position as wife and mother of a son. She pretended these visions were foisted  upon her by her invented controllers of the automatic script. Yeats took it all at face value and thought he incorporated these controls into his poems, Thomas, Rose, Aymor,  “the symbols he had been receiving through the Script since his marriage’ (Maddox, 131), were really George. That the birth prophecy was wrong and the child was a girl and Yeats last poems are informed with philosophical might from this whole process is just another event explained  by the wonder of belief, to build, as Stephen Spender observes, his “poetry out of a dozen fragments of esoteric beliefs” (World on Worlds, 55), but it was not “a deliberate artifice constructed for the purposes of creating his poetry” (55), it was spoon fed upon the mattress, all the more amazing.

Passivity is a necessity underlying the attitude of magic, except among its leaders who practice mania. Mathers, Blavatsky, Crowley, Huysmans, in a long list the underlying premise is that a man must be passive, identify with the feminine, which more directly apprehends the face of light, very like a psychology of the Trojan Horse, acceptance, not to suggest the whole thing is a deception. The sentences themselves are passive. So the man says with the woman in the creed,  “through me its unfailing wisdom takes form in thought and word,” “I am guided moment by moment along the path of liberation,” “I draw all things needful,”   “the kingdom of spirit is embodied in my flesh. This making passive is seen (!) when the masculine and feminine are paired in those metaphysical pics where the woman looks up, or over, or in, and the man looks out, signifying opposites of action and meditation, which become convincing in popular psychology, where the outward is contemplated with the inward. But these are simple stereotypes like the examples of the shadow given by Bly in his Little Book, stereotypes that hide suppression of the female in the usual male way. The exoteric is the outer world of fortune telling and divination; the esoteric the inward state of idea, not however as a form of divination, that debased act which masks, as taught, the truth of the self as fortune. Baal again. Turning philosophy into divination was the essence of these secret societies as they were pitched. Divination consumed Yeats, who wanted to know from his sources what to do, when to do it and why he did it. As with every mania this consumed in  practice only those it didn’t, that is, perhaps  excepting only Yeats. The paradox is his sometime escape even while a preoccupied captive. If you could know the future would you want to? This presumes it is worth, as Yeats sought, knowing the sex and destiny of his children and a thousand other questions for which he cast hoary charts, when to get his tonsils out, on and on. Let it be said sooner rather than late that what you know you cannot unknow; so the future hung over Yeats like a sword,  countered only by another cast of fate, whether Tarot, astrology or some other. Not to know the future and live in faith would have been his single greatest gift. The betrayal of the inner for the outer trumps occurs dramatically also in the novels of Charles Williams, another member of that society, and associate of Yeats.

Divination is its own curse. Drug prophecy the same. No better example exists than Yeats, but there’s no question he exhibited a massive synthetic intelligence. Occult mechanisms fueled his images the way Faulkner used bourbon, a quart a day, but no one else can do it. There’s  no way to compare Yeats to an average case. His mass of sexual insecurities, automatic writing, tarot, hypnotism, astrology, magic rituals, infused with a love of the dramatic and social life and philosophies collected in his own folklorish research and thirty years in the Golden Dawn reveal he had no talent of his own for the gift of prophecy, unlike Balaam say. His wife George and the Stella Matutina were his graduate school and college wrapped into images of the gyre and its surroundings. That he turned this hodgepodge into the melancholy measure of his later appealing work is his own doing. His life divides this way especially after his marriage, itself a studied affair, in 1917. But while this is said about him, he rings authentic.

The same foundation of Yeats’ philosophy spun off the creed of the Liberal Catholic Church and BOTA as the number series 0 to ten and the letters of the Hebrew alphabet. How the Romantic poets concocted their own religion out of poetry is thus superseded by Yeats, who went them one better and created a poetry out of rituals and symbols of Irish myth, Madam Blavatsky and the Golden Dawn with “lashings of Blake and bits of Freud, Boehme, Swedenborg and Nietzsche.” (Brenda Maddox. Yeats’ Ghosts, 89).


When the prophet Isaiah and the poet David speak of the ground of the spirit with masculine daring, boldness and cutting edge intention they say things no one would dare to say. In this they depict the ultimate daring of the Jesus who exceeds them in audacity. This is to say that the masculine penetrating audacious speaking of the prophets copied by Milton and Blake  directly opposes the spiritual wisdom of the occult creeds. He commands the sea,  tells them, “you give them to eat,” nothing but audacious, and this  to Paul,  “we sit together with him in heavenly places,” and Peter, “rise up and walk.” It is the audacity of the Exodus, “both horse and rider he has cast into the sea,” the judgment of Balaam, obviated for a time, the OT equivalent  of  the  NT Saul suborning the faith of the first believers. It is the entire speaking of Jesus, active and penetrating. Saying Bereshith barah Elohim is audacity itself. In short, this masculine speaking is the opposite of its imitations and subversions catcalled in onerous desert religions: Jew, Christian, Muslim, Babylonian, pagan, a contrast of truth against the world in ultimate conflict misunderstood in every way. The self created world is the path of indulgence and sensuality to enslave the mind. Masculine and Monotheism, Freud did not write, but a hundred others have.

The sweet occult creeds and Yeats experience in this seem  attractive and appealing. How else understand the LCC, “we hold the fatherhood of God, the brotherhood of man. We hold that we do serve him best when best we serve our fellow man. So shall his blessing rest on us and peace for ever more.” What more appealing statement can there be than a subtle encouragement of passivity?

But anyone can say words.  If there is an inward reality where communication is not physical or spiritual, whose command is self-denial, self-sacrifice, self-surrender, which sounds passive, we must beware the trick of words, which mean nothing in themselves. Direct speaking without trickery and vulnerability are dangerous alternatives. Their opposite, indirection, feminizing the masculine, was a major concern of the renaissance where love was viewed as weakening the power of will.  Sidney complains of this weakness in writing “whining poetry.” These masculine states replaced by the feminine, a more socially justified view, are hard to consider without compounding with the greatest depraved cases. It’s not the masculine mind that offends, but the mouth. Be as masculine as you want as long as you don’t talk.

Not necessarily a straight line, memory trickier than occult deceit, as if there were no fact, no datum remembered, but merely versions. In truth in the relative mind an event exists in its interpretations, like memory, and in a denial of natural law, but gravity for instance like Truth is made weak in those who profess it by  dogma or relativism or no truth. Memory however is the highest fact of our existence.

The occult origins of fiction, philosophy, fantasy and science fiction  in the university clubs and writers cliques inform the search for the spirit as a means of social control encouraging the feminine, but not masculine direct apprehension. The occult imitates the real prophetic by inversion.


Surprisingly evil is not what we think, personal corruption notwithstanding and its sins. Evil is spiritual in high places, it says somewhere, connoting the asherahs of Palestine. High places control, a metaphor of counsels, rulers, leaders and intrigues. Consider Mount Hermon high above Baal Gad. If we  perceive a conspiracy in high places, its purpose is evasive, unless we take it is “against YHVH and his anointed.” Some  striking cases occur. In the case of Balaam at least we know the purpose was payback, payoff, and power and influence with the king of Midianites. Psychic gifts are notoriously uncertain, part of the passivity routine. A clairvoyant might have no knowledge of the effects of an eclipse, that is of the seen, but may know perfectly well what occurred in someone’s mind that could not be seen. A pastor with prophetic utterance may be utterly unable to discern the dissembling elder in front of him, even to the point of  outright fraud. What matters most is accuracy.


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