Le Serpent Rouge

Translated by Elizabeth van Buren

[1 Aquarius]
How strange are the manuscripts of my friend, great traveller of the unknown. They appear to me separately, but they seem as one to him that knows that the colours of the rainbow gives a single white light, or to the artist who, in his magic palette, mixes six tints to make black.

[2 Pisces]
This friend, how would one present him? His name is a mystery, but his number is that of a famous seal. How can one describe him? Maybe as the pilot of this everlasting Ark of Noah, impassive like a pillar on his white rock looking forward towards the south, beyond the black rock.

[3 Aries]
In my difficult pilgrimage I was trying to hack my way through the dense vegetation of the woods with my sword. I wanted to reach the abode of the sleeping BEAUTY in whom some poets can see the QUEEN of a lost kingdom. Desperate to find the way, I was aided by the parchments of my friend, being for me like Ariadne's thread.

[4 Taurus]
Thanks to him, henceforth with measured steps and a sure eye, I am able to discover the dispersed sixty-four stones of the Brothers of the BEAUTY of the black wood, escaping the pursuit of usurpers, had sown along the way as they fled from the white Fort.

[5 Gemini]
To reassemble the scattered stones, to work with square and compass to put them in regular order, to find the line of the meridian in going from East to West, then looking from the South to the North, then finally in all directions to discover the solution, stationing oneself in front of the fourteen stones marked with a cross. The circle being the ring and the crown, and he being the diadem of the Queen of the castle.

[6 Cancer]
The mosaic tiles of this sacred place are alternatively black and white, and Jesus, like Asmodeus regards their alignments. My view seems incapable of seeing the summit where dwells hidden the marvellous beauty. Not being Hercules with magical powers how can I solve the mysterious symbols engraved by witnesses of the past. However, in the sanctuary is the font, fountain of love for those who believe, reminding us of these words, BY THIS SIGN YOU WILL CONQUER him.

[7 Leo]
The scent of the perfume of the her whom I wish to liberate, mounts upwards towards me. Long ago she was named Isis, queen of the benevolent spring, COME TO ME ALL YOU WHO LABOUR AND ARE HEAVY LADEN AND I WILL COMFORT YOU. Others knew her as MAGDALENE with the celebrated vase of healing balm. The initiates knew her true name OUR LADY OF THE CROSSES.

[8 Virgo]
I am, like the celebrated painter Poussin, puzzled by the enigma "ET IN ARCADIA EGO". Would the voice of the blood form an image of our ancestral past. Yes, a light of inspiration floods my mind; now I understand. Now I the fabulous secret. And what is more amazing is that when the four knights moved, one of the horses left four hoofprints in the rock. Here is the sign which DELACROIX has given in one of the three paintings in the chapel of the Angels. There is the seventh sentence which a hand has traced: DELIVER ME FROM THE MIRE, AND LET ME NOT SINK. Two times IS embalmer and embalmed, miraculous vessel of the eternal White Lady of Legends.

[9 Libra]
I began my journey in shadows, and completed it in the light. At the window of the ruined house, I look across the trees denuded by autumn to the summit of the mountain. The cross stood out from the crest under the midday sun, it was the fourteenth and largest of all with 35cm. Here then am I at my knight's tower on the divine steed spanning the Abyss.

[10 Scorpio]
Here is a celestial vision for the one who follows the four works of Em. SIGNOL around the line of the meridian, even at the heart of the sanctuary from where radiates the source of brotherly Love. I turn about on myself, casting a look at the rose of "P" to that of the "S", then from "S" to "P" ... And the spiral in my mind becomes a monstrous octopus expelling its ink, the shadows absorb the light; I become giddy, and I carry my hand to my mouth, instinctively, perhaps like OLIER in his coffin. Damnation, I know the truth, HE HAS PASSED, but he has also in doing GOOD, as did HE of the flowery tomb. But how many have pillaged the HOUSE, leaving only embalmed corpses and numbers of metal things that they could not carry? What strange mystery is concealed in the new Temple of SOLOMON built by the children of St Vincent?

[11 Ophiuchus]
Cursing the profane in their ashes and those who follow in their ways, returning from the abyss into which I had plunged while making the gesture of horror; here is the proof that I knew the secret of the seal of SOLOMON, that I have visited the secret places of this QUEEN. To this, my friend, do not add or take away one iota ... think and think again, the base Lead of my words may contain the purest gold.

[12 Sagittarius]
Returning again to the white hill, the sky opening its floodgates I seem to sense close to me a presence, its feet in the water, like one who is going to receive the sign of baptism, I turn towards the East, and see facing me, unwinding endlessly its coils, the enormous RED SERPENT mentioned in the parchments, salty and bitter, the huge, unleashed beast becomes red with anger at the foot of the white mountain.

[13 Capricorn]
My emotions are elated, DELIVER ME OUT OF THE MIRE I say, and immediately I awaken. I have omitted to tell you that it was a dream I had on the 17th of January, the day of Saint SULPICE. On reflection, my trouble persisting, I wish I wish that I told you as a Fairytale by PERRAULT. Here then, dear reader, in the pages that follow the result of a dream which nursed me from the strange to the unknown. TO HIM WHO PASSES IN DOING GOOD.

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