The Sixth Day
by Jack Courtis
Next morning, after we had awakened one another, we sat together to discourse upon what events might come to pass. Some were of opinion that the corpses would all find life again together. Others contradicted this as the act of dying by the ancients was not only to restore life, but to increase the life and vitality of the young ones. Some imagined that they were not put to death, but that others were beheaded in their stead. Having talked together for a long time, an old man came in, and first saluting us, cast about to see if all things were ready, and the processes finished. Having behaved ourselves, he could find no fault with our diligence. He placed all the glass containers together, and put them into a case. In a moment, certain youths entered, bringing with them ladders, ropes, and large wings, which they laid down before us, and departed. Then the old man began thus: "My dear sons, one of these three things must each of you this day constantly bear with him. Now it is free for you to either to make a choice of one of them, or to cast lots about it." We replied that we would choose. "Nay," said he, "let it rather go by lot." Hereupon he made three little schedules. On one he wrote Ladder, on the second Rope, on the third Wings. These he placed in a hat, and each man was to draw, and whatever he happened upon, that was to be his.
After a discussion on the meaning of the sacrificial deaths, the guardian of the mysteries divides the candidates into 3 groups. They have different means of rising to higher levels: ladders, ropes or wings. This reminds us that there are 3 orientations to God: knowledge, love and sacrificial action. The selection is made by lot, but we should not be deceived into thinking this is a completely random and therefore meaningless process. It is in fact the use of intuition.
Those who got the ropes, imagined themselves to be in the best case, but I chanced on a ladder, which hugely afflicted me, for it was twelve-foot long and quite heavy. I would be forced to carry it, whereas the others could handsomely coil their ropes about them. And as for the wings, the old man joined them so neatly on to the third sort as if they had grown them from themselves. Hereupon he turned the cock, and then the fountain ran no longer, and we were pleased to move it out of the way.
The 12 foot ladder of CRC is heavy, but so are the 12 Disciplines. Nevertheless, this is a strong and secure means of ascent. But why is the fountain stopped?
After all things were moved to the side, he took the casket with the glasses and left, locking the door fast after him, so that we imagined nothing else but that we had been imprisoned in this Tower. But it was hardly a quarter of an hour before a round hole at the very top was uncovered, where we saw our Virgin, who called to us, and bade us good morrow, desiring us to come up. They with the wings were instantly above through the hole. Only they with the ropes were in evil plight. For as soon as ever one of us was up, he was commanded to draw up the ladder to him. At last each man’s rope was hung on an iron hook, so each man was able to climb up by his rope as well as he could, which indeed was not compassed without blisters. Now as soon as we were through the opening the hole was again covered, and we were received in friendship by the Virgin.
The 3 methods of ascent are used and a higher level is achieved. We should pause and consider that it is the feminine principle that is drawing CRC up.
This room encompassed the whole breadth of the Tower. There were six very stately vestries a little raised above the room, to be entered by the ascent of three steps. In these vestries we were distributed, there to pray for the life of the King and Queen. Meanwhile the Virgin went in and out of the little door a, until we had done. For as soon as our process was absolved, there was brought in, and placed in the middle through the little door, by twelve persons (which were formerly our musicians) a wonderful thing of an elongated shape, which my companions took only to be a fountain. But I observed that the corpses lay in it, for the inner chest was of an oval figure, so large that six persons might lay side by side. After which they again went forth, fetched their instruments, and conducted in our Virgin, together with her she-attendants, with a most delicate music. The Virgin carried a little casket, but the rest only branches and small lamps, and some lighted torches as well. The torches were immediately given into our hands, and we were to stand about the fountain in this order.
The numbers are all significant. This is the 2nd level of the 7-fold tower. There are 6 vestries supplemented by the fountain, as the 7th object. This is brought in by the 12 musicians. The oval inner chest reminds us of the mystical symbol, the vesica piscis. This is the womb of the Void and hence the doorway to life and death. That is why the corpses lay in it. The candidates are given inner light (the torches) and made to stand in a pattern.
First stood the Virgin A with her attendants in a ring with the lamps and branches. Next we stood with our torches b. The musicians c were in long rank. The last group were the rest of the virgins d who positioned themselves in another long rank. Now from where the virgins came from, or if they dwelled in the castle, or whether they were brought in during the night, I know not, for all their faces were covered with veils of delicate white linen and I could not recognise any of them.
The formation is obviously significant but its meaning shall remain obscure until we match CRC’s efforts. However, it seems there are only 5 candidates and this matches the 5 stages of the Great Work. The fountain reminds us of the waters of life mentioned in the Apocalypse ch 22 v 1.
Hereupon the Virgin opened the casket, in which there was a round thing wrapped up in a piece of green double tarrata. This she laid in the uppermost kettle, and then covered it with the lid, which was full of holes, and had besides a rim, on which she poured in some of the water which we had the day before prepared, whence the fountain began immediately to run, and through four small pipes to drive into the little kettle.
The kettle reminds us of copper and the Lady Venus. So does the colour green, for that is her colour. The water prepared by the candidates now flows through 4 pipes and the fountain begins to run. An alchemical process is under way.
Beneath the bottom kettle there were many sharp points, on which the virgins stuck their lamps, that so the heat might come to the kettle, and make the water seethe. Now the water beginning to simper, by many little holes at a, it fell upon the bodies, and was so hot, that it dissolved them all, and turned them into liquor. As to what the above said round thing was, my companions knew not, but I understood that it was the Moor’s head, from which the water conceived with such a great heat. At b encircling the great kettle, there were again many holes, in which they stuck their branches. Now whether this was done of necessity, or only for ceremony, I know not. However, these branches were continually besprinkled by the fountain, whence it afterwards dropped somewhat of a deeper yellow into the kettle. This lasted for near two hours, but the fountain never ceased to flow forth; but yet the longer it flowed, the fainter it was.
The Water of Life dissolves the corpses. If they represent the alchemical process of putrefaction, then this is the process of dissolution. The lamps and branches are the mechanism of this stage. As usual, it is driven by polarity.
Meantime the musicians went their way, and we were able to walk up and down the room. Truly the room was so interesting, that we had opportunity enough to pass away our time. For images, there were paintings, clock-works, organs, springing fountains, and the like. I have forgotten nothing
It is important that the 12 musicians, that is the 12 Disciplines, are involved. In fact, we can never relax, we must constantly practise them, just as an orchestra must always practise.
When the fountain ceased and would run no longer, the Virgin commanded that a round golden globe be brought. At the bottom of the fountain there was a tap, by which she let out all the matter that was dissolved by those hot drops (whereof certain quarts were then very red) into the globe. The rest of the water which remained above in the kettle was poured out. And so this fountain (which was now become much lighter) was carried away. Whether it was opened abroad, or whether there was anything of further use within, I dare not say with certainty. But this I know, that the water that was emptied into the globe was much heavier than sin and it took many of us to bear it, notwithstanding that for its bulk it should have been easy for one man. Now this globe being with much ado gotten out of doors, we again sat alone, but I, perceiving a trampling overhead had an eye to my ladder.
There are 7 processes, but only 5 stages of the Great Work. Black is the colour of the first stage and red is the colour of the second. Here, the red liquid is put into the golden globe. What is the relationship between the 7 processes and the 5 stages? It is explained by the Tree of Life. There are 7 levels on the Tree and 5 sefirot on the middle pillar when it has reconciled the left and right pillars:
One might here take notice of the strange opinions my companions had concerning this fountain. For imagining that the bodies still lay in the garden of the castle, they knew not what to make of this kind of working, but I thanked God that I awakened in so opportune a time, and saw that which helped me the better in all the Virgin’s business. After one quarter of an hour the cover above was again lifted off, and we were commanded to come up, which was done as before with wings, ladders and ropes. It did not a little vex me, that whereas the virgins could go up another way, we were fain to labour so intensely. I could well judge there must be some special reason in it, and we must leave somewhat for the old man to do. For even those with the wings had no advantage by them but when they were to mount through the hole.
Now another level is climbed and it is hard work for everyone. CRC observes that he has awakened at an "opportune" time. This is a reference to inner time or non-linear time. The 3 means of ascent are again mentioned and correlate with the 3 pillars of the Tree of Life.