Seacht b-paidreacha fo seacht
Chuir Muire faoi n-a Mac,
Chuir Brighid faoi n-a brat,
Chuir Dia faoi n-a neart,
Eidir sinn 'san Sluagh Sidhe,
Eidir sinn 'san Sluagh Gaoith.
Seven paters seven times,
Send Mary by her Son,
Send Bridget by her mantle,
Send God by His strength,
Between us and the faery host,
Between us and the demons of the air.
from The Secret Rose, W.B.YEATS
D'yer know how ter pronounce that?
SHOHT PAtri-ce fe SHOHT
HOOR MOIre fe na MAC
HOOR BRIhid fe na VROT
HOOR THEia fe ne NERT
EITHER SHIN sawn SLOOwe SHEE
EITHER SHIN sawn SLOOwe GOTh
...at least, where my lot stems from]
The above prayer is from Yeats's prose work, The Alchemical Rose. It's the concluding story of the three, The Adoration of the Magi. It wasn't in the original Secret Rose, but was published privately and is contained in some later editions of TSR. This one is from the collected annotated version, 1972 I think. Hard to find.*
The lead-in passage is as follows:
This is all the old men told me, and when I think of their speech and of their silence, of their coming and of their going, I am almost persuaded that had I followed them out of the house, I would have found no footsteps on the snow. They may, for all I or any man can say, have been themselves Immortals: immortal demons, come to put an untrue story into my mind for some purpose I do not understand. Whatever they were, I have turned into a pathway which will lead me from the Order of the Alchemical Rose. I no longer live an elaborate and haughty life, but seek to lose myself among prayers and the sorrows of the multitude. I pray best in poor chapels, where the frieze coats brush against me as I kneel, and when I pray against the demons I repeat a prayer which was made I know not how many centuries ago to help some poor Gaelic man or woman who had suffered with a suffering like mine.
I look at the emblems in alchemy and -- well, here's a slew of obvious ones that have what hits me: You'll know them... but the literal image of the circle and square suggests, of course, the platonic cosmos model or the precession of the equinoxes we see in the old mechanical astrological model. But the others suggest the below when you translate the axiom into the neo-platonic modes of point, line, circle, sphere... and always individuation on the psych level. So it says to me, and I can't not see one or two old alchemists mumbling something along these scribbled lines through their beards. :)
Axiom of Maria. A precept in alchemy: "One becomes two, two becomes three, and out of the third comes the one as the fourth."
alice puts it:
Hidden in the Fourth is the One. Find it by uniting the Two in the Third.
masculine+feminine (expressed as metal, charge, planet, lovers, etc.) --transcending to-->divine nature/incarnation /big L love. Yin Yang stuff. Tao.
Jung (and these are psychological statements: Jung is always speaking of the psychological experience, and the psyche small and large is certainly the perspective of Yeats and his Celtic Twilight friend Fiona/ William Sharp ) used the axiom of Maria as a metaphor for the whole process of individuation.
From the Jung Lexicon: One is the original state of unconscious wholeness; two signifies the conflict between opposites; three points to a potential resolution; the third is the transcendent function; and the one as the fourth is a transformed state of consciousness, relatively whole and at peace.
The image language does suggest the Celtic Cross, which, like the axiom of Maria, is suggestive of the "squared circle"—which is to put a cross in the center of a circle, not to draw a circle in a square. That is — to divide it into quarters and thus make it a sphere, a notation for the Pythagorean fouth. Its very center is the perfect symbol for the psychological Stillpoint, where one penetrates the metaphor, passing beyond time and space to wholeness, the One. (An ever on-going process, for we are always moving, Time being a property of matter, the movement imaged/projected as Eros.) It is the image of the Self archetype (re Jung etc.) . The 4 corners, directions, dimensions; the Trinity with the female that is always implied, yet, rather than unconscious as she's been in the Christian system, she is conscious.
"When I think of Iona I think often, too, of a prophecy
once connected with Iona; though perhaps current no more in
a day when prophetical hopes are fallen dumb and blind.
"It is commonly said that, if he would be heard,
none should write in advance of his times. That, I do
not believe. Only, it does not matter how few listen.
I believe that we are close upon a great and deep spiritual change. I believe a new redemption is even now conceived of the Divine Spirit in the human heart, that is itself as a woman, broken in dreams, and yet sustained in faith, patient, long-suffering, looking towards home. I believe that though the Reign of Peace may be yet a long way off, it is drawing nigh; and that Who shall save us anew shall come divinely as a Woman, to save as Christ saved, but not, as He did, to bring with Her a sword. But whether this Divine Woman, this Mary of so many passionate hopes and
dreams, is to come through mortal birth, or as an
immortal Breathing upon our souls, none can yet know."
In Fiona MacLeod's (William Sharp) above statement, she comes NOT with a sword. Instead, she IS the sword.(*This, the conjugate of the male—and the conjugate is always present in the balance of forces inherent in the conditions of LIFE.) The Lady of Lake can be read as this principle: rather than the destructive force ("dissolve", putrefactio), she is the uniting force. Symbiosis: the principle of what endures in nature (Wilde's 'under the conditions of matter'). A psychological statement.
Again, Art functions as herald. As with Ficino's translations of Plato, it seems Thomas Taylor's translations into English of Plato, the later Platonists, Orphics and Pythagoreans rebirthed a second Renaissance: Romanticism. As it morphed into Aestheticism and Celtic Twilight, I'm thinking also of Wilde's flirtations with ritual re Catholicism; the Oxford Movement; Rossetti's goddess worship/Marianism, Neoplatonism, 'the Art Catholic'; and the continuing fascination of that big R Romanticism of Shelley, Keats, etc., to this day. These seem to reflect the conscious restoration of Ritual/magic, 'mysticism'/mystery to the West. All foreshadow; they are the compensations that paved the way for the formal development of psychology and psychical research re James, Freud/Jung etc. The conscious recognition of the unconscious.
Or so it seems to me.
*full pdf version here: http://www.golden-dawn.com/fr/UserFiles/en/file/pdf/adoration_of_the_magi.pdf