“I had only ever experienced Paris in the summer and I was struck by just how different the city is when most of us tourists are gone.” — The Quiet City: Winter in Paris, a film by Andrew Julian
“What if those boundaries did not exist?” — Hidden Cities: Travels to the Secret Corners of the World’s Great Metropolises; A Memoir of Urban Exploration by Moses Gates
Once the man has spent some time reveling in his new-found freedom from the forces of manifest existence, he suddenly discovers that even on this new level, he is at the mercy of the Gods. He is pulled this way and that as they travel their paths around the sky, and he travels his with the earth. Each tug of the planets disturbs his spiritual equilibrium, and takes from him a little of that balance and joy that the first experience of the Soul gives.
Yet again, he must put on his armor and prepare for battle. But this time it is against an enemy far superior to himself. The Earth, he has seen, was but a child’s playroom, and the difficulties to be overcome there simply the play of children. Now he must fight as a man, against those who are his superiors both in strength and in spirit, and he must stand against them in direct combat, showing himself equal to them.
Before all this, however, came Randolph’s eye-opening “journey to the East.” From Paris he traveled to “Egypt, Tunis, Arabia, Syria and many other less traveled lands” according to Allan Odell, to “Egypt, Palestine, and Turkey as far as the border of Persia…” according to the far more reliable Godwin, Chanel and Deveney. The impact of this pilgrimage should not be underestimated. In Eulis, written a decade later, he attempted to put the Rosy Cross in perspective:
I am induced to say thus much in order to disabuse the public mind relative to Rosicrucianism… which was not originated by Christian Rosencrux; but merely revived, and replanted in Europe by him subsequent to his return from oriental lands, whither, like myself and hundreds of others, he went for initiation.In Palestine, as he later wrote, he came into a growing understanding of the inner mysteries. He was discovering sexual magick, pure simple and straight forward:
One night — it was in far-off Jerusalem or Bethlehem, I really forget which — I made love to, and was loved by, a dusky maiden of Arabic blood. I of her, and the experience, learned — not directly, but by suggestion — the fundamental principle of the White Magick of Love; subsequently I became affiliated with some dervishes and fakirs of who, by suggestion still, I found the road to other knowledges; and of these devout practicers of a sublime and holy magic, I obtained additional clues - little threads of suggestion, which, being persistently followed, led my soul into labyrinths of knowledge themselves did not even suspect the existence of. I became practically what I was naturally — a mystic, and in time chief of the lofty brethren; taking the clues left by the masters, and pursuing them farther than they had ever been before; actually discovering the elixir of life; the universal Solvent, or the celestial Alkahest; the water of beauty and perpetual youth, and the philosopher’s stone…
|—||T Allen Greenfield’s biographical sketch “Paschal Beverly Randolph” at The Invisible Basilica of Sabazius|
“Burton also wrote A Personal Narrative of a Pilgrimage to Mecca and Al-Madina, which is the account of his participation in the Hajj in 1853, impersonating an Indian Pathan. His success in this dangerous feat was due to his intimate familiarity with the languages and customs of the region, and also perhaps to the fact that he was an initiate of the Kadiri Order of Dervishes. He was one of the first Europeans to explore East Africa, and was one of the discoverers of Lake Tanganyika and Lake Victoria Nyanza. His other expeditions included one across the United States to Salt Lake City, and a voyage up the Congo River.” — T Apiryon’s biographical sketch “Sir Richard Francis Burton” at The Invisible Basilica of Sabazius
… we decided to go on a pilgrimage to the ruined sacred cities of Buddhism. Allan [Bennett] had become more and more convinced that he ought to take the Yellow Robe. The phenomena of Dhyana and Samadhi had ceased to exercise their first fascination. It seemed to him that they were insidious obstacles to true spiritual progress; that their occurrence, in reality, broke up the control of the mind which he was trying to establish and prevented him from reaching the ultimate truth which he sought. He had the strength of mind to resist the appeal of even these intense spiritual joys. Like physical love, they persuade their dupe to put up with the essential evil of existence.
As for myself, I had become impatient with the whole business. Dhyana had washed my brain completely out. I went on this pilgrimage in a entirely worldly frame of mind. My interests were in aesthetic, historical and ethnological matters, and in incidents of travel amid new scenes. I even took a somewhat demoniac delight in sceptical and scurrilous comment upon current events for the sheer joy of shocking Allan, and even in horrifying him by occasional excursions after big game.