M. LE DOCTEUR BATAILLE is a mighty hunter before the face of the Lord in the land of Masonry, and through the whole country of Hiram; great also is Diana of the Palladians. After their monumental revelations and confessions, those of all other seceders and penitents who have come out of the mystery of iniquity, "are as moonlight unto sunlight, and as water unto wine." My readers in the two previous chapters have drunk raw spirit, and must now qualify it after the Scotch fashion. The aqueous intellectuality and quiet stream of unpretending deposition peculiar to M. Jean Kostka., will be well adapted to modify undue exaltations and restore order to a universe which has been intoxicated by sorcerers. He will show us how Lucifer is unmasked in an undemonstrative and gentlemanly fashion by a late Gnostic and initiate of the 33rd degree. He writes, as he frankly tells us, in a spirit of reparation and gratitude, having commerced freely with devils during a long series of unholy years. "Blessed be the omnipotent Lord, and blessed the loving kindness which drew me out of the abyss. . . . To glorify these I unmask the fallen angel." The delicacy of the motive and its setting of chivalrous sentiment will be appreciated even by the victim, and the tenderness of the treatment will prompt Lucifer to pardon his reviler, who has been already pardoned by M. Papus for betraying the order of the Martinists. And to do justice towards an amiable writer, who has scarcely the requisite qualities for seriously damaging or advancing any cause, it may be kind to add that he has considerably exaggerated his own case. After a careful examination of his statement, which is exceedingly naïve, I am tempted to conclude that he has never been near an abyss; he is innocent of either height or depth, and so far from having ever plunged into the infernal void, he has scarcely so much as paddled in a purgatorial puddle. His guilty transcendental experiences are in reality the most infantile afternoon occultism, and his drawing-room diablerie might be appropriately symbolised by the paper speaking-tube of our old friend John King; there is nothing in it when the voice is not speaking, and there is nothing in it when it is.
Since his conversion, M. Jean Kostka has exhibited much harmless devotion towards Joan of Arc, an enthusiasm which originated among occultists, and he has pious memories of St Stanislaus Kostka, for which dispositions I trust that all my readers will have the complaisance to commend him. He writes, furthermore, "in the decline of maturity, on the threshold of age, in the late autumn of life," which is his dropsical method of saying that he is past sixty, and he veils a "futile name" under the patronymic of his favourite saint. Jean Kostka is not Jean Kostka, but it is without intent to deceive that he evades any possible responsibility in connection with his concealed identity; it is a kind of pious self-effacement, I hope everyone will believe what he says, and give him all credit for having "turned towards the outraged Church." In matters of evidence, pseudonymous statements are, however, objectionable, and I therefore identify our witness as Jules Doinel, who was chiefly concerned in the restoration of the Gnosis and the establishment of a "Gnostic church" in Paris about the year 1890, and is moreover not unknown as a Masonic orator, and in the world of belles-lettres. M. Papus, with the generosity of a mystic, can only speak well of the pious enthusiast who has betrayed his cause and scandalised the school he represents; he explains that Jules Doinel is a marvellous poet deficient in the scientific culture which might have enabled him to explain in a peaceable fashion the phenomena squandered upon him by the world invisible, so that there were only two courses open for him—renunciation of the transcendental path, or madness. "Let us bless heaven that the patriarch of the Gnosis has selected the former." It is possibly showing gratitude for small mercies, because our friend has saved his reason, but is blood-guilty in the matter of common sense. Meanwhile, the widowed Gnosis illuminates its Ichabod in the cryptic quartiers of Paris, Lyons, and so forth.
Every one may agree with M. Papus that Jean Kostka is a very pretty writer in a quiet and shallow way, but, with possibly one exception, he must have withheld the flower of his phenomena in the order of the spirit, for his book is full of sentimental and vapid experiences of the school-miss order, while over the light and spongy soil he has now set the ponderous paving-stones of his new explanation, and toils forward on the road of unreason.
This apart, Jean Kostka, was evidently for many years, familiar with the centres and workings of all the cross lights of esoteric thought which meet and interlace in the night of French common thought. He has dwelt among Gnostics, Martinists, Modern Albigenses, and Spiritualists; he appears to have been identified with all, and though he does. not accuse himself of the capital offence of conscious Satanism, he has been quite well acquainted . with Satanism, and, next best to seeing the devil one's self, he has known many who have.: In those days, he tells us, that Lucifer could be visited chez lui in an earthly tabernacle, situated in an unfrequented street, from whence the lointain bruissement du Paris nocturne might be heard by the pensive traveller if he were not too intent on diabolising. Now, he has found out that Lucifer was chez lui everywhere. Je vise Satan et ses dogmes. All his psychic faculties have concentrated into a transcendental apparatus for scenting devildom, and he mournfully comes forward to tell us, with a variation of Fludd's utterance; Diabolus, in quam, diabolus ubique repertus est, et omnia diabolus et diabolus. "Let it suffice to say that the demonologists have invented nothing and have exaggerated nothing." To the spiritualists Lucifer is John King and Allan Kardec; to the Gnostics, he is the Gnosis, Simon Magus, Helen Ennoia, and anything that comes handy from the Nile valley in the fourth century; to the Martinists, he is the philosophe inconnu; to the Albigenses, if there are Parisian Albigenses, he is whatever Albigenses invoke, if they invoke anything; to Madame X., he is Mary Stuart; to his own adepts, within sound of the lointain bruissement, he is a jeune homme blond aux yeux bleus, whom I understand to have worn a dalmatic, and to have been curiously indebted to the author of Aut Diabolus aut Nihil; for the Theosophists, he is that "illustrious demoniac," Madame Blawatsky—his innate delicacy leads him to the permutation of the Typhon V.; and then Freemasonry—it goes without saying that the little horn of Lucifer has displaced all other horns in all the grades and lodges, that the fraternity is his throne and his footstool, and the city of the great king.
If we button-hole Jean Kostka, and ask him to tell us confidentially and upon honour what it is that has changed his views, making him discover the leer of Baal-Zeboub where he once saw the smile of the spiritual Eos, he turns Trappist at once, and goes into retreat with M. Huysman; there is not a syllable of information in all his beau volume as to any intellectual process through which he passed on the way, and I suspect that his conversion partook of the nature of a "penetration," to speak his own language, and was not an intellectual operation, but a sudden volte face. Jean Kostka has changed his pinces-nez, and that is the whole secret:—
"The reason why I cannot tell,
But now I hold it comes from hell."
Here is the proof positive; he has nothing in the shape. of an accusation; he gets his Lucifer-interpretation out of everything with which he has cut off correspondence by a very simple and civil process of instillation. "I sense it"; je vise Lucifer. Thus, the Order of the Knights of Perfect Silence invite their initiates to become architects of the Holy City. Jean Kostka, in possession of the latest tip, says, "read Hell." The Martinists are concerned with the creation of Adam Kadmon, the ideal humanity. Jean Kostka tells you that they are concerned with nothing of the sort, and that Satan is the only person who can really put us up to the secret, which is curious because he immediately advises us himself that the exercise of the three cardinal virtues to the profit of Lucifer is the sum of the whole mystery and the real sous-entendu of Martinism. The Masonic grades from Apprentice, Companion, Master, through Knight Rose-Cross to Knight Kadosch, and so forward, are exploited after the same manner by the baldest of processes, that of inverting everything. For example, the sacred word of the 33rd degree in the French Rite, namely, Sovereign Grand Inspector General, is Deus meumque Jus. That signifies, says Jean Kostka, that "Lucifer is the sole God and that the material, like the spiritual, world of right belongs to him." If you inquire the process of extraction by which he gets that result, he answers: "I must admit that I have had only a general intuition, but I assure you that it is immense," and he will immediately cite you a password, invite you to take every letter individually, and fit to it just that word which, by another intuition, he perceives belongs to it, when you will see for yourself. Thus, the Kadosch term Nekam, which signifies vengeance, having been duly anatomised, will come out as follows:—N (ex) E (xterminatio) K (risti) A (dversarii) M (agni), to wit: "Death, Extermination of Christ, the Great Enemy." Wicked and wily Jean Kostka to outrage the decencies of orthography and against all reason write the name of the Liberator with a K, thereby concealing the true meaning, which revealed for the first time is as follows:—N (equaquam) E (ritis) K (ostka) A (rtium) M (agister), which being interpreted still further, signifies that there was never such a clumsy device!
Now, it goes without saying that a writer with these methods is not to be taken seriously, but it is worth while to appreciate the quality of intelligence which is received with acclamation by the Catholic Church in France as soon as it comes over from the enemy. "Lucifer Unmasked" appeared originally in the pages of the newspaper La Vérité. It was immediately reproduced in Spanish by the Union Catolica; the clerical press boomed full-mouthed salvos in its honour, and his Eminence Cardinal Parocchi has blessed book or author, or both, and believes that it will make a great impression, "undoubtedly contributing to enlighten minds and lead them back to God."
Jean Kostka, as already indicated, is a spiritual sentimentalist; he has passed by a rapid transition common to such natures from the Gnostic transcendental initiate to the pious Catholic devotee, and he will make an excellent Lourdes pilgrim. As there will be no need to recur to him again, it will be permissible to justify my criticism by some account of his personal experiences. M. Papus speaks of him as the founder and patriarch of the Gnostic Church. Of this same patriarch and primate Jean Kostka also speaks as of another person, recites the facts of his conversion, and. hopes he will do better work for the Church of God than he has done for Lucifer. Which is Dr Jekyll and which Mr Hyde in this duadic personality is not of serious consequence, as they have both got into a better way of thinking and acting. Now, since his demission from these high functions, Jean Kostka has found that the chief piece of Gnostic devilry is in denying that the lost angels are eternally damned. On this point he has attained what is rare in him, a touch of personal animosity. To supply the antipodes of heaven, let us say, with a lethal chamber, as a meaner order than that of theological charity does here, in the interests of homeless and snappy dogs, would, in his present state of grace, seem a very wicked proposition. Well, in 1890 Jean Kostka was invited, as I understand, by the chief of the Gnostic Church, that is, by himself, to a chapel in the palace of a lady who figures frequently in his pages under the name of Madame X.; the author takes great credit for concealing her real titles, but he has failed to conceal her identity, and there can be no harm in saying that the reference is to Lady Caithness. He was present upon serious business, in fact, nothing short of assisting at a séance. A medium had been secured, the proceedings began, rappings became audible, an intelligence desired to communicate, and, finally, there was a message, with a name given. It was Luciabel, "whom you know as Lucifer." To this day Jean Kostka does not seem conscious of any element of idiocy in the variation of the old-fashioned name. In the revelation which followed, the intelligence, who seemed amiably disposed despite his sinister connections, informed the circle that, like Jesus, he was engendered eternally from God, that he was exiled from the pleroma, and that he was the Sophia-Achamoth of Valentine, the Helena-Ennoia of Simon Magus, the thought of God which had become anathema, and that he was now in search of love and consolation, both of which might take shape in a Gnostic church, and would be highly acceptable. There is, so to speak, a commercial element in the overtures which dries up the feeling of pity, or one might be exceedingly sorry for this lost chord of eternal thought, hoping charitably that we should still somehow hear it in heaven.
Since his conversion the unpretentious marvel of this séance has been a dire trouble to Jean Kostka, partly on account of its eschatology, but still more because the sitters were conscious at its close of a breath passing over their faces, while he himself felt the presence of lips against his own. Poor Jean Kostka! They were all abased on their knees, which happens occasionally, even at séances, to pious people in Paris, and he concludes that he was kissed by Helena-Ennoia, alias Lucifer, alias Luciabel, who is also described on the charge-sheet of orthodox theology by other and more objectionable titles. The shameful memory causes him to exclaim fervently:—"May he who purged the lips of Isaiah with a burning coal deign to purify mine by the sacred kiss of penitence and pardon: in osculo sancto." There is a touch of sublimity in that, and the basia of Baal-Zeboub may well enough be more demoralising than those of Secundus. At the time, however, he founded the Gnostic Church.
We become acquainted with ghosts after various manners, according to our psychic condition. There is the spontaneous and accidental ghost who is seldom caught in the act; there is the able-bodied materialised ghost whom we catch in the act occasionally, and preserve our mental balance by clinging to his watch-chain and seals; they may be distinguished as the timeless ghost and the ghost who occasionally does time. Over and above these two generic specimens there is the ghost that throws, who is separable from the ghost that hurls, as our French friends put it. To hurl is to utter objectionable and unreasonable yells, preferably in the dead of night and in lonely places. This ghost is much sought after by specialists. It would be tedious to name all the varieties, but I can guarantee the unequipped that all known specimens have been carefully labelled, except possibly the odorous ghost, the ghost, that is to say, who manifests exclusively to the olfactory organ. This is an exceedingly withdrawn inappreciable kind, but it is familiar to Jean Kostka, who is a connoisseur in the smell supernatural, and has a trained psychic nose. He can distinguish between the spiritual perfume which characterises, let us say, St Stanislaus and the odorem suavitatis of Lucifer. He is also an authority on conditions, and gives a ravishing description of the voluptuous enervation diffused over all his limbs when he had a private memorandum from Isis by means of raps during the reception of a master in a blue lodge. On this occasion he tells us that he was inspired to pronounce one of his most wicked and dangerous Masonic discourses. Dear M. Kostka! Dynamite would lose its destroying power in his harmless hands.
At another function—but this was in a red lodge—he was overwhelmed by the presence of Lucifer, who elected and commissioned him to fight in his cause. It was a moment of unwonted intelligence—these are his own words—and he agreed, so incompetence chose its minister, and Frater Diabolus again showed himself a short-sighted rogue, because has not his emissary converted and passed over to the makers of pilgrimages? M. Kostka also at this time was so wicked us to be guilty of a pact, but he reserved two points, "the person of Christ and His mother." The reservation of these sacraments is not specialised as to its kind, but, mon Dieu, how distraught was Lucifer to be so palpably tricked by a trente troisième! Both these matters were, however, personal to the seer, and the lodges, whether red or blue, seem to have been quite unconscious that they had been entertaining divinity and demon unawares. M. Kostka has, in fact, been distinguished from the common herd of Masons by many favours of Lucifer, and he has naturally been ungrateful, for which I admire M. Kostka.
In succeeding chapters he details at considerable length a variety of hallucinations which he experienced on the subject of Helena-Ennoia, and he has also had visions of Jansen, of a false Francis Xavier, a false Christ, &c., but his most important experience was that which he terms Penetration, commonly experienced in autumn seasons and during the mists and mildness of October nights. On these occasions he was conscious of a curious extension of personality by which he seemed to enter into all Nature, and all Nature took voice and interpreted herself intelligibly to him. After music came verbal communications, and then the apparition of forms, chiefly of classical mythology. Most people would have termed this poetic rapture passing into lucidity, but our friend avers that it is the Enemy.
Such have been the experiences and adventures of Jean Kostka in the psychic world, and they are of precisely the same calibre as his critical method. I may say, in conclusion, that, if spared, he will do better in his next book, for he promises another, which is to exhibit in a convincing manner how Lucifer has been vanquished by Joan of Arc. In the meantime we may part from him with due recognition of his absolute good faith and extreme amiability we may congratulate him on his conversion, and still more upon the very pleasant reading he provides; he does not appear to have unmasked Lucifer, but he has let us into the secret of the best that can be done in that way.
Lastly, the point to be marked in connection with the memoirs and revelations of Jean Kostka is this, that neither in Paris nor elsewhere, neither in Masonry nor in other secret associations, concerning which he has had every opportunity to judge, has he come personally into contact with a cultus of Satan or Lucifer; that he chooses to term certain mystical opinions and practices diabolical, because they are condemned by the Latin Church, is a matter which is perfectly indifferent and exhibits only the forlorn position of a case which resorts to the expedient. But it is highly significant that a man who has mixed among mystics of all grades for probably thirty years, who is affiliated to innumerable orders, and in his present mood would be glad to expose everything, has nothing to tell us of the Palladium, though he dwelt at its gates, and the circles he frequented were at a stone's cast from the alleged Mother-Lodge Lotus of Paris.
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