current reading III

"Because," she said carefully, sensing that despite his outward truculence he understood her, "it can happen - if you practice this art - that the symbols you put next to one another will modify themselves without your choosing it, and that when next you call them forth, they may say something new and revelatory to you, something you didn't know you knew. Out of the proper arrangement of what you do know, what you don't know may arise spontaneously."

-John Crowley/ Little, Big

It is not for so idle a purpose as that of showing the Pagan backsliding—that is too evident—but for a far subtler purpose, and one which no man has touched, viz., the incapacity of creating grandeur for the Pagans, even with carte blanche in their favour, that I write this paper. Nothing is more incomprehensible than the following fact—nothing than this when mastered and understood is more thoroughly instructive—the fact that having a wide, a limitless field open before them, free to give and to take away at their own pleasure, the Pagans could not invest their Gods with any iota of grandeur. Diana, when you translate her into the Moon, then indeed partakes in all the natural grandeur of a planet associated with a dreamy light, with forests, forest lawns, etc., or the wild accidents of a huntress. But the Moon and the Huntress are surely not the creations of Pagans, nor indebted to them for anything but the murderous depluming which Pagan mythology has operated upon all that is in earth or in the waters that are under the earth. Now, why could not the ancients raise one little scintillating glory in behalf of their monstrous deities? So far are they from thus raising Jupiter, that he is sometimes made the ground of nature (not, observe, for any positive reason that they had for any relation that Jupiter had to Creation, but simply for the negative reason that they had nobody else)—never does Jupiter seem more disgusting than when as just now in a translation of the 'Batrachia' I read that Jupiter had given to frogs an amphibious nature, making the awful, ancient, first-born secrets of Chaos to be his, and thus forcing into contrast and remembrance his odious personality.

Why, why, why could not the Romans, etc., make a grandeur for their Gods? Not being able to make them grand, they daubed them with finery. All that people imagine in the Jupiter Olympus of Phidias—they themselves confer. 
But an apostle is beyond their reach.

-Thomas de Quincey