- chapter index -
pg. 1 - Epitaph | pg. 2 - The Iron Gates of Fate
pg. 3 - The Fate of All Mankind | pg. 4 - Moonchild
pg. 5 - The Court of the Crimson King | pg. 6 - The Purple Piper
pg. 7 - Averroes | pg. 8 - The Keeper of the City Keys
pg. 9 - The Pilgrim's Door | pg. 10 - The Return of the Fire Witch
pg. 11 - The Gardener Plants An Evergreen | pg. 12 - The Prism Ship
pg. 13 - The Grinding Wheel | pg. 14 - On Soft Gray Mornings
pg. 15 - Divining Signs | pg. 16 - The Yellow Jester
pg. 17 - Remember the Future | pg. 18 - The Return of the King
pg. 19 - The I Ching | pg. 20 - Octants

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The Return of the Fire Witch

The Funeral Pyre by Joseph Wright of Derby

" The black queen chants the funeral march,"

"Till a lock of hair is devoted to Proserpine, she refuses to release the soul from the dying body. When Dido mounted the funeral pile, she lingered in suffering till Juno sent Iris to cut off a lock of her hair. In all sacrifices a forelock was first cut off from the head of the victim as an offering to the black queen."

- Dictionary of Phrase and Fable by E. Cobham Brewer

By alluding to Proserpine, Frederick is saying that a sacrifice of some kind must be made.

"Norman Cohen, in his book "Europe's Inner Demons", discusses the rise in the practice of "High Magic" among the literate elite in the 1200s. Many were fascinated by the possibility of forcing a demon to serve a Christian by invoking the name of the Holy Trinity. This demon taming was said to be a task only to be undertaken by pious literate men who had full confidence in the power of God. In 1267 Roger Bacon complained of the numbers of Grimoires being written on the techniques of demon raising and high magic. Some of these books purported to derive from the teachings of the biblical Solomon. These books taught that one had to prepare for demon raising by periods of chastity, fasting and prayer. There were special magical tools that had to be prepared, fumigated and consecrated while psalms were recited. According to Cohen these often included a sword, staff, white handled and black handled knives. Early in the 13th Century Michael Scot , tutor to the young emperor Frederic II wrote for him a personal grimoire known as the "Liber Introductorius." This gave the names by which demons could be summoned and stated that, if a demon was to be tamed by being imprisoned in a ring or bottle, a sacrifice should first be made to it - even by offering it some human flesh taken from a corpse!"

- High Magic and the Witchtrials.
by Jani Farrell Roberts. c2000
An extract from her book "Seven Days: Tales of Magic, Sex and Gender."

The fire witch is an alchemist.

"Eliade (Forge & Crucible) argues that alchemy had its origin in the ancient Craft of the Smith, which combined religion, magic and metallurgy. According to alchemy, metals are incubated by Fire in the Womb of the Earth; alchemists only accelerate their development. ...the Fire that comes from the center of the Earth is the key to the alchemical transformation."

- The Ancient Greek Esoteric Doctrine of the Elements: Fire
by John Opsopaus

The most renowned and feared sorcerer and alchemist of the 13th century was Michael Scot.

"Michael Scot c. 1175-1232. Scottish magician. Attached to court of Emperor Frederick II. Author of many books on necromancy, incantations, alchemy, divination, oneiroscopy. Acquired legendary reputation for skill in wizardry and his occult experiences. Mentioned by Dante."

- Witches

"Michael Scott, the utopian thinker and Court Philosopher to Emperor Frederick II of Sicily ...had a public reputation for performing miracles that would put any self respecting wonder working Rabbi to shame, and is also reported to have been adept at inducing visions by a combination of manipulation of light and suggestion; a phenomenon strongly associated with Sufi adepts.
It is possible that his familiarity with, and translation of, the texts of Arabian medicine and philosophy inspired much speculation upon his alleged alchemical prowess."

- The Qabalah of 50 Gates

" The cracked brass bells will ring;
To summon back the fire witch
To the court of the Crimson King

"Michael Scott, the Magician, practised divination at the court of Frederick II.,
The reader will recall the midnight scene of the monk of St. Mary's and William of Deloraine in Scott's Law of the Last Minstrel, Canto II.:--

"In these far climes it was my lot
To meet the wondrous Michael Scott;
A wizard of such dreaded fame
That when, in Salamanca's cave,
He lifted his magic wand to wave,
The bells would ring in Notre Dame!"

- Longfellow's footnotes to Dante's Inferno

And "the return of the fire witch" (Michael Scot) to the court of Frederick II after a ten year absence was an event of historical note.

Scot Again At Court

"The return of Michal Scot from Spain to the Imperial Court was doubtless a striking moment, not only in the life of the philosopher himself, but in the history of letters. He then appeared fresh from a great enterprise, and bringing with him the proofs of its success in the form of the Latin Averroes (i.e. Scot's translations of Averroes into Latin). We cannot doubt that his reception was worthy of the ocassion and of one who had served his master so faithfully. In welcoming Michael Scot and doing him honor Frederick was but crowning the success of an enterprise in which his own name and interest were deeply engaged.
Traces of this highly significant incident have been preserved in the arts of poetry and painting as well as in that of prose romance. Dante who wrote his Divine Comedy less than a century later than the time of Scot, has given the philosopher a place in his poem, describing him as:

"That other there, his flanks extremely spare,
was Michael Scot, a man who certainly
knew how the game of magic fraud was played."

The commentator, with great reason, refers to the manner of Scot's dress. It would seem that the Spaniards of those days differed from the other European nations in their habit. They wore a close girdle about the waist, like the hhezum of the east. Scot must have adopted such a dress while at Toledo, and thus, when he returned to Palermo, the singularity of his appearance struck the eyes of the court at once.
What he wore was probably no mere fragment of Eastern fashion but the complete costume of an Arabian sage : the flowing robes, the close-girt waist, the pointed cap."

- Enquiry into the Life and Legend of Michael Scot
by Rev. J. Wood Brown (p.137-9)

The siege, the attempt to gain the alliance with the Dominicans, the threat to use fire; all represent Frederick in the heat of battle. In summary, verse two is about the sun at its zenith, Frederick at the height of his power, vowing the destruction of his enemies.

"An atmosphere of magic played round this Hohenstaufen, some wholly-Germanic emanation which Napoleon for instance conspicuously lacked, an immeasurably dangerous emanation, as of a Mephisto free of horn and cloven hoof, who moves among men disguised as a golden-haired Apulian boy, winning his bloodless victories with weapons stolen from the Gods. Already without effort of his own the Puer Apuliae had played Nemesis to a giant like Innocent III, till the most mighty opponent of a Hohenstaufen dynasty became so mysteriously entangled in the coils of fate that he had no option but to elevate to the throne of the Roman Empire the Sicilian king whom he had failed to crush."

- Frederick II
by Ernst Kantorowicz
(p. 102)

In the Court of the Crimson King ~ The Pilgrim's Door return to
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In the Court of the Crimson King ~ The Gardener Plants an Evergreen

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Chapter One The Metaphysical Record In The Court Of the Crimson King In The Wake Of Poseidon Lizard The King In Yellow The Sun King Eight
The Lake Which Mirrors the Sky In the Beginning Was the Word In the Beginning was the Word...side two Eros and Strife Dark Night of the Soul...Cirkus Dark Night of the Soul...Wilderness Big Top Islands
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