The text comes from the counter-earth at the cosmic antipodes, though whether from the future, the past, or some other cycle I cannot say. It appears to be of Recusant authorship. The editor's introduction, however, is plainly the product of Enochite erudition, which tends to miss the point about most things.
The edition relies on secondary sources, namely, transcriptions of the original codex into the cylinders used by the Enochite archives. Cylinders are decoded by mechanical readers, and are known to be more durable than other forms of record-keeping, but even slight damage to a cylinder can make entire passages completely inaccessible, a drawback not shared by paper or baked clay.
Though I didn't scruple to make use of modern English punctuation and vocabulary in my translation, I did my best to retain the flavor of the original. One word posed a special difficulty, however. The nephelic tongue uses different terms for the human species as a whole and for the male of that species, while the English word "man" can refer to either. "Human being" is an unforgivable solecism, and "human" is, properly speaking, an adjective, not a noun. In the end I went with traditional English usage, though this does some injustice to the text.
The manuscript in my possession (which, strangely enough, is on paper, not a cylinder) is accompanied by a number of curious pictures. Unfortunately, the gamma radiation to which they were exposed during their long sojourn in the deeps of space has caused them to fade badly. I fear that the harsh light of a document scanner would only cause further damage. Even the darkened, climate-controlled room where I keep the manuscript has not proved entirely adequate. I may attempt to reproduce the pictures by hand at some future date. If I do so, I shall certainly append them to this post.
I caution the reader not to expect too strict an adherence to the letter of this document in my writing. The account reflects philosophical, mythological, historical, and topological traditions, whereas my stories are works of literature.
And now, on to...
The Eladogran Cosmogony
The Eladogran Cosmogony was, until recent times, assumed to be the product of one hand, the anonymous author who addresses himself to Eladogra. However, linguistic analysis suggests that "Eladogra" should be regarded as a generic seeker after wisdom rather than a specific person. The salutation and show of uncertainty in the opening are literary devices common to this type of document. In fact, the text sits squarely in the genre of deuterognostic literature, of which it is the only extant representative.
Furthermore, subtle variations in word choice, numerous anachronisms, and passages parallel to literary fragments discovered at the recently reopened Yorrhic temple suggest that the document was compiled from multiple sources and not composed by a single hand. In short, the role of the "ingenious nameless adept," if he exists at all, must be degraded to that of a mere synthesizer. In reality, of course, it is far more likely that the magi of Darien assembled the document in secret ecumenical council. The marked anti-Enochite polemic in Section II corroborates this theory.
Modern analysis detects two, or perhaps as many as four, distinct strands in the text, which are named for their purported "authors": the Poet, the Logician, the Geometer, and the Adept. The second and third are likely to have come down to the compilers in the form of lecture notes from the hypothetical Academy of Yorrh.
The relation of the Eladogran Cosmogony to Sephaura, the "memory palace" or mnemonic device used by the aboriginal peoples of Arras for the transmission of their deposit of wisdom, is problematic. Sephaura is cited as an authority, but it is unclear whether this is anything more than an appeal intended to support the document's magisterial claims. Sephaura was a strictly oral tradition by Arrasene law, and there are no known records of its contents.
The primary source used in the preparation of this edition is Cylinder Γ2, which is generally regarded as the most authoritative. Variant readings from other cylinders were consulted, and adopted in several instances. In addition, Section IV, which is no longer legible by modern apparatuses in any extant cylinders, is largely interpolated from the paraphrase version attributed to Elerit Hermaphroditus.
The editor wishes to thank the divine Cheiropt; may It ever reign.
My dear Eladogra,
Inasmuch as those who know least have taken it in hand to declare the truth of things, it has seemed good to set forth the teaching that we received from our master in the days of our youth, that you might review it and correct the inevitable errors or omissions occasioned by the passage of so many years.
It was the magus Gaspar who said
All men by nature desire to know.and
Shadowy knowledge of the highest things is better than clear knowledge of the lowest things.But
Everything that rises must converge.This is true of the hierarchy of being and also of the structure of the cosmos.
The cosmos is a sequence of nested shells. It would be imprecise to refer to these shells as parallel, because parallelism implies some ambient space, and the shells sit in no space. It is also imprecise to refer to the cosmos as a multiverse, as some philosophers have done. The term itself is nonsensical. The word universe encompasses all that is, materially speaking; if there are spacial realms currently more or less inaccessible from our own, then it must simply be that the prevailing conception of the universe is inadequate, not that there are other universes. If there truly are other universes – and this may be – then, by definition, they must be entirely undetectable from our own, with different (possibly incommensurable) modes of being, and we would never learn of them save through supernatural agency.
According to a myth handed down by the magus Balthazar of Darien, At fashioned the cosmos from an ascending sequence of blown glass balls, the uppermost the innermost, the lowermost the outermost. While the balls were still cooling, At folded each into itself, all but the lowest, which At left a pitted sphere. The penultimate ball At doubled into itself, pressing each pair of opposite points into a single point. Each point of this hemiworld, which is the world made for men, lies above two in the underworld, which the ancients called Limbo for its division into two leaves.
But this above and under must be interpreted as referring to level of complexity and relative dignity, and not to spacial arrangement. Also, with the antipodal points in the underworld and their common point in the hemiworld, there is no over there, for all three points are here, though the perceptions of the observer might be limited to one. Also, though it is said that the underworld is a spherical space, there is no interior or exterior.
Imagine an ordinary sphere being formed from a flexible disk by drawing the perimeter of the disk into a single point. A traveler moving in a straight line across this point will eventually arrive back at his starting point. Thus we have the spherical surface, or sphere properly so-called. In a similar way, spherical space is formed from a ball of space whose boundary sphere is drawn into a single point. It possesses the same property that any straight line eventually meets its starting point.
The spherical space that is the underworld expands with the force of its first firing, and will one day contract, much as a balloon expands and contracts, but, again, there is neither interior nor exterior as one might have with a balloon or a globe, for the cosmos sits in no larger space. The worlds stacked above the underworld – that is, the hemiworld and all its overworlds – expand and contract as well.
The overworlds must be understood as formed by the double fold inherent to the hemiworld, compounded with additional simple folds over and above this, so that each overworld combines all the folds of that below with one additional and irreducible fold. The highest overworld is, of necessity, the smallest and most complex. The set of points in the underworld corresponding to a single point in this supremal world are held to share a certain dim and shadowy affinity, much subtler than the affinity shared by antipodal points.
The underworld, hemiworld, and overworlds together make up the cosmos.
Man stands as the pinnacle of the cosmos and its crowning achievement; but it is known that there are various species of macrobial agents, or spirits, as they are commonly called, above men, each rank or choir simpler than the last. Eiron the Polyhymnist puts the number of species somewhere above twelve quadrillion. In analogy with this, some hold that there are simpler spiritual or nonspacial worlds above the highest material world. Also,
The world hangs above Abaddon, the Pit,Each region of space in the hemiworld is congruent, in a large-scale sense, with its two corresponding regions in the underworld. However, as Warnoch of Teos has noted, the more one knows about a body's motion, the less one knows about its position, and vice versa. The uncertainty increases as the size of the body decreases, for the act of looking is a kind of violence. This is what the poet meant when he wrote
which is Nowhere,
the den of eyeless devourers.
The god's eye opens:If we accept the hypothesis of the atomists, i.e., that all physical objects are made up of discrete packets of material in constant flux, then divergences must, of necessity, occur in the three leaves on a small scale, and small-scale divergences must eventually lead to marked differences on a large scale. However, it is thought that each massive object in one leaf creates sinks in the others, so that bodies such as stars and planets tend to hold onto one another.
Death, the destroyer of worlds.
So Ayadon, man's planet, lies above the twin planets Eladon and Uradon, earth and counter-earth. Here, then, is the great secret: our planet, the seat of Enoch, the rust-stained city of stone, mankind's omega, is not Ayadon at all. We dwell in Uradon of the underworld, and have done so since the dawn of man.
Sephaura, the Wisdom of Arras, avers that the five ranks of spiritual beings correspond analogically to the five elements: cherubim to ether, seraphim to fire, nephelim to air, phaerelim (naiads, oceanids, auraiads) to water, and men (and helborim and anakim) to earth. For it is said
At makes messengers of winds, servants from flames of fire.The cherubim and seraphim are incorporeal, and perceive things simply and directly, without sensory input or discursive reasoning. Once they will a thing, they never repent of it, for that would imply inadequate knowledge and susceptibility to passions. The nephelim are also incorporeal, but here the similarity ends. They rely on matter and time to some extent, and reason discursively. The first language came from the nephelim.
The phaerelim, which inhabit fluid bodies, are immortal spirits riding corporeal clouds or currents. Death for them is dissolution. But the naiad or auraiad is the spirit itself; the material envelope is accidental. It is not so with men. A man is a soul-and-body-together, not a soul that happens to ride a body.
Thus teaches Sephaura. However, much as the scheme of the five elements proved unequal to the task of describing the composition of the material cosmos, so did the scheme of the five ranks tend to distort and oversimplify the hierarchy of being, if not in Sephaura itself, then at least in the logicians' annexes.
Just as the material elements form an entire bureau of species – gold and quicksilver, adamant and brimstone – so is the hierarchy of being a complex and patterned array of multiple dimensions, with men at the lower end, and seraphim and cherubim at the upper. In reality, each cherub and seraph is its own species, so that the mere grouping of under a common label is itself a grave distortion of the truth.
Nevertheless, the scheme met with in the recesses of Sephaura is not wrong, or even inaccurate. It merely represents a terrestrial, humanistic perspective. The wisdom of Arras sees man as the measure of all things. For
What rod has a man but himself, and with whose eyes shall he see but his own? With his right hand he shall span the dome of heaven, and with his eyes he shall count the stars.But the pedantry of Enoch subordinates man to the cosmos, abandoning the hebdomad of the ancients, reckoning by perverse units – six-day weeks and cycles and years, chiliads and myriads and great ads – and setting the earth flying over and under the sun.
The cherubim and seraphim were with At from the beginning. Each cherub and each seraph is its own kind, whole and unique; they neither marry nor generate, and there is no kinship among them. The cherubim dwell with At in the Place beyond all places, bearing lights in an eternal procession. The lights they bear are the perfections of their essences.
The seraphim descended to the cosmos, to gather the primal fire into lonely tapers, which are their mansions, candles before an empty tabernacle. Each star in the hemiworld made for man sits above two in the underworld, feeding them and fed by them. And At continued to call into being the various choirs and ranks of spirits, investing them with the burden of contingency and corporeality to greater or lesser degrees. Of these, some have never known At, and dwell in the underworld.
To the seraph Uriel and his servitors was given the task of preparing a planet for a new order of being, a creature that would arise from base matter. This was no secret, as Heilel, the great cherub, afterwards claimed, but Heilel in his pride was blind to it. To Uriel the lowly, At entrusted the divine spark of life, and also the divine spark of living, placing each in an imperishable casket. To him also were granted the nephelim, the demiurges of Ayadon.
The nephelim, though not the authors of life, labored as gardeners in Ayadon, overseeing the process of generation and corruption, of growth and decay. After many ages they were pleased with the world they had made. So, when Uriel, their overseer, consigned all but a tithe of its creatures to destruction at the close of the cycle, they rebelled, fighting to keep things as they were. After a succession of proud, mad wars, a contingent was suffered to depart into the underworld, and take up residence in Uradon, at the cosmic antipodes to Eladon, which is held in secret affinity with Ayadon, and garden it as they would.
Now, the Field of Uriel surrounding Uradon is beset by three unliving goddesses who form a cloud beyond its most far-flung planets. Through this cloud the space-faring yagathim passed, drawn to the green jewel of Uradon as firebrats to a lantern. Their passage seeded the womb of the void and begot the black rain of chimeras. These the yagathim offered the nephelim as vehicles, and so wrought their downfall. For the nephelim of Uradon longed to walk in the gardens of their making. But their discursive minds became dependent on their new fleshly envelopes, and they passed into the thralldom. In time the yagathim departed, and the nephelim, lacking the will even to form the bodies they now needed, became chatterers in the wind, nothing more. Their garden grew rank and wild, a stagnant sink.
Ayadon meanwhile continued in preparation, until in the fullness of time a race of ghulim rose up on hind legs and became living beings: men. Of the three original races, two departed to Uradon, while one descended to Eladon, but that is a story for another place.
Editor's Note: Passages for which neither the extant cylinders nor the harmony of Elerit are legible are indicated by ellipses, and points at which the word choice is uncertain are indicated by question marks.The first man, Red-Earth-Son, was a ghul into whom At breathed the breath of life, so that he awoke and became a living being. His mate, Moon-Child, also awoke to herself. They bore the horns [?] of [...] Heilel, afterward called Satan, suborned them out of envy, causing them to be cast out of Ayadon by At for their disobedience. They descended to the desert world of Eladon, which was the seed world for Ayadon. A cherub guards the way back to Ayadon, wielding star-fire as a man might wield a sword.
Three sons had the first parents and no daughters, but each son took a ghul as mate, and their offspring were men. For the fruit of the union of a man and a ghul is a man, a living being, and no mixture. The eldest son was called Hand-of-Iron, and the middle was called Cloud-Walker, and the youngest was called Gift-of-At.
Now, Hand-of-Iron and his clan were tillers of the earth, while Cloud-Walker and his clan were herders of beasts. On the first day of spring, each made sacrifice to At, but only the holocaust of Cloud-Walker was pleasing. In a fit of rage, Hand-of-Iron slew Cloud-Walker. To hide his crime, he cut the body of Cloud-Walker into pieces and sowed the field with them, mingling his flesh with the seeds. But the grain grew up, red-eared, and cried out to heaven for vengeance, and At knew what had happened.
But Hand-of-Iron pleaded for mercy, and At, for the love At bore toward Red-Earth-Son and Moon-Child, did not slay him, but drove him and his people into [...] that is, Uradon. The sons and daughters of Cloud-Walker begged leave to follow their kin, and At granted their desire, and Red-Earth-Son was left in Eladon with Gift-of-At his son, and from Gift-of-At sprang the men of Eladon.
And so Hand-of-Iron and his sons and daughters and the sons and daughers of Cloud-Walker entered Uradon, the counter-earth of primordial darkness and daemonic sway. The way back to Eladon was barred to them. And the sons and daughters of Cloud-Walker bore the pleasing holocaust of their father in a stone urn, feeding it from day to day, and never suffering it to go out.
From the sons and daughters of Cloud-Walker sprang the race of Sharon. They established their realm in warm garden-rifts ringed by the icy mountains and smoking volcanoes of the polar plateau. It spread from chasm to chasm, linked by vast arched portals and subterranean highways, and its people built great cities and wondrous works. They retained the antennae [?] of Red-Earth-Son, and had the [...] with nephelim and of teleporting [?] to [...] They also retained the long years of their forefather. This was the Golden Age of Uradon, the flourishing of Sharon, after which all later ages are but a few breaths.
Meanwhile, Hand-of-Iron's race became a wandering folk, descending almost to the level of beasts and disappearing into the desert places of Uradon. They were the first to have dealings with the daemons of Uradon, forming leagues with them and worshiping them. Their daughters were given to [...] loins sprang helborim and anakim and other fell races.
The world was changing, and resources were ebbing. Sharon was encroached upon by her long-sundered kin, who now appeared over her cliffs as tribes of marauders riding fell vehicles of unlife driven by unclean spirits [...] secret treachery from within. So it was with Sharon. Forces of evil rose up in the garden-rifts, and [...] It was a dangerous gift, as true gifts always are.
And so peace returned for a time, but with new vigilance. The leaguer drew ever tighter about Sharon. Watchmen neglected their duties. On the eve of the final disaster, the faithful Sharenes departed from Uradon but, finding themselves unable to [...] established palaces in the lunar subterrane, and cast themselves into a deep sleep to [...]
And Sharon fell at last [...] scattered. Thus ended the Age of Gold on Uradon. The conquerors could destroy but not build [...] of the goddess in the leaf.
The Age of Silver was the time of the sister realms of Arras and Eldena, established by Sharon ere her fall. Eldena became great in the green basin of the south, between the highlands of Panormus and Ir. Her people were wise, and the wisest of all were the magi, who went to sleep in secret places, to awaken at their appointed times. But the meres upon which her [...] became poisonously brackish, a place of evil repute [...] unwholesome rose up from beneath the filmy pools. And the ocean overtopped the great dams on each side of black Ir, and [...] general inundation, marking the end of the Age of Silver.
The faithful survived the deluge and established [...] succumbed to the wanderers of Leng, and became a diaspora in the new kingdoms that ringed Tethys, imparting wisdom to those who contemned them. This was the Age of Bronze. The city-states – Enoch and Bizen, Calemish and Teos and Medessa – forged empires and waged war against one another with beaked triremes and hordes of ghulim trained for battle. The Synoecism marked the triumph of Enoch and the union of the states in one great metropolis. The pontiffs of Enoch celebrated this victory with a great hecatomb of ghulim, whose use was outlawed in the city from that date, though numerous exceptions crept in during the age that followed.
Laboring for their masters, the Eldenes laid the foundations of Enoch Major, the all-encompassing omega-city, with the aid of anakim [...] calendars were reformed and the phyles reorganized, and the Eldenes were driven into the catacombs [...] Tower of Bel [...] intent on their destruction [...]
[...] Inception of the Cheiropt, the semi-divine headless democratic social machine that governs all Enoch, the Tower of Bel at last opened its doors to the city, and phyle after phyle streamed in and began the ascent to the Hanging Gardens of Narva. Thus began the Age of Peace, which the Eldenes call the Age of Iron. The Eldenes and their followers continued their traditions in the catacombs and were universally forgotten, save by the Cheiropt, which never forgave their refusal to assimilate.
Arras, meanwhile, dwindled, fading into the sands of Eblis [...] the Prism of Exaran, which [...] fossil cities [...] deep-cloven canyons and inland seas. Some Arrasenes wandered north to the Deserit Mountains, where they ruled over the nomads who dwelt there, and intermarried with them, giving rise to the Druin race. The rest remained in Arras, preserving the wisdom of Sephaura, shrinking from generation to generation, but not going extinct until well into the Age of Iron.
There are three divisions of the human race: Eladonians, Sharenes, and Enochites. The anakim and helborim are counted with the Enochites, the Eldenes and Arrasenes with the Sharenes.
The Eldenes divide the ages of man into the Age of Gold, the Age of Silver, the Age of Bronze, and the Age of Iron. The Enochites, beginning much later, reckon according to the Age of Wandering the Age of Strife, the Age of Glory, and the Age of Peace. The Age of Wandering ends soon after the Age of Silver; the Ages of Strife and of Glory fill the Age of Bronze; the Age of Peace coincides with the Age of Iron.
The cosmos was established 20,000,000,000 years ago.
Ayadon coalesced from the dust of the void 4,500,000,000 years ago.
The great wars of the nephelim and the downfall of Enlil their prince took place between 350,000,000 and 300,000,000 years ago.
The dawn of man occurred 4,000,000 years ago.
Sharon was founded in the warm garden-rifts of the north 450,000 years ago, and fell 80,000 years ago. This was the Age of Gold.
The Age of Silver lasted from the fall of Sharon to the Great Deluge, which occurred 25,000 years ago, and destroyed the realm of Old Eldena. The Age of Wandering came to a close with the descent of the wandering tribes upon the shores of Tethys, the new sea. Thus the Age of Strife, in which New Eldena was but one of many warring kingdoms, began. The Eldenes gradually became a diaspora of learned recusants among the barbarian realms.
The Age of Strife ended and the Age of Glory began with the Synoecism that unified the Tethic coast under Enoch, which occurred 10,000 years ago. The Age of Strife and the Age of Glory together span the Age of Bronze in Eldene reckoning.
The Inception of the Cheiropt, the opening of the Tower of Bel, and the elevation of the Hanging Gardens of Narva took place 3,000 years ago, beginning the Age of Iron and the Age of Peace.
Here the text ends. This abruptness has led some scholars to believe that we possess only a fragment of a longer work. At the height of the enthusiasm that greeted the Yorrhic temple's opening, it seemed almost inevitable that one of the sealed jars would contain the complete text. Thus far this hope has proved groundless. – Ed.